By Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde
I had plan this article to be a very long read but I had to admit the truth that this is a ‘selfie’ generation with little regard and time for study. For the purpose of brevity and ease of assimilation I have broken this article into two separate parts to ensure a wide coverage.
I like to also state here that this article, although academic in style is instructive for religious, political and studies in human capital development.
Having settled the petty matters I like to proceed. We live in an age in which the unwritten motto is “Question Authority!” Indeed, not even the president of the United State carries the clout he once did.
Our society is marked by defiance, resistance, violence,and retaliation. For example, the Children’s Rights Movement has been gaining strength for years. Although the cause sounds noble, it has one major flaw; Declaring it’s objectives in a “Child’s Bill of Rights,” the movement seeks,at least indirectly, not only to weaken parental authority, but to demolish it.
It seeks to shift issues from the house to the courtroom, making the judge, not the parent, the authority. Despite laws such as the child right bill (although not applicable in Nigeria) weakening the authority of the parents, one might advocate for such bills in Nigeria in the wake of several unprecedented parent-child abuses that has become almost a mainstay in our society. Often time the abusive parents leverage on our powerful cultural dogma of taking politeness to the extreme: a raping father would even cajole her raped daughter into silence. It is in the light of cases like this and other hegemonic tendencies of person’s with power to curry followers into silence that I have taken time to write about rebellion.
The resistance of nepotist ,parochial and self-seeking leadership which takes objective and honest resistance as rebellious represents the core of this article. The Oxford English dictionary defines rebellion as the defiance of authority or control. Lalor John Joseph in his book Cyclopedia of Political Science defines rebellion as the open resistance against the orders of an established authority. From the above definitions of rebellion it is clear that rebellion emanates from an establishment or interplay of power and authority. One might rightly say that without power and authority rebellion doesn’t exist. Given that we operate in a power dominating society that hinges often on the misuse of authority, resistance has almost become inevitable and by extension vehemently criticized. When people resist the Government it becomes a revolt, when soldiers resist authority it becomes mutiny, when spiritual people resist authority it becomes rebellion. From the many name calling above, one become puzzled at the non-democratization of the concept of rebellion: the idea that the custodian of authority and power are often absolved from being labeled rebels while the title rebel becomes the exclusively preserve of followers. Given the complexity of the concept rebellion it has often become a veritable foil through which leaders ensure a hegemonic dominance of followers, the negative skew of the concept of rebellion towards the followers is rather a veneer in which some leaders hide to resist authentic and honest objections.
A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and then manifests itself by the refusal to submit or to obey the authority responsible for this situation. Going through this definition one might be tempted to heap all the blame of perceived resistance on a follower however,every time we impose decisions that was supposed to be unanimous on a people without their express acceptance we risk the danger of latent sentiments which often devolves into rebellion. One might want to ask in an organization or nation state where there is a democracy and diversity of thoughts how come did we arrive at a decision that brews sentiment? how would sentiment have come into play if there was an intercourse of thoughts and diversity of cues?
If you are from Africa where despotism reign supreme you would agree with me that the more unilateral a leader is in his decision making the more he is feared by his people, African leaders loved to be feared rather than being revered,to instill a culture of apprehension in the people is a sure path to dominating the people.African leaders have failed to draw the line between revolutionist rebellion and objective resistance,for not to agree with them is an aberration that is deserving of all sorts of venomous consequences ranging from demotion to incarceration to outright murder.
The concept of rebellion devolves from the complicated nature of humans ,it is an integral part of our social structure which often serve as a response to our unacceptance of a leadership pattern. To always vilify a people’s sincere objections to patterns of leadership is to deprive them of citizenship and brew a terrible contempt for such leadership.
Nigeria is a typical example of a nation whom by years of insensitive leadership has impoverished and mystify her people into civic helplessness yet insist that such people keep silent in the face of deep seated trauma. The escalation of sectarian crises, kidnappings, insecurity are just glaring expressions of a people who by years of consistent suppression have now become unlawful and unfearing even in the face of death.We are now paying the collective price of the bounce back effect of the abuse of man’s elasticity. In his book ‘Why Men Rebel’,Ted Gurr looks at the roots of rebellion from a deprivation point of view. Gurr sees in every violence a voice of anger that manifests itself against the established order.More precisely, individuals become angry when they feel what Gurr labels as relative deprivation, meaning the feeling of getting less than one is entitled to. He labels it formally as the “perceived discrepancy between value expectations and value capabilities”.
While our value expectations differs and often unrealistic,to disdainfully deny a people of such expectations culminates in the worse forms of resistance by the people.It is clear from the above explanation that people settle to rebel against authority at the perception of deprivation ,marginalization and disenfranchisement.In the concluding part of this article I would talk about symbols as an important part of the cultural web and why every leader needs to understand the importance of identifying stakeholders in a group and their respective power and interest.
Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde is a public speaker, prolific writer and a finance expert