The post independence nationalists’ leaders mainly supervised the transition of a corporate machine set up by Britain. 

Successive leaders continued to treat Nigerians as the workforce of the industrial project. 

They failed to realise and respect the Nigerian people as legitimate entities with fundamental rights to live and thrive with the resources available to them in their communities.

A company state produced by violence can only further yield violent returns. 

COLONIAL HERITAGE: George Hughes, oils and acrylics on canvas, 30 x 24 in, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

The military coups that followed after independence were clearly attempts at capturing or seizing the industrial state. 

The Nigeria-Biafra war and the ongoing terrorism of Boko Haram and the Niger Delta militancy are further pointers to the consequences of the colonial enterprise. 

The Niger Delta people have been emasculated by successive Nigerian leaders and multinational corporations and left to their own devices. 

This despite living in one of the most resource-rich places in the world. 

Their militancy or insurgency is merely a symptom of corporate environmental irresponsibility and degradation.

Other similar groups in the country, left with few livelihood options, are egged on by the idea of Nigeria as a “corporate cake” in which they ought to also seize their share. 

These include gun-wielding kidnappers and marauders.

Then there are corrupt and lawless politicians. 

They spearhead a structure of police and military brutality, poor healthcare, abuse of power, poverty and unemployment. 

They also pursue extractive oil deals with their foreign benefactors, and a systemic discrimination of “outsiders” – those for whom the “corporate cake” was not baked.

                                                    BENJAMIN MAIANGWA.

ODE TO OYA ABOUT ODE TO OYA: Yannis Davy Guibinga. Courtesy gallery Doyle Wham.


The first is that the way in which the protest was organised suggests there is a future for the country. 

The protesters showed empathy and created job opportunities. 

They showed the importance of taking care of people by providing food and drinks for protesters. They treated the injured and provided support for the vulnerable.

They also crowdsourced for funding  and they accounted for the money without needing to set up a committee as their government would do.

FOWARD TOGETHER: Aaron Kan Tamakloe, acrylic on canvas, 74cm x 48cm, 2020. Courtesy of the artist

And they showed that religion, party politics and ethnicity are divisive tools used by the ruling class to keep people divided while they exploit them.

Secondly, they used their protest to show their love for Nigeria. 

They show why people need to speak up against the tyranny of the ruling class.

Thirdly, the protest has woken up many from their slumber to act on the need to reform the Nigerian police.

Lastly, a new wave of rights-demanding citizenship is rising in Nigeria. 

If sustained it could reset the country and make the government responsible, responsive and accountable.

                                                                 OLUDAYO TADE

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