ON REVOLUTION AND THE ATTAINMENT OF A PERFECT NIGERIA 



Ime Jacobs – Nextreporter

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable”.
…J F Kennedy…

Given the current trending and scheming of things, the word “Revolution” has become a buzz word on the lips of every Nigerian. This is not unconnected with the political and leadership motivated subjugation, injustice, servitude, orgiastic squandering of resources and expropriation  meted against Nigerians by Nigerian leaders. 

In the heart of hearts of every Nigerian, all that is brooding is a revolution, but all that is counting is a bereft of the wherewithal and the strategy. This informs my decision for sensitisation.

Before then, we must understand what revolution is and why it is needful at a point in time, especially in time like this. We will tilt much more to the Marxist model of revolution.   

Revolution, in the first place, is fundamentally political in character, concerned with the calculated overthrow of some existing  political order, using as much force and terror or strategy as deemed necessary to effect radical change in man’s moral, political, economic, social and intellectual community.

It should be known that there have been revolts, uprising and insurrections of one kind or another since the beginning of human history. Since the beginning of time, from the Jacobins to the Marxism, revolution has always been infrastructural to effecting change in human society and thus remains unavoidable in human community.  Revolution is inevitable, whether it tarries or not, it must come!

 Revolution in Nigeria is quite possible and tenable. And when all the parameters necessary to evolve such are harnessed, Nigeria will effortlessly move from the backwaters and attain a Golden Age in a very minimal time frame.

 But whenever the word “revolution” is mentioned, it raises dust of myriads of contentions and contempt: it sounds like a taboo, forbidden foul language. Nigerians, especially those bureaucrats who are conscientiously guilty of the troubles in this country,  will spew it forth with contempt – a mere calculated strategy to cloak them in perpetuating human rights violations, suffering and pains on the general masses.

One precluding factor to revolutionising Nigeria is our fearful and fretful ideology. If i should put it in a jocular parlance, “We don’t have the  mind”.  This is so because we have erroneously  walked in the footsteps of our forebears, who did not appreciate change. And our forebears had lived in an era when change was not appreciated – it was an era where inhumanization, indolence, subjugation and social anomalies were ignorantly appreciated. 

 But is it not worthy of anger that the situation to which Nigerians have been subjected by the the leaders and ” Big men” since the dawn of history, has been deplorable? Or shall we continue to live in a depersonalized situation? 

If our forebears had been complacent, allowing fellow humans to subjugate, expropriate and dehumanize them (as obtained on the pages of history), we should not toe the same line! We are a vibrant generation, housed in a right frame of mind. This informs the need to strive for immediate overthrow of what is bent on denigrating us.

 It is overt and the question should be bordered on why we should continue to be disinherited, dependent and wallow in a hysteric sense of group underachievement, non-fulfillment, and has equivocally remained painful and unacceptable, deep inside our hearts? 

The truth never told is that inactions linger to confront succeeding younger generations.

Though it is characteristics of every revolutionary venture, whether bloodless or bloody for opposing forces to emerge. But our strength should hinge on the surety that it is not every agent that will play the antagonist  – some will be supportive to the move for certain reasons and vested interests. Whatever the case, the resolution of the Protagonist sect against the antagonist sect, is the key determinant to success. 

This goes without saying that, before there can be any strife for change, there must be a strong resolution to strife. For instance, the first Black Revolution in America, which was incited by the subjection to painful and intolerable condition, both physical and mental, saw the light of the day for two reasons – self-will and strong resolution to fight. 

In the same vein, Nigerians should be provoked by the bare fact that their situation, their living standard and ecological community are hellish, scrambled and unfavorable and needs an overthrow! Nigerians  should know that the situation in which they find themselves are incited by some indices which are not beyond their capacity to overthrow! There is an abundant evidence to show that Nigerians had submitted to the superior forces of their leaders and political juggernauts and continue to live in their nature-bequeathed land as slaves, even when they (Nigerians) never accepted themselves as slaves in their heart of hearts and spirits.

 Therefore, individuals should make their personal resolution to overthrow and submerge the indices and forces which incite these situations; groups should make their concerted resolutions, firmly and doggedly, to risk their lives and revolt against the system which brutalize and dehumanize them. 

As a caveat: we live in a clime where change is inevitable. Any delay to embrace change will tantamount to degeneration. Thus, failure in embracing change both socially, politically, culturally, educationally and scientifically will degenerate Nigeria and leach it into extinction. 

