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How can a peaceful protest end up with killing and maiming, burning and looting in a matter of days? For those of us who have seen plenty “peaceful” protests in our lives, it is not too hard to explain. The moment you hit the streets and fail to read the road signs — so that you will know where and when to turn, reverse or park — you are at the risk of losing control of the steering wheel. You will end up carrying all kinds of passengers — thugs, hoodlums, gangsters, cultists, politicians and all manner of opportunists. In fact, you may unwittingly provide cover for state agents to target the assets and possibly the lives of perceived opponents and rivals. So it goes.

In the best of times, peaceful protests can go awry — much less in these hard times, with oil prices down, government revenue falling, the currency losing value, prices of goods and services rising, and, to add fuel to the fire, COVID-19 taking our breath away. A majority of the people are already bleeding and groaning with the removal of subsidies on petrol and electricity. And with the huge population of unemployed, underemployed and unemployable youth, we knew all along that an uprising was a strong possibility at some point. That a peaceful protest against police brutality, tagged #EndSARS, would spark off this massive carnage was what we probably did not budget for.

 

With the protests infiltrated by rogues, the anarchy was inevitable. My biggest fear was military involvement. Those who witnessed the massacres by soldiers during the pro-June 12 protests in 1993 and other riots under military regimes would agree with me that it was not a pretty sight. I was praying that troops would not be called in to quell the #EndSARS protests. But I was wrong. On Tuesday evening, soldiers invaded the Lekki ground and started shooting. Initial reports said there was a massacre, although there is yet no identified victim: no names, no addresses, no relatives; just grainy videos with tailored commentaries. Hopefully, we will a much clearer picture soon.

This is my “executive summary” of the #EndSARS campaign. It started as a genuine protest on social media. It went to the streets. Government saw the danger and accepted the five demands of the protesters. Police disbanded SARS. States set up judicial panels to probe police brutality. Despite getting these concessions, protesters remained adamant. Then came the partisan and sectional dimensions — with #BuhariMustGo and #EndNigeria added to the hashtags. Mayhem started. Looting.

Shooting. Lynching. Curfew. Then Lekki happened. And President Muhammadu Buhari, silent for so long, finally addressed the nation, basically declaring: “The fire next time!”
After Buhari’s broadcast, I could see defeat on the faces of the youth. Many started tweeting about relocating to Canada, declaring a total loss of faith in Nigeria. #ItIsFinished began trending. This is sad but I would like to appeal to the Nigerian youth not to give in or give up. The #EndSARS protest did not fail. For one, the protesters got the government to act on their demands — which is a major victory by any definition. SARS has been disbanded. I can bet that whatever police unit replaces SARS will come under stricter scrutiny. Judicial panels have been set up. We expect to see the murderous police officers face justice. Police reform is now an imperative. These are big wins.

Moreover, the youth have shown that they have the ability to organise. These are the same youth we condemn for voting more in Big Brother Naija than in general election. We have often described them as lazy, entitled and obsessed with Instagram, fast cars and bling. By starting a campaign against SARS and taking to the streets to protest police brutality, they brought the country to a halt and attracted international interest. Everybody started paying attention to them. We started celebrating the coming of age of our youth. Older people started scrambling to associate with the cause. Ladies and gentlemen, this is surely a positive development. Let’s now discard it.

 

What next? According to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released before the 2019 general election, the youth — described as those between ages 18 and 35 — made up about 51 percent of the 84 million registered voters. If you expand the age bracket to 50 years (to accommodate other young Nigerians like me), the figure jumps up to 81 percent. That is mind-boggling. What the youth should be thinking now is how to use these humongous figures to bring about new things in Nigeria in 2023 — rather than flee to Canada. They should realise Canada was not built in a day. Its people fought hard to build the country with their sweat and blood.

