In studying the ‘Philosophy of Change’ one is constantly in an endless labyrinth of space and time in the meta-physical and physical sense. In other words you cannot predict the extent and duration of a ‘planned revolution’ through a thought process or in reality.
So when Mohammed Bouazizi returned home with humiliation after the Tunisian Police had manhandled him, seized his cart of groceries together with his dignity as a human being; no one knew that his later decision to set himself ablaze in the public square in his town would lead to the sack of a 23 years old dictator, far away in the country’s capital and also send panic waves all over the Arab world. For Bouazizi was a graduate who was un-employed like millions all over the region and he had opted for fruit selling to survive amidst the tons of petro dollars only cornered by the few elites. Poverty in the Arab Nations nowadays knows no limit and even at that, the level of the impoverished educated and skilled poor compared to 30 years ago is very high. Worst still, there is a huge disconnect between the youths born between 1980 and 1990 from most of the leaders who had been in Government for decades. With no ‘renewal’ of bond between the leaders and the people through democratic processes; and economic hardships telling on the vast majority, the Bouazizi episode was bound to happen. No one saw it coming, not even the West who kept a lid on the region through dictators who would do their biddings by using iron grip to tie down opposition and any form dissent. The chant of democracy that characterises the lips of the Western diplomats all over the globe for areas practicing anything perceived lesser does not apply to the form of government being run in the Middle East. There, it is anything but democracy. This is because the West cannot afford to open up the contest for a prototype of the democratic processes that happens elsewhere in the world to the Middle East largely due to the fear of a popular Islamist Party taking over. They made that mistake in Algeria in 1991, where close 200,000 people died after an election that indicated that a popular Islamic Fundamentalist Party called Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) were on the verge of over-running the Country on a landslide. The West (especially France) used the Algerian Military to annul the Elections in 1991 thereby leading to a civil war between 1991and 1994. Similarly in Palestine, a general election in 2006 was swept by Hamas (whom America and Israel had labelled a terrorist Movement). 73 of the 132 legislative seats in Parliament were won by a Hamas Party who were and (still is) at war with Israel as against 43 by the much moderate Party, Fatah. Tunisia was a beacon of the arch-typical Arab State preferred by the West under the ousted President Ali- Zine Abidine. Yet the thin line between that perceived stability and chaos was eroded right under the radar of the Tunisian Government and its Western allies. France its colonial master denied the sacked President entry mainly because they were wary of a possible uprising of the hundreds of thousands of Tunisian dissidents living in France. Secondly, a possible solidarity protest against the state of France by other Arabs living in the country is a scary prospect for the French. The ‘evicted’ President found solace in Saudi Arabia where a certain Ugandan dictator Idi Amin nested after also being sacked from office in the 70’s. Even at this, the French security apparatuses have been preventing the Tunisians amongst their midst from attacking the Saudi Embassy in Paris. Nigerians may want to draw similarities of this situation to that of the Late President of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’adua who also by this time last year was also cocooned in a Saudi hospital for more than 90 days; while leaving his Country in a near state of precipice.
There is a huge lesson here for both the leaders and the led in Nigeria. Generally, we tend to believe Nigeria or Nigerians cannot go through a revolution like that of Tunisia. We are seen as cowards because we are people who love life dearly or that we are a very ‘religious set of people’ whose clergy leaders told to do peace and love amongst us all the time. Well so thought the last Tunisian Government and the imperious leaders of the past in all the places where people sacked governments. The people were seen to be weak, disorganized and lack the coordination or even any resources to feed themselves talkless of facing the mighty ammunitions of the State. And like of Tunisia and of old, Nigerian ‘leaders’ parade themselves in the same autocratic and buccaneering manner. They corner and plunder state wealth for their own selfish reasons whilst the majority of Nigerians live in squalors, hungry and almost condemned. They lack the vision to perceive, ruminate and the faculty to sense that they are in the minority and can easily be consumed. It doesn’t take long for that to happen... when it happens! They create a great divide of inequalities and poverty amongst the larger majority of the people who have been grouped together under one big capital word DEPRIVATION. The deprived Nigerian is not tribalistic, nepotistic or a religious bigot. He is rather hungry, roofless, unemployed and he is ticking away like Bouazizi.
Even worse, is the huge disconnection just like that of Tunisia. The Nigerian Youth nowadays is fed-up with the status quo. Like what happened in Tunisia, the Nigerian youths can orchestrate a revolution, since they are not occupied through gainful employments. Of course, they have the wherewithal of coordination through the ‘blackberrys, twitters and facebooks’. In the sphere that the old breed political looters and their conniving Western allies could not comprehend or control sits a disaster waiting to happen on these people and their families. As at the time of writing, 78 family members of the ousted President of Tunisia have been arrested at the Airport on their way out of the country. The Tunisian revolution was a youthful one mostly perpetuated by people who were born about the time when the former President came to power. There are millions of these generations of people across the length and breadth of the World and most importantly in this context, Nigeria.
Some of these set of people have deviated to crimes, which soared with kidnappings and terrorism with the recent bomb spates in the Country. They are hungrier than their counter-parts in Tunisia and therefore much more lethal in their large quantities.
I shall like to finish this piece by referring to an aspect of Human Geography called Settlement Geography. With it, I will seek to explain the manner by which the opulent in Nigeria are surrounded by the very hungry and very poor people they helped made in our major cities. Nearly every rich estate or area in Nigeria, almost by default forms the nucleus of surrounding slums. The population of these slums outnumbers that of the estates; therefore there are more disgruntled Nigerians who await that spark which will push them to consume the rich amongst them. In the major cities like Abuja, the very poor of the city who sees the rich Politicians every day in the ‘carved out’ central areas reside limitlessly in areas like Maraba, Nyanyan, Lugbe, Kubwa, Masaka and Gwagwalada. Observe the capital towns and cities within every State in Nigeria. You will see that they are surrounded by satellite towns much poorer in status than the state capital. There resides majority of the DEPRIVED people of that State. Some Governors are even so stupid to an extent that they are not even developing the Capital cities of their States. They only build their mansions or the estates where their mansions are. Unknown to them, they have brought closer the slums, that will conflagrate them if the time comes.
These people are much more in size comparatively and very angry. They are honestly just waiting. After all it did not take much for a few dis-satisfied Niger-Delta ‘militants’ to barricade off Abuja sometime last year. The temporal and spatial factors of Nigeria’s own revolution are still playing out gradually under the radar of ‘their lordships’. And unless a massive pro-people agenda is rolled out in massive amounts, it will tick off and Lord knows to which extent and dimension it will take. Don’t just under-estimate people, especially ones with empty stomachs.