The revolt of the people: From Nigeria to Bahrain and on

February 20th, 2011

MKO Abiola
MKO Abiola

NewsRescue-The then military dictator president of Nigeria, General Badamosi Babangida on June 26th 1993 annulled the June 12, 1993 election, won by the late popular millionaire, MKO Abiola. This election was reportedly the fairest election in Nigeria’s post-colonial history, and it was the biggest mistake the well implanted dictator would ever make.

The riots and protests of the masses immediately followed. The people rose up, and this led to the government detaining the election winner, and his subsequent death in detention. The revolt of the Nigerian masses took a dangerous turn. Nigerians decided they had had enough. People took to the streets, cars were burned and buildings torched. “June 12” became the presidents nemesis. Soon after, the reign of the dictator was over, General Babangida stepped down, or ‘aside’ as he handed over to a civilian transitional government. The 33 year military rule of Nigeria had reached its end.

In the words of a participant of the Nigerian June 12 riots who was at the scene in this picture:

It was fearful, but as soon as you confronted that fear, it melted away. Everyone was out there, students, the young, the old. . . everybody. I missed Wole Soyinka and Gani Fawehinmi’s address’ at Yaba, though.

Nigerians rioting after Abiola's death
Nigerians rioting after Abiola's death

There is one highlight that’s stands out- As the riots hotted up so IBB’s ratcheted up the level of force employed to break our spirits. But we stood firm, even when columns of tanks began approaching from Ikeja cantonment, we stood resolute, blocked the road with nothing but our bare chests and began chanting. It was a day we stared down an armored column; it pulled up to us, but we never moved an inch and they halted. Guess what? After a tense moment that seemed like forever, the hatch of the lead tank opened and the commander emerged unto the turret, lifted up his uniform and beneath was a t-shirt with MKO’s face emblazoned on it! He asked our permission to proceed just to fulfill the orders he had been given, a massive roar of victory rent the crowd.

That was one hell of a moment, in that instant we knew we had won. There is no ecstasy to rival the feeling, there is a beauty when a crowd moves, thinks, feels and behaves as one. Those were the days, it was a heady time and seeing IBB off was the icing; it was my first ever accomplishment as a young adult.  – member

How popular people’s revolutions bring success

The power is with the people much more than they usually know. Every government can easily be changed by popular uprising. There are several ways people uprising depose governments. Firstly, their uprising causes enough instability and fear that leads to the crumbling of the leadership. Secondly, there always are disenfranchised subordinates at all levels in Governments, with continued unrest, these elements who usually have their eyes on taking over top leadership start to create rifts, or are feared of this. This accelerates the resignation of the leader for fear of being overthrown by military internal coup. Furthermore, external pressure or fear of external pressure also makes popular peoples’ revolutions successful. Then there are other factors, including leaderships conforming with the reality that even if they remain in power, the have lost international credibility, etc.


These factors led to the success of the Nigerian revolution, the first successful peoples’ revolution in recent times, and then came Tunisia’s revolution, and next Egypt’s Tahrir square revolution, which brought to end a 30 year US supported reign of dictator, Mubarak.

Libya’s dictator is being toppled, and reports have it that he has fled the country, now in violent chaos. Bahrain, another staunch US ally in the Middle East, location of the US’ fifth military fleet is experiencing unprecedented riots.

Of course revolutions can not be listed without giving mention to the 1979 grand Iran revolution that ousted US puppet- Shah’s regime. And without expecting and predicting inevitable revolution in Saudi Arabia, a nation that has been held by US empowered terrorist dictators for generations.

The cause of the current revolts

Food. Indeed food shortage globally is the single cause of the revolts across the Middle East and Africa. According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, the global price of food hit a new record high last December. Prices of staples have increased 100% as deserts encroach and Wall street gambles up prices. Sadly, these are not terminal riots, but simply the beginning of continued unrest and rioting world wide. When the people see that their lack of jobs and hunger are not resolved, they will again take to the streets. Until and unless western policies on agriculture are changed, this is the course of global events to come as predicted by economic and agriculture experts.

Related: NewsRescue-Obama mum on Gaddafi


  • US support for democracy is subjective.
  • According to the US- there are good dictators and there are bad dictators. Mubarak was a ‘good dictator’, and Obama supported him till his the peoples resilience was undoubted. The hallmark of this uprising is its centering in US-backed autocratic regimes across the Middle East and North Africa.
  • When a few claiming to be Muslims act criminal, Islam in entirety is blamed for being a terrorist religion, when a multitude of Muslims act righteous and demand justice and self empowerment, Islam is not credited with their determination and resistance of evil, but rather facebook is given the credit, for being the means. Though they stopped to pray at every point of their riots.
Egyptian protestors sprayed as they pray
Egyptian protesters sprayed as they pray