On Friday, August 2, messages began streaming on social media of a call for a protest tagged #RevolutionisNow. The call was soon seen to be connected with the publisher of Sahara Reporters and former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Yele Sowore. In less than 24 hours, the Department of State Security (DSS) had Sowore arrested on charges which are yet to be disclosed but which pundits have interpreted could be close to treasonable felony.
Reactions have since followed the DSS and the police clampdown of the protest with many recalling it as a flashback to how General Sani Abacha dealt seriously with dissident voices during his junta. Others such as Femi Falana and Mike Ozekhome have also called into question the police’ interpretation of the word “revolution” which could have attracted the federal government’s charge of treasonable felony.
In a similar vein, the Human Rights record of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is very much doubtful as the law enforcement instruments of the Federal Government is continually being used to fight personal and religious wars.
Just recently, the Nigerian Police went ahead to enforce a spurious court order proscribing the activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). Many have also alleged that the police is being used by loyalists of the Sunni Muslim headquarters in Saudi Arabia, to intimidate adherents of the Shia Muslim sect, also known as the Shi’ites, which are loyal to Iran. It would appear that it was for these reasons that loyalists of the leader of the Shi’ite group, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, is still being kept in custody since December 2015. Just like in the case of El-Zakzaky, former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, is also in DSS custody despite court ruling granting him bail.
The tolerance gauge of the Buhari administration has reached its elastic limit and it is about to snap. This same administration which harasses Sowore plotted antics to boot out the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from power in 2014/15.
It will be recalled that leaders of the APC staged a widely publicized mass protest with the likes of incumbent President Buhari, former APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, Ogbonaya Onu and Rotimi Amaechi, on the forefront in November 2014. The high powered march took place without any incident of harassment by the police.
This was why Soyinka has tasked the Nigerian Police to do their proper job by protecting the protesters rather than threatening them with violence. It is sheer common sense that if a coup or revolution will take place as feared by the FG, it will not be known to the public in this manner.
Perhaps, owing to the number of African despots who have been thrown out of government in recent times by angry protesters, the President and his cohort may have something to be afraid of, after all. It is even more unfortunate that in a matter which Sowore’s attention-seeking antics could have been parried, the FG has fallen into the trap of making him into a hero or martyr – as the case may be – for free. If this tempo of FG clampdown is maintained, it should not be surprised when more and more angry citizens begin to ally with Sowore – who is most likely going to milk this unfortunate turn of events to the last.
The FG should be reminded, in fact, that a real revolution has only not taken place yet because the resolve of patient Nigerians is yet to be tested to the breakpoint. Once Nigerians can no longer take government incompetence, nepotism, bigotry and cluelessness, nobody will ask the people to file into the streets demanding for a regime change even as Sowore is trying to do now.
Featured Image Source: BBC