REFLECTION ON THOMAS SANKARA’S LEGACY AND NIGERIA’S #ENDPOLICEBRUTALITY PROTESTS
On this day in 1987, Burkina Faso’s President Thomas Sankara was assassinated.
Before I tell you about Sankara, let me ask a few questions that I hope might help put these #Endersars protests in perspective, explain the people’s anger, and why I honestly hope it spirals into a full fledge #RevolutionNow protests that could even sack Buhari if possible and give way for the rebirth of a new Nigeria!
Why is the world’s arguably richest continent in terms of natural resources have some of the world’s poorest people?
Why is a country so blessed like Nigeria, whose citizens are some of the best in almost every feild of human endeavor across the world, have an intellectually handicapped, anachronistic simpleton like Buhari as president?
Why should we, with all our resources and raw materials be the ones indepeted to the West that buys from us? Think about this, I own the farm, I own the yam, but I can’t eat pounded yam, and even if I must, I’ll have to pay so much to do so!
Why is it that we don’t manufacture any weapons, yet Africa is in turmoil and conflicts, sometimes fighting over mundane issues, with the same weapons manufactured abraod, while the countries in which they are manufactured are at peace?
There is no other way to understand these things today without considering the history of our continent, of our country! And yet history is outlawed in our schools!
Now, we may choose to ignore this, but the sordid story of the enslavement of black Africa gave way to another equally brutal system, one that elicits even less public sympathy, a system of oppression, that is based on greed, divide and rule, kill and share, .Oney bag politics, lack of respect for human rights and dignity, which was handed a tiny clique by the white supremacists system that colonised us, that’s the system our police and our politicians still operates, with the tacit or direct support of powerful Westerns interest, till this day…
This system has continued to throw up the worst of us as leaders, shortchanging our people, from unfair intellectual property laws, to trade deals that force our countries to open up their markets to the rich world’s surplus production, destroying local agriculture and manufacturing in the process, to a total erosion of our moral values, the weaponization of poverty so that the political class gives peanut to voters every election cycle and so on…
This system ensures despots and puppets are installed in African countries, that revolutionaries who seek to challenge the status quo and call for a just society, from Kabila, Mugabe, Nyerere, Gaddafi, to Nkruma just name it, are either demonized or killed.
Look at Nigeria for example, the most populous country in Africa, the most populous black nation on Earth, a country that should be a shining example to others especially the black world, being ruled by a Buhari, a man who’s not even qualified to be a LGA councillor! See us, we are ravaged by terror, poverty, corruption, and a dangerous religious fanaticism.
Look at everything happening today, I need not mention any, Nigerians, even those with half a brain or children born today, know nothing works here.
Why should the youth not protest? Tell me why? Why should anyone who’s not an outpatient of a psychiatric ward not feel anger with the way things are today?
Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain who, by 33 years he had already gotten the military training he needed and rose to be president, and sought to change his country, starting with the name Burkina Faso!
He vaccinated 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles in a matter of weeks! He initiated a nation-wide literacy campaign, increasing the literacy rate from 13% in 1983 to 73% in 1987. He planted over 10 million trees to prevent desertification, built roads and railways to tie the nation together, without any foreign aid or, please take note of that!
He was the first African leaders to appoint females to high governmental positions, encouraged them to work, recruited them into the military, and granted pregnancy leave during education. He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy in support of Women’s rights…
He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers. He reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets. He redistributed land from the feudal landlords and gave it directly to the peasants…and I can go on and on…
But in October 1987, after a very short time in power, soldiers with Western backing, like they do with every other leader who sincerely wants to change thier nations, had him killed…
Buhari does not mean well for Nigeria, he’s a puppet, he would end up leaving this country worse than he met it.
This protests should go on, they should transcend the #Endsars protests and make real serious demands that will better our nation.
We must demand that the West support the people…and the youths must continue to lead this charge, then in 2023 by the grace of God, we must all come out enmass, contest for positions, and youths should support youths.
THIS IS THE ONLY WAY!
God bless Nigeria.
Albert Afeso Akanbi is a writer, documentary filmmaker and humanitarian. He writes from Abuja, FCT, Nigeria.