Tomorrow, 6 February had been highly anticipated as pop music star, Tuface Idibia (2Baba) had called for nationwide protests against the Federal Government for the rising economic hardship in the country. The protests were billed to be huge as civil society groups, most especially EnoughIsEnough (EiE) had joined him in the desire to protest and they had a huge section of the Nigerian populace behind them.
That is why it was quite disappointing when Tuface announced that the protests had been cancelled due to what he called “security challenges”. This is especially after the government had asked him to air his grievances via a national broadcast rather than the protests for the same reason, and the police warning against it after initially promising security and even the Lagos State Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni moving to ban it in his state.
Although he has decided not to join the protests due to personal security concerns, we must commend Tuface for taking the lead to come out and desire to protest against the government. For a public personality and especially one who is one of Nigeria’s most beloved celebrities, it must have been a tough decision knowing there would be many who would not support him.
Indeed, there have been many attacks on him regarding his motivation and even his personal life inferring that he is not fit to protest against the government. There is the likely loss of revenue for him as those politically inclined towards the government could have blacklisted him from performing at their events. But it is despite all of this that he trudged on based on his convictions. Kudos to you, Tuface Idibia.
EnoughIsEnough and other civil society organizations must also be applauded for throwing their weight behind the protests and leveraging Tuface’s celebrity status to organise people. One might have asked why they were not the ones in the lead but a call for protests from them would unlikely have gotten the momentum it did coming from a music star, especially one with the standing of Tuface.
Nonetheless, they brought their organisational acumen to give the protests better planning and coordination based on their experience with protests and rallies, starting with the first one in early 2010 during the impasse in the Presidency caused by the illness of late President Umaru Yar’adua.
The government and its supporters might be glad they got away this time by avoiding the huge negative publicity, locally and internationally that might have resulted from this protest, but one thing they cannot deny is knowing how huge sections of the electorate feel about the situation in the country.
The discontent that has been pouring out from many parts of Nigeria has definitely shattered whatever bubble they are in as a result of power. It has drowned out whatever sycophantic praises shouted and whispered into their ears by the myriad of “support groups” that crop up irrespective of whoever is in power.
It is now up to the government to listen to these voices of discontent and do everything it can to reverse the situation. This is, after all, the reason they were elected to steer the affairs of this country for four years. It will be a disastrous mistake if they wave off these complaints as the work of the opposition or disgruntled elements.
And finally, to Nigerians: never stop expressing yourself no matter how unpopular they may be. Always find the courage to say how you feel about the state of affairs of your country in every way possible as long as it is within the ambit of the law.
Remember that you hold the most powerful office in this democracy – the Office of the Citizen. Do not be disappointed, and do not be discouraged. Nation building is a long term construction, that goes beyond the persons of Goodluck Jonathan or Muhammadu Buhari. We are, all, still on course.
Creative mind. Enthusiast. Learner. Multipotentialite. And here, an assistant editor.