Home Politics Peter Obi: Why Past Nigerian Rulers, Elder Statesmen Must Support This Revolution

Peter Obi: Why Past Nigerian Rulers, Elder Statesmen Must Support This Revolution




There are few regimes in the world that is as suppressive as the Iranian regime, and very few observers and commentators on international politics would expect the citizens of such a draconian government to gather the right courage to stand up against their government, which has very little regard for human rights. And for decades ordinary Iranians went about their lives like everything was alright, while bottling up great anger and disaffection but never really having the guts to express them. Yes, people did protest, strikes did happen, but never to the extent that could really shake up things in Ayatollah Khomeini’s despotic Islamic Republic.

But all that changed with the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22 year old girl whom the Police accused of dressing indecently, arrested her and clamped her in detention, where she was said to have been manhandled badly. But was Mahsa Amini the first Iranian to suffer unjust detention or to die in police custody? Not at all.

Since 1979 when the Islamists toppled the Iranian monarchy, ordinary Iranians have literally lived in abject fear and “enslavement” with the women and young girls being the worst affected. Any little attempt by the citizens to protest ill-treatment by the oppressive regime is met with the strongest military rebuke, with dead bodies piling up dangerously and thousands put away in different prisons across the country.

Today, the people of Iran; youths, women and people from different age and tribal backgrounds are risking it all to send a strong message of rebuttal against the oppressive and corrupt regime. I do not know how this whole thing will end, but I know that every major change in history is triggered by very little and seemingly insignificant acts or even accidents.

Nigeria is one of the most fortunate countries in the world. We have been given different opportunities to get our acts together but at each turn the political leadership bungles it. We have survived a civil war, survived uncountable mass protests and ethnic clashes and just recently, the #EndSars protest gave us an idea of what a mass revolt could look like. The Federal government may delude itself all it wants into believing that it’s military crushed that protest, but we know that a nation with a mostly dissatisfied citizenry is merely hanging on borrowed time.

Since the EndSars protest was suspended, there have been more Nigerians who are disillusioned with what is happening in the country. Life has got harder and more young people are seeing reasons to join any action that will punish “those who have made our lives difficult.”

Outside President Goodluck Jonathan, every other living past Nigerian leader is a military veteran and everyone of them saw the war and fully appreciate how inflaming another mass protest will look alike if it is allowed to happen.

The emergence of Peter Obi as a presidential candidate reignited hope in majority of Nigerians. Most of those who were ready to hit the streets in protest or even take up arms against the nation are beginning to see an opportunity for a peaceful, bloodless revolution. This is why you see millions of them using their hard-earned money to buy Peter Obi souvenirs, sponsor Labour Party related activities and join, freely, in mobilisation efforts across the country.

Nigerian past leaders and elder statesmen who are watching these incidents know what it portends for the nation if by any chance, this hope is dashed, especially, by what would apparently be an elitist conspiracy. Truth is, Nigeria may not survive it. I am an unrepentant believer in Nigeria, I will want Nigeria to just go on, no matter what, but I am a progressive realist. I do not deliberately delude myself.

I will not recommend that these elder statesmen use their influence to rig the system in favour of Peter Obi, but I think it would be the greatest service they will do to this nation if they bring their weight and influence to bear in ensuring that the dreams of ordinary Nigerians are not cut short. It is their responsibility to save Nigeria at this critical time.

Like it is in Iran, many Iranians who are out on the street protesting against the Ayatollah dictatorship are aware that they may not return home alive or won’t be free for a long time, but they have been so mistreated and have seen so much suffering that they don’t care again about what happens. It should actually be the prayer of everyone who truly wants the best for Nigeria that Nigerians are not pushed to the point where, like the Iranians, Sri Lankans, Tigrayans, etc, they feel that they have nothing to lose anymore.




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