UPDATE ON THE MILLION NIGERIAN MARCH TO ABUJA (1 October 2012)


I would like to apologise to all every one of our members for the news blackout regarding the Million Nigerian March to Abuja. The March was supposed have started, a few days ago, and several people have been asking about the status of the event. We have been working hard to make the march happen. However, we have come across quite a few difficulties which have necessitated our postponing the March.

Holding such a march was always going to be difficult - especially from a logistics, PR and security angle. Doing the march at such short notice (September 2012) was always a tight and ambitious deadline. That date was set partly by the registered members of our organisation. We were trying to capture the afterglow of the fuel protests combined with a time that we could get as many students on board as we could possible do.

In spite of the tightness of the deadline, we were determined to go ahead with the march and we knew exactly what we needed to do, in order to meet that deadline. Most of the factors required to make this march successful were within our control: it just required a lot of hard work, planning and political nous. However there were some factors that were always beyond our control. In order for the march to succeed, we MUST have a certain number of committed marchers. If we had not achieved a certain figure, not only would it have failed to have the desired impact, it would have been a big security risk for the small numbers of people on the march.

A march of this nature is unprecedented, in Nigeria. We cannot afford to fail. If we do, we might end up discouraging others from adopting such a strategy in future. Our aim is not just to do the march but to encourage Nigerians everywhere to adopt similar marches in protest at their inept and criminal governments: whether marching to their local governments or state governments etc etc...

The failure to convince enough people to join our March is where our problem lay. We have had promises of donation of money, vehicles, food, clothes etc etc... but over and again, people made their apologies about not being able to come on the march. The most important element in the march is the people; not the money or vehicles.

I will try to explain to you the reasons why so many people were unwilling to partake in the march - even when they were happy to support it in every other way. Besides the obvious and usual reason regarding "Safety", "being too busy", "the difficulty of the task" etc etc there was one particular issue that cropped up time and again: people were not ready to follow an organisation whose motives they were not certain about. That pretty much summed up out problems. Time and again, the credibility and the motives of our organisation were questioned. As one person succinctly put it: why should I risk my life for someone who can simply leave us and run back to the comfort of UK or America, when the shit hits the fan? Other people questioned who our "backers" were and whether we were sponsored by government agents trying to entrap those opposing the government. It is very saddening, the level of distrust amongst Nigerians. But then, you can understand the reasons for this distrust. The struggle for Nigeria is littered with traitors and turncoats. There are so many Chukwumerijes and Abatis amongst us - people who inspired many with their radical anti-corruption stances, only to drop their struggle and happily join the system which they criticised, once some banknotes were waved before them.

So, now, we face a double challenge: not only do we have to gain some credibility and trust in order to be able to lead and command the loyalty of millions of Nigerians, but also, after having achieved this credibility, we must fight the real and constant threats of turncoats and traitors who will surely exist within our organisation. And we must do so without becoming a paranoid organisation, otherwise we would implode within ourselves. My friends, this task is not as easy as it seems, but we have no choice but to soldier on.

We did try a few things to overcome this issue of credibility. For instance, we tried to get some of the bigger/more powerful Nigerian organisations on board, but with these organisations we faced the same problem - we were not important/big enough and credible enough to be assisted or to be reckoned with etc.. The most sympathetic ones amongst them simply offered to take over the struggle from us. In other words we should just cease to exist send our database of registered supporters to them and they would co-opt these people into their own organisation. That really was a non-starter, for us. By all means, all every organisation that wants to initiate similar marches should go ahead. We want to create a culture of such peaceful and - hopefully - successful marches. The more/varied organisations that we inspire to do this, the better for the country. We do not want to discourage or suppress any organisation, nor do we want to be discouraged or suppressed.

WHAT NEXT?
The choices before us are simple. Should we ditch the march? No. There was never any chance of this. The March is too important a tool for us to jettison. However we must address the issues - listed above - that have held back the march. Some of the above listed reasons, we can do little about. Many people will always find excuses not to sacrifice for a cause - regardless of how worthwhile it is. But the one thing that we can do something about is our credibility. We must do more to earn some more trust and credibility amongst the people that we propose to lead. Only then can we come back to them with the plans for our March

My proposal is that we delay the March and move on to the next stage of our movement. The next stage of the March to Abuja is very critical. It was meant to build on the success of the March. Before I proceed, let me take a moment to explain the movement again because it does sometimes confuse people. The "March to Abuja" is a metaphorical concept. It is not a physical march. It is just a gradual movement to what we hope will lead to honest and rightful people taking over leadership and government in Nigeria. This movement called "March to Abuja" consists of a number of events and actions, including a physical march called: "The million Nigerian march to Abuja". Perhaps we will consider changing the name if people find it too confusing. We do not want minor distractions to hamper our progress.

Now, due to the problems that we have with the physical march, we will have to rearrange the stages. We propose to start with phase two of our plan and the success of that stage will be critical in re-starting phase one (the physical march).

What is stage 2 of our plan? Stage 2 is the development and implementation of a blueprint that we hope will force the country to adopt the practices of civil societies. It is, in summary, a socio-economic and political experiment led by non-politicians like you and me, with the purpose of ridding the country of crooked, corrupt and inept leaders currently running our country. We have enough intelligent and passionate people to achieve this task. This blueprint is simply a plan to bring these people together with a detailed process of how we will go about wresting power from the underserving.

The blueprint is a broad but skeletal framework. The details will have to be filled in by you - my friends. the tasks will be allocated by you and the plans will be executed by you. We are just a facilitator of this long-overdue process.

We will put this message out for about one week - to allow our members to digest it and send feedback to us and then we will post the details of the blueprint. The blueprint for Nigeria is a very critical plan and I am of the opinion that if we cannot get the country to change through this plan, we as a country will be pretty much doomed as a people. Please check the group in a few days' time.

Thanks you for having the patience to read through this message.


Your comments, discussions, contributions, criticism, observations, relevant photos and videos are welcome.

Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/marchtoabuja

© The March to Abuja Movement