Government over an alleged plot by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari’ s administration and the concerns over a looming uprising amid the prevailing insecurity, political and socio – economic challenges .
During the build – up to the 2015 general elections, there were serious arguments about the possibility of a disintegration of Nigeria .
This , primarily , followed the prediction by a former United States Ambassador to Nigeria , John Campbell , that the country might not exist beyond 2015 .
While the former ruling Peoples Democratic Party was interested in retaining the presidency , the All Progressives Congress , which was the major opposition party at that time , focused on unseating ex – President Goodluck Jonathan at the polls .
In view of the hate speeches by desperate politicians that dominated the electioneering at that time and the tension generated therein, concerns grew that disgruntled individuals and groups could take up arms against the state and spark a widespread riot , uprising or revolution , if the presidential election result did not favour them .
But not only was Campbell ’ s prediction severally criticised and dismissed , such concerns also disappeared as soon as the elections were won and lost .
However , the destructive concept seemed to have resurfaced with the recent alarm raised by the Federal Government and military .
Specifically, they claimed that some groups or individuals were allegedly plotting to destabilise the country and make it ungovernable few days to the May 29 inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term .
On May 14 , the Defence Headquarters was reported to have issued a statement dissociating the Armed Forces of Nigeria from the circulation of a document which allegedly called for the overthrow of the Buhari administration .
It accused a group , “ Nigerian Continuity and Progress, ” of calling for a revolution and the creation of what it described as “ an illegitimate interim government ” .
The statement by the Deputy Director of Defence Information , Capt .
Muhammed Wabi, read in part, “The Armed Forces of Nigeria wishes to dissociate itself from the rascality and intentions as espoused in a document being circulated by a faceless group named Nigerian Continuity and Progress calling for support of a revolution to oust the current democratically elected government and in its place establish an illegitimate interim government .
The AFN outrightly (sic ) condemns the undemocratic and demonic actions of the author of the document. ”
Two days later , the Nigeria Police said they had uncovered plans by some individuals masquerading as climate and environmental activists to carry out coordinated attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region and other states .
As a result , the Inspector -General of Police , Mohammed Adamu , according to a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer , DSP Frank Mba , ordered police commissioners and other field commanders to take steps aimed at “ neutralising these subversive threats and bringing the plotters to book , ” in order to preserve the “ sanctity of our political freedom and democracy . ”
Similarly, the Department of State Services said that it was aware that the NCP earlier accused by the Defence Headquarters was collaborating with “ a body of subversive agents and adversaries of the Nigerian State” to cause disaffection among Nigerians .
The Federal Government had 24 hours earlier, said that it had ‘ credible evidence” to back up its outcry that the opposition was planning to “ sabotage the President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s administration , generally overheat the polity and make the country ungovernable ”.
Last Saturday , it reaffirmed it had “credible evidence” to support its claim that the opposition PDP was planning to “ sabotage the Buhari administration ”.
Speaking at the 2019 edition of his annual Ramadan lecture held in Oro , Kwara State, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed , said , “ Our interventions are based on credible evidence and no government with the kind of evidence that we have , of plans to subvert the power of the state , attack the nation ’ s economic live wire and generally unleash mayhem on the polity , will keep quiet. ”
However , the PDP and its presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar , denied the accusations .
The opposition party threatened to take legal action against the Federal Government and Mohammed for accusing the party and its candidate of “ beating drums of war . ”
On Thursday , Atiku alleged that “ some unscrupulous elements ” across the country were accusing him and top members of the PDP of being the sponsors to cause some upsets .
But while such claims by opposing political forces are not new in the country, some Nigerians believe that an uprising may be instigated by the downtrodden in the Nigerian society who feel dissatisfied by the performance of their political leaders or the ruling elite .
The wind of economic hardship blowing across the country has continued to aggravate the suffering of the less privileged who do not have access to quality health care , education and housing.
It took years for Nigerian workers to win the battle for a review of the national minimum wage from N 18, 000 to N 30 , 000 while political office holders and top government officials enjoyed huge allowances and salaries .
A recent report that 469 legislators , who will form the ninth National Assembly , would receive N 4 . 68bn as welcome package to assist them in sorting out their accommodation and furniture issues set tongues wagging and piqued many Nigerians.
The Senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly , Mr Dino Melaye , expressed fear over what he described as the “ revenge of the poor ” in a tweet last Friday , when he said , “I am afraid of the revenge of the poor , It ( sic ) happened in Russia ,
France and recently in Sudan . Housing segregation puts (sic ) us the elite in jeopardy . Ikoyi , Banana, Maitama, Asokoro etc (sic ).
Our leaders + ( sic ) me beware of violent revolution . Perilous times loading. ”
Similarly, a former Secretary -General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria , Rev. Fr . George Ehusani , had in a sermon delivered at the Chapel of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation and uploaded on
You Tube , lamented that Nigerian leaders did not share in the plight of the poor by providing quality and affordable education , health care and electricity but use the collective resources of the masses to provide for themselves and members of their families.
Ehusani stated, “ Now, we have people who conquer us ; they conquer us then they take the resources of our land to re -conquer us and remain there and it becomes difficult to move them out of power.
But some day, some day, as I always say , the revenge of the poor is at the corner .
“ And that one , you will not be able to do anything about it . It happened in France ; it happened in Russia ; it has just happened in Sudan – it will happen here.
“ Unless we change our course , we will end up where we are heading and where we are heading now , unfortunately, is a violent revolution . ”
But some stakeholders argued that while socio- economic and political problems , including corruption , were factors that could force an oppressed citizenry to wage a “war ” against the elite , it was not characteristic of the downtrodden in Nigeria to collectively rise against their leaders and the government and demand good governance as recorded in other countries .
The Executive Director , Foundation for Good Governance and Social Change , Austin Osakue , said that although revolution could only be carried out by that class of Nigerians, going by the prevailing challenges in the country, he did not believe that such move could happen any time soon .
Osakue explained, “ If there is going to be any uprising or , to use the fancy word , revolution , it ’ s not going to be because of the conflict between the APC and the PDP , there is only one political party in this country and that is the party of the elite .
“ So , if there is going to be an uprising or a revolution , it will be an uprising by the downtrodden .
It will happen at a point where the people realise that they have been pushed to the wall and that they can no longer hope that those who make laws , who implement laws and who interpret laws can continue to defend their interest .
He added , “ On the flip side, I have personally held the opinion that Nigeria is a unique creation of God , unique in the sense that the things that have happened in the country and nothing has come as a way of protest , let alone an uprising , far outweigh the things that have happened in other societies and have turned the societies around .
“ So , in this country, we tend to give the lie to the statement that when people are push to the wall , they fight back ; in Nigeria , when we are pushed to the wall , they burrow a hole through the wall and pass through to the other side .
So , in fairness, I do not see an uprising in the near future ; I do not see it in my lifetime. ”
Osakue described the diatribe between the two major political parties as an alleged “ struggle for power to go and loot” .
He, however , noted that the division among Nigerians along religious, ethnic and tribal lines was a cause for concern .
He argued , “ It (financial mismanagement ) is turn – by -turn unlimited – one party goes there, finishes looting and then another one gets in and continues the same process ; it is a Yo- Yo game .
Never in the history of this country has the rate of unemployment been as high as it is today .
“ This is what should scare us . We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder. So , if there is an uprising, it will be an uprising of the downtrodden and it will not be organised ; it will be spontaneous, it will be confusing , there will be a conflagration and the benefit will be for nobody.
“ I just hope that this doesn’ t come before our leaders see their way clearly to re -engineer this country by way of a credible restructuring that will put resources where they belong, entrench good governance and provide transparency and accountability so that budgets are tracked , money is voted for something and used for that thing . ”
A security expert , Dr Ona Ekhomu , said that the security challenges witnessed in several parts of the country were not necessarily signs of an impending revolution .
This is just as he noted that the country had strong cultural standards of social behaviour that could make a nationwide movement against the government a daunting endeavour .
Ekhomu said , “ So , it ’ s very difficult in a social system like ours , with our cultural norms , for you to have a mass uprising by the citizenry .
It doesn ’ t happen like that; what will happen is that people will grumble and, hopefully , the leaders will listen and make adjustments by strengthening the police and the military .
“ The risk of an uprising by the citizenry because of social factors is low.
With the outcry of the citizenry about their current conditions , there is a likelihood that the government will make adjustments and, perhaps , even reduce the crime index to the level that it will be acceptable to the citizenry and the public will not on their own rise up. ”
In view of the current state of affairs in Nigeria , there is a shared perception that the second term of President Buhari provides a final opportunity for his administration to abide by its social contract with the masses that elected him to serve .
Nigerians are watching to see what his administration will bring to the table .