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Smiling revolutionaries in Sudan and Nigeria’s prospective revolution

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends a swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential palace in Khartoum on February 24, 2019. – Bashir swore in 16 army officers and two officers from the National Intelligence and Security Service as new governors for the country’s 18 provinces. He is also expected to announce soon an entire new cabinet as he pushes on with sweeping top level changes in the face of nationwide protests that have rocked his rule. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

Wow! The revolutionaries in Sudan are currently shouting that the replacement of former president Omar will only serve more of the same as ousted Omar al-Bashir … hope they’re wrong! All through history I have yet to see a revolution started by the masses and ended by the masses. They are always hijacked either by the military or the well-oiled elites in the country, people with loads of cash to influence policies. Sudan wouldn’t be different. And so when the masses there give the army ultimatums even after securing a major gain of an al-Bashir ouster, I can’t help but shake my head.

The Russian revolution couldn’t have succeeded if the army hadn’t been tricked into it. The Egyptian revolution was hijacked by the army, although, the masses ignited it.

The Sudanese people should read the history of revolutions around the world and settle for posterity and posterity instead of asking for chaos because in the end, they the masses would be at the receiving end.

Revolutionaries must not have an overwrought relationship with soldiers because when push comes to shove, it is same loyal army that would be called to stabilize the polity. Reason should prevail. I hope to see an end in these frenzies: dancing/selling/smiling.

Are these what revolutions are about? Thanks to the upsurge in revolutions in the Arab world, people around me have harped on a coming revolution in Nigeria. My pastor friend says so with spiritual gusto. I think not. What we are good at in Nigeria is mob rule if given the chance.

Revolutions anywhere in the world are started by the middle class, by highly placed individuals, the intelligentsias, the Lenin’s, Stalin’s and must be supported by the military.

Is there a middle class in Nigeria? Where are the manufacturing companies in Nigeria employing thousands and millions who on the whistle sound of revolution will down tools and paralyze the economy in solidarity with the revolutionaries? In a country where folks are not only hungry, but educational standards so poor, leaving many with landlocked minds and there are no heroes to galvanize people but ethnic jingoists.

Where are the civil servants to take up and occupy government buildings in the event of a revolution same ones, many of whom can’t interpret government policies and are partisan.

The few Nigerians, in the middle class, privileged to work in multinational companies will never join a group of revolutionaries for fear of losing their jobs to people with ravenous eyes waiting to grab their jobs.

Do you not have friends working in a multinational company? They all think of Dubai and America, not Nigeria. They know how long it took them to get those few jobs and would do anything to keep their jobs, drive big cars and look down on us.

Has a revolution ever succeeded without the Army? With the way the Army is structured after the civil war, such fanciful idea won’t stand the test of time before it is crushed. Fidel Castro with his less than five hundred men wouldn’t have had two opportunities to take over power. Neither would a Jerry Rawlings have been able to succeed in Nigeria.

Do you foresee the military standing idly by to allow people run amok when they aren’t owed salaries by the military command? Do you think countries in the west will allow us start a revolution that will be a burden on them to take care of our citizens? People are eating leaves and seeds in South Sudan to survive, John Garang obviously in his grave would be asking why he took up arms against the north and many are shot for refusing to be conscripted into the army in Eritrea. We still haven’t been able to feed our IDP’s. Can next-door Ghana handle our refugees? Here is the type of revolution we may have in Nigeria.

The arrowheads will turn tail and flee and deceive the commoners to go to the streets and die. Those commoners may not be twice lucky like Fidel Castro. I remember a friend who told me in 2015 that Goodluck Jonathan would win the presidential elections. On the eve of the elections, I told him to make sure to cast his vote the next day.

Surprisingly, he told me he had bought enough fuel for his power generating set to watch movies. He never voted for his preferred candidate. That’s vintage Nigerian. We are all revolutionaries in our comfort zones. When push comes to shove, we vote with our feet.

I met a serving police officer in a public place a moment ago. I didn’t know he was a police officer until he mentioned it. We were in a public place, bending our elbows. He sat opposite me – discussing with his friends and wasn’t discreet. He didn’t skirt around issues, and was sure of a coming revolution in Nigeria.

The injustices in the land are too much, he opined. One of which, is that in the Army, soldiers are separated along ethnic lines when commissioned to fight the insurgency ravaging the north-east. Of course, an ethnic group is spared the efforts of oiling their gunnery for war. It had to be, so said the raconteur police officer.

For a police officer, I wondered why he enlisted to serve the country because he acted so anti-country. I imagined that he might have fared well in another profession other than policing and also that he doesn’t know much about the Army.

Against my will, I had to kibitz by letting him know, of course politely. You never know with these people. I told him, that In the Army, at the point of recruitment soldiers are assigned to command positions according to their choice and competence. And that in the barracks where I was raised, there were divisions such as Army Corps of engineers, Signals, Military police, Workshop, Maintenance, Ordinance, Intelligence, Medicals, Supply and transport, Garrison, artillery, Education, mechanized infantry battalion.

Soldiers during recruitment exercises make their choices of military departments; others are assigned according to their skill. All soldiers are trained for war but not all units go to war.

When a directive comes from headquarters to mobilize the infantry battalion as was done during the Liberian civil war, it wasn’t done on ethnic basis same with artillery or army engineers.

A soldier man in the barracks doesn’t consider himself as a Cross River man but a tribe of the soldiery. They have military minds and skins not civilian hearts. All he could do was staring, of course embarrassingly. 

Abah wrote from Abuja


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