Before 2040 AD, except change on a revolutionary scale, is embraced, Nigerians will watch, in a broad daylight, their nationhood toppled by the winds of extinction!

THE MODEL 

It will be worthwhile to apply the principle of revolution, as harnessed in Marxist Principle of social change. Thus, in the philosophy of Dialectical Materialism which gives definition to the model of the process of change both in the society and in the world of nature, the underlying principle is that:

 A given situation (the thesis) generates Opposing forces (the antithesis) that ultimately breaks up the original situation and produces a new one (the synthesis); the synthesis then becomes the thesis for the next stage of development, hence the attainment of revolution/change. 

This principle will therefore be applied on the basic fabric of Nigerian society  to bloodlessly overthrow the prevalent unfavorable social situation that injects the backward sickness. 

Therefore, the current unfavorable socio-political, socio-cultural and trado-religious stance will be our thesis. The emergent counter-attitudinal disposition towards modernism will become the antithesis. Hence an ideological conflict would emerge as a prelude towards a new ideology – the synthesis. The emergence of this synthesis will be characterized as a modern, “New Nigeria” or “Naija-utopianism”, a term which connotes ” A perfect, paradise-going Nigeria. 

In order to illuminate and buttress my positions, and if Nigeria must succeed in their revolutionary match, the First black revolution will suffice as a template to emulate. How did it happens?

 African slaves in America and their descendants submitted only to the superior force of their holders in continuing to live around and continuing to do their assigned labor as slaves, but they never accepted the enslavement in their minds and spirit but always look themselves internally as free and equal human beings. If, and whenever they felt that the balance of physical powers was or could be turned to their favour, they never hesitated to strike a blow for their freedom and equality”. This is what Nigerians should note!

From the early 18th century, when their (blacks) population in various slaves States increased sufficiently for them to develop a sense of community, down to the end of the 20th century, the history of African-Americans has been one of outright rejection of slavery as a tolerable or reasonable human condition. 

In a way, this is what Nigerians should also note– a total rejection of the shabby and scrappy pattern of life as a tolerable condition. This will ensue freedom and racial equality in social, political, and economic dimensions across the country.

The response of the Negro had always been a continuous struggle both by individuals and by groups to bring about the abolition of slavery. This was a strong resolution for change. In that case, slaves learnt to give their masters as little labor and productivity as they safely could and they broke tools and felt no qualms about stealing from their Masters, their exploiters. Not that Nigerians are lacking in such resolution to change, but the spirit of complacency has had a strong grip on us.

lesson to be learnt here is that the general masses should withdraw their loyalty and bloodlessly revolt against such system. This will be achieved through concerted efforts of certain citadels and institutions such as Civil Right Organisation, Human Right Organisation and a general crusade for change.

 in 1739, they began to rebel with fire arms. Twenty slaves in the Stono plantation near Charleston, South Carolina, stole guns from a store and marched to the Spanish Florida border, raiding plantations, freeing slaves and killing their White owners. Although they were overcome by the better-armed South Carolina militia and were massacred, it was a significant move in the long walk to freedom. In a barbaric action, the civilized militia beheaded them and lined the road with their heads as a warning to potential revolt planners.

after this failed conspiracy, there was a very bloody and successful slave revolt led by one Nath Turner in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. Turner, a slave who had managed to read and write, (as opposed to the laws which forbade any one to teach slaves how to read and write) was a Baptist Lay-preacher who saw himself as an instrument of God for the liberation of Black slaves. He and sixty other slaves, armed with pickaxes and swords, killed 55 White men, women and children. The rebellion was put down by U.S. soldiers and rebels were killed. Turner who escaped was captured, tried and prosecuted. White Virginians killed up to 120 innocent Black victims in retaliation. This was the bloodiest and most outstanding African–American revolt against slavery.    

It should be seen here that, one nduring characteristic of the Negro’s revolution against slavery and racial inequality was terror and bloodiness; that was so because the thesis demanded such antithetical approach. In Nigeria’s case, we need not fight for now, rather a bloodless crusade should be potent enough to upset the racial imbalance to the advantage of the Blacks, except the superstructure will blockade our peaceful disposition, the the words of JF Kenedy will come to play!

In 1852, a certain John Brown in Virginia State incited and raided an attack by abolitionists on Harpers Ferry1.  It failed. And he was hanged for treason. His body was consigned to molder in the grave 2 while his soul kept marching on in the chorus of his fellow slaves and of Black people worldwide. 

His hanging heightened the dissensions over slavery which was a big factor in the civil war that soon started. 

