Sunday, 5 February 2017
The Reason for the cancelled Tuface's planned protest.
My parents are civil servants so they have had the opportunity to embark on many solidarity protests when there is a delay in salaries or bad working conditions. The 5 years old me would always mistake the solidarity song as ' soaking garri is forever! !!We must always fight for our rights '. Its a wonderful prospect for the 5 years old me to watch my parents sing and dance with placards to Government offices to discuss their unpaid Salaries. My parents were sometimes victims of violence from police and other security agents but they never stopped because protest has a long history of bringing justice and solving social issues.
Few weeks ago one of Nigeria's famous musicians Tuface Idibia ( 2baba ) announced a Nation wide protest against the Federal government because of high cost of living, bad economy and other mishaps in the Country. He was criticised by Academics and was even threatened by the Police and other Security Agencies. Despise the threats, he announced the Meet up Venues and dress code for the Protest. The date of the protest was shifted from 5th February to 6th February. Many people argued that the protest was politically induced but I see it as an amazing step for Nigerians to come out en mass to protest against something that they felt is not good enough. I woke up this morning only to discover that 2baba has cancelled the planned protest and in his own words he said ' Dear Nigerians! Due to security concerns and public I hereby announce the cancellation of the planned March '. I was disappointed because I wanted to see people fight for a common goal.
Last year in University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria a Final year student who was the President of his faculty was killed in a protest by a DSS member. Himself and other students were protesting against the law that says that the students must pay all their fees before writing any exams. The students wanted more time to make payment but the school authorities were quick to call the police and other security agents and students were injured and a student was killed in the process and all these happened in the school's campus. The student that was killed has paid his own school fee but decided to stand with other students to fight for a common goal. I sometimes wonder what is a University without students?
About 3 years ago in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, the Student Union president otherwise known as SUG President protested against the cost of transportation within the school premises. He wanted the price to be reduced to #20 which is fairly affordable and he also protest against the School Authority concerning unnecessary levies that students pay for. He organised a peaceful protest and he was rusticated from the University. Noble Eyisi is from a privileged family, his mother is a professor and he can afford to pay for transport fares and pretend that all is well but he refused to pretend.
It is one thing to feel something emotionally and it's another thing to engage ones intellect in making conclusions and about the cancelled protest, I was devastated and emotionally exhausted. I couldn't find any space for humour and laughter. I wanted more, I wanted to see people fight a good fight and in a more matured way. 2baba cancelled the protest because he felt that peoples lives would be endangered and he's right about that. The Nigeria Police are not well trained to handle protests incase it turns into a riot; of course they don't have rubber bullets and water guns all they know is 'kill 5 individuals and the rest will run for cover'. The same way they brutalised students of Uniport last week in a recent protest, the same way they killed IPOB members from time to time and the last one in Port Harcourt left me disappointed in the Police Force. Now security and safety is now a luxury only the Elites can afford. What a Country?
Recently people of the United States of America came out en mass to protest against some of President Trumps new laws and I watched the March and I all I see was a group of people fighting for a common goal. I didn't see it as a politically induced protest. Although 2baba cancelled the protest he organised, Nigerians are not ready to settle for less this time around and many people have taken the protest personal. The protest still holds.
We must always fight for our Rights.