Not that I have ever been in a revolution before, but the recent protests regarding the removal of petrol subsidy by the Nigerian government smells different from any other protest I have seen in Nigeria before. I thought then, that most be the smell of revolution. I did once posted on this blog that our on-line revolutionaries were just talking and can't do much in the real world. I guess I may be wrong, people are indeed pushing into the real world. It all started when some people in Abuja communicated via some social network technologies to meet at the Eagle Square to sign a petition against the petrol subsidy removal. In less than two hours, more than a thousand people have gathered. And that's despite the fact that most Abuja residents were out of town not back from the new year break. The police made some arrests but the released the people the next day.
Other cities followed suit with massive protests. These include Lagos, Kano, Gusau, Benin, Kaduna, Yola to mention just a few. Today is the fifth day of protests and it seems to be growing even bigger.
The Kano Convenant
The most interesting of all the protesting cities in Nigeria so far is Kano. In Kano apart from the fact that protesters sleep over at the venue of the protest, there was also a convenant that Christians and Muslims will protect each other during their respective prayers. The evil Nigerian political elite have always used religious difference to divide the masses. I think the unprecedented Kano convenant has taken them unawares.
So far some group of Nigerian hackers have been expressing their anger by attacking some websites and placing messages on the front page expressing their anger with the government. These may not be too legal but the mistake has already been made. The Federal Government has unleashed the devils in many Nigerians. The website to attacked is that of the Federal Ministry of Transport.
Government Playing Tough
The Federal Government has so far declared that the fuel subsidy removal is final and it will not revert. I think the government is being dumb instead of being tough as they think. Closing all options for the masses means the masses will eventually resolve to any means possible to get back at the decision makers. It's not going to be pretty. People are no longer afraid of dying. I heard many protesters urging their comrades to proceed even if they are killed in the process.
The ruling elite seems to be ignorant of history, it seems history is about to made but they choose to be on the wrong side of it.
The best thing the government should do is not to let the protests turn violent by avoiding brute force and listening to the people. Apparently they think that is cowardice.
"Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable"
- J. F. Kennedy
Time will tell.