A call by National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has resurfaced in the heat of the debate on the semantics of the use #RevolutionNow for the organisation of series of protests against bad governance in Nigeria.
Tinubu made the call five years ago on September 29, 2014, in a statement titled, ‘A Return to Decency’.
Omoyele Sowore, human rights activist and pro-democracy campaigner was abducted Gestapo-style and taken to Abuja by the Department of State Services (DSS) on August 3, 2019, for using the phrase #RevolutionNow to plan peaceful demonstrations.
Tinubu’s comments which were reported in national newspapers such as The Punch, DailyPost, PM News, The Nation as well as other news platforms.
When SaharaReporters conducted research on Wednesday, however, The Punch, The Nation, and DailyPost had deleted the online version of the story.
But Punch made the error of leaving behind a 2014 tweet which it posted after publishing the story on Twitter.
Tinubu calls for revolution http://t.co/zjxjX6iU5R
— The Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) September 30, 2014
The story was tweeted on the verified Punch Newspaper Twitter page, @MobilePunch, at exactly 12:36 pm on September 30, 2014.
The 2014 call by the leader of the APC did not attract operatives of the DSS and was not regarded by the Goodluck Jonathan administration as a treasonable felony.
In the report, Tinubu described the 16 years of PDP rule at the federal level as a period of steady decline into disaster.
He said, “The longer they rule, the less benefit the people derive.”
The Punch report quoted Tinubu as saying, “Nigeria now needs a ‘common sense revolution’, a revolution that calls forth a return to decency, probity, transparency of process and fairness in outcome.“
“This is done not by subterfuge, divide and rule and turning Nigeria in a field of discord or a street of broken institutions.
“It is accomplished by honouring the principles of democratic good governance and economic justice.
“It is done by persuading the people they are better off as one instead of better off tearing at one another’s throats.“Nigerians should be prepared for change.
“We must rescue Nigeria from those set to cause it irreparable harm. The change I talk about is the only route to our deliverance from 16 years of the PDP locusts.”
He described Jonathan’s transformation agenda as an avenue to siphon funds through a dubious blueprint.
Tinubu stated, “They do not have a national blueprint or vision. They do have a blueprint and vision for excessive self-enrichment.
“Their equation is simple: You work, they feast. You toil, they grow fat. You seek a decent wage; they pilfer the collective treasury to enjoy a king’s ransom.”
Other popular Nigerians in the past had also called for a revolution.
On November 30, 2018, Kingsley Moghalu, presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party in 2019 in an interview with The Guardian called for young people to “rise up for a revolution in 2019”.
Popular Nigerian televangelist, Tunde Bakare, and running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 presidential election on April 3, 2016, called for a revolution to correct the current “leakages in government”.
In a story reported by The Punch, Bakare had said: “While appreciating the positive developments in our democratic experience, especially the attempts by past and current governments to eliminate systemic leakages, I shall seek to prove that, by a fair preponderance of the credible evidence, the state of the nation calls for a revolution.
“This is a revolution that transcends politics or policies; a revolution that means far more than any change of government; a revolution that means a radical reformation of values as they impact upon the social, economic and political landscapes of our nation.”
On May 15, 2019, the Nigerian senate debated a “poverty-triggered revolution in the country” following a motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi.
In a report by PremiumTimes, Utazi had affirmed: “The Senate recognises that what we are witnessing today is a culmination of long years of neglect of the welfare and future of younger generations and unwillingness by both the government and the elites to plan for the future, or read the signs of upheaval.
“Today, the chicken has returned home to roost: the downtrodden are revolting. Hitherto docile beggars have risen in arms forcing those with powers of patronage to beg for safety. The elites are being attacked. We have in our hands a dictatorship of the beggars, fuelled by drugs and poverty,
“What we are witnessing is not a spike that will go away. It is the incipient seeds of a revolution and we need to concertedly handle it with care.”
SaharaReporters, New York