It is fourteen days after the OccupyNass campaign meant to press for drastic changes in the legislative arm of Nigerian government. Nigeria’s socio-political tide is distorted and compromised. Cabals and faceless caucuses put to ill-repute the laws of the country, which is manifested in ugly and brazen demeanours that spit on the integrity of the constitution and our democracy. Thus, what bearing can we adduce to the #OccupyNASS protest, which took centre-stage recently?
A decade ago, I would have held an unswerving sentiment that the ‘Occupy National Assembly’ campaign, OccupyNASS, which gained prominence in the media on the 26th April, 2016, was timely and a right step in the right direction to withstand the strides of corruption and abuse of office by politicians. It is rather unfortunate that hardly could a thought be conceived to foster such sentiment in this regard.
The OccupyNASS campaign was undoubtedly a proactive measure to safeguard our democracy and ensure we are on the right track as a nation. But with the nation’s present political landscape, one cannot but question the motive behind a plan of action— OccupyNASS —that is regarded in some quarters as a one-sided face-off against the incumbent Senate President.
In recent times we have witnessed sponsored rallies and protests where NGO’s, social activists and selected few play the pawn to politicians who employ them as mouthpieces and instruments of political witch-hunt.
A robust support package of N400, 000 from unnamed Nigerians was exhausted daily, throughout the campaign as reported by Premium Times. The ‘unnamed Nigerians’ in this picture beg for the authenticity and sincerity of the campaign at the first instance.
The campaign’s convener, Mr. Bunmi Awoyemi, and his cohorts’ demands are in no way subject to disparagement. They demanded a return of newly-acquired Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles by 36 senators, immediate passage of the petroleum industry bill as well as a reversal of all constituency projects proposed in the budget.
They also demanded the resignation of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and swift resolution on the 2016 budget impasse, which with a stroke of providence and President Buhari’s political will, was recently signed into law. These demands are fairly coherent, but how apolitical and nonpartisan their intentions are is debatable.
OccupyNASS might have succeeded in shutting down the National Assembly for a few days, but like preceding movements, it holds no resistance to the whims of misappropriation in high places and abuse of office by political leaders.
Hamid Bakare, Isa Abubakar, Rekiya Sani, Jubril Gadzama, Bunmi Awoyemi and their cohorts have done the best they could with their campaign. It’s now fourteen days after, what’s there to show for the ‘unwarranted solicited attention and the money squandered for four days from ‘unnamed Nigerians?’’
The rot in our nation’s arms of government cannot be resuscitated by mere voices and opinionated stands of selected few on a wild goose chase. To stop oppression in the place of equity and corruption in the place of justice in Nigeria, a non-partisan voice gingered by the love of good leadership, not the love of money as the case of OccupyNASS, is what is desired.
If our nation’s democracy must succeed, pressure groups or civil societies should be neutral or apolitical in their protests in order to guarantee the rights of the common man, promoting equity and justice, and ensuring peace and unity for the sole purpose of leadership and survival of our democracy. However, as long as political offices remain attractive, corruption will always hold sway.