Sowore on CNN: Nigerians still waiting for their ‘African Spring’

Jan. 14, 2013

Editor’s note: Nigerian Omoyele Sowore is the publisher of groundbreaking New York-based African news website Follow him at @YeleSowore and @SaharaReporters.

(CNN) — Twelve months ago, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan gave his people a bizarre New Year present: he announced the immediate removal of fuel subsidies. The controversial measure meant that, quite suddenly, citizens were to pay as much as three times the usual price for gasoline.

Nigerians were outraged. They filled the nation’s streets in protest. The coalition was broad: young and old, female and male, poor and (some) rich. Their action, often spontaneous but orchestrated by labor leaders, amounted to a fierce rebuke to Jonathan’s administration.

Related: Nigerian youth organize a revolution by the ballot: SovereignNationalParty political movement

The government’s unilateral decision was a recipe for new levels of extreme hardship for the poor, taxed already by low wages, ballooning unemployment, a high cost of living, shambling infrastructure — and the Olympian greed of the elite class.

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