By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
I remember 2015. The APC could not campaign in Okrika, Rivers State. Thrice they went, thrice they scampered away. Gun men shot at them with righteousness. APC supporters were sellouts. The police couldn’t help them. Their constitutional rights had limitations. They could not exercise in the den of a certain lioness. The APC cried all kinds of freedom cries, and cursed the abuse of power.
In 2017, Charlie boy went to Unity fountain, Abuja. He thinks APC’s President Buhari should resume in three months or resign his position. The president has not been at work for three months and has not told his employers, the public, what afflicts him. Charlie boy relied on his constitutional rights of peaceful protest. He was stopped not by hoodlums. The police used subterfuge and tear gas. They said they acted to prevent a breakdown of law and order. Charlie boy fell, other protesters ran away.
Charlie boy got up, licked his wounds and resumed the protest. His resolve took him to Wuse market, Abuja. Ordinary people should be there.
He is the father of the street. He was lucky he was not slaughtered. There, hoodlums attacked him and other protesters in broad daylight. They said they had a right not to be provoked. The police made no arrests. The police must have smirked. They warned him. They have been vindicated. Our constitutional rights can be circumscribed by thugs.
Charlie boy’s right to protest is not contested. It is his stupidity that many self professed wise men have bemoaned. He should have known that Wuse market was Buhari’s den. Charlie boy is therefore a foolish risk taker. He should have known that Wuse market is filled with Janjaweed type patriots. Charlie is therefore a trouble maker.
Perhaps, after he has nursed his wounds, he would learn prudence. If he is bent on his ‘resume or resign’ protests, he should protest within and around his church or his club. Or his ‘Biafran’ village. Wuse market is taken. Abuja is Arewa. Alternatively, and advisedly, he could remain in Lagos, frolicking on his bike and fiddling with his egocentrism. That would be reasonable, prudent.
Not all things that are lawful are expedient. That’s wisdom. Charlie is a child. It is lawful to protest. But not expedient to ask stupid questions about a loved president around the nation’s capital city. It is lawful to be ill. It’s perhaps expedient to stay out of work for three months without telling your employers what afflicts you. It has to be. London is expedient.
Charlie boy looked for trouble and found it. That was how some liberals in Charlottesville,Virginia looked for their own trouble the other day. They dabbled into the den of white supremacists. And one of the girls was slaughtered by a Neo Nazi.
He couldn’t stand her, he crushed her and others with his car. Donald Trump, like the Nigerian wise men, condemned the liberals and black activists and Muslims for provoking white supremacists. Trump is not a racist. The liberals lacked sensitivity like Charlie boy. They are all foolish risk takers. That young girl died for nothing. Charlie boy was lucky. He wasn’t mowed down by a car or a keke. In his own case no one would have been found and arrested.
Gani Fawehinmi was a great man. I guess he was a foolish risk taker too. He didn’t weigh personal costs. He dared armed soldiers and stood up to dictators and their goons. He must have been very foolhardy. Nigerian students and NANS were once that foolish. They are now filled with wisdom and prudence. They are not cowardly. They stay in their libraries. They have no business with national affairs. The students of today are not timid. They are not like the reckless ones of the old, that fought oppression and misrule. They are sensitive to the feelings of their doting parents. You know, students can get shot. So wisdom would dictate that they remain docile. Malcom X and Martin Luther King must have been suicidal men. They left their families and died fighting the white murderous machine with bare hands.
Charlie boy didn’t think. He could have hired his own thugs. That is the way of the jungle, where the law can’t protect rights. That is how protesters that need the approval of unfriendly thugs can proceed unmolested. If a protest can be deemed a flagrant provocation of ones opponents, then one has to be prepared. You take an umbrella, if rain is likely. Or never come out at all. He could have hired a bus load of young thugs high on Indian hemp.
He didn’t. He ran away like a wimp. He has set a bad precedent. The sort APC set in Okrika. How and where can Shiites protest now? They can’t march anywhere in the north. Because that would be tantamount to gross stupidity. An insignificant minority troubling a righteous temperamental majority-Sunni Muslims, Christians, Atheists. How would women march against their subjugation? They would have to factor in the mood and ubiquity of angry muscular men. That could be an invitation to mass rape.
But who would blame the Wuse patriots? A governor once went on air and told of how Buhari had died in London. The topic of Buhari’s ill health had been poisoned by devilish rumour mongers. Hate and division had been sown around it by mischievous and bigoted conspiracy theorists masquerading as freedom fighters. How would the Wuse patriots have known that ‘resume or resign’ was different from the savagery of Fayose and Fani Kayode, the evangelists of ‘corpsocracy?’
The police have been mute. The police ought to have spelt out to the Wuse patriots the rights of ‘resume or resign’ protesters. Wuse is a sign of what is to come. Touts have become leaders of thought. Cudgels and clubs are on the loose. Leaders of thoughts have taken refuge in timidity. They have become wimps. The society is drunk on sentiments and high on prejudices. Freedom and reason have fled, into hiding.