There are two major developments today. First, the NLC has asked for a “suspension” (i.e. end) to the nation-wide labor strike and encourages all Nigerians to return to work tomorrow, despite that the price of fuel was not returned to its previous price. The federal government had stated last week that the N141 per liter price was non-negotiable but agreed with the NLC over the weekend on N97. The NLC also reiterated its call for an end to street demonstrations (although the demonstrations began before the NLC became publicly involved and most were planned and implemented independently of the NLC anyway).
Second, although the number and intensity of protests across the country lessened, today saw the strongest suppression of demonstrators yet. Police clamped down harshly on marchers (led by the former governor) in the northern city of Kano and President Jonathan deployed soldiers to disperse the remaining demonstrators in Lagos. Soldiers fired live rounds into the air and around the crowds. There were no fatalities. Additionally, state security forces stormed the CNN and BBC offices in Lagos, presumably to stop those news sources from reporting on the protests.
The Joint Action Front, the organizational force behind Occupy Nigeria in Lagos, has promised to sustain their protests.
Occupy Nigeria is over for the most part I think, and it is due to relative deprivation. Relative deprivation occurs when expectations (e.g. of standard of living) outpace capacities (e.g. to earn an income). In the long-term, the removal of the subsidy pales in comparison to other hardships this country has endured, and cannot be compared to many other injustices under previous regimes. Today’s Nigerians may compare themselves to Nigerians living under the economically inept administration of Obasanjo or the oppressive dictatorship of Abacha and be comparably thankful for Jonathan. Nigerians have low expectations of their government because the government so frequently under performs, thus rising fuel prices are not shocking enough to galvanize prolonged resistance. In the short-term, Nigerians spent last week bracing themselves for doubled fuel prices, making it easier to accept a 50% increase this week. So long as expectations remain low, the state will not disappoint its citizens enough to incite sustained opposition.
I’m really impressed with your powers of observation. ‘So long as expectations remain low, the state will not disappoint its citizens enough to incite sustained opposition’. You’ve put it very succintly.
I believe in my mind that a lack of education plagues Nigeria more than anything else; It is said “to operate a proper democracy, you must educate the people”, how true. Rather than low expectations, the people of Nigeria have no expectations at all, simply because they have not been schooled on what to expect (their rights and privileges), and those who have the opportunity to do so ignore the chance and chase after emptiness and shadows. There are those amongst us, who through dubious means have maneuvered their way into privilege positions, they have kept and still seek to keep the majority of the people in darkness so as to maintain their privileged positions. Martin Luther King Jr. said about such genus, “privileged groups never give up their privileges without great struggles”. While Nigeria has gained her independence, she is yet to gain her freedom. Freedom is not a cheap thing, it is paid for with sacrifice and suffering, and make no mistake, freedom can never be gained without determined struggle. Our cry ought to be freedom, freedom!!!.