On April 2004 a million people were expected to rally in Abuja and Lagos to protest the reelection of President Obasanjo. President Obasanjo then responded that anyone that take part in the protest, will be arrested. On that day, reports were that no one showed up in Lagos and a hand full of people showed up in Abuja. The people that showed up in Abuja were indeed arrested.
In April 2004 in Georgia, A man named Mikhail Saakashvili lead thousands Georgians in a peaceful rally that ended up forcing President Aslan Abashidze to step down from office. In another incident in 1999 in Yugoslavia, after being bombed by the Americans for several days, President Slobodan Milosevic was forced to step down from power when thousands of Yugoslav took to the street in protest. Looking at these two examples, no Nigerian can say that coming out and protesting will yield no result.
We as citizens of Nigeria seems to be content going on strike to show our difference with the government even tough we know that these strikes yields no favorable result. The strike did not stop President Obasanjo from increasing fuel price. A strike is just a union leader negotiating on behalf of the union members. But if we know the government is wrong, why do we have to negotiate.
Asorock.com did a poll on president Obasanjo's job approval rating, ninety-three percent of people gave him a failing grade. Every Nigerian you meet on the street seems to have lots of negative things to say about President Obasanjo and almost always no positive. You know, all talk but no action. I was so disappointed after the April incident that I decided to do some research. I did not have to look too far because Fela has the answer in one of his songs. It goes like this:
My people day fair too much
We fair for the things we no see
We fair for the air around us
We fair to fight for freedom
We fair to fight for liberty
We fair to fight for justice
We fair to fight for happiness
I no won die
I no won quench
I no won
I get one child
Papa day for house
Mama day for house
I won build house
I don build house
I won enjoy
That why policeman go slap your face you no go talk
Army man go whip your yanch you no go talk
I have a story to tell my fellow Nigerians. It is the story of Dr, Marty Luther King, Jr. (MLK). MLK was thirty-nine years old when he was shot dead. In that thirty-nine years he spent alive, he was able to stop segregation in America, got blacks to vote in America's election, allow black kids to go to the same school as white kids, stop black people from giving up their sit for white people in public transportation and trust me I could go on and on. MLK was never in a riot, talked about strike, tell people to vandalize government property or engage in any violent act. And yes he was arrested and sometimes beating. How did MLK achieve all these? He held rallies when he wants to address an issue. He gets people to match from one point to another point and then he speaks to the people.
Nigerians, I think it is time to take MLK's footstep. When President Obasanjo start with his stupid policies again, Millions of Nigerians should come out on the street, in a peaceful way and protest. For example the last local government election held, where PDP won almost all the sits. If a million people had came out to rally in every state against PDP before or after that election, I'm sure PDP will be in a hot sit now defending themselves to the rest on the world.
I am not saying that holding rallies will solve Nigerians problems. The rallies held by million people around the world did not stop President Bush from bombing Iraq. But then how many countries were involve when the initial bombing started. Holding rallies may not solve all the problems but I know it will solve some problems. Plus it shows the people are united with one voice. Yes some people might get hurt, or get arrested, or even loose their life but these seems to be the way forward.
To be continued