From the time of the French Revolution to the Arab spring until the recent EndSars revolt, elites globally have had something in common, a sense of fear of what aggrieved masses can do.
Amongst the people of a country, some are usually in charge of the transactions carried out on behalf of the entity, such as negotiating trade, declaring war, and determining which other country to relate with. These people and their networks are regarded as elites.
From Iron fisted uniform rule to ‘auto-democratic’ rule, almost since the exit of the colonialists, Nigerian masses have had to deal with a successive set of tough-skinned elite classes who have zero or no pity for them. However, there seemed to have been a balance of force, looking at the series of revolts the country has witnessed over time.
Moreover, how the Nigerian elite class at various times when Nigerian masses revolt or even attempt, have reacted, discloses their insecurity. The massacre of Endsars protesters at the Lekki toll gate and the violent clampdown on Revolutionnow protests which led to the arrest and illegal detention of Sowore, its leader, all bear witness to the jitteriness of this sinful group.
Even when there is no cause for alarm, these elites sought extra protection for themselves by disproportionately distributing security agents in their favour and leaving the masses almost unprotected. We daily see how their territories – the Lekkis and the Asokoros are extravagantly littered by armed to the teeth men. It is unsurprising, the wicked flee when no one pursues.
What is their fear? Why can’t a common local government chairman go out without a Police cover? Well, it is true what the Yoruba people say: there is no how we will – even expertly – cook ‘Ebolo’ that it will not reek of stench. Less than a quarter of a country of 200 million population can not be dining and wining and the rest sleep empty-bellied and we expect those behind the unevenness to sleep with all eyes closed – Impossible.
How are the elites to blame if many are poor? Is it not a question of destiny, some may argue? Yes, it’s a dictation of destiny; an ugly fate written by decades of mismanagement of our collective resources. It is not a secret, Nigeria has raked in over 200 billion dollars since it began trading oil. What is to show for it? Her declaration as the capital of world poverty. As if the economic marginalisation is not enough, this sinful class would also continue to unleash their ‘Mai guards’ – police and soldiers – to leave sorrow tears and blood (their regular trademark) on the streets of common Nigerians.
If we may ask, where is the money Nigeria has been making? It has and continues to pipe down to the pocket of these elites – the big ogas, the ex-governors, ex-military rulers and their patronage networks. They have it stacked and only use it to enthrone who they want as the next rulers in what is the most brute form of corruption: ‘clientelism’.
A hungry man is short-fused: this we all know and agree. Should we still inquire into the reason for the level of violence witnessed on the streets of Nigeria? – South down to the North. The bloody-eyed ‘Eyes’, ‘Aiyes’ and the ‘Bello Turjis’ of this world are born of long years of marginalisation by these elites and we are yet to rest of these ugly births. The ones quick to vandalize bank properties or the ones willing to set fire to Oriental hotels; are all retorts to decades of arm-twisting.
But as it is customary of the ones who the gods will destroy, they will first go mad, and so is it with Nigerian elites. Instead of curing the poverty in town, they would still go ahead to make the naira scarce, adding to the existing pain of those they relegated to the bottom end of society.
There is no magic to edit the condition subsequent; when the potential lawyers and doctors that they left as street urchins come of age, heads will roll down from the guillotine, pikes will hang some, and justice will take a crude form – it will leave the bourgeois courts to live on the street square. As the clock hand points it, it is quarter to revolution.
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