The “Babangida Must Go” Protests: A Missed Opportunity for Revolution

Young, obscure student leaders initially led the best chance of a revolution Nigeria had at the University of Benin campus in May 1989. These young leaders staged a protest that became famously known as the “Anti-SAP Riots”. This protest-turned-riot, spilt into Benin-City and rapidly to other cities in Nigeria including Lagos, Port Harcourt and Ibadan. The masses were firmly behind the student protesters. The people bought the persuasive message of the obscene leadership corruption and thoroughgoing military repression. However, it was the rejection of neoliberalism that was mercilessly impoverishing the majority of Nigerians that spurred the citizenry. The people and the student protest were one people with a united aim. The guns of the repressive military regime no longer frightened the masses; they had nothing left to lose.

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Are Buhari’s Fears a Signal of the End of Nigeria?

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In December 1984 my late father made a remark that I could not understand at the time, he said, “the leaders of Nigeria will know no fear till the [oil] money runs out”. It was not until July 2000 that my father told me that the idea was proposed by his friend, the late Claude Ake. Since the oil boom of the early 1970s, no Nigerian head of state has been “afraid” of his watch or patch despite the coup d’états and the instances of serious political instability encountered. Now that the abundance of petrodollars earned from oil has suddenly become seriously scarce President Muhammadu Buhari has become in a pioneering approach, frank, open and expansive about his “fears” in power as presented in a recent missive. Continue reading

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