Law in Contemporary Society

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EmmanuelOsayandeFirstEssay 5 - 19 Apr 2024 - Main.EmmanuelOsayande
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 Interestingly, social movements in the city have advocated for rights by productively using civic space, mobilizing the popular masses, and constructing collective identities. First, these movements often used public spaces such as streets, parks, and stadia for their campaigns of dissent. They became movers and shakers of these spaces, reinventing them from sites of leisure and mobility into sites of resistance. Secondly, they have mobilized participants and supporters through various techniques such as distributing flyers and posters, soliciting for foreign alliances, and using social media and online technology. Also, these Lagos-based groups, in organizing their social action, often devised creative ways of collectively identifying themselves, including as ethnopolitical, human rights, or pro-democracy movements.

The State:

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Successive Nigerian governments have responded to the campaigns of such movements in Lagos through several approaches that we can sum up into two: repression and concession. State repression of grassroots activists has been a relatively constant occurrence in Nigeria’s history, despite changes in the country’s political structure. Whether under a colonial, military, or even a democratically elected government, activists in Lagos have been subject to abuse, harassment, and violence by elements of the state. While there have been differences in the methods of state repression in Lagos, some similarities have lingered on. For one, numerous governments have used force and extrajudicial means to curb dissent in the city. These governments have promoted repressive policies, arbitrarily detained activists, and suspended or ignored constitutional rules. In 1984, for instance, the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari issued the ‘public officers protection against false accusation’ decree which became a justification to oppress human rights activists and opponents of the regime. Incidentally, during Buhari’s tenure as Nigeria’s immediate past president (2011-2023), critics accused his administration of pursuing a similar agenda. For instance, many criticized Buhari’s measures to allegedly silence dissenting voices including initiating a ‘hate speech’ campaign and supporting a proposed ‘hate speech’ bill that, if it had been passed into law, would have carried the death penalty.
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Successive Nigerian governments have responded to the campaigns of such movements in Lagos through several approaches that we can sum up into two: repression and concession. State repression of grassroots activists has been a relatively constant occurrence in Nigeria’s history, despite changes in the country’s political structure. Whether under a colonial, military, or even a democratically elected government, activists in Lagos have been subject to abuse, harassment, and violence by elements of the state. While there have been differences in the methods of state repression in Lagos, some similarities have lingered on. For one, numerous governments have used force and extrajudicial means to curb dissent in the city. These governments have promoted repressive policies, arbitrarily detained activists, and suspended or ignored constitutional rules. In 1984, for instance, the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari issued the ‘public officers protection against false accusation’ decree which became a justification to oppress human rights activists and opponents of the regime. Incidentally, during Buhari’s tenure as Nigeria’s immediate past president (2011-2023), critics accused his administration of pursuing a similar agenda. For instance, many criticized Buhari’s measures to allegedly silence dissenting voices including initiating a ‘hate speech’ campaign and supporting a proposed ‘hate speech’ bill that, if it had been passed into law, would have carried the death penalty.https://www.thecable.ng/a-tale-of-anachronism-the-proposed-hate-speech-bill
 Nevertheless, Nigerian governments have occasionally explored avenues of uncoerced cooperation as opposed to stifling grassroots activism in Lagos. Even authoritarian governments have shown that they too can make strategic compromises, albeit for ostensibly self-serving reasons. To illustrate, it was somewhat paradoxical that the military regime of General Abacha, infamous for allegedly committing the most human rights violations in Nigeria’s history, established a national human rights commission in 1995. Although many believed that the commission was ineffective, this remains a classic example of the regime conceding to the pressure of activists, while looking to gain some legitimacy for itself.

EmmanuelOsayandeFirstEssay 4 - 19 Apr 2024 - Main.EmmanuelOsayande
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 In March 1996, a group of human rights activists took to the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, to protest General Sani Abacha’s perceived repressive military regime, which resulted in a clash with security forces of the junta. This was one instance that illustrated how the city has been ground zero for numerous social movements, particularly activist movements. Indeed, as Africa’s largest city, Lagos provides a remarkable case study of how organized activism developed in metropolitan cities, and what role governance played in such development. This piece assesses how public spaces and rapid urbanization have powered Lagos-based movements, how these groups executed their campaigns, ways that the government has responded to such activism, and some lessons readers can learn from this phenomenon.

