Posted by: zebbook | January 6, 2012

REPORT OF THE #OCCUPYNIGERIA PROTEST HELD AT OSOGBO, OSUN STATE ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 2012

#OccupyNigeria #Osogbo Day I

 

Note: Names of individuals and civil society groups involved in this protest were not mentioned in this report for security reasons.

 

PROTEST SONGS:

He’s a thief, He is!

He’s a thief

Goodluck is a thief

Chase him out

He’s a thief, He is!

(repeat for Iweala, Sanusi, Diezani et al)

 

Goodluck ti se wa                            Goodluck has offended us

Goodluck ti fo wa je                         Goodluck has let us down

Awa masses pada leyin re               We masses have withdrawn our support for him

Omi lo ma gbe e lo/                         Death by drowning is his ultimate fate/

Ori lo ma fo e pa                              An incurable headache is now is lot

 

L’ofe l’ofe ni Baba fun wa               Freely freely was it given us by God

L’ofe l’ofe ni Baba fun wa               Freely freely was it given us by God

Petiroolu ti won ng f’owo le            The fuel we are being made to suffer for

L’ofe l’ofe ni Baba fun wa               Freely freely was it given us by God

 

Gbogbo agbara, gbogbo agbara                      All the Power, the Ultimate Power

Masses l’owo yin lo wa                                  Is in the hands of you masses

K’osi lowo Goodluck, ko si lowo Okojo rara     Goodluck and Okonjo are power tenants

Gbogbo agbara, gbogbo agbara                       All the Power, the Ultimate Power

Masses l’owo yin lo wa                                   Is in the hands of you masses

 

Today’s #OccupyNigeria Protest at Osogbo, Osun State started with a 7am meeting by all Unit Leaders at Ayetoro Junction. There we prayed for the success of the protest, and more importantly, the safety of all who would participate in it. Thereafter we started putting calls through to all those we had mobilized during the week to get out of bed and #Occupy! We also wrote on placards and got all the leaflets ready. The security unit went ahead to welcome the team of Policemen that were assigned to the protest by the State Police Commissioner, who we met with earlier in the week.

 

Comrades started trooping in from all over the town and even beyond, the teams from Federal Polythecnic, Ede; Osun State Polytechnic, Iree; and Osun State College of Technology, Esa-Oke arrived, we had a short inter-denominational prayer session and the protest began in earnest. We moved from Ayetoro Junction to Igbona Market where we stayed for some minutes to mobilize and sensitize the market people and those living in that environ. From there we moved to the popular Ajegunle Area. Here motor spare-part sellers who occupy this area joined us, all expressing their displeasure at government’s decision to remove subsidy from petroleum products without considering the hardship it would pile on the already heavy-laden common man. They told us how their businesses have been hampered since Monday and admitted most of them would have to close up shop if the decline in patronage continues.

 

It is worth noting up till this point in our protest we had no confrontations with the police team following us in about 30 pick-up vans. Also, traffic slowed down as our people occupied the roads and motorists and motor-cyclists had to patiently pick their ways through the crowd, but we didn’t stop, or try to stop, them from going their ways. We only gave them leaflets and educated them as they went by us.

 

However, all these changed when we got to the busy Old Garage area. We decided to #Occupy the entire area and vehicular movement had to be put on hold. Here, we addressed the now enormous crowd that had followed us all the way from Ayetoro. We educated them on the concept of fuel subsidy and why it shouldn’t have been a term any Nigerian would be familiar with. It was government’s failure to build functional refineries, as other oil producing nations have done, that led to it having to import fuel and hence subsidize it. We distributed leaflets (in English and Yoruba) to commercial motorcyclists and when one Okadaman was questioned by his passenger if he could read he replied: “I can’t read, but my son can and he will read it to me when I get home. That’s why I sent him to school”

 

At this point a long queue of motorcycles and vehicles had formed from the three roads leading to this area. An Officer then told one of the comrades that we were impeding the rights of other citizens and we could get arrested for that. The comrade got angry and said: “What right? What right? There is no RIGHT in Nigeria, we only have LEFT”. This hilarious and witty play on words got everybody around amused, including the Officer, and the issue was forgotten. Indeed what RIGHT is LEFT for the citizens on of a democratic nation whose President makes decisions that directly go against the WILL and WISH of the people.

