Our Hijacked Revolution

In 2012, the world witnessed Egypt’s Arab Spring.  Young men and women matched at the Tahrir Square to protest the economic and social injustices under the Mubarak’s regime.  The revolutionary fervor rented the air while the world watched.  It quickly became clear to Mubarak that the military was not going to kill the revolution; he had to abdicate the throne in shame.  The interim government that came to power acceded to the demands of the revolution for a free and fair election; it quickly scheduled and supervised the election.  The Moslem Brotherhood won the election.

Revolutions take time, energy and much more!  As Michel de Montaigne wrote, “the fruits of public commotion are seldom enjoyed by him who was the first mover; he only beats the water for another’s net.” Chris Hedges noted that revolutions can be crushed by force, or hijacked by individuals or other movements that betray the revolution.  The revolution against Pharaoh that was started by Moses was completed by Joshua after more than 40 years in the wilderness.  The men and women that threw Mubarak out of office did not match for the theocratic bend of the Moslem Brotherhood.

Months before the election in Nigeria, many of us turned to the social media as we never did before to campaign for change; friendship was defined along political lines.  Many of us that never participated in partisan politics or belong to a political party matched for a political party and remitted money to the account of our favored candidate I Buhari.  In the end, we achieved a feat that had never been attained in Nigeria or even anywhere in Africa before—we changed government from one party to another and without a spill of blood.  Days after the Presidential election, after it became crystal clear that Buhari won, the excitement of our successful revolution, so we thought, rented the air.  Many of us expected the return to the Garden of Eden—the rebirth of a modern Nigeria where corruption and sycophancy would become a feature of the museum.

Little did we remember to protect our hard earned victory or, that revolution can, at times, be hijacked by individuals.  If we were mesmerized beyond any real understanding of the depiction of Snowball and Napoleon by George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.,” we, at least, could have learnt one or two lessons from the trio of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.  We ought not to be surprised by Saraki, Tinubu, Dogara or Atiku.

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Greece’s Stance is Consequential

In 1983, IMF imposed conditionalities on Nigeria. These are set of austere measures, supposed to facilitate the repayment of Nigeria’s external debt. A major point of the austerity measures was for Nigeria to privatize her economy. The argument was that privatization is the only way market efficiency is possible. Buhari, the current president, was Nigeria’s military Head of State at the time. IMF refused to assist without Buhari adhering to all the austere measures. For months, Nigeria’s economy remained paralyzed. Babangida cited the inability of Buhari to reach a consensus with the IMF as one of the reasons for his coup. Other nations that have defied the IMF since then haven’t fared better.

This, is the reason that the stance the Greeks have taken matters. It’s of interest that the two major stumbling blocks to any agreement between Greece and its Creditors are for the Greeks to raise their retirement age above the current 55 years and to raise taxes. The retirement age appears to be the most important. Why?

Life spans in most European countries have increased. Most statistics has plugged it at around 78 years. As such, a Greek that retires at 55 years has another 23 years to collect retirement benefit. Interestingly, most retirement plans are held by private institutions under the privatization mantra of the ’80s. The longer a Greek lives and collects retirement benefit, the less profit the private institutions holding Greece retirement portfolio makes. This is a bridge too long to cross for these big boys, so, Greece stance is untenable. After all, other European nations have increased their retirement age to facilitate adequate profit for these big boys. Even, in America, you’re not qualified for a full retirement benefit if you retire anytime before your 67th birthday. So, I have about ten years to collect retirement benefit rather than the 23 years in Greece.

Greece’s stance is consequential; it’s a new world economic reclassification. Would Greece lead the new world as it led the old? Could Karl Marx be right after all when he predicted the destruction of capitalism by Capitalism?

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