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Monday, January 16, 2012

Occupy till I come....Week 2

We woke up on Monday 17th January 2012 to our President's speech. It was a wash out. A complete disappointment. I burst into tears and have been sad since.  The price of fuel was reduced to N97.00 and the Petroleum Industry Bill would be signed.
That was all. Nothing was said about the budget, corruption or the cost of governance.
Meanwhile, our 'Occupy headquarteres' at Falomo had been overtaken by soldiers.
I guess that wasn't labours mandate. By the time the labour unions called off the strike, I was numb.
However, in my opinion, our five day march wasn't in vain. We showed Government that we could protest peacefully and moving forward, it is time to strategise, get organised and face government with our demands.
We were called out to meet again at 1.00pm at Glover roundabout. Once there, we discussed what we wanted from government, and how it would be achieved. We also organised ourselves into groups.

While we were meeting at Glover, Fashola had made a speech on NTA condemning the occupation of Falomo by soldiers. The full text of all the speeches (President, Labour, Government) are on Sahara Reporters.
Once we had organised ourselves, we insisted on returning to Bourdillon to send the message to Government that we were still not satisfied. 
Once we got to Bourdillon, we found that the place had been barricaded, so we held our protest on Bourdillon. Some of our representatives approached the soldiers, and we were told that it was out of the Governor's control as they had been sent there by the Commander in Chief, and that they don't answer to the governor. Personally, I think Fashola should take the Federal Govt to court.
Policemen were then deployed to meet us and they told us that we were breaking the law. We told them that we were not; but by that time, we had decided to leave as we had made our point.
Getting Government to change is going to be a long haul. It's going to take resources, planning, strategising and marching.
In conclusion, we started the meeting sad, disgruntled and angry. One of the young men couldn't stop weeping; he was so disappointed. The important thing was that we were there. We showed up. We were not happy, and were ready to do something about it. As I type this I am reminded of parts of the poem 'Invictus' - "My head is bloody but unbowed". 
Kola put it more succinctly, when as we were about to move to Falomo he said "It is the courage of a few people that changes the lives of many".
Watch this space .........

Regrouping at Glover

Articulating our position

Falomo Barricaded

Standing on the pavement at Bourdillon stating our position

Soldiers defending their turf

The police arrive, talking to them

More soldiers - Is this a democracy

More soldiers

Kola and Tayo.... thinking

The police spokesman approaches

Kola explaining that we have rights as citizens

1 comment:

  1. I love your reportage. One day, researchers will indeed be grateful for what you have done in keeping these photos in the public archive over the Internet. The victorious thing about the protest is that we have now known what a great pool of people a just fight can pull. I know the govt will really now be careful of what kind of policy they make afterwards... Nigerians can always #Occupy any time!!!!