Nothing they say, kills a nation faster than the political apathy of its citizens, after all, evil men tend to succeed best when good men choose to do nothing.Nigeria as a nation has had its fair share of political apathy from its citizens from time to time and each of these times had always exacted a heavy toll on the nation’s advancement.However, nothing they say, pushes a man to think beyond his limit like suffering, it is only when we are pushed against the wall that we tend to get off our comfortable zone; this has proven to be true in Nigeria because the only thing that has always successfully triggered political activism from her citizens after each slumber of political apathy, is suffering. Whenever the suffering of the masses becomes immense, they tend to get a paradigm shift in mentality and suddenly, they see the need for political activism rather than political apathy.Perhaps the first notable time in the history of Nigeria that suffering made the people stand up was in 1934. Erstwhile, the people had displayed empathy towards politics, turning a blind eye towards the British and accepting whatever was dished to them, provided there was food on their table to eat.But when they started experiencing severe discrimination and oppressions from the British; those who were educated were not given the chance to be included in the government of their own country, they knew something had to be done and the only way forward was to embrace politics together, devoid of ethnic differences and that was when the youths stood up to form the Nigerian Youth Movement (N.Y.M). The Nigerian youth movement became the first genuine nationalist organization which included several youths and people from all the ethnics groups in Nigeria, who were tired of the British rule; these people stood up and so began the series of fight for independence which was won in 1960.Another incidence worthy of note where suffering pushed Nigerians to discard apathy and embrace activism, was in 1991. No one can say for sure if it was the victory of the independence that birthed the political apathy in the people or the fact that both the first and second republic had disappointed them. But one thing was for sure, after eight years of military rule and the first ever practice of diarchy in the country, the citizens had enough and soon, suffering pushed the once quiet and apathy filled citizens into shouts of ‘Babangida must go’ everywhere.Although the victory did not go as planned immediately, but by then, activism had been born in the people and in May 29th, 1999, victory was won as democracy kicked off once again. Perhaps, the most recent case of suffering birthing activism in Nigeria is the EndSARS protest which started in 2017 on twitter. Once again, after the 1999 victory, political empathy began to creep in slowly but surely into the citizens and as usual, evil men used the opportunity to thrive, slowly wrecking havoc on the economy of the system to the point where a nation with so many resources became knee-deep in debt as it is today. But as usual, when the suffering became too much, the people began to see reason once again to embrace political activism; first it started as a movement to end the activities of the brutal police unit called the State Anti-Robbery Squad but when the people saw what they could achieve together, they decided to pursue it further. Now, everywhere you go in Nigeria, you can clearly hear the bells of political activeness ringing with the people shouting ‘Get your PVC’.It is clear that the people have risen as a bear out of hibernation, and are bent on fighting for their right come 2023 and as the other instances when suffering made the nation shake off political apathy to embrace activism, only time will tell how this one will play out, but one thing is for sure- victory is sure for Nigeria for She shall be great again.
A good read on the political activism growth in Nigeria.