Clever or anything remotely close to it is not a word associated with Nigeria’s government. In fact,it has been described variously as grossly inept and incompetent. This week will test how true those adjectives are.
Omoyele Sowore was hauled off his house Sunday and is now being held by the DSS, Nigeria’s Secret service. The head of the police says that Mr Sowore is planning to take over government. He has warned Nigerians to refrain from participating in a protest that was planned for today, Monday.
“The Force wishes to state unequivocally that the call amounts to treasonable felony and acts of terrorism and will therefore not stand idly by and watch any individual or group in the social cause anarchy in the land.
” While acknowledging the rights of Nigerians to embark on protest, the Force wishes to note that such rights should not translate to a violent and forceful change of government which clearly is the meaning of ‘revolution’
Organisers of the protest say that they don’t seek a regime change but sweeping reforms. Those will include the judiciary, the invidiously lush money enjoyed by the executive arm of government, insecurity, etc. They say that putting Mr Sowore in prison won’t stop the march.
The problem is that Mohammadu Buhari and the interests he serves are very insecure. For one thing, a larger part of the population believes that Mr Atiku Abubakar actually won the last elections. Mr Buhari is mired at the moment, in a possible forgery case that has to do with a bogus high school certificate.
As this government is one of the least diplomatic in the world, that is, totally feckless, they won’t know how to handle a man like Sowore. Again because they are insecure, it doesn’t occur to them that it will help if it actually observes a protest, feel the people’s pulses and plan. But that will take brains. Strangely enough, the government doesn’t know the gullibility of the people it governs. And so, they will resort to bruth force, accuse the opposition and perhaps ban all forms of protests.
For one thing, the government doesn’t know who actually backs the publisher beyond the millions of jadedly disillusioned Nigerians. Mr Buhari’s vacuously voluble media people are not helping him. Lauretta Onnochie, a media aide who people say operates hundreds of thousands of Facebook accounts has, “commended the DSS” for arresting the man. Ms Onnochie is quick to forget that she worked with Mr Sowore in Mr Buhari’s first elections and even in the last one.
Mr Sowore has a lot on this government. He knows their many frailties. Like I wrote in a similar article Saturday, he was prevented from taking a part in the last Presidential debate because they were afraid of him. And he looks set to do some wreckage to a government that pays more for public relations than on education,health and security put together.
Nigerians are very superstitious and “spiritual”. Mr Sowore declared president Ya ‘Adua dead months before it became official. Therefore! And because the government knows Mr Sowore, or that they think they know him, they want to nip a possible explosion in the bud. But in arresting him, that measure may have backfired.
For another thing, Nigerians who actually have nothing to lose actually look forward to a protest exactly reassembling #RevolutionNow. Their lives mean nothing as the economy is on life support and people die daily from guns some say are provided by the government.
How the government handles Sowore will tell if an interim government is going to be convocated , a nightmare for the cabals but a relief to lots of people. Things are at their tensile strength, thinly waiting to snap. If the protests go on as planned and the government responds cloddishly as I suspect it will, things will go much worse.
Add to that is that Mr El Zakzaky will be in court today and Kaduna is already scarcely able to avoid a riot. If the man does not get bail tomorrow just so he could seek medical help in India, there will be serious damage.
Also add to that is the fact that a slice of Fulanis met Mr Buhari’s nemesis, Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday to discuss how to “bring Nigeria out of darkness “. Mr Buhari is a man who craves loyalty even as he is devoid of one and so, he will be losing sleep over the meeting in Abeokuta.
And there is that other matter about governors from Mr Buhari’s axis of Nigeria paying killers( officially known as bandits) protection money. When they run through the cash, they kill again.
Nobody can doubt that Mr Buhari’s government can’t protect Nigeria anymore and a march like #RevolutionNow may just be the last straw.
It began quietly like this in Venezuela and Nicholas Moduro used force on people already half dead from hunger. Then they goaded the head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, to declare himself president. I hear that at a meeting in Barbados, Sunday,an asylum deal is being hatched for Moduro. Even China and Russia can’t help. That won’t happen in Nigeria because the national assembly is an ineffectual debating society made up of lackeys ,in the main, of the government. But something much more sinister than Juan Guaido will happen.
With too many battles confronting this harried government, #RevolutionNow and the after shocks could tilt the scales. Mr Sowore is no angel to be sure, but today, Nigerians would cannonize Satan if he brought down Buhari.