EDO PEOPLE REVOLUTION; Her Own Way



 Today we hear of the Arab spring that has swept the Middle East like a wild fire, it all started from one individual. He was Mohamed Bouazizi and it was his singular act that woke up Tunisians. His vegetable cart was confiscated by a police woman and when she refused to collect the prescribed fine and was not given audience at the provincial headquarters where he had gone to lay complaint. Without telling anyone, not even his family, he within the hour returned to the same provincial headquarters, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire. This was it; there was great public outrage that quickly grew leading to street protests, street demonstrations and civil resistenance. The immolation Bouazizi did was seen by majority as many years of frustration melted out to a young man by the government of the day as the demonstrations were precipitated by high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, a lack of freedom of speech and other political freedom and poor living conditions. The protests constituted the most dramatic wave of social and political unrest in Tunisia in three decades. Mohamed  is today regarded as the father of modern day revolution because his self immolation not only affected the way things were done in his country, but it spread across the world like a wild fire, or better still a plague that citizens of various countries needed to fight for what they thought they had been deprived for decades.  This wild wind did also spread to Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Libya where a full- scale rebellion broke out. The question now is, will this wind of revolution spread down south, across the Sahara to black Africa? Political experts say it is unlikely, they say so because places where these revolutions have taken place have sit- tight leaders (life presidents or kings) who have ruled with iron fists. They noted that black Africa on the other hand, has had years to democratize. They (black Africa) may be behind these Arab countries in terms of economic development, but when it comes to democracy, they (black Africans) are far ahead. We can say black Africa have had years to Internalize their democratic process, but what we actually have are sets of leaders going into political offices to enrich themselves and neglect the people. In Egypt where they have no natural resources, its citizens are still able to live on 2 dollars a day, while in black Africa nations that boast of abundant natural and human resources, one dollar a day is damn too big for its citizens to live on. We may not see the massive revolution that took place and is still on in North Africa and much of the Middle East where many lives have been lost, but we can say that in one way or the other, silent revolutions are taking place.  As it is tradition in this part of the world, when elections are held, the incumbent candidate or the party in power cannot or are never beaten and this makes people wonder, is it that these persons are saints or they are just perfect for the office? Silently the revolution have started, it happened in Ghana where Atta-Mills of the opposition party defeated the candidate of the then ruling party. This was attributed to the fact that the people were allowed to choose who they wanted, not minding the platform used. When we do a retrospect of the 2003 and 2007 general elections in Nigeria, we see a people fed up of lies, deceit and corruption. Elections held these years were merely for formality as handpicked candidates were already waiting to assume office with or without the elections.  In the 2007 elections, we can still visibly remember that results were announced while people were still voting. Prior to the elections, people already knew which candidate on a particular platform was to occupy which office, even when that particular platform had not performed or in some cases made life unbearable, as was evident in Edo State, it was that bad. Yes, the people could have taken to the streets to protest the constant deprivation of their rights, but trust the average Nigerian; we cherish life so much that the mere thought of loosing lives may dissuade many from participating in such protests. But still, we were patient, seeing there was no need for the loss of lives, Nigerians had become more enlightened, drawing inspiration from our neighbor, Ghana, now we knew better.  The 2012 Edo state elections was a show planned, organized and executed by the populace, it was a show that was based on action and not words of mouth, a show that wanted continuity and not a drawback. We saw a people who had for 12 years been deprived of what democracy should be and were determined to fight to see democracy work for them. They were up to date with the situation of things in the state, had saw change and wanted the change to continue. This in my opinion was the people’s silent revolution, taking their destinies in their own hands. There was no need for street protests or the unnecessary loss of lives, all the people needed was their constitutional right to vote coupled with ballot papers and ink. We could see that the people came out in their numbers to vote, from the old to the young, to the blind and the crippled, everyone was out. At first I wondered what brought about the interest, especially with the younger generation, but when the results started trickling in, it was then it dawned on me that, something significant had taken place, a revolution, one like no other, one that required brains and rights as the only weapons and not guns, stones or tear gases. It was simple, Edolites were done with the supposed big wigs, fixers and wanted change, they did not want this change to come about by killings, so they waited for the right avenue which was the elections and they made full and good use of it. A revolution did take place, silent, innovative, unexpected that took the political class by surprise. We saw a people who put aside religion and ethnicity to fight for their present and their future. We saw a people who made sure the elections were peaceful, putting heads together to fight thuggery and violence before, during and after the elections.   The Political class never thought it possible that Nigerians could elect people based on their personality and not the platform used, and it happened. It is a revolution worth emulating; one that has made the Edo people to speak with one voice not minding political affiliation, religion or tribe. With elections coming up in October in Ondo state, Ekiti and Anambra in 2014 and the next general elections in 2015, we can but only keep our fingers crossed and see how the people will decide. Whatever they do decide will depend largely on how this present crop of elected officials performs. Thumbs up EDOLITES.

Osaro Agho.

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