The Tragedy Of Revolution
(A Warning to Nigerian Political Leaders)
By Chike Nnamani
No revolution has ever occurred in history with the ruling class thinking it will ever come to pass. They always trivialise it and ignore the general discontentment and resentment of the people towards the political establishment.
Before the french revolution in 1789, there was general resentment by the people, of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the aristocracy. They also complained of unpopular taxation schemes which were heavily regressive. But the institution appeared to ignored them and the inevitable happened: The monarchy was overthrown and feudalism abolished, the people enthroned republicanism and democracy. Midway into the 10-year revolution in 1793, the monarch, King Louis XVI, was executed.
It has been established over the years that the primary causes of every revolution is the widespread frustration with the economic and socio-political situation of a country.
In Nigeria today, there have been a popular resentment of privileges enjoyed by the political class over the years which is one of the highest, compared to other political office holders, in world. Hence a wide gap between the ruled and the ruler, the rich and the poor, which causes disconnection and societal disequilibrium in the socio-political system of Nigeria, coupled with the incessant killings, injustices, nepotism, unemployment and high scale corruption in the land.
Historically speaking, with all indices on ground, Nigeria is due for a revolution. It's only a failed and dysfunctional state like Nigeria will have over a million of its graduates applying for a temporal federal government job (N-Power) whose monthly remuneration is less than $85 US dollars (N30,000), in less than 2 weeks of its advertisement. In a sane country nobody will give a $100 monthly job a serious thought.
I think it was IBB who once said that it still remains a miracle why Nigeria has not disintegrated. Based on my analysis, it is due to the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria that made it nearly impossible for a holistic revolution to be done - because of the huge disparity among various ethnic nationalities - with the northern region satisfied with its political feudalism and monarchical institutions while the southern region, especially the east, being purely republican and democratic in nature.
Even if the first military coup led by Nzeogwu had succeeded, it would still not have salvaged the country because it would still be viewed with a tribal prism, as an ethnic domination of other tribes. This could be evident from the state-sponsored pogrom against the Igbo that followed it after the failure of the coup.
After that, other coups that happened were just what Fela called, "Soldier go, Soldier come," They were a mere transition from of one hegemonic fulani to another. The only coup that could have salvaged this country is the Gideon Orkar coup in 1990, which made it emphatically clear that they will cut off the feudal fulani from Nigeria, and push them up towards Sahara where they migrated from. Orkar was from Middle Belt region.
Nonetheless, it is on this premise - of a near impossible heterogeneous revolution in Nigeria - that a seemingly more homogeneous agitation, by a section of the country, for Biafra, can lead to a violent revolution in the near future if the cries for a referendum are not met.
The biggest miscalculations the Nigerian political establishment will make is to ignore these calls for referendum. They should never make the mistake of listening to imperialist countries like France, Germany and Britain, who have tactically backed them, by recently sending their Ambassadors to re-echo their stand on 'One Nigeria.'
Also the government and the Fulani-controlled military should not bank on these supports, and opts for a civil war. For when the chips are down both the big and the small will be consumed in the inferno of an impending revolution.
One thing people do not understand is that a revolution is quiet different from a civil war. In civil war, you fight for survival, but in revolution you are ready to give in. The people are ready to lay down their lives to achieve their aim, "they no longer love their lives even unto death." They are down already; and he who is down fears no fall again. They had already earmarked their deaths long before the revolution began, and its either they achieve their aim or everything goes down with them.
Any sensible government should have taken into cognisance the Indigenous People of Biafra's (IPOB) mantra which says, "Its Biafra or Death." They should never take it for granted. It's their philosophical ideology. No military forces can quench a determined revolution.
During the Russian revolution in 1917, the army leadership of the Tsarist autocrat, Emperor Nicholas II, did not have the means to suppress the revolution, resulting in the abdication of his empire. The people dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and collapsed the Russian empire. All powers were given to the emerging community assemblies commonly called 'soviets,' leading to the rise of the Soviet Union, which later became a world power in the middle of the 20th century.
The tragedy of a revolution is that when it occurs the entire political establishment is forcefully uprooted in shame and disgrace. Hence the need for a peaceful referendum now to avoid a collateral damage in future.
Currently the signs are there. You don't need to be a prophet to decipher it. Any thinker can correctly project into the future based on an available data. You know, when the frustration becomes increasingly unbearable and the unrest increases in momentum, then a revolution is inevitable.
Today it may start with a 'no referendum,' 'no election,' but when the establishment ignores it and foist their own candidates on the states whose elections were boycotted, it may degenerate to a 'no referendum,' 'no governance,' and when the tempo of the civil disobedience increases it may lead to a civil unrest which in turn can lead to a violent revolution.
It is on this view, I joined Asa, who in her 2007 classical song, sang:
"There is fire on the mountain, and nobody seems to be on the run. Oh there is fire on the mountain top, and no one is ah running....
"... One day the river will overflow, and there 'll be nowhere for us to go, and we will run, run, Wishing we had put out the fire, oh no."