The City and Social Movements:

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In recent years, specific sites within metropolitan Lagos have been rallying points for the large-scale demonstrations associated with popular movements. In early 2012, for instance, a movement named Occupy Nigeria began its campaigns at sites such as Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in the city. This movement vehemently pushed back on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government; a policy that led to a sharp hike in fuel prices which they believed would have been detrimental to the economic lives of average Nigerians.
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In recent years, specific sites within metropolitan Lagos have been rallying points for the large-scale demonstrations associated with popular movements. In early 2012, for instance, a movement named Occupy Nigeria began its campaigns at sites such as Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in the city. This movement vehemently pushed back on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government; a policy that led to a sharp hike in fuel prices which they believed would have been detrimental to the economic lives of average Nigerians. https://www.cnn.com/2012/01/09/world/africa/nigeria-strike/index.html
 
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Historically, such sites in the city have housed movements that engaged other socio-political issues, not just economic policies. As far back as 1950, an ethnocultural movement led by the Egb Ọmọ Odduw often gathered supporters at market squares in Isale Eko, in their campaign for political reform in colonial Lagos. Besides, in the 1980s and 1990s, during an era of military dictatorships, numerous sites in Lagos served as mobilization grounds for the human rights and pro-democracy movements that emerged in the city. In June 1993, for example, the Campaign for Democracy distributed leaflets at a soccer game at the National Stadium, Surulere, urging the spectators to join a planned protest against the annulment of the June 12 elections by the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. The following month, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Surulere in protest, even as security forces of the military state cracked down on them. This is an instance where sites in the city enabled specific kinds of campaigns and calls to action at the grassroots. It also represented how the city was a site of struggle over state power.
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Historically, such sites in the city have housed movements that engaged other socio-political issues, not just economic policies. As far back as 1950, an ethnocultural movement led by the Egb Ọmọ Odduw often gathered supporters at market squares in Isale Eko, in their campaign for political reform in colonial Lagos. (Arifalo, S. O. 1986. “The Intensification of Ethnic Political Consciousness in Nigeria : The Rise of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa 1947-1951.” GenèVe-Afrique : Acta Africana). Besides, in the 1980s and 1990s, during an era of military dictatorships, numerous sites in Lagos served as mobilization grounds for the human rights and pro-democracy movements that emerged in the city. In June 1993, for example, the Campaign for Democracy distributed leaflets at a soccer game at the National Stadium, Surulere, urging the spectators to join a planned protest against the annulment of the June 12 elections by the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. The following month, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Surulere in protest, even as security forces of the military state cracked down on them. https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/06/world/nigerian-protests-erupt-in-violence.html This is an instance where sites in the city enabled specific kinds of campaigns and calls to action at the grassroots. It also represented how the city was a site of struggle over state power.
 One important question concerns why Lagos has seen such a sizeable amount of grassroots activism in its history. While we could consider any number of reasons, rapid urbanization has been a key factor that supported the rise of such movements in the city. Between 1950 and 2012, the city’s population grew from about 300,000 to over 20 million, surpassing Cairo, Egypt, as the largest city on the continent. What is more, in 2014, the UN World Urbanization Prospects named Lagos as the fastest-growing urban area in Africa. Accordingly, this swift pace of urban development has played a key role in supplying the human, financial, and infrastructural resources that have fueled activist movements in Lagos.

EmmanuelOsayandeFirstEssay 3 - 19 Apr 2024 - Main.EmmanuelOsayande
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Between Activism And Governance: Lessons From Africa's Largest City

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Navigating a Legal Crossroads of Activists and Rulers: Lessons from Lagos

 
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-- By EmmanuelOsayande - 22 Feb 2024
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-- By EmmanuelOsayande - 18 Apr 2024
 
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Lagos, a coastal city in southwestern Nigeria, has been ground-zero for numerous social movements, particularly activist movements. This city, being Africa’s largest, provides a remarkable case study of how organized grassroots activism developed in African cities, and what role governance played in such development. This piece assesses how public spaces and rapid urbanization have powered Lagos-based movements, how these groups executed their campaigns, ways that the government has responded to such activism, and some lessons we can learn from all of this.
 
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The City and Social Movements*:

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In March 1996, a group of human rights activists took to the streets of Lagos, Nigeria, to protest General Sani Abacha’s perceived repressive military regime, which resulted in a clash with security forces of the junta. This was one instance that illustrated how the city has been ground zero for numerous social movements, particularly activist movements. Indeed, as Africa’s largest city, Lagos provides a remarkable case study of how organized activism developed in metropolitan cities, and what role governance played in such development. This piece assesses how public spaces and rapid urbanization have powered Lagos-based movements, how these groups executed their campaigns, ways that the government has responded to such activism, and some lessons readers can learn from this phenomenon.
 
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In recent years, specific sites within metropolitan Lagos have been rallying points for the large-scale demonstrations associated with popular movements. In early 2012, for instance, a movement named Occupy Nigeria began their campaigns at sites such as Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in the city. This movement vehemently pushed back on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government; a policy that led to a sharp hike in fuel prices which they believed would have been detrimental to the economic lives of average Nigerians.
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The City and Social Movements: In recent years, specific sites within metropolitan Lagos have been rallying points for the large-scale demonstrations associated with popular movements. In early 2012, for instance, a movement named Occupy Nigeria began its campaigns at sites such as Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in the city. This movement vehemently pushed back on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government; a policy that led to a sharp hike in fuel prices which they believed would have been detrimental to the economic lives of average Nigerians.
 
