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A country in need of a Bouaziz


Mohammed Bouaziz

Mohammed Bouaziz

In the North African country of Tunisia, December 17, 2010 started just like every other normal day until some reckless police officers rained several rounds of slaps on a 26-year-old young man, Mohammed Bouaziz before confiscating his fruits and vegetables which he had gone to sell in his small town of Sidi Bouzid so that he could provide food for his family of seven.

What followed next would later shake not just Tunisia and Africa but the entire world as the frustrated young man didn’t even bother engaging the ruthless police officers. He chose to walk straight to the municipal office and right there in front of that office, he set himself ablaze in protest.

Seeing what happened, millions of Tunisians who were hitherto dying of starvation as a result of the anti-people policies of the government headed by the then maximum ruler, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, drew strength from Bouaziz’s action and trooped out on the street demanding an end to the 23-year-old rule of Abidine Ben Ali.

After 28 days, Ben Ali was left with no choice but to bow to the collective will of the Tunisian people and resign.

The inspiration drawn from  Bouaziz’s  self-immolation would later spread through the Arab world, leading to the sack of many long-term rulers.

Looking at Nigeria today, even the blind could see that the only thing holding this country from having a Tunisian-styled revolution to sack the incompetence in government is just a Mohammed Bouaziz kind of person, not necessarily to set himself ablaze but to just trigger the protest. Once you can get up to 1000 people on the street, the ever-elusive revolution has started.

If you think that a man from even President Muhammadu Buhari’s hometown of Daura won’t join other Nigerians in revolting against this plague of a government, then, it’s safe to assume you know nothing about this thing called hunger. A man who is desperately hungry can revolt even against God. For those of you waiting for natural causes to remove impunity and mediocrity from power, then the joke is on Nigeria

Free your mind from all forms of defeatist mentality! Stop being afraid of the murderous gang known as the army!  No army in the world, not even the almighty U.S. army can stand in the way of a people who have decided to overcome the demon of fear and confront the main demons in their government. These political hawks ruining your future and that of your kids are powerless. The only power they have is that which they draw from your FEAR. Your fear is the only thing that is feeding them with a false sense of confidence.

Tunisians never thought they could end the 23-year-old reign of Ben Ali until Bouaziz happened. Egyptians never thought the almighty Hosni Mubarak could be sacked until Tunisians showed them the way.

Today, we the people who are the real owners of this country and all the enormous wealth therein have been reduced to mere beggars. You can’t access dollars to do business neither can you access it for your kids’ education abroad but the children of those in power can sit in their homes and order the same dollars from the CBN at a very subsidised rate.

Despite being the employers of these fellows, they enjoy 24 hours’ security while we, their bosses, run the risk of being killed by soldiers trained and equipped with our money, on their orders, that is assuming we survive the herdsmen or terrorists who are operating with their seeming consent.

Millions have been sacked from work. Millions more will be sacked in days to come. A poor man now eats rice only in his dreams. The price of everything keeps going up and never coming down. Yet,  the minimum wage is  N18,000 not even enough to buy a bag of rice at N24,000. How long are we going to live like this?

Of the N6 trillion in this year’s budget, can anyone point out just one thing! that has been done with it? Just one thing. Now, they are talking about another N7 trillion for next year’s budget plus another  $30billion foreign loan. How much longer are we willing to endure the insensitivity? If a people is pushed to the wall, they don’t break the wall and run, they fight back. Our leaders have pushed us far beyond the wall.

Stop looking for your demon in that helpless old woman in your village, the demon that has been pushing you from one church to another is your government! Their awkward policies are the reasons you can’t get a job after graduation. If your country were working, would you be praying for miracle to get a visa to travel to Sudan, Singapore, Mexico?

We have a problem.  We have identified this problem as our government. We have even figured out the solution which is trooping to the street and straight to the seat of power demand better governance and accountability.

The question is, are you ready to channel the anger you feel inside to demand more from your government? Are you ready to fight for the future of your kids by rescuing your country from the hands of men and women who derive pleasure from the suffering of the people whose interest they are elected to protect?

• Ogbu, a social analyst, wrote from Port Harcourt

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  • Okorobinako

    This is really a baby latter day writer. In a country divided along tribal lines, will the Ibos ever see anything wrong in a fellow Ibo leader?
    When the almajiris are told at Jumat service that demonstrating against Buhari is a sin against Islam,anyone who demonstrates against him will be killed promptly.
    Only the Yoruba people have a history of demonstration. Genuine demonstration.

    • Okafor Chinonso

      This country called Nigeria is indeed in a very serious trouble due to her numerous challenges she left untouched for years which have snowballed to entirely sinister and unpredictable history, hitherto today. What Nigeria and the Nigerians need right now is a man(or Men) that would rise up and say enough!

      Charles Ogbu, is a writer to watch in the near future.

  • Baron Roy

    It is the budget that hurts me most! This is the first time in history that whole budgets would be embezzled! I am convinced that the 2017 budget has been embezzled ahead…We need a Bouazizi…urgently

  • frank

    Who could be more right than Charles? Always on point

  • Destiny Ahamefula Onyeabor

    Truth be told, today’s government is our problem as a nation and the only solution to our collective problem is occupying the street by a movement of minds determined to posses their rightful possessions and secure the future of our unborn generations.

