Iyinoluwa Aboyeji: Who will document the failure of #OccupyNigeria? (YNaija FrontPage)

So here is my plea to Nigerian writers. Save us the displeasure of another horrid review of “There was a Country”. Give us an authoritative account of what happened in Ojota and Kano last January.

During the holidays, I watched one of the best movies I believe I will ever have the pleasure of seeing in my lifetime. It was the movie screening of Les Miserables. The movie, an adaptation of a novel by French poet Victor Hugo, tells the story of the famous June Rebellion, also known as the Paris Uprising of 1832, an unsuccessful, anti-monarchist insurrection of French students triggered by the death of revolutionary General Lamarque, which lasted from June 5 to June 6, 1832

I know it was a good movie because I cried.

Besides the gut wrenching story of love and sacrifice that wraps the historical tale, my tears were also induced by how the plot of the movie took me back in time to the series of events that became the fuel subsidy riots starting around this time last year. Surprising as it may sound, as much as I publicly opposed those riots – from a purely intellectual perspective, I privately wished they had succeeded.

Like many other Nigerians, I held the hope that just like the death of General Lamarque, the fuel subsidy riots could be the event that awakens our national consciousness to demand better from our government. I hoped that the awareness efforts of coalitions like EiE would enable the masses would make the leap from fuel subsidy to corruption, but unfortunately very few took the bait.

In a sob story we all know too well, as soon as the government felt strong enough to follow its rotten carrots of false promises with sticks of state sponsored violence the insurrection was squelched.

As much of a failure as the fuel subsidy riots were, one benefit of that experience were the many lessons about why that effort to free the Nigerian mind failed.

Yet, at the same time, one of my biggest disappointments in the past year is how little of these lessons have come to light. I haven’t seen any detailed in-depth analysis around the events of last January. If you know of any, feel free to correct my ignorance in the comments section.

I was hoping some of our more perceptive journalists or political analysts would use the opportunity pen a book of as much political significance as Achebe’s “There was a Country” to describe what has changed about the one we have since January 1st, 2012 – but none has, just yet.

Unfortunately, this is Nigeria. If you want something to happen, you have to make it happen yourself. So here is my plea to Nigerian writers. Save us the displeasure of another horrid review of “There was a Country”. Give us an authoritative account of what happened in Ojota and Kano last January. Tell us why the resistance effort failed and what we can learn from it.  Give us a chance to enshrine the lessons of that resistance in our national history for the benefit of those who come behind us

Sixteen years after the June Rebellion, Friedrich Engels would write an article called *The June Revolution : The Course of the Paris Uprising* where he recounted the tactical errors that doomed the June Rebellion. In the same year, 1848, there would be another French revolt – the Third French Revolution – which birthed the French Second Republic

It succeeded.

Perhaps if we can learn the right lessons from failure there is still some reason to hope.



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (3)

  1. Was anxious to read your piece until I read you tag the subsidy protest a "riot". I will not continue to read the story because you either no nothing about what you write and will not even bother to do a proper research before forming an opinion or you are just blind to reality. Either ways, your third paragraph has done enough to put me off!

  2. Nigerians are low in true knowledge and high in ego. If the big news is not made by me, then I'm not interested in having it made at all, says the Nigerian. Check my tweets in real time during the period and you'll know some people without name recognition know a lot more about how to change this country than you with but are not allowed to have their day in the sun


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail