Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Enough chronicles and tales have already been written on the amazing role that the social media played in bringing about the watershed that was the Arab spring. In those months of revolutions in the Arab world, conventions were defied, technology attained a new status and an intriguing precedent was set. Occupy wall street became the theme in the United States, shortly after, and just when many thought that the Nigerian mind was too backward and nasty to accomodate this wind of change, Occupy Nigeria was the answer. It will merely be emphazing the obvious to unequivocally say that we are in a century where secrets have learnt to go viral and indeed, the globe has become a spying camera in itself. The fuel subsidy removal impasse that threw the country into a quagmire underlined the fact that Nigerians have fully grasped the magic of the social media. Rallies and protests were conceived on the pages of Blackberry messenger, twitter, youtube and facebook. The awakening was unbelievable. Mobile phones attained a new meaning in the hands of Nigerians. Messages moved at a speed of light. Images and videos were exchanged at a scary pace. It truly won't be an exaggeration to say that the social media played a pivotal role in the success (or partial success if you like) of the first phase of the Occupy Nigeria movement. However, it does not require a strech of the imagination to see that this change has only just begun. Make no mistake about it, even the illetrates and not so enlightened have all been part of this awakening. For president Goodluck Jonathan, he has to live with the burden that technological innovations has brought. These innovations have ensured that the fancy walls of Aso rock is now transperent. Not only does the walls have ears these days, they also have eyes. The struggle for the attainment of the Nigerian dream did not elapse with the suspension of the nation-wide strike. It only entered a new phase, and with the world churning out novel innovations daily, the social media will continue to play an integral part in this fight to liberate the present and salvage posterity.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
At times, fate has a way of presenting you with chances to etch your name in gold. However, not too many grab the subtle and rare chance. The fairytale story of the political sojourn of Goodluck Jonathan is one that does not require a rehash. Some version of the story has it that his stroke of luck began while he was in secondary school, where he succeeded in disposing the head boy. Which ever version you choose to believe, it cannot be gainsayed that Goodluck Jonathan rode his luck to become the president, at least at this time. The recent fuel subsidy removal imbriglio could well have soiled a reputation that was firmly built on luck and sentiments. Hitherto this recent brouhaha, Jonathan was perceived as a form of 'fresh air', a break away from the old, and a beginning of a new dawn. But, the recent impasse with the majority of the citizenry has dainted that image. While some might have seen Jonathan's removal of subsidy as a form of brevity, the truth remains that turning a deaf ear to the electorate that gave you your mandate, is an obvious display of insensitivity and dictatorial tendencies. It is heartbreaking that Goodluck Jonathan couldn't seize the opportunity that history doled out to him. He had a platform to put Nigeria back on the right track, but he blew it. He allowed the fear of his godfathers, the cabals and the callously corrupt kingmakers around him, to becloud his sense of judgement. This might yet be early days for the Jonathan presidency, but the signs of failures are already glaring. The terror of Boko Haram still thrives, our universities have been under lock and key, unemployment continues to skyrocket, steady power supply appears to be a distant dream, insecurity remains a national plague and sheer corruption continues to be the order of the day. It is true that Jonathan did not get us to this mess, but at least, he could have helped in salvaging it. Instead, he choose to compound our woes. This was a man who claimed not to have shoes, who got into power as a result of public outcry, but as it's always the case with most politicians in Nigeria, Jonathan has a short memory. He has a cabinet that is largely mediocre and dominated by same old faces, and herein lies the problem. Indeed, it is not Nigerians fault that they cannot trust their leaders, afterall, trust is to be earned not solicited for. It took the will of Fidel Castro to Liberate Cuba in the 20th century. It took the doggedness of Jerry Rawlings to get Ghana to it's promised land. And now, Jonathan has thrown reason to the air, and made himself a pun in the hands of some few. Regardless of what the current turmoil snowballs into, one thing is certain, Goodluck Jonathan will never get a second chance to recreate the first impression he has manifested.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Afam was wounded by the obvious pain in the eyes of his children. He cursed the day their mother decided to attend that church service. It was to be her last service, at least in the human flesh, as the Boko Haram mayhem claimed her fledgling body. Afam could see the trauma in his four kids. Their tears freely flowed. Their hearts panted in anguish and their bodies had the frame of mourners. He couldn't stand the tormenting sight any more. He left the sitting room to the verenda, hoping that the soothing breeze of the night will ease his plethora of sorrows. Afam helped his body into a chair. He tilted his head in a way that exudes frustation. He gazed at the stars with an angry smile, that made the stars quiver. Then, his thoughts ran the show. 'My country has really been unfair to me', he muttered. He remembered how he gruesomely lost his parent to one of the many Jos crises. He recollected how he was cruelly dismissed from the civil service for refusing to engage in a corrupt deal. Now, his wife was the latest casuality and misery that his country has bestowed upon him. He wanted to cry, but his tears were tired of flowing. They wanted a rest. Afam slept at the veranda that night, and it was the mosquitoes who had the last laugh that night. The next day was new year's day. Afam's household was still shroudded in their agony. Mirth had never been his forté, for life's strokes had taught him enough. It was a dark new year's day as PHCN held their power. Afam simply turned on his transistor radio, the only inheritance that his father had bequeathed to him. No sooner has he successfully tuned to his favourite radio station, that he heard the breaking news. 'FG HAS REMOVED SUBSIDY ON PETROL'. He first thought it was his ears that played pranks on him. But, as he listened again, he knew it was true. 'No', he said with a tone that had anger written all over it. 'I won't accept this', he mumbled as if the battle was a personal one. The next day, Afam was in the forefront of the peaceful protest in his hometown. His voice was broken out of constant shoutings and chantings, yet, it was still the loudest in the crowd. And then, the worst happened. Fire was opened on him by security operatives. As he laid in the pool of his blood, he gazed to the stars again. 'At least, now I will rest. If Mouhamed Bouazizi can do it for Tunisia, why can't I do it for Nigeria', were his last words. His eyes began to gloriously shut themselves, his hands dropped with a swiftness that could only mean one thing, Afam was dead!
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Who saw this coming? Shocking does not aptly gague the feelings of countless Nigerians at the moment. What was initially percieved as a hoax and an unthinkable dream by the powers that be, has hit us all like an hurricane. Subsidy on petroleum has finally been removed, and the petrification of purchasing a litre of fuel for 150 naira, has been validated into reality. Just when we were ushering in a 2012, that in all truism, looks bleak for our political future, the Fresh air presidency has pulled out a shocker like a bolt from the blue. Befuddled and cruel, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has finally incited a citizenry that was already pushed to the wall. It decries reason to unequivocally say that the Federal Government promised to continue nation wide consultation over the fuel subsidy saga, but like the cynics feared, this was not a government to be trusted. History for the umpteenth time, vindicates itself. Aso rock is not a name to be associated with honesty, and to think that this declaration came at a time when the fear of Boko Haram thrived in our shores! It is foolhardy for Jonathan and his team of 'fresh air advocates', to expect that the populace will accept this charade with passivity. He has simply pierced Nigerians where it hurts and must be ready for the rage that comes with such action. He has surely started a song, his dancing cannot evade, a music that could well be his last!