Nigeria: This Revolutionary “Patience” is a Mirage

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anti-fuel scarcity protests in Benin at the end of January marked the beginning of a new wave of protests

In my piece last week, I attempted to paint the picture of a revolutionary ‘patience’ seeming to be at play in Nigeria, as I worried alongside my friend on why the fuel scarcity that had lingered all along from December to January, and even till now February 1, did not automatically lead to protests and mass resistance.

I was proven wrong, and maybe right too, because anti-fuel scarcity protests surfaced the same week, in fact, barely two days after my piece.

On one hand, I was proven wrong because the resistance began earlier than I actually expected. On the other hand, I was proven right because indeed, the “patience” has shownt itself to be an illusion, a mirage. It was never real.

Protesters hit the streets in Benin, the Edo State capital of Nigeria, against rising petrol price which now sells between N300 and N400 per litre, as against the initial and of course equally expensive N165 per litre.

Till Monday, January 29, 2023, youths were still on the streets. Indeed, dialectics is the science of existence. Mass oppression tends to breed popular resistance.

One would have thought that the “patience” analysed in my last article which I and my friend unanimously pinned on fast approaching elections – the people’s “hope for succour” – would last till after the polls. 

However, as things would work out, the fuel scarcity, coupled with the Central Bank’s inconsistency and ill-conceived naira redesign cum cashless policy, which created more hardships as the currency is now scarce, ended up fuelling the bottled anger.

While the momentum builds up towards the much-awaited elections, it is clear that the way out of capitalist exploitation and its foisted hardships on the masses, by its way of continually enriching the rich and further impoverishing the poor, is for the people to combine the struggle at the ballots with the barricades. We shall overcome.

by Gbenga VON

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