  • Amata_Mgbowo

    The ugly situation has really degenerated to a saturated level.
    Nobody saw the Arab Spring coming. Same with the Bakassi Boys who rid Aba, Abia State of criminals. Same also with the Onitsha “Boys Oye”…
    It would naturally erupt from a seemingly routine intimidating action from a Federal/State agency (Police, FRSC, or even LAWMA or Traffic Wardens, etc).
    Only God knows how.
    But the balloon is fully blown, waiting for the pricking of the needle-like point to BURST!!!

  • Ejalen Idahosa

    Bread scarcity caused the French revolution that change France till like forever.

    But here in Nigeria…we have had more scarcities almost in everything than anywhere else in the world…yet we are still very comfortable in the ugly situation.

    Nigerians are the only people when pushed to the wall will dig a hole in the wall for escape…this is sad.

    The system needs a shake up

  • Calistu Igwilo

    I don’t see Nigeria going the Tunis way for 2 obvious reasons: Religion and Ethnicity, we are deeply divided along religious and ethnicity lines that politicians use them as potent tools to get away with anything. I think that we had rather find other rational ways that will work for our peculiar situation.

    • remm ieet

      That is because we allowed them to redefine what religion means and then they went further to impose it on us as an outcome that should be acceptable to us. It’s the same thing they did with ethnicity. They stole all the money and donated some to our community leaders, who regularly help them to rent protesters whenever EFCC invite them for questioning. We all must act now before it’s too late

  • Ememobong Ntoabasimmana

    Thanks Charles for this beautiful piece. Your submission was apt and precise. You couldn’t have captured it any better. Its always a pleasure to read your articles. Keep up the good work.

  • Stephen Oloh

    We, Nigerians need to understand that our government seeks power entirely for their own sake. They are not interested in the good of the masses; they are interested solely in power, pure power. Power, to them is not a means; it is an end. We must understand this.

    Like I stated in my article published on Ynaija last month, Nigerian youths need to fight these criminals. We need to take this fight to government houses in Nigeria, we need to move as fast as possible and delete all these criminals in high places before they make Nigeria and Nigerians empty. We have allowed too many scoundrels, illiterate and thieves to rise to positions of great responsibility and expanding authority.

    We had better start getting involved and take back power from the elites.

    We must find a way to stimulate greater grassroots political attentiveness — the more interested people are in public affairs, the better informed they are. Even the Constitution’s authors, who were no friends of mass democracy, trusted the common sense of the average citizen enough to leave election to the House of Representatives — which initially had more control over governance, taxes and the national budget than the Senate, Governor or the president — to direct popular vote.

    It’s time we stand up and say no to all these excesses.

    This is a call for MASS ACTION. There is no future if we don’t fight them.

    We must fight NOW!

  • Okoye Ugochukwu

    Nice thoughts. We may not need the Bouaziz style revolution but, consistently alerting our political consciousness to reality on ground would surely sustain the ongoing reawakening. The day of liberation from our mental slavery is imminent. Charles, I sincerely commend your efforts to raising our political consciousness.

  • Nzeribe Okechukwu

    With the way things are going the revolution is going to happen whether its on the streets or through the social media. For too long we have remained disillusioned on the way forward but gradually people are waking up and the tempo gradually increases as people start asking the pertinent questions. Hunger is indeed a great motivator.

  • Augustine Dike

    Charles Ogbu has proven to be a lone voice in the wilderness of Nigeria maladministration.

    He has been consistent in bringing to limelight the core burning issues of key national importance. Unfortunately, Nigerians and those at the helms of leadership seems to be foolishly shameless to listen to the voice of reasons and follow the path of nobility.

    This is the worst time to be a Nigeria. Things have indeed fallen so apart that the centre can not hold. But with people like Charles Ogbu, when majority of Nigerians are enlightened beyond their current veil of stupidity and ignorance, which was the sole reasons humans can relate such levels of man inhumanity to his fellow men as is currently been seen in Nigeria, revolution will definitely be inevitable.

  • chigozie obilor

    A nice write up. I just hope we won’t let tribalism get into the revolution. We had a revolution or almost had a revolution in January 1966, it was later to be labelled an Igbo agenda even when other ethnic groups participated in it

  • Ufuoma Ernest Godswill

    Yet another Great article from Charles. Its high time we take our destiny in our own hands.
    Keep writing and we would keep reading.

  • Soule Abiola

    Another masterpiece from Charles Ogbu. There’s no better time than now to redirect the affairs of the jungle called Nigeria, to take maximum risks for progress and real change. The chain of ignorance n lassitude that keep people away from the dream of a great country must be broken, in other to build on the sacrifices of past heroes of genuine minds, that suffered so much to build this geographical location. Without revolution and total turn around in our national psyche, obviously, we are going nowhere. More of vibrant and youthful minds like Charles are the keys to our freedom. Our politicians with all their greediness, emptiness and confusions are taking us into extinction.

  • Toyin Adepoju

    The essay and the comments sum up the challenges ahead of us. Can a saturation point be reached that will unite Nigerians in protest across religious and ethnic lines?

  • Collins amaechi

    At this point, i dont think, there would ever be such a man that could ever be like bouaziz!

    Nigeria is a country of hypocrites. What they are actually passing through right now is their own making!

    It is now every man for himself!!!