Nigeria is going through troubled times but, those at the helm of affairs would rather bury their heads in the sand the than admit that the blessed but heavily mismanaged country is far gone, tilting dangerously at the edge of a precipice.
Recognizing this, the future leaders our youths, took their fate in their hands, organized themselves in an orderly manner that astounded both government and Nigerians, to say that things cannot continue to go downhill or they would have no country to call their own.
Choosing a highly decadent police as the pivot, they peacefully protested calling on government to end police brutality, ban the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which has tortured without reason, thousands of youths and exterminated at least 100 .
They called for good governance to ensure a better Nigeria. State governments, the federal government, past leaders and discerning Nigerians acknowledged that the protesting youths had a legitimate right to demand for positive change in a country that continuously preaches that we have no other place than Nigeria.
The youth peacefully stood their ground for days without problem; no destruction, just careful assembly and statements, through speeches, songs, tweet, placards. Uncomfortable that its pledges to ban SARS and look into the brutality issue were not accepted as enough, having deceitfully banned SARS by mere announcement in 2017, 2018, 2019, the government decided to break the rank of the protesters by raising attacks by hoodlums in places like Abuja and Lagos to give the ENDSARS action a bad name. When this too failed, on the 12th day government acting on an order yet to be specified as both the Lagos State governor Babajide Sanwo Olu and the Nigerian Army are yet tell us, soldiers were drafted to Lekki Toll Gate to open fire on our youth flying the Nigerian flag and chanting the national anthem, snuffing life off a good number of them. A tragedy for the nation and the Buhari government.
Government having succeeded in destroying the peace, hoodlums, some heavily deprived youth who, were hoping the ENDSARS protest would help bring about needed changes to them out of the shackles of poverty and the accompanying abuses, thanks to poor governance, took over. The result is the mayhem we all witnessed. States are still counting their losses. And from the losses came the full exposure of the high wickedness of those supposedly representing us in government. Huge stores filled up with food items were locked up while the people groaned under pangs of hunger.
There was no reason for the full warehouses while hunger ravaged the people. A Lagos State female lawmaker even shared a few palliatives to guests as her birthday souvenir. Even constituency empowerment materials were piled up in homes! The ENDSARS has exposed the ugly under-belly of our political leaders.
Covered in shame, government is now targeting the leaders of the peaceful protest and their perceived sponsors, freezing accounts and arresting them. This is intimidation, a sign that earlier claims of acknowledging that things have gone wrong were mere platitudes. Government set up judicial commissions of inquiry on police brutality across the country and this same government is hounding the youth who dared to speak up in a democracy? This move very much in line with predictions as likely government reaction runs true to pattern with the Nigerian government and it will not help this country. Government is silencing the right to express and assembly guarantee by the Nigeria constitution. The way to go is to address the key issues raised-address the very glaring injustice and corruption.
Target good governance starting, with sincere restructuring, inclusion of a critical number of youth in the public sphere, massive youth empowerment, people-oriented development programmes, not building railway to other countries when your internal roads have collapsed, transparency and accountability, and importantly, a people friendly police. Let us begin this reclamation journey with needed political will and commitment and this drive for change should begin with the president and his presidency.
Too many are dying because of insecurity, change guards. We cannot continue to sing old songs, this country needs to breath, our youths need space. Let them be, it is the youths who, all over the world help bring about change in their countries. Repression can only give them room to go under, re-plan and when they come again, we may not survive the onslaught.