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Historically, such sites in the city have housed movements that engaged other socio-political issues, not just economic policies. As far back as 1950, an ethnocultural movement led by the Egb Ọmọ Odduw often gathered supporters at market squares in Isale Eko, in their campaign for political reform in colonial Lagos. Besides, in the 1980s and 1990s, during an era of military dictatorships, numerous sites in Lagos served as mobilization grounds for the human rights and pro-democracy movements that emerged in the city. In June 1993, for example, the Campaign for Democracy distributed leaflets at a soccer game at the National Stadium, Surulere, urging the spectators to join a planned protest against the annulment of the June 12 elections by the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. The following month, thousands of protesters took the streets of Surulere in protest, even as security forces of the military state cracked down on them. This is an instance where sites in the city enabled specific kinds of campaigns and calls to action at the grassroots. It also represented how the city was a site of struggle over state power.

One question that comes to mind is why has Lagos seen such a sizeable amount of grassroots activism in its history?

What is distinctive about this? The quantity of protest, or the particulars of the political geography of the city, something else? Why not offer a comparison to Johannisberg, Nairobi, Khartoum, Cairo, or Dakar, all places with well-defined recent histories of urban protest, in order to clarify what the particular point about Lagos is? Would a comparison to the histories of city's elsewhere, in Europe, India or North America reveal some other useful contrast or similarity. Any of these words would appear at first sight equally applicable, which leaves the reader unsure.

While we could consider any number of reasons, rapid urbanization has been a key factor that supported the rise of such movements in the city. Between 1950 and 2012, the city’s population grew from about 300,000 to over 20 million, surpassing Cairo, Egypt, as the largest city on the continent. What is more, in 2014, the UN World Urbanization Prospects named Lagos as the fastest-growing urban area in Africa. Accordingly, this swift pace of urban development has played a key role in supplying the human, financial, and infrastructural resources that have fueled activist movements in Lagos.

This seems likely to be true, but wouldn't it be helpful to point the reader at some of the available literature of the sociology of rapid urban growth among the megacities of the developing world? It's not a small or ill-explored topic. If you have been learning about it, why not help the reader do so too?
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Historically, such sites in the city have housed movements that engaged other socio-political issues, not just economic policies. As far back as 1950, an ethnocultural movement led by the Egb Ọmọ Odduw often gathered supporters at market squares in Isale Eko, in their campaign for political reform in colonial Lagos. Besides, in the 1980s and 1990s, during an era of military dictatorships, numerous sites in Lagos served as mobilization grounds for the human rights and pro-democracy movements that emerged in the city. In June 1993, for example, the Campaign for Democracy distributed leaflets at a soccer game at the National Stadium, Surulere, urging the spectators to join a planned protest against the annulment of the June 12 elections by the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. The following month, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Surulere in protest, even as security forces of the military state cracked down on them. This is an instance where sites in the city enabled specific kinds of campaigns and calls to action at the grassroots. It also represented how the city was a site of struggle over state power.
 
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One important question concerns why Lagos has seen such a sizeable amount of grassroots activism in its history. While we could consider any number of reasons, rapid urbanization has been a key factor that supported the rise of such movements in the city. Between 1950 and 2012, the city’s population grew from about 300,000 to over 20 million, surpassing Cairo, Egypt, as the largest city on the continent. What is more, in 2014, the UN World Urbanization Prospects named Lagos as the fastest-growing urban area in Africa. Accordingly, this swift pace of urban development has played a key role in supplying the human, financial, and infrastructural resources that have fueled activist movements in Lagos.
 Interestingly, social movements in the city have advocated for rights by productively using civic space, mobilizing the popular masses, and constructing collective identities. First, these movements often used public spaces such as streets, parks, and stadia for their campaigns of dissent. They became movers and shakers of these spaces, reinventing them from sites of leisure and mobility into sites of resistance. Secondly, they have mobilized participants and supporters through various techniques such as distributing flyers and posters, soliciting for foreign alliances, and using social media and online technology. Also, these Lagos-based groups, in organizing their social action, often devised creative ways of collectively identifying themselves, including as ethnopolitical, human rights, or pro-democracy movements.
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Again, it would be difficult to differentiate these statements from similar ones about Paris in the 18th century, or Chicago in the latter 19th. "Interestingly" should be borne out by showing what is distinctive, or where the premise leads. Wouldn't some references to other urban sociology help the reader to see what is interesting rather than tautological?

