By Abuchi Obiora
We found out the true meanings of the words ‘Revolution’ and ‘Youth’, identified and evaluated the latent and potent strength of the subsisting peaceful youth revolution sweeping across Nigeria in Part One of this discourse.
In Part Two, we advised and sounded notes of warnings to the government authorities after looking at the things that are most likely to negatively affect the 2023 electoral process in Nigeria, before, during and after the elections.
This Part Three, the concluding Part of this discourse goes deeper to prove the reason why the government authorities must heed the advice given in Part Two, to steer the country away from a violent revolution the possibility of which may not be farfetched. The proof of the possibility of a violent revolution in Nigeria is foretold in this discourse as predictions informed by the experience of an Eastern European country whose political leaders underrated the strength of their youth population working in tandem with the organized labor, the business and academic elites, the masses (the proletariats) and the progressive politicians.
Nigeria is presently at the crossroad of deciding whether she still wants to be a consuming nation, rather than a producing nation within the comity of independent nations of the world. There is no doubt that the visible political players, some of whom have been in the saddle for the past forty five years, have tried, to the best of their abilities, to build the country, without any visible result.
Though statesmen and stateswomen they will remain in the annals of Nigerian political history, it is unfortunate that their best efforts have not been good enough to take Nigeria to her social and economic Eldorado. For this reason, it is only wise and sensible that they should take the bow from the political stage and proceed for retirement in good fate and peacefully too, to enable new hands to be on the deck of salvaging the country from the ruins caused by the old politicians.
Borrowing from the words of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (G.W.F Hegel, 27th August 1770 – 14th November 1831), a German Philosopher, one of the founding fathers of modern Western Philosophy and a great contributor to the school of thought referred to as Social Idealism (upon which modern socio political thoughts are currently hinged) – also called ‘Hegelianism’ (which is defined as a system of direct logic and philosophical thought), did say that ‘The rational alone is real’.
By implication of this brilliant observation in the sometimes, doggy and deceptive plethora of intellectual thought and perspectives, any reality that is not capable of being expressed completely in rational categories, however cleverly it could be concealed or masked, is actually both annalistic and unattainable.
This philosophical thought exposes the daftness of the APC political party who made the irrational, unrealistic and unattainable claim to Nigerians in their dubious ‘Change 2015’ Manifesto that they would make the Nigerian Naira exchange rate to be at par with the United State Dollar when voted into power. Hegelianism also exposes the naivety of Nigerian voters who swallowed that daft, irrational, unrealistic and unattainable promise, line, hook and sinker. This deception, one out of the thirty one dubious and failed promises of the APC government, has aggravated the anger of Nigerians who presently buy the United States Dollar for N720.
Against this background, it is surprising that politicians who believe that it is their turn to rule Nigeria (Emi lo kan!) obviously do not understand the mood of Nigerians preparatory to the 2023 elections. It is possible that the greed of ‘Emi lo kan’ claimants have isolated them, making them blind, not to see the truth that their very presence in the Nigerian political race for 2023 have become sources of anger and irritation for the vast majority of Nigerians who will waste no time to make sacrifices both of themselves and their traducers to put the country right back to the track of sustainable development.
My thought on this is that it is either that they are blinded by their limitless ambition or they are destined to share in the vendetta of Nigerians on their common enemies in a manner an Igbo proverb, translated in English language will describe as “The dog that is on the death row ceases to perceive the odor of excreta”.
On Tuesday, 6th September 2022, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari met with his Polish counterpart, President Andrzej Duda at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Coincidentally, Nigeria is presently undergoing the type of history that Poland went through which by the way, made it possible for people like Mr. Andrzej Duda, a lawyer and politician born 16th May, 1972, to sit in the government house at Warsaw (Warszawa) as a President of Poland under a democratic rule. Mr. Duda is the first President of Poland ever to visit Nigeria in 60years.
Let us take a summary of the path to a true democratic rule by Poland. Prior to 1990, Poland did not know true democracy the way Nigeria has never experienced till this day. The emergence of Polish democracy was championed by the organized Polish labour in the same way the path to a true democracy in Nigerian is being championed by the organized Nigerian labour.
Founded in August 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in the industrial city of Gdansk, Poland, the Solidarity workers union became the first independent, non-government sponsored trade union in a ‘Warsaw Pact’ country. The communist, Eastern European countries had once gathered in Warsaw, Poland to sign a peace and military Treaty/Pact to guide and regulate the relationship of member countries. This move was arranged by the Communist U.S.S.R (United Soviet Socialist Republic) Kremlin government in Moscow (Moskva) when it was headed by Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (19th December 1906 – 10th November 1982) a former General Secretary of the Communist Party (1964-1982) who also served twice as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1960-1964) and (1972-1982).
By 1981, the Solidarity Movement was already peopled by ten million members, being about one-third of the country’s working population, and predominantly youths seeking for change from the authoritarian rule of Polish Communist Presidents and appointed Prime Ministers. Lech Walesa and his co-founders oversaw the affairs of the union, and quietly built a political base out of it. Lech Walesa became the Solidarity Movement leader in 1988, contested in 1989 election for Polish Presidency and won. He and his colleagues played a major role in ending authoritarian Communist rule in Poland and he was inaugurated as the first democratic President of Poland in 1990. Lech Walesa (September 29, 1943) wrestled political power from Wojciech Jaruzelski (6th July 1923 – 25th May 2014) an Army General and the last President and leader of the Polish People’s Republic.
Lech Walesa who earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 for his efforts in bringing freedom of political expression in Poland was elected the first democratic President of Poland ever since 1926. He defeated the Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki who was sponsored by Wojciech Jaruzelski. There were other candidates in that election.
From all indications, Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed are set to wrestle power from the oppressive forces that had held power in Nigeria since independence. It is fortuitous luck for Nigerians that the duo of Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed are contesting under the aegis of the Nigerian Labour force, floated by the organized labour in Nigeria, the Nigerian Labour Congress. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has almost a similar history with the Solidarity Trade Union in Poland, before the later metamorphosed into the Solidarity Movement in like manner that the political strides of the Nigerian organized labour has galvanized into what they call the OBIDENT (OBI-DATT) movement.
The foundation of organized trade unionism in Nigeria was laid by Michael Athokamien Omnibus Imoudu (7th September 1902 – 22nd June, 2005). Known in Nigeria as a selfless labour leader, Pa Imoudu (as he was fondly called) is regarded as the remote founding father of the Nigerian Labour Congress.
Founded in 1978 with 42 industrial unions affiliated to it, the Nigerian Labour Congress had very rough attempts to succeed in the politics of Nigeria. The first real opportunity for active participation of the NLC in the politics of Nigeria came during the imbroglio trailing the annulment of the June 12th 1993 Presidential election now known to have been won by Chief M.K.O Abiola. Mr. Pascal Bafyau (1947 – 2012) was in charge at that time as the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress. He was the third President of the Nigerian Labour Congress between 1988 and 1994. With antecedents of history, Mr. Bafyau is, today being looked upon as having sold out to the military dictatorship of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida when he, Bafyau, backed out from supporting the recovery of the June 12th mandate won by Chief M.K.O Abiola.
Another opportunity for the ascendancy of the organized labour in the political affairs of the country came under the watch of Adams Oshiomhole who was seen as a dogged fighter for the cause of the Nigerian Labour force and the masses. Suddenly, the man moved out of favour with the organized labour and the Nigerian masses, preferring to use his newly acquired social asset to benefit himself. He joined the ‘oppressors’ and was soon to be elected as the Executive Governor of his home state, Edo. Today he has dropped all toga of progressivism and has become a loud mouthpiece of the status quo.
The advent of Mr. Ayuba Philibus Wabba (22nd October 1968) in the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress in 2015 has greatly improved the fortunes of the organized Nigerian labour. He had served as the National Treasurer of the NLC since 2007 until 2015 when he was elected the President of the union. His mandate was renewed for another four years on February 6th 2019.
Mr. Ayuba Wabba, working effectively with the Nigerian labour force has wisely, without fanfare, positively directed the Nigerian labour force, with his colleagues in the TUC (Trade Union Congress) and other umbrella Labour Bodies. He has united all the sensitive/powerful, more visible trade unions within the congress, to fight for the protection of the rights and privileges of the downtrodden members of the labour force and the Nigerian masses.
The strong leadership of Mr. Ayuba Wabba has given strength to the Labour Party in Nigeria, first registered in 2002 as the Party for Social Democracy as an avenue for every Nigerian to leverage from the common and positive influence of the common wealth. It is in this stable condition and positive influence of the Nigerian Labour force that Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed saw the political party as the new vehicle with which they will drive the common aspirations of freedom for Nigerians, to fruition.
Exactly as the presence of Lech Walesa in the polish Solidarity Movement changed the history of the Polish politics, the OBIDIENT Movement of Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed is about to make history in Nigeria by changing the direction of politics in the country.
Recently, Mr. Peter Obi went for consultations with Nigerians in the Diaspora and also sensitized them on the need for their involvement in the transformation of the country that is being sought after by the Nigerian youths and the organized labour force with progressive politicians. It is good to read history, yet better to watch history being written. I remember having watched Lech Walesa traverse the Western European countries to seek support of Polish ‘Diasporians’ who were already conversant with citizens freedom, which was then a scarce commodity in Poland and other Eastern European, Russian-influenced countries during the ‘Cold War’ period between the United State of America (U.S.A) and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R.) under Leonard Brezhnev. But Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (March 2, 1931 – August 30, 2022) was to become the game changer.
It was not a coincidence that Mr. Lech Walesa’s freedom-fighting efforts prospered in Poland when Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev whose ‘Perestroika’ and ‘Glasnost’ policies opened up the frontiers of political, social and economic freedom that eventually led to the disintegration of the former United Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.S.R) political bloc.
Not coincidentally too, the appeal of Mr. Peter Obi to the conscience of diaspora Nigerians and indeed Africans for support in the emancipation of Nigeria and other African countries from the shackles of poverty and oppressive tendencies of their corrupt and inept leaders is in consonance with the demand by the International Community to rid Africa of corrupt and inept leaders who have impoverished Africans since the African countries secured their independence from some western European countries.
For those reasons, the older generation politicians should not delude themselves that business should go on as usual. The election coming up in 2023 is very critical to the continued existence of Nigeria as one country. It is either Nigeria gets it right now or she begins to witness such sabotage activities by her citizens across the country that will eventually breakup the country.
An Igbo proverb translated in English language says that it is possible for many people to eat a meal served by one person, but impossible for one person to eat off a meal served by many people. Abraham Lincoln (12th February 1809 – 15th April, 1865), a self-taught informally-trained lawyer, American statesman, legislator, onetime President and a key opponent of slavery who issued the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ that declared total freedom for slaves in America did say that “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
Now, the die is cast and the oppressors of the masses in Nigeria should know that the die is cast. The popularity of the duo of Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed in Nigeria and around the world is not in doubt. It is also both tsunamic and unprecedented in the annals of Nigerian history, cutting across religious, ethnic and language barriers in Nigeria. Ordinarily, based on this simple logic and analysis of the determinant factors for wining a Presidential election in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed of the Labour Party will emerge victorious in the Presidential Election. For this reason, if Mr. Peter Obi losses in the election, it will show that the winning factors as have always been observed by analysts of the politics of Nigeria, have been constitutionally skewed to favour the north against the southern part of Nigeria.
This means that many Nigerians would have been disadvantaged through the instrument of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) to choose their President. If Peter Obi loses the 2023 Presidential election, chances are that the majority of Nigerians who have been deprived of the opportunity to choose their President will get more disgruntled and this may complicate the present bad security situation across the country as more non-state actors may begin to operate with impunity.
But it will be a pleasant relief for most Nigerians that Mr. Peter Obi wins in the election because, not only must the common aspirations of Nigerians have been served when he wins, but also, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the ‘bandwagon effect’ deliberately created and maintained by successive Nigerian governments in fixing the election schedules to promote winning elections by the incumbent government in Nigeria, will serve Nigerians a useful purpose in the 2023 elections.
What is ‘bandwagon effect” in Nigerian’s elections? Nigerian politicians, against popular wish, have always insisted that the Presidential elections come first, on a separate day from other elections (except gubernatorial election) so that the victory of an incumbent government conducting the elections will induce an avalanche of last minute decamping and cross-carpeting from the opposition to the winning party.
This, in effect, will muster sympathy votes in subsequent elections for the winning party. As a matter of fact, the ‘bandwagon effect’ created by the victory of an incumbent government in the polls has become the strongest single factor that weakens Nigerian opposition political parties, throwing spanners on their remaining chances of presenting effective and vibrant opposition that will augur well for true democracy in the legislative houses.
The ‘bandwagon effect’ is also the strongest single factor that encourages political harlotry amongst the Nigerian political class as it also provides the enabling environment for authoritarian Executive Presidents with overriding powers in a three-tier democratic system where checks and balances should dictate the relationship between the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary to ride roughshod on the citizens.
Come next year during the elections of 2023, the Labour Party which has become the vehicle of the Nigerian youth revolution 2022/2023 will benefit massively from what I call political round tripping (mass defections) of politicians from other political parties when the Labour Party must have won the Presidential elections in February 2023. This development shall put paid to the spurious postulation that the Labour Party does not have a political structure on ground to win a Presidential election and keep the President safe from impeachment by the opposition.
Very soon, Nigerians will find out that those who push the story that the Labour Party will neither win nor maintain the office of the President in Nigeria are either not conversant with the character of the Nigerian politicians or they are jittery that the old brigade will soon be beaten hands down in a mischievous game which, hitherto had been the winning formula normally applied by them to strike the master stroke and decimate the opposition.
Capping up the comparison between Poland and Nigeria, I must add that with vast arsenals of military soft and hard wares at the disposal of Wojciech Jaruzelski, the Military General found it wise, (observing the mood of his people) to allow the wish of Polish citizens to be actualized in Poland during the elections of 1989 that ushered in the Presidency of Lech Walesa in 1990. The alternative would have been his destruction and the destruction of his political class during the revolution that was already building up. But he was wise enough. He lived peacefully thereafter and died in his home on 25th May, 2014. The Nigerian political class should learn a lesson from Wojciech Jaruzelski.
To end this discourse, MTN advertisement for the company’s ‘CallerTunez’ product will always beep and register on my phone “History is not a burden on the memory, but an illumination to the future”. I add that the knowledge of history and its consequences creates and escape route for those that would have paid the price of ignorance of the knowledge of the divine technique of change through the natural process of evolution, or in the denial of this natural process, the man-induced, inevitable process of revolution. A word is enough for the wise.
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