Brave heart Mohammed Bouazizi’s self immolation in Tunisia will continue to remain the stuff of revolutionary legend in his country and an indictment to every oppressive government around the world. He never courted his gruesome but courageous death. Painful deprivation and climatic resignation catalyzed him into a murderous action that sent him to his eternal home. He realized in the oasis of his gently exhaling life that his leaders, the menacing scoundrels in the government house, would not listen to his bemoaning despair. African leaders are genetic apparition with no common touch for common people like Mo Bouazizi. He is the kind of citizen Africa hates: a protesting, baying and murderous youth who is ready to sacrifice his life for the true freedom of Africa from barbaric servitude unleashed by his own people. In Tunisia, there is millions of Mohammed Bouazizi who are yet to be enticed by death as bedmates in a covenant of perpetual sleep. Before he turned himself into a human canon ball, Mo must have ruminated on the manifest and festering wrongs he was forced to endure as a young man. He must have philosophised like the ancient philosopher Anacharsis who likened laws to cobwebs-strong enough to contain the weak and too weak to restrain the strong. Mo was the delicate tinderbox and the policewoman who slapped and confiscated his fruits turned out to be the matchbox that helped him in his untimely journey of no return.
The policewoman is the strong arm of the law that is too strong to contain by a Mohammed who had been contained and pulverized both in body, soul and spirit. Mo lived in the despotic universe of repression and theocratic Arabized political orthodoxy. Beyond the virulent oppression are many symbols of Maghreb bravery like suicide bombings, self-immolations and massive irruptions against dynastic tin gods who rule over them. Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt are the ancient symbols of courageous resistance in the face of feudal tyranny. Only last week, Egypt was turned into a theatre of war by rampaging mobs. In spite of all the chafing restrictions against their freedom, they hardly enter into an agreeable docility with their oppressors. The Arab mind is not colonized by ephemeral things like Jeep, a house in Lekki and billions in First bank but consumed with the noble grail of martyrdom as seen in the life of Mo Bouazizi. When pushed to the wall and with the death defying mantra of “Allah Wakbr” chanted, an Arab is likely to turn into a nihilist of thunderous dimension. This is not to say that I am glorifying purposeless death, rather I am celebrating martyrdom with a purpose.
Bouazizi’s purposeful martyrdom brought about a political shift that led to the overthrow of corrupt regime of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Ben Ali and his cohorts in many African capitals are murderous villains who have deprived, maimed and killed the destiny of their people. Comparatively, we fared worse in Nigeria than in Tunisia. What the moronic Nigerian lack is the Bouazizian tragic route to protest, revolution and martyrdom. There are more Bouazizis in Nigeria than the naira but we have to isolate courage from the Nigerian Bouazizi and what is left is an empty shell of dozy, zombie, docile and thoroughly moronised fake Nigerian Bouazizi. Everybody wants to drive a Jeep and none wants to die! Now, look across your streets and you are faced with bedraggled Bouazizis on his ‘Jincheng’ and “Boxer” okada. These are the wretched victims of Nigeria’s greed and psychic cruelty. Look again, you will find around the ever busy T-junction a black-clad Nigerian police officer dehumanizing further the pitiable condition of our local Bouazizi through extortion laced with such commanding language fit only for a captive slave.
The Nigerian Bouazizi, a graduate, accepts all insults directed at him with studied silence. They all love to feast on humble pie. Daily, our acquiescing groove is ‘God dey’, ‘I leave it with God’, ‘Nigeria na wa’ and with such jellyfish accommodation of ‘mugunism’, tyranny, poverty, police brutality and social anomie, we in Nigeria must forthwith celebrate the uncommon courage of Mohammed Bouazizi. We have to begin to unravel the centuries of our celebrated shameless docility and acceptance of all political and social evils of our leaders. It is an atrocious scandal that we accommodate the corruption of our demented leaders without finding a closure through sweeping revolution to the aberration.
The ‘okada’ riders, recharge card sellers, jobless youths, thugs, motor park touts, ‘Bolekaja’ drivers, armed robbers, hungry artisans, yahoo yahoo 419ers, gay hunters, ‘gbajumo onijibiti’, ‘olori ebi gbajue’, pure water hawkers, prostitutes, female Aristos and masked assassins are Nigeria’s own Bouazizis but all lacked the inner fire to set off a revolution. A common, passable, innocent and minor police infringement against Bouazizi brought about a timely ‘revo’ in Tunisia. In Nigeria, we are daily being bludgeoned to death, not only through police brutality, but also by governmental corruption and neglect that cry for the spirit of Bouazizian martyrdom.