The word “ALUTA” in the real sense classically means “STRUGGLE”; the word is widely associated with a STRUGGLE for Freedom or LIBERATION of people from any form of Oppression, Repression or Subjugation. ALUTA was a household word used in AFRICA when the generality of the Africans were charting and chanting for freedom from the Colonial Masters during the Colonial Era.
The full phrase of the shortened word ALUTA is “ALUTA Continua, Victoria Ascerta”, meaning “The Struggle Continues, Victory is Certain”; which is fashioned after the Portuguese saying: “A luta continua, Vitoria e certa”- The Struggle Continues, Victory is Certain!
This compelling theme for the liberation of people was first used by Samora Michael, the Leader of the FRELIMO Movement during the Mozambican war for Independence. Samora Michael used the phrase often to cultivate popular support against the Portuguese Colonial presence. He continued in the usage of the phrase “A luta continua” as an Unofficial National Motto when he became the first President of an Independent Mozambique in 1975.
The phrase ‘ALUTA Continua’ was later made popular by the legendary South African songstress, Miriam Makeba in her song titled ‘Aluta Continua’ which she released during the anti-apartheid struggle. The phrase again became associated with the anti-apartheid resistance movement. It has since then never disappeared from public discourse in AFRICA and then spreads widely to every part of the world at large.
Besides, in NIGERIA, a country full of Ups and Down entangling struggles for self liberation in all facet of life; “Aluta Continua, Victoria Ascerta” became a regular word used by those who put on the white toga of activism. The phrase ends every Press Releases written by called Comrades whenever there is any course to fight- of course STRUGGLE has always been in Continuance in a country like NIGERIA where citizens seem to be oppressed in one form or the other by a group(s) of people feeding fat on the national cake which ought to sundry on all.
‘ALUTA Continua’ became a general word used by the Nigerian Students, more so, by the Students Revolutionaries, Comrades and Activists. ALUTA Spirit which is the Spirit to fight for ones rights by engaging in peaceful/nonviolent demonstration of an ungodly act by any form of Government became a Spirit inbuilt to Nigerian Students with the belief of “Injury to one is injury to all”.
The ALUTA I was made to understand by my father is Students venting their grievances in which they engage in peaceful demonstrations. During his days on campus, well coordinated protests were made and Vandals who planned hijacking the protests and make it violent were severely dealt with by the Comrades leading the protests. Regrettably, the reverse is the case among the contemporary Nigerian Students. They could hardly organize a peaceful mass resistance.
Furthermore, ALUTA has been paraphrased and vastly crooked to a violent form as many schools are being shut down whenever Students protest. Increments of School Fees have always been the cause of Nigerian Students rampaging. Embarking on protests to express their displeasure; they’ll take to the streets, make bonfires, barricade the roads, and disrupt vehicular movement for hours. Some vandalizes and destroy properties; many cases have been recorded where angry Students sets fire on buildings and vehicles. Some carts away valuable goods from the shops located along the streets.
All these are done in the name of ALUTA. Going on destructive demonstration and stealing in the guise of protest is against the Spirit of ALUTA. In the mission of the Nigerian Policemen to tame the wild Protestants, they then make worse the situation as they many times result to baton charge and fire teargas to disperse the rampaging students. The students in their usual manner start throwing sachets of water, sticks and stones at the policemen. Provokingly, the police then also go riotous by shooting at them. Lives are lost in the process.
In “The Politics of Nonviolent Action”; it is made known that the problem with the use of violent confrontation strategies is that they quickly escalate to the point where the parties’ only concerns are victory, vengeance and self-defense. In these cases, the moral arguments of people (Students) who are being unjustly treated become irrelevant. What matters is that they have used violent strategies and their opponent (the Government or School Authority) is, therefore, justified in a violent response. The problem is complicated by the fact that both sides are usually able to argue that the other side started the violence. Violent protests can never provide a means to a secure and peaceful end.
Contemporary Nigerian Students fail to understand that non-violent protest is a peaceful way to face an enemy. Fighting for one’s right non-violently helps in not giving the enemy the satisfaction of seeing a weak point and using it against one. It is an advantage of being able to outwit one’s enemy. I personally would never even consider participating in violent protest; I will never be at the forefront of any violent protest where sachets of water, sticks and stones are exchanged for teargas and bullets.
Contemporary Nigerian Students never realize that it is only for good to make their grievances known by making a procession peacefully, without any form of violence; with that, the school authority will listen to their demands and still the school will be in session for them to continue their academic studies.
Foolishness they bath in, they’ll because of increment of school fee destroy and vandalize properties but later bear the brunt. The school will be shut down and they go home being idle for months; and then come back to pay damages when the school is finally re-opened. They sign undertaken to be of good behaviors. They out of their sheer ignorance make the VC and other affected lecturers rich without knowing, as brand new cars, clothes, shoes and housing are restored, all from the student’s pocket and that increased school fee will not be slashed. Then, the aim of the protest becomes abortive and the protest a futile endeavour. Aluta Continua!!!
– Eyen Calabar (2013)