Apart from organized rebellions, African-Americans continued to escape from slavery to freedom in non-slave States in various ways. The most historically significant escape was that of Frederick Douglas who in 1838 escaped to begin a great career as an abolitionist, writer and lecturer. This highly talented and fearless man became one of the earliest African-American leaders and heroes whose careers spanned the 19th and 20th century. 

African-American, in their struggle against slavery and racial discrimination had indeed been blessed with a greater number of strong and selfless leaders than most other struggling people in human history.

RELIGIOUS FLAVOUR OF THE REVOLUTION

 Another peculiar characteristic of their struggle for change was its religious flavour, and this must be noted by Nigerians, whom Western gimmicks, garbed in the name of religion (as will be analyzed sooner) have brainwashed from fighting for a better Nigeria. 

Most religious pundits in 1789 helped to establish the modern anti-slavery movement, such as Rev. Richard Allen who established the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in 1790 as a spiritual rallying institution for African–American, which imbued them with faith in God and strengthened their cry for freedom. They were also assured of their spiritual freedom and the inevitability of their successes. As one escaped slave, Charles Ball, emphatically said,

“African –American religion must emphasize liberation and the coming Day of Judgment and must present the idea of a revolution with the conditions of the whites and the blacks as the cornerstone of the religions of the later. But the contrary is the case today in Africa and Nigeria in particular, even Akwa Ibom State, as churches and Mosques (religion) are aloof to the backward predicament of Nigerians. They dismiss social course, falsely and ignorantly as earthly and carnal and not deserving of attention (emphasis is mine). 

My opinion and I am convinced that I am right, is that the various religious bodies, both traditional and non-traditional, should be a partakers in the struggle and the war for the liberation and restitution of Nigeria. I see no sin in that!

 From the days of old, the struggle for the liberation of the downtrodden children of God has always been vested on the shoulders of religious pundits. Moses did it: it was not counted for him a sin. Joshua did it: it was not counted for him a sin. If we do it, it is not a sin! 

In that same vein, I toe the line of Nnanna Ukeagbu, as he cried that:

“Even though the omens are so good, no one can take it for granted that His Holiness, Pop John Paul II, and the Papacy can be persuaded to take up the patronship of this mission and do for the social and economic revolution in the black world and among the indigenous Americans and Australians, what their “catholic majesties” of Spain, king Ferdinand of Castile and Queen Isabella of Leon did for the discovery of the New World, 510 years ago”.

This follows that we can cry to God with all humility to pour down this inspiration as has always happened in the past so that Christian churches’ leaders, might recognize, as demonstrated by their founding Lords, that the spiritual ministry of “Fish and Bread” cannot be separated from the ministry of bread and fish {as done by Christ for the hungry} or the social and economic ministry for the hungry”. Emphasis is mine.

According to Ukaegbu, the ministry of bread and fish follows that Christ did not only preoccupy his ministry with the things of the kingdom, but also with the socioeconomic welfare of the downtrodden, thus he fed twelve thousand hungry with fish and bread. 

As an institutionary agent of socialization, churches are not to be aloof to the fates of the Nigerians but help give them direction.

With this, I have helped spelt out the role of religion in pushing Nigeria forward!
 
However, another characteristic of their revolutionary approach that made it viable and tenable was its pervasive and permeable nature. Every person, man and woman, young and old, did one thing – they believed and acted towards change, making it their article of faith. Nigerians can do the same! 

Beside the great influence of the churches, schools and other social institutions, created by African-Americans, had powerful messages published by powerful and fearless writers as pamphlets and newspapers. Consequently, the anti-slavery movement in America received a great boost and changed dramatically between 1829 and 1831, when a freed black Boston Merchant, David Walker, published his pamphlet, An Appeal in Four Articles, in which he called for a violent overthrow of slavery, claiming that “Because of slavery, African-Americans were the most wretched and degraded set of beings that ever lived”. “Had you not rather been killed than be a slave to a tyrant who takes the life of your mother, wife and dear little children?” He asked. As it is a similar case in Nigeria, that should be our focus! We should spew the undoing spirit of complacency, We should fight out these political monsters! 

The appeal was, then,  read up and down the Atlantic sea board as Black sailors sewed it into their uniforms and spread it in through North and South. It helped African-Americans unite in a strong movement for the abolition of slavery. That was a sheer spirit of comradeship, and such we shall imbibe in this course for bloodless change. 

IN THE FACE OF ANTAGONISM, WHAT DID THEY DO?