 

A team of stern-looking mobile Policemen arrived just as we were about leaving Old Garage, the Officer in charge said his men were under orders from “above” to disperse the protesters. Our leaders and the Officer in charge of the team that had followed us from Ayetoro addressed him and they went their way. We then headed for Olaiya Junction, the core of the city and our Tahrir Square for the protest, where another team of comrades had been waiting for us. We got to Olaiya Junction and COMPLETELY Occupied the entire area. We stopped vehicular movements from the four two-laned roads leading to this junction. We went around with placards and leaflets, educating and sensitizing the people on the fuel subsidy issue, wastage in government, particularly at federal level and other pertinent issues. We flew our banners and urged the men and women sitting in their cars, the Okada men and their passengers to join us, a few did. We held a mock inter-denominational religious session, where we turbaned an Imam and anointed a Pastor, both of whom then led us in raining curses on Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, all his ministers and IMF.

 

Confrontations began to occur here between our men and the Okada men, their passengers and car owners who we didn’t allow to move. We quickly formed a Crisis Response Unit and sent them around to defuse the situations, but the No-Movement Order still stood. We then allowed the representatives of all the groups involved to talk and educate the large crowd that had formed here. We started informing the people that today was just a test transmission protest and that full broadcast would start on Monday. Operation Total Paralysis was the term we used.

 

After all the group leaders had spoken, we formed large circles and started singing our protest songs, dancing happily. It was a que the crowd took well, it could as well have been the part they were waiting for. And it was just as this point that popular Osogbo-born artiste Okonfo Rao-Kawawa joined us with his troupe and they provided the entertainment the crowd sought. Grumbles from our “enemies” in traffic rose and we dispersed the crowd so as not to overstay our welcome, informing our people to join us again on Monday. Special mention goes to a 65 year old retired school principal and a vibrant 9 year old Primary Six pupil that we has in our team today.

 

OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

A few of the men with us today saw the protest as fun. They wanted to catch “trips” and be seen on the street by their girlfriends. They came alive during the singing and dancing part and didn’t make themselves available when we really needed them.

We didn’t have a medical team with us. Something we shouldn’t repeat.

We need to maintain the cordial relationship we have so far had with the Police. They have been our friend, so far.

We ran out of leaflets along the line. We should have more than surplus of them for subsequent protests.

We had more confrontations with the people on whose behalf we were protesting than we did with government and its agencies who we are protesting against.

We need to educate the people more on this issue. Osogbo is a city where majority watch the local NTA Station and they are fed full of lies from Jonathan and his team from that source. They have come to believe that Jonathan is still that shoeless boy we saw on TV Stations during election campaigns last year and that fuel subsidy removal is for their good, long-term.

There was another group who weren’t in support of the removal but had accepted it as fate and just wants to continue their sufferings with smiles. They believe governments decisions cannot be challenged by ordinary citizens. We need to educate them on their rights.

 

Comrades, this battle won’t be won by #Occupying the major roads of different cities. Citizenship Education is key to our cause. We have to arrange to go into the streets with leaflets, let’s knock on doors with information on government wastage and let the fury of the people rise against the government. We need to sensitize them on their rights to challenge the government whenever its decisions go against their welfare. This, brethren, is the way forward!

 

By the way, I couldn’t get to type this report on time because there was no light, expectedly.

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Responses

  1. Great job guys. Welldone. I have moved back to Ibadan today due to pressure from loved ones. But like I did to join other youths to #occupy #Ibadan, I’ll keep snicking out of the house to hit the streets. I’ve been telling some family members that those on the streets belong to a family too. Its our time to #occupyNigeria


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