The State

Successive Nigerian governments have responded to the campaigns of such movements in Lagos through several approaches that we can sum up into two: repression and concession. State repression of grassroots activists has been a relatively constant occurrence in Nigeria’s history, despite changes in the country’s political structure. Whether under a colonial, military, or even a democratically elected government, activists in Lagos have been subject to abuse, harassment, and violence by elements of the state. While there have been differences in the methods of state repression in Lagos, some similarities have lingered on. For one, numerous governments have used force and extrajudicial means to curb dissent in the city. These governments have promoted repressive policies, arbitrarily detained activists, and suspended or ignored constitutional rules. In 1984, for instance, the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari issued the ‘public officers protection against false accusation’ decree which became a justification to oppress human rights activists and opponents of the regime. Incidentally, since Buhari became Nigeria’s democratically elected president in 2015, critics have accused his administration of pursuing a similar agenda. This is particularly regarding a proposed ‘hate speech’ bill that, if passed into law, could carry the death penalty and provide Buhari a legal basis to silence dissenting voices.

Nevertheless, such developments do not imply that Nigerian governments have always stifled grassroots activism in Lagos.

No historical account of what happens to happen implies that what happens always happens. This is not the sort of sentence written by a human being thinking, more like the sort of sentence made by a machine stringing words together.

They have occasionally explored avenues of compromise. Even authoritarian governments have shown that they too can make strategic compromises, albeit for ostensibly selfish reasons. To illustrate, it was ironic that the military regime of General Abacha, infamous for allegedly committing the most human rights violations in Nigeria’s history, established a national human rights commission in 1995. Although many believed that the commission was ineffective, this remains a classic example of the regime conceding to the pressure of activists, while looking to gain some legitimacy for itself.

This paragraph appears to say that politics exists in authoritarian contexts: that governments require forms of popular consent and take actions to placate outside as well as domestic opinion, regardless of the degree of violence they use to gain it. Once again, this is almost surely true, but wouldn't it make sense to refer to some part of the truly immense literature discussing and building upon this idea?

Conclusion: With the fastest-growing cities and youth population in the world, the future of Africa is urban and vibrant. This signals that the intricate but strong link between activism and governance in cities such as Lagos could persist. As such, it behooves us to pay attention to valuable lessons of the past.

What makes this a conclusion? In what way does this conclude a thought process developed in the draft, or give the reader some jumping-off point for further thinking and learning?


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The State: Successive Nigerian governments have responded to the campaigns of such movements in Lagos through several approaches that we can sum up into two: repression and concession. State repression of grassroots activists has been a relatively constant occurrence in Nigeria’s history, despite changes in the country’s political structure. Whether under a colonial, military, or even a democratically elected government, activists in Lagos have been subject to abuse, harassment, and violence by elements of the state. While there have been differences in the methods of state repression in Lagos, some similarities have lingered on. For one, numerous governments have used force and extrajudicial means to curb dissent in the city. These governments have promoted repressive policies, arbitrarily detained activists, and suspended or ignored constitutional rules. In 1984, for instance, the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari issued the ‘public officers protection against false accusation’ decree which became a justification to oppress human rights activists and opponents of the regime. Incidentally, during Buhari’s tenure as Nigeria’s immediate past president (2011-2023), critics accused his administration of pursuing a similar agenda. For instance, many criticized Buhari’s measures to allegedly silence dissenting voices including initiating a ‘hate speech’ campaign and supporting a proposed ‘hate speech’ bill that, if it had been passed into law, would have carried the death penalty.
 
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This draft shows the subject you want to write about. But it does so statically, and in isolation. It does not attach that subject to any other writing, specific or general, historical, sociological, theoretical or interpretive. So one important route to improvement is to attach your idea to sources from which the reader can learn, the outcome of your own effort to learn.
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Nevertheless, Nigerian governments have occasionally explored avenues of uncoerced cooperation as opposed to stifling grassroots activism in Lagos. Even authoritarian governments have shown that they too can make strategic compromises, albeit for ostensibly self-serving reasons. To illustrate, it was somewhat paradoxical that the military regime of General Abacha, infamous for allegedly committing the most human rights violations in Nigeria’s history, established a national human rights commission in 1995. Although many believed that the commission was ineffective, this remains a classic example of the regime conceding to the pressure of activists, while looking to gain some legitimacy for itself.
 