As earlier advanced by this article,  there is no revolutionary venture, whether bloody or bloodless, that does not attract antagonistic force(s) to submerge the protagonist appeals and ideals. The Blacks in America were in the same fate with indigenous Blacks in Africa (wandering savage), at a point in their course. But they (Black Americans), with resolution and determination, surpassed the opposing forces. Their tactics and approaches may be of a lesson to Nigerians.

 After 1877, White Southerners struck back at the Blacks in the South. They used every weapon they could muster to kill the Civil Rights which the black people had won, following the civil war and emancipation proclamation of 1863 and the support of the Union during the civil war. They enacted “Jim Crow” laws and created white terrorist and organizations, especially the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to keep the ex-slaves subdued and away from the ballot boxes.

 But their actions provoked the Blacks. In reaction to that, they (the Blacks) built thousands of schools and colleges to satisfy the Blacks’ hunger for education and information (a strategy the Blacks adopted as élan vita to enlightenment so as to effectively revolt against the Whites), for it was illegal in the South to teach the Blacks how to read and write. Thus, this was how the blacks were able to train the civil right leaders of the 20th century.

Those trained in schools, attained education functionally and have been proven as the greatest black leaders and heroes. Since the dawn of the 20th century, these leaders have been determined to do everything possible to bring about racial equality in America, in politics and socio-economic conditions. 

Another characteristic that consolidated their effort and inspired effective result was their resolve and singularity of purpose: that the United State is their land of birth, a land which the black slaves’ labor had developed, and a land for whose corporate unity they fought so gallantly. As they saw it, they had nowhere else to go but to put down their feet in the United States and fight as hard as it would take for the attainment of racial equality. But the opposite would be the case in Nigeria. If it were in Nigeria, they would have had diversity and plurality of purpose!

Their bond of unity then incited them to form guilds and Associations to achieve liberation. In 1909, a Civil Right Leader, Web Dubious formed and established the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to end the suppression of the Blacks. Some African-Americans did not hesitate, apart from the formation of various Associations, to appeal to and affiliate with anything and everything. Hence they adopted the Islamic religion as a means of advancing the cause of Black Nationalism in America, unlike in Nigeria where the Islamic Sect sees the Christian sect as Bette noire, and vice versa. 

Thus, Hon. Wallace D. Fard founded the Nation of Islam in Detroit in 1929. After a long period of slow growth, it experienced rebirth when Elijah Poole who renamed himself Elijah Muhammad, took control in 1950 and moved to Chicago. Other Black Muslim leaders like the great orator, Malcolm X who was assassinated in 1965 and its present leader, Louis Farrakhan, were considered extremists by some black Civil Right Leaders. These leaders made a significant impact on the liberation of Blacks in America. 

Apart from the post World War I Organizations by the African-American Leadership already mentioned, the aftermath of the 2nd World War brought an explosion of organizations and actions, beginning from the 1950s to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis in 1968. The famous 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott triggered by Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat to a Whiteman in a segregated bus, brought Martin Luther King Jnr. to national prominence and led to the establishment of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to fight for Civil Right. 

Interestingly, in 1960, four students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (including the now famous Jesse Jackson) launched the non-violent but revolutionary sit-in movement. They sat tight and asked to be served at a Woolworth whites-only lunch counter. This method of non-violent protest led to the formation of Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) which wanted to achieve faster results in the Civil Rights Struggle. 

In the end, the United States Congress passed the Civil Right Act after a famous or notorious 75-day filibuster in 1964, outlawing racial discrimination at public facilities, in employment and in education, but the right to vote guaranteed by the 15th Amendment was denied the Blacks by numerous obstacles erected by the State Laws. Thence, they embarked on a voting agitation by Civil Rights Organizations which led to the passing of President Johnson’s Voting Right Act in 1965. 

This was the high watermark in the Afro-American struggle for racial and political liberation. 

This elongated synopsis of the struggles and achievements of the Blacks in America is to buttress the point that with firm resolution, mass mobilization and adequate organization, the blacks at home (Nigerians) can reach whatever goals we consider necessary to attain an utopian society and catch up with the other races in technology, politics, science, economy and social cum intellectual development. 

This would prove that God did not create us as  slaves or peons to our leaders. If the Blacks in America could do that then, the blacks in Africa can do this now!

MY PROPOSAL

Instead of the bloody kind of revolution, we can revolt bloodlessly. How shall we do that? Drop your opinion

Push by Abasiubong Tom 

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