21 YEARS OF DEMOCRACY, DO ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’ IN NIGERIA?
Isn’t it phenomenal how Nigerians personalize issues happening elsewhere other than those in their very own country, Nigeria? Note that I am in no way giving a thumbs up to the death of George Floyd Jr.; As a matter of fact, what happened to him is evil and just as De critic wrote, Racism, an undying die-hard should be curbed and stop being downplayed.
Just like every other year, Nigeria has just commemorated another democracy day, and our dearest president tweets, and I quote “Fellow Nigerians, The 2020 celebration of Democracy day marks 21 years of uninterrupted civil administration in our dear country. This day provides us an opportunity to reflect on our journey as a nation, our achievements and struggles.”
It is shocking how no meaningful statement or sentiment is shared by Nigerians over their ‘Democracy day’. Why would they? They know it’s all cheap talks. Many more are even yet to understand the reason for the celebration.
May 29, was initially the official democracy day in Nigeria, marking when the newly elected president, Olusegun Obasanjo, took office as the President of Nigeria in 1999, ending multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966 and had been interrupted only by a brief period of democracy from 1979 to 1983. On June 6, 2018, eight days after Democracy day was celebrated, President Buhari declared June 12 to be the new Democracy day. This was done to commemorate the democratic election of MKO Abiola on June 12, 1993, in what has been adjudged to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. It was, however, canceled by the Ibrahim Babangida military junta. MKO Abiola was later detained after he declared himself the president.
This is not a history class, I find them boring anyway, but I would like to point something out. Instead of saying ‘Nigeria’s Democracy day is a day that we commemorate the restoration of democracy,’ I think it should be ‘audio democracy.’ Let’s be truthful to ourselves. Democracy is tagged ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’, but we all know that it is not entirely true in Nigeria. We somehow lost our way on the journey from the sullen era of dictatorship to our dream era of democracy. To make it worse, our moral compass and map of human conscience seems to be lost in existence.
Black Lives matter, black lives matter, of course it matters! But doesn’t this include Nigerians as well? Haven’t the masses suffered enough in the hands of these political juggernauts? Stealing and misappropriating the nations’ resources and diverting funds. Growing up as a child, I watched politicians visit our churches, streets, and market places for campaigns every four years, and most importantly, I pick out the part where they always say “I will give you 24/7 electricity” That is completely retro now. I’m sure no political aspirant has such gibberish in his/her manifesto anymore. Last week, Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) gave us power for a whole day, everyone was surprised. I decided to prepare a pot of soup and stew and refrigerate. People of God, everything I had inside my fridge soured. Welcome to Nigeria. Never put your eggs in a basket and hand it over to PHCN.
Black Lives matter, yet the police stops your vehicle on the road and demand for N50, in which failure to comply could earn you a visit to the police station. Black lives matter, yet the police kill innocent citizens continuously and after few hours of ranting on social media, and tweeting ‘Justice for Okechukwu,’ the matter fades away like it was never there. We cry foul when an office is given to a white man just because he is white but what of here in Nigeria where a qualified national is not given an office because he is an unqualified relation? How about when a supposed political godfather rigs a political post in favor of his unworthy political godson? Tell me what happens when an average Nigerian citizen sues a politician or upper-class citizen.
That widow that has a shop at the junction, with five children whom she struggles to feed just got her shop demolished by the government and was given no compensation.
Since God created us Nigerians to suffer and smile and tweet away our sorrows, we will.
Not to forget, ‘black lives matter’. Las las we go dey alright.