The #RevolutionNow protests across Nigeria, Monday was met with brutal responses by the country’s military and police. Images across the world show gun shot wounds and human beings crated in Iron cages bound for prison. Their offense? A simple protest about the state of affairs in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s invisible “Presidency”( No one now really knows who acts as president) quickly announced that the revolution was “dead and that democracy triumphed” . Of course it is not true that the protesters lost. What is true is that the protest proved what sort of hypocrites make up the government. President Buhari chief among the apostates. All the gates of Nigeria’s Universities and colleges were locked to prevent students from participating. Groups were paid to stay at home and or work.
Even those who wrote the victory statement for the “Presidency” were very active members of several orchestrated protests in the years leading up to 2015.
Mike Ozekhome is a very senior lawyer and human rights advocate in Nigeria. In reacting to Mr Buhari’s response to the protest, Mr Ozekhome said
“In January 2012 when Buhari was still a candidate and nursing the intent of being the President of Nigeria, him and other members of the Action Congress, rallied on the streets of Abuja with a group called Occupy Nigeria, closed down Nigeria when Jonathan was President, and Sowore was part and parcel of that protest.
“Also, every Nigerian knows that prior to the 2015 election; General Buhari led others like Tinubu and Oyegun to demonstrate on the streets of Nigeria as a buildup towards sensitizing Nigerians not to accept the Jonathan government again. There was no shooting or arrest.
I wrote yesterday that Mr Buhari and the team he leads and aptitude are mutually exclusive. That he will mess up the protest and create a Mandela or Juan Guaido of Mr Sowore. By shooting at people who were on peaceful protests, against the nation’s laws, and in full view of the media, domestic and foreign, Mr Buhari is now a very embattled man.
There are protests in all the Western Embassies of Nigeria demanding the release of Mr Sowore and other journalists. Most of the photos of the riot police trending on social media have BBC water marks on them. And that is serious damage to a very insecure president who seeks and pays for good public relations than on education.
To add to Mr Buhari’s many troubles is the fond memories of Goodluck Jonathan by Nigerians , the man he replaced via protests by the same people he is now hounding in prison. An acute comparison of how the two men handled/s dissent is being made. Mr Jonathan is painted as an angel while Mr Buhari removed all doubts that he is a brutal man. They argue that he only lied about being a “reformed democrat” to get power. He is the exact opposite of all he promised . He didn’t keep one. Not one.
Below is a famously apocalyptic quote from the former president that is trending.
“I Am The World’s Most Abused President But When I’m Gone, You All Will Remember The Freedom You Enjoyed Under My Government”. – Goodluck Jonathan
Yet again, Mr Buhari must rue the fact that those who think of him as a hero, Mr Integrity, etc, have gone remorseful and contrite. Even his paid praise singers know that no president in Nigeria’s history has been this loathed. What Mr Buhari sees when he looks at a mirror should raise his blood pressure. Millions world -wide actually think that he is a violent man. That he is also a fraud.
Only yesterday, he caved into pressure and let El Zakzaky and wife off his leash to seek medical help in India. He should release other political prisoners.
#RevolutionNow was a simple test for this government and it failed. Mr Sowore, on the other hand, has won. The attention he sought (if it was attention he wanted) paid off in spades in being able to switch places with the president. One is now popular and the other, notorious.
Ten years ago, Mr Buhari’s worshipers would not hallucinate that their leader was a simple human being, for he was god-like but Mr Sowore has reduced him to a notorious president. I think the “Presidency” lost.