One of the greatest problems of the #RevolutionNow protest is its inability to appeal to millions of young Nigerians. From the few #RevolutionNow protests that have been staged since last year, it was always the case that just a few hundreds of Nigerians would join the movement.
It is granted that these protests have been met with clampdown from security agencies. And for the record also, it’s not just the #Revolution Now movement. We’ve seen how police officers and other security agencies have clamped down on IPOP and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) protesters many times under Buhari.
The problem then is that even though a good percentage of Nigerians are tired of the system, they cannot come out in large numbers to protest for fear of losing their lives or getting arrested.
On Thursday, Nigerians began a conversation on Twitter. Many suggested and agreed that it is high time opposition leaders like Atiku Abubakar staged a nationwide protest against the Buhari government. By so doing, we can rest assured that no police officer would dare to shoot them.
A Twitter user simply known as Oloye tweeted, “Hear me out. If Atiku, Kwankwaso, Peter Obi, Secondus, Saraki led a protest. Nigerians will not be met with AK 47s and tear gas.”
Political activist, Deji Adeyanju tweeted, “Atiku & co want to be president without getting their hands dirty. He’s in Dubai enjoying life but they want Nigerians to go lead protest against fuel & electricity increment so they can benefit. I laugh in yeye opposition.”
In a sense, one is compelled to agree with this. If anything, our opposition leaders should be at the vanguard of protests. They should be the ones demanding accountability from the current administration. The only time we get to see them unfortunately is during campaigns. After that, they simply tweet against the policies of the government. Activism does not exist on social media, unfortunately.
However, we need to realise that the political establishment in Nigeria includes the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). That is why most PDP members today defected from the APC and most APC members today defected from the PDP. There are no marked ideological demarcation between the two parties.
Based on this, it’s really hard to expect people like Atiku to go out and lead a protest against the current government. At the end of the day, they all belong to the same political establishment which has held Nigeria by the jugular for decades.
Young people need to begin to be more responsible for this country. But it should be without the political establishment.