Just a brief journey into Canada’s history: there were two rebellions against “bad governance” between 1837 and 1838. The rebels were arrested after the uprisings and put on trial. Samuel Lount, one of the organisers of the Upper Canada Rebellion, was publicly hanged. He is regarded as a martyr till today. Over 100 rebels were sentenced to life imprisonment. What the rebel leaders wanted was political reform. They had a common agenda for Canada. Even though they paid the ultimate price, Canada was never the same again. Reform came. Today, Canada is one of the most developed countries in the world. But Canada was not always like this. People paid the price.

What’s my point? The youth must begin to conceive of a new political order and the role they can play in birthing it. The #OccupyOjota protests of 2012 helped in building the momentum that uprooted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from power in 2015 and installed the All Progressives Congress (APC). In 2023, the #EndSARS momentum can become a movement that will help uproot both APC and PDP from power and birth a new political culture where government officials will begin to pay less attention to the perks of office and more to their responsibilities to Nigerians. And I mean at all levels — local, state and federal. That would be the best legacy of #EndSARS.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it would be for Nigerian youth to unite in the quest for good governance! They can be more politically active. They can be more involved in choosing councillors, council chairpersons, state lawmakers, governors, federal lawmakers and the president. It does not mean only the youth will occupy these positions. In addition to contesting, the youth can engage with the aspirants and candidates, scrutinise them, advance the agenda of good governance, monitor the performances of those elected or appointed, and mobilise for recall or removal if they fail to deliver. Canada was not built in a day. Nation-building is not a sprint. It is a marathon.

I hope the youth have also learnt their lessons from the #EndSARS fiasco. One, you don’t go to war without visible leadership. You will end up creating anarchy and mob action. We can now see the consequences. Things completely went out of control and there was nobody to call the mobsters to order. Leadership is key in every life endeavour. Two, you don’t go to war without a plan. There should be Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C. I did not see any plan apart from “we no go gree o”. Three, because of lack of leadership and strategy, the protests continued when they should have been called off. Now over 70 people are dead. This is extremely disturbing and disheartening.

Four, you must take your wins and know when to retreat without surrendering. When SARS was disbanded and judicial panels set up, that was the time to retreat. That was the time to say: “We are suspending the protests. If nothing changes, we will return to the streets.” Some people were even demanding that Buhari should sign an “executive order” to show that SARS had been disbanded. It got that ridiculous. Some rejected the panels because there was no “youth” and declared a boycott. I have come to learn that boycott is not an effective strategy. Campaign for youth inclusion in the panels but mobilise to engage with the process and follow through to get justice.

Five, you must stay the message. Nigerians were united in the call to stop police brutality. It was nationwide. Contrary to the propaganda, there were #EndSARS protests in Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Adamawa and some other northern states. It was not a purely southern thing. Unfortunately, some people sneaked in their #BuhariMustGo and #EndNigeria agenda and things began to fall apart. More so, protesters started losing focus when they moved from the unifying agenda against police brutality and expanded it to an omnibus campaign for restructuring and ending corruption and bad governance. It is impossible to achieve everything at a go.

Finally, the youth must learn from their elders. As the Yoruba would say, no matter how many Gucci shirts a child has, he can never have as many rags as an elder. Some youth actually think the story of Nigeria started in 1999 or 2015. Actually, people have been fighting for a better Nigeria for 100 years. Our forefathers played their roles and left. We are still fighting for a better Nigeria. We cannot all adopt the same style and strategy. Ultimately, we need to engage constructively to change the rigged and warped system. From my little experience, starting a mass action without a strategy, without a fall-back plan, and without giving an inch can only lead to anarchy. Lessons learnt?

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…

LEKKI SHOOTING
While the argument is still ongoing over whether or not there was a Lekki massacre, I will keep asking just one question: why on earth would soldiers shoot when the protesters were clearly peaceful and orderly? Lekki was the best organised of all the protest points. Shooting into the air alone at such a large gathering can create a pandemonium and lead to a stampede. Hundreds could have been crushed! It is not enough for the government to say nobody was killed. In the 21st century, we must be discussing how our security agencies can manage an orderly gathering without firing a bullet: whether live, rubber or blank. We need an investigation to establish the facts. Urgent.

BURNIN’ AND LOOTIN’
I