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There is no development or motion in the draft. It presents a static thesis it does not---as it should---state clearly at the outset. Here the route to improvement is structural. We want to distill the essay's central idea down to a statement with which the next draft can start, one that pulls the reader in, shows her why the idea at stake is valuable to her and gives a clear point of departure. Then you can show how you come by your idea, which components of your learning--factual and theoretical---have contributed to its formation, and how your thought process helps to deal with interrogations and objections. (There is no sense in the current draft that you are in dialogue with anyone or anything, which is once again a hallmark of mechanical rather than intellectual development. We write as a way of learning, not as a way of shoving words together, and when we read we are trying to follow someone else's course through the process of acquiring understanding. If we can't sense the presence of a human thinker on the other side of the text, we give up.) Then, after developing our idea, we can return to the original statement, showing the reader the benefit that our learning has brought, including what the reader can now---on the basis of what we have learned---do to make her own learning deeper.
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Forging Ahead?: Regarding the interplay between activism and governance in urban areas, the example of Lagos shows readers the numerous possible directions for this triadic relationship between social movements, governments, and cities. For one, such movements must continue to adapt their strategies of resisting repression, advocating for rights, and holding the government accountable. They must also address the issue of corruption, as grassroots organizations cannot merely be a means of chasing influence and making a profit. For governments, the rule of law should be sacrosanct, and they must, thus, adhere to the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution. Besides, rapid urbanization in Lagos means that the government must increase concerted efforts to supply adequate political avenues, economic opportunities, and social services to cater to the needs of an ever-increasing urban populace. In a case where Lagosians continuously feel that the Nigerian state has failed them, mass campaigns for good governance will almost certainly continue.
 
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These are the roads of effort and commitment: the effort that we make to learn, to attach our learning to the learning of others, and the commitment we make to the ideas we decide to care about. Significant improvement in both effort and commitment is within your reach and I look forward to seeing the next draft.
 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable.

EmmanuelOsayandeFirstEssay 2 - 23 Mar 2024 - Main.EbenMoglen
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It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.
 
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Paper Title

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Between Activism And Governance: Lessons From Africa's Largest City

 -- By EmmanuelOsayande - 22 Feb 2024
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Lagos, a coastal city in southwestern Nigeria, has been ground-zero for numerous social movements, particularly activist movements. This city, being Africa’s largest, provides a remarkable case study of how organized grassroots activism developed in African cities, and what role governance played in such development. This piece assesses how public spaces and rapid urbanization have powered Lagos-based movements, how these groups executed their campaigns, ways that the government has responded to such activism, and some lessons we can learn from all of this.
 
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Section I

Subsection A

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The City and Social Movements*:

 
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Subsub 1

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In recent years, specific sites within metropolitan Lagos have been rallying points for the large-scale demonstrations associated with popular movements. In early 2012, for instance, a movement named Occupy Nigeria began their campaigns at sites such as Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in the city. This movement vehemently pushed back on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government; a policy that led to a sharp hike in fuel prices which they believed would have been detrimental to the economic lives of average Nigerians.
 
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Subsection B

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Historically, such sites in the city have housed movements that engaged other socio-political issues, not just economic policies. As far back as 1950, an ethnocultural movement led by the Egb Ọmọ Odduw often gathered supporters at market squares in Isale Eko, in their campaign for political reform in colonial Lagos. Besides, in the 1980s and 1990s, during an era of military dictatorships, numerous sites in Lagos served as mobilization grounds for the human rights and pro-democracy movements that emerged in the city. In June 1993, for example, the Campaign for Democracy distributed leaflets at a soccer game at the National Stadium, Surulere, urging the spectators to join a planned protest against the annulment of the June 12 elections by the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. The following month, thousands of protesters took the streets of Surulere in protest, even as security forces of the military state cracked down on them. This is an instance where sites in the city enabled specific kinds of campaigns and calls to action at the grassroots. It also represented how the city was a site of struggle over state power.
 
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One question that comes to mind is why has Lagos seen such a sizeable amount of grassroots activism in its history?
 
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Subsub 1

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What is distinctive about this? The quantity of protest, or the particulars of the political geography of the city, something else? Why not offer a comparison to Johannisberg, Nairobi, Khartoum, Cairo, or Dakar, all places with well-defined recent histories of urban protest, in order to clarify what the particular point about Lagos is? Would a comparison to the histories of city's elsewhere, in Europe, India or North America reveal some other useful contrast or similarity. Any of these words would appear at first sight equally applicable, which leaves the reader unsure.
 
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Subsub 2

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While we could consider any number of reasons, rapid urbanization has been a key factor that supported the rise of such movements in the city. Between 1950 and 2012, the city’s population grew from about 300,000 to over 20 million, surpassing Cairo, Egypt, as the largest city on the continent. What is more, in 2014, the UN World Urbanization Prospects named Lagos as the fastest-growing urban area in Africa. Accordingly, this swift pace of urban development has played a key role in supplying the human, financial, and infrastructural resources that have fueled activist movements in Lagos.
 
Added:
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This seems likely to be true, but wouldn't it be helpful to point the reader at some of the available literature of the sociology of rapid urban growth among the megacities of the developing world? It's not a small or ill-explored topic. If you have been learning about it, why not help the reader do so too?
 
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Section II

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Interestingly, social movements in the city have advocated for rights by productively using civic space, mobilizing the popular masses, and constructing collective identities. First, these movements often used public spaces such as streets, parks, and stadia for their campaigns of dissent. They became movers and shakers of these spaces, reinventing them from sites of leisure and mobility into sites of resistance. Secondly, they have mobilized participants and supporters through various techniques such as distributing flyers and posters, soliciting for foreign alliances, and using social media and online technology. Also, these Lagos-based groups, in organizing their social action, often devised creative ways of collectively identifying themselves, including as ethnopolitical, human rights, or pro-democracy movements.
 
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Subsection A

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Again, it would be difficult to differentiate these statements from similar ones about Paris in the 18th century, or Chicago in the latter 19th. "Interestingly" should be borne out by showing what is distinctive, or where the premise leads. Wouldn't some references to other urban sociology help the reader to see what is interesting rather than tautological?
 
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Subsection B

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The State

Successive Nigerian governments have responded to the campaigns of such movements in Lagos through several approaches that we can sum up into two: repression and concession. State repression of grassroots activists has been a relatively constant occurrence in Nigeria’s history, despite changes in the country’s political structure. Whether under a colonial, military, or even a democratically elected government, activists in Lagos have been subject to abuse, harassment, and violence by elements of the state. While there have been differences in the methods of state repression in Lagos, some similarities have lingered on. For one, numerous governments have used force and extrajudicial means to curb dissent in the city. These governments have promoted repressive policies, arbitrarily detained activists, and suspended or ignored constitutional rules. In 1984, for instance, the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari issued the ‘public officers protection against false accusation’ decree which became a justification to oppress human rights activists and opponents of the regime. Incidentally, since Buhari became Nigeria’s democratically elected president in 2015, critics have accused his administration of pursuing a similar agenda. This is particularly regarding a proposed ‘hate speech’ bill that, if passed into law, could carry the death penalty and provide Buhari a legal basis to silence dissenting voices.
 
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Nevertheless, such developments do not imply that Nigerian governments have always stifled grassroots activism in Lagos.
 
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No historical account of what happens to happen implies that what happens always happens. This is not the sort of sentence written by a human being thinking, more like the sort of sentence made by a machine stringing words together.
 
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They have occasionally explored avenues of compromise. Even authoritarian governments have shown that they too can make strategic compromises, albeit for ostensibly selfish reasons. To illustrate, it was ironic that the military regime of General Abacha, infamous for allegedly committing the most human rights violations in Nigeria’s history, established a national human rights commission in 1995. Although many believed that the commission was ineffective, this remains a classic example of the regime conceding to the pressure of activists, while looking to gain some legitimacy for itself.
 
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BETWEEN ACTIVISM AND GOVERNANCE: LESSONS FROM AFRICA'S LARGEST CITY
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This paragraph appears to say that politics exists in authoritarian contexts: that governments require forms of popular consent and take actions to placate outside as well as domestic opinion, regardless of the degree of violence they use to gain it. Once again, this is almost surely true, but wouldn't it make sense to refer to some part of the truly immense literature discussing and building upon this idea?
 
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-- By EmmanuelOsayande - 22 Feb 2024
 
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Lagos, a coastal city in southwestern Nigeria, has been ground-zero for numerous social movements, particularly activist movements. This city, being Africa’s largest, provides a remarkable case study of how organized grassroots activism developed in African cities, and what role governance played in such development. This piece assesses how public spaces and rapid urbanization have powered Lagos-based movements, how these groups executed their campaigns, ways that the government has responded to such activism, and some lessons we can learn from all of this.
>
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Conclusion: With the fastest-growing cities and youth population in the world, the future of Africa is urban and vibrant. This signals that the intricate but strong link between activism and governance in cities such as Lagos could persist. As such, it behooves us to pay attention to valuable lessons of the past.
 
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The City and Social Movements: In recent years, specific sites within metropolitan Lagos have been rallying points for the large-scale demonstrations associated with popular movements. In early 2012, for instance, a movement named Occupy Nigeria began their campaigns at sites such as Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in the city. This movement vehemently pushed back on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government; a policy that led to a sharp hike in fuel prices which they believed would have been detrimental to the economic lives of average Nigerians.
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What makes this a conclusion? In what way does this conclude a thought process developed in the draft, or give the reader some jumping-off point for further thinking and learning?
 
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Historically, such sites in the city have housed movements that engaged other socio-political issues, not just economic policies. As far back as 1950, an ethnocultural movement led by the Egb Ọmọ Odduw often gathered supporters at market squares in Isale Eko, in their campaign for political reform in colonial Lagos. Besides, in the 1980s and 1990s, during an era of military dictatorships, numerous sites in Lagos served as mobilization grounds for the human rights and pro-democracy movements that emerged in the city. In June 1993, for example, the Campaign for Democracy distributed leaflets at a soccer game at the National Stadium, Surulere, urging the spectators to join a planned protest against the annulment of the June 12 elections by the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. The following month, thousands of protesters took the streets of Surulere in protest, even as security forces of the military state cracked down on them. This is an instance where sites in the city enabled specific kinds of campaigns and calls to action at the grassroots. It also represented how the city was a site of struggle over state power.
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One question that comes to mind is why has Lagos seen such a sizeable amount of grassroots activism in its history? While we could consider any number of reasons, rapid urbanization has been a key factor that supported the rise of such movements in the city. Between 1950 and 2012, the city’s population grew from about 300,000 to over 20 million, surpassing Cairo, Egypt, as the largest city on the continent. What is more, in 2014, the UN World Urbanization Prospects named Lagos as the fastest-growing urban area in Africa. Accordingly, this swift pace of urban development has played a key role in supplying the human, financial, and infrastructural resources that have fueled activist movements in Lagos. Interestingly, social movements in the city have advocated for rights by productively using civic space, mobilizing the popular masses, and constructing collective identities. First, these movements often used public spaces such as streets, parks, and stadia for their campaigns of dissent. They became movers and shakers of these spaces, reinventing them from sites of leisure and mobility into sites of resistance. Secondly, they have mobilized participants and supporters through various techniques such as distributing flyers and posters, soliciting for foreign alliances, and using social media and online technology. Also, these Lagos-based groups, in organizing their social action, often devised creative ways of collectively identifying themselves, including as ethnopolitical, human rights, or pro-democracy movements.
 
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The State: Successive Nigerian governments have responded to the campaigns of such movements in Lagos through several approaches that we can sum up into two: repression and concession. State repression of grassroots activists has been a relatively constant occurrence in Nigeria’s history, despite changes in the country’s political structure. Whether under a colonial, military, or even a democratically elected government, activists in Lagos have been subject to abuse, harassment, and violence by elements of the state. While there have been differences in the methods of state repression in Lagos, some similarities have lingered on. For one, numerous governments have used force and extrajudicial means to curb dissent in the city. These governments have promoted repressive policies, arbitrarily detained activists, and suspended or ignored constitutional rules. In 1984, for instance, the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari issued the ‘public officers protection against false accusation’ decree which became a justification to oppress human rights activists and opponents of the regime. Incidentally, since Buhari became Nigeria’s democratically elected president in 2015, critics have accused his administration of pursuing a similar agenda. This is particularly regarding a proposed ‘hate speech’ bill that, if passed into law, could carry the death penalty and provide Buhari a legal basis to silence dissenting voices.
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This draft shows the subject you want to write about. But it does so statically, and in isolation. It does not attach that subject to any other writing, specific or general, historical, sociological, theoretical or interpretive. So one important route to improvement is to attach your idea to sources from which the reader can learn, the outcome of your own effort to learn.
 
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Nevertheless, such developments do not imply that Nigerian governments have always stifled grassroots activism in Lagos. They have occasionally explored avenues of compromise. Even authoritarian governments have shown that they too can make strategic compromises, albeit for ostensibly selfish reasons. To illustrate, it was ironic that the military regime of General Abacha, infamous for allegedly committing the most human rights violations in Nigeria’s history, established a national human rights commission in 1995. Although many believed that the commission was ineffective, this remains a classic example of the regime conceding to the pressure of activists, while looking to gain some legitimacy for itself.
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There is no development or motion in the draft. It presents a static thesis it does not---as it should---state clearly at the outset. Here the route to improvement is structural. We want to distill the essay's central idea down to a statement with which the next draft can start, one that pulls the reader in, shows her why the idea at stake is valuable to her and gives a clear point of departure. Then you can show how you come by your idea, which components of your learning--factual and theoretical---have contributed to its formation, and how your thought process helps to deal with interrogations and objections. (There is no sense in the current draft that you are in dialogue with anyone or anything, which is once again a hallmark of mechanical rather than intellectual development. We write as a way of learning, not as a way of shoving words together, and when we read we are trying to follow someone else's course through the process of acquiring understanding. If we can't sense the presence of a human thinker on the other side of the text, we give up.) Then, after developing our idea, we can return to the original statement, showing the reader the benefit that our learning has brought, including what the reader can now---on the basis of what we have learned---do to make her own learning deeper.
 
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Conclusion: With the fastest-growing cities and youth population in the world, the future of Africa is urban and vibrant. This signals that the intricate but strong link between activism and governance in cities such as Lagos could persist. As such, it behooves us to pay attention to valuable lessons of the past.
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These are the roads of effort and commitment: the effort that we make to learn, to attach our learning to the learning of others, and the commitment we make to the ideas we decide to care about. Significant improvement in both effort and commitment is within your reach and I look forward to seeing the next draft.
 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable.

EmmanuelOsayandeFirstEssay 1 - 22 Feb 2024 - Main.EmmanuelOsayande
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstEssay"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

Paper Title

-- By EmmanuelOsayande - 22 Feb 2024

Section I

Subsection A

Subsub 1

Subsection B

Subsub 1

Subsub 2

Section II

Subsection A

Subsection B

BETWEEN ACTIVISM AND GOVERNANCE: LESSONS FROM AFRICA'S LARGEST CITY

-- By EmmanuelOsayande - 22 Feb 2024

Lagos, a coastal city in southwestern Nigeria, has been ground-zero for numerous social movements, particularly activist movements. This city, being Africa’s largest, provides a remarkable case study of how organized grassroots activism developed in African cities, and what role governance played in such development. This piece assesses how public spaces and rapid urbanization have powered Lagos-based movements, how these groups executed their campaigns, ways that the government has responded to such activism, and some lessons we can learn from all of this.

The City and Social Movements: In recent years, specific sites within metropolitan Lagos have been rallying points for the large-scale demonstrations associated with popular movements. In early 2012, for instance, a movement named Occupy Nigeria began their campaigns at sites such as Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park in the city. This movement vehemently pushed back on the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian government; a policy that led to a sharp hike in fuel prices which they believed would have been detrimental to the economic lives of average Nigerians.

Historically, such sites in the city have housed movements that engaged other socio-political issues, not just economic policies. As far back as 1950, an ethnocultural movement led by the Egb Ọmọ Odduw often gathered supporters at market squares in Isale Eko, in their campaign for political reform in colonial Lagos. Besides, in the 1980s and 1990s, during an era of military dictatorships, numerous sites in Lagos served as mobilization grounds for the human rights and pro-democracy movements that emerged in the city. In June 1993, for example, the Campaign for Democracy distributed leaflets at a soccer game at the National Stadium, Surulere, urging the spectators to join a planned protest against the annulment of the June 12 elections by the military head of state, General Ibrahim Babangida. The following month, thousands of protesters took the streets of Surulere in protest, even as security forces of the military state cracked down on them. This is an instance where sites in the city enabled specific kinds of campaigns and calls to action at the grassroots. It also represented how the city was a site of struggle over state power.

One question that comes to mind is why has Lagos seen such a sizeable amount of grassroots activism in its history? While we could consider any number of reasons, rapid urbanization has been a key factor that supported the rise of such movements in the city. Between 1950 and 2012, the city’s population grew from about 300,000 to over 20 million, surpassing Cairo, Egypt, as the largest city on the continent. What is more, in 2014, the UN World Urbanization Prospects named Lagos as the fastest-growing urban area in Africa. Accordingly, this swift pace of urban development has played a key role in supplying the human, financial, and infrastructural resources that have fueled activist movements in Lagos. Interestingly, social movements in the city have advocated for rights by productively using civic space, mobilizing the popular masses, and constructing collective identities. First, these movements often used public spaces such as streets, parks, and stadia for their campaigns of dissent. They became movers and shakers of these spaces, reinventing them from sites of leisure and mobility into sites of resistance. Secondly, they have mobilized participants and supporters through various techniques such as distributing flyers and posters, soliciting for foreign alliances, and using social media and online technology. Also, these Lagos-based groups, in organizing their social action, often devised creative ways of collectively identifying themselves, including as ethnopolitical, human rights, or pro-democracy movements.

The State: Successive Nigerian governments have responded to the campaigns of such movements in Lagos through several approaches that we can sum up into two: repression and concession. State repression of grassroots activists has been a relatively constant occurrence in Nigeria’s history, despite changes in the country’s political structure. Whether under a colonial, military, or even a democratically elected government, activists in Lagos have been subject to abuse, harassment, and violence by elements of the state. While there have been differences in the methods of state repression in Lagos, some similarities have lingered on. For one, numerous governments have used force and extrajudicial means to curb dissent in the city. These governments have promoted repressive policies, arbitrarily detained activists, and suspended or ignored constitutional rules. In 1984, for instance, the military junta of General Muhammadu Buhari issued the ‘public officers protection against false accusation’ decree which became a justification to oppress human rights activists and opponents of the regime. Incidentally, since Buhari became Nigeria’s democratically elected president in 2015, critics have accused his administration of pursuing a similar agenda. This is particularly regarding a proposed ‘hate speech’ bill that, if passed into law, could carry the death penalty and provide Buhari a legal basis to silence dissenting voices.

Nevertheless, such developments do not imply that Nigerian governments have always stifled grassroots activism in Lagos. They have occasionally explored avenues of compromise. Even authoritarian governments have shown that they too can make strategic compromises, albeit for ostensibly selfish reasons. To illustrate, it was ironic that the military regime of General Abacha, infamous for allegedly committing the most human rights violations in Nigeria’s history, established a national human rights commission in 1995. Although many believed that the commission was ineffective, this remains a classic example of the regime conceding to the pressure of activists, while looking to gain some legitimacy for itself.

Conclusion: With the fastest-growing cities and youth population in the world, the future of Africa is urban and vibrant. This signals that the intricate but strong link between activism and governance in cities such as Lagos could persist. As such, it behooves us to pay attention to valuable lessons of the past.


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