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Hiya! Just a quick intro :) I lived in Nigeria for more than half of my life (so far) before moving to England and I have seen the best and the worst of both worlds. I was greatly inspired by the #OccupyNigeria protests and this blog is my way of #occupying. A lot of us compare African countries to the Western countries and I will mainly be talking about the positive things that I have observed and learnt in my few years of living here. Payme’s 2Cents is for all who dare to dream to see changes in their lifetime. It is for those who dream to see environments where 'helping' thrives. I will be giving my2cents worth on how we can work towards getting things to change for better. It would be great to know your opinions, so please leave comments. Remember to keep sharing posts that you enjoy. Follow @payme_my2cents. Thanks a lot for visiting!!! Enjoy my2cents :).

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Just Before You Go...

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Proverbs (29:18)
The Arab spring was kick-started on the 18th of December 2010 in Tunisia after Mohamed Bouhazizi’s self-immolation. Civil unrests spread rapidly through the Middle East and North Africa. Rulers were forcefully removed from power and there are still unrests in full swing in some countries such as Syria and Bahrain.

The removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012 led to a wave of #occupyNigeria protests. Nigerians inspired by the Arab spring took to the streets in order to demand for their rights. As faint as the line was, it was obvious that there were two different groups out in January – the ones who simply wanted to have the increase in price of PMS reversed and the ones who wanted to make their voices heard against corruption and the lack of accountability on the parts of our leaders.  There was a problem during the protests though – that faint line.

Increased calls for protests have accompanied the Subsidy Probe Report that was out last week (Download Here). No true Nigerian could have pored over the pages of the report without getting enraged. The calls for protests were therefore not shocking.  However, for any protest(s) to be successful, mistakes made in the past must not be repeated. It is great to strongly desire to have your voice heard but just before you go,
         have the leaders calling you out to protest stated their goals and objectives?

Your individual presence at protests should count just like your vote at any election. You would never be able to rightly accuse any of the leaders of disappointing you or of being failures if they never gave you any concrete plans to start with. It is true that when it comes to a revolution, situations are fluid. However, I strongly believe that starting one without any solid plans will leave people worse off than where they started from. An example of this is the political limbo that Egypt is in.

 A common enemy does unite people, but what would happen when the enemy is gone? Will the previously buried divisions get easily sorted when all is said and done? 

I have seen people who I deem to be of questionable characters tagged as ACTIVISTS/ADVOCATES. I have also been made to understand that some believe that Nigerian activism/advocacy has its own meaning. In this light, I believe we all should only follow people who portray our core values both in words and in actions - make sure their definitions fit your beliefs.

Protests are necessary but suffering for a genuinely good cause is better than being used by opportunists. It is better to die for what you truly believe in than for being ignorant. Do not be used as part of people's political propaganda. Do not jump on any bandwagon and make sure you only stand behind people who know what they are doing, where they are going and how they plan on getting there. If you do decide to protest, stay peaceful. Do not be used for violence. The leaders of such usually get away unscathed.

People with vested interests will have nothing to offer when it is all said and done. It is better to ask questions now and make sure that you are being led by genuine people. Use your head and think. People that cannot take time to explain ‘why they are doing what’ should not be deemed leaders and do deserve to be ignored. Be a sensible follower.  Keep asking questions and make sure you are protesting for the right reasons. Only then, will your voice and your stand matter.

When I think of our past heroes and the sacrifices that they made for Nigeria, there is a tinge of sadness at the thought of them having never lived to see the fruition of their struggles. Change appears to be so so far away. However, as we rise up to protest and stand for our rights, I really do hope to see some changes in my lifetime.  Can a girl be blamed for being too optimistic?

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Abusidiqu said...

True talk. We must know what the objectives are and not to protest by unknowingly serving the selfish agenda of some people. Well done.

Seye said...

I have always advocated for the right protests like you Pemi. I will only protest with people I trust, those I can vouch for, many of whom are already known to me. Many are just about attention, and not Nigeriam for those of us who seek a Nigeria which we will be proud of, WE SHALL OVERCOME

Dfewgoodmen said...

No, a girl can't be blamed for being optimistic. However, the Nigerian malady is a large and enormously multi-hydra problem. It is a problem that beats all orthodox definitions and solutions. Corruption indeed is deeply entrenched in the Nigerian Polity. The Nigerian problem is a grievous one and only grievously can we solve it!

Something I have come to realise in Politics, or in any struggle and in most aspects of human life is a notion that my Enemy's Enemy is my friend. No matter how temporarily. No matter how ephemeral, it rings true. we can't just jettison this. Why? Let me take you back memory's lane on Nigeria. Remember the 3rd term ambition of Obasanjo? We see likes of IBB, Atiku, the opposition and others throwing away their grievances and coming together in one united front to fight the greater menace. Yes, they succeeded.

For this struggle, everyone is needed. The essence of this is to stop corruption. The enemy is menacing and formidable. Every help is needed. Even from former people in Govt. especially if they have shown the resolve to destroy this vampire sucking on the blood of the very existence. Of our continuing unity and our very well being. 

Life isn't just black and white. There're also shades of grey. It is going to take a lot. But when the time comes, let us be ready. No army on earth can kill an idea whose time has come. Nigeria MUST be redeemed!

Dfewgoodmen said...

Someone once said that you need a crook to beat a crook. You need a thief or a once thief to beat a practicing thief. Does this apply in this Nigerian protest context.

Let us not be unmindful of the fact that we need all the advice and support that we can get. I see no problem marching with a reformed James Ibori in a protest if he truly wishes to bring down this evil corrupt Government. Even if his reasons are not altruistic. Even if he is doing it just for vengeance. If he serves our purpose, my opinion is to let him in.

@one9jaboi said...

Thank you for this write up. I agree that protests are the rights of every citizen but I also want that we protest with goals and aims in our hearts because we only have Nigeria as our own. I will not be part of another "waka pass" just to answer activist. Thank you for taking time to educate our people.

Raymond Eyo said...

This is a guide to a successful #OccupyNigeria! It contains very compelling insight that everyone should read and heed! Thanks, Pemi.
GOD bless you.

tobydeeloc said...

Interesting write up...thought provoking as always...my only problem with d last protests in January was dat it was at d behest of certain people who had their eyes on govt...if we r protesting,we shld know wat we r fighting for...I have friends who went to Ojota cos "it was a free show"..others went to connect with other friends...we r fighting for our collective futures..nd I believe total understanding of the situation is paramount....if u dnt knw wat subsidy is or why people wanna protest,stay at home..dnt make a nuisance of it all... We dint see libyans dancing to hiphop..neither did we see egyptians grooving...