Nigeria and the Needed Revolution

June 20, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Dami Lare

It is not for want of design appropriate or thought feasible that many suffer their over-romantic assessment of times and conditions with a ‘call for a revolution’ (total upheaval): a prompt to be found in rhetoric and epistles that litter the cyberspace (especially Facebook).

But that this particular ‘it’ has attained fail-safe status, by comparative scaling, by those who never learn from history, despite its flourishes (almost as nuisance) or those pompously cynical of its metaphors, seeing a lull where there isn’t. To this I will come shortly.

Perhaps it ill behoves us to subscribe to insistent calls to arms or solidarity of revolutionary evangelists against an institution peopled by cults of dissidents and ringleaders of improprieties, given the tireless irony that follows such matters. Perhaps, a cohesive affront against what is institutionalised depravity is all that is needed (if we were two centuries back in time). Or Nigeria were not a geographical raggle-taggle of mindless fanatics, incorrigible wastrels, debauchees and self-righteous deviants – those engaging the ubiquitous principle of rule and follow through thwarting exhibit of catcalls, fist fights, bloodletting and calumny. Still, for reasons unbeknownst to others but themselves, some prefer the nightmarish but highly profitable vestment that is war to treat, lastingly and unsparingly, the dastardly infections that inspire open apathy towards the motherland.

Coming to this comparative scaling is to arrive at the case of the gargoyle and the deep blue sea: a distressing resolve of total resignation. And it would please me, only if it were possible to avoid the stereotype of an inveterate pessimist whom all things must eventually fall apart, to approach the irony of the matter from a neutral standpoint – that of history – avoiding the enticement of making a case for it.

An attempt to examine the past five decades in Nigeria almost, immediately, proposes that the worst is yet to come, as there is an observable structure of steady but geometrically progressive decline: from grass to rags. Even the observable chaos has had its swell in gifting an international texture to the regression. How many times has the moral fibre of the country been garrotted by the reprehensible associations of its diaspora or the rude implications of its intrinsic struggles or has its destination as a body of faithful aspirations been queried by the agitations of its restive populace? How many times has the habitual nonchalance of its leaders been brought to the beggar floor of justice, whence it has found grace and tribute? All of which has made a midget of the supposed giant [of Africa]. It is not for want of space that ample references cannot be made in support, such as the case of India’s Prime Minister calling for the repatriation of its Nigerian tourists and the total blockage of intending ones, but that would be drifting far too wide from the set purpose.

In furtherance of the foregoing, problematising the case of Nigeria as inherently rotten is justifiable in certain, if not all, viewpoints. And as with all intrinsically mouldy offerings, it is best hurled into flames, or squashed completely for another to be allowed growth (bolstering certain loose areas and shoring up other parts as remedies is a bad call of judgement). This is the stance of many. Kill the hydra by severing its head. But how did that turn out in history? Certainly Nigeria is not the only country to require revolution for a return to grace.

The Russia Revolution, 1917, that displaced the monarchical Tsars and installed the Bolsheviks late October was the climax of several intersecting plots. A series of severing the heads in terms of quick-fix ineffectual revolutions led to the total annihilation of the controlling bourgeoisie: The 1905 workers insurrection that eventually capitulated to the police of the state; the February revolution that vanquished the Romanov Dynasty and installed the Provisional Government, and later the armed insurrection of the revolutionary socialists that created the world’s first Communist State. Eventually, after the beheadings, late night murders, bloodletting, policing and transitory respite that follow such ordeal, what was the trophy? Joseph Stalin.

Another equally significant reference, although somewhat, but not entirely, dissimilar would be the 1920 and ’21 widespread labour strikes, riots, peasant occupations and revolts that eventually gave impetus to the installation of Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister. Like the aforementioned example, the intent barely compound, having the single and wrongly harnessed desire to be free of the burden of lower class servitude and extermination of their enslavers proved counter-effective in the long run.

The French Revolution – At its core, the revolution was devoted to liberty (same as always). The flagrant disinterest of Louis XVI in matters of ruling; the appalling incapacity of his father, Louis XV, and the unpopularity and the costly preferences of his wife, Marie Antoinette, draining  state treasury led to the discredit of the Monarchy, which eventually peaked into its removal, August 10, 1799. The revolution brought about a series of new governmental initiatives and types which hardly lasted for four years. Although the revolution had few of its advantages, as for economic development, the Revolution probably hurt more than it helped. In the long term, the liberation of the economy from royal controls, the standardization of weights and measures, and the development of a uniform civil law code helped pave the way for the Industrial Revolution. But the disruptive effects of war on the French economy offset the positive effects of these changes. In terms of total output, the economy was probably set back a generation. And for all the unfortunate decisions, what did the French have as compensation? Napoleon Bonaparte.

I reserved the French Revolution for last, because of the historic criticisms against it as derisible and dismissible. Apart from the dastard results of Napoleon’s rise, and eventual defeat, the Monarch was restored in 1815. You would then ask, as did I, of what use?

Isn’t it foolhardy to assert oneself in a war of repudiation? A war to regenerate, to be blindly opposing, only to fall prey or bring to existence, as consequence, the practice one has set to expose? Perhaps the reason why those revolutions failed, in effect, to maintain the tempo of respite created, returning quite disgracefully to the cesspit which it had forcefully dismantled through paraphernalia of brute force and inciting ideals, owes chiefly to the unavailability of a long-term carefully constructed plan. The people had the impetus, but lacked definite schematics whence post-revolutionary victory could attain and retain lasting productivity, across all levels. They were almost like irked boys exercising wantonly discontent.

Possibly this is the ordeal that Nigeria is to face if its gives in to such recklessness; perhaps not, but insofar its people are aggressively disposed towards resuscitating the country from its ruinous slumber, without a concise and instructive procedure towards reformation, an end much similar to its historical predecessors is imminent, whereby the Antithesis becomes the Thesis through synthesis.

To conclude that inherent decay is irreparable is to follow a procedure that invokes needless arguments and lengthy discussions albeit, I fear that should be the case with Nigeria. Still, if revolution were to be our fate, whereby we are to lose the persons we have come to be under pressure and forced contentment, then we can only hope its flag-bearers have more than embittered discontent and old grudges to guide us through, and after.

Like the Yorubas would say, “Orisha bo le gbami fi n le bo se ba.” which roughly translates: if ye god can save me not, allow me my fate (than compound matters).








Dami Lare

Dami Lare is a radical thinker who writes like his life depends on it. Some of his works have been featured in several  anthologies  and publications such as Lunaris Review, Commonline Journal, Ironology and his blog Undyrated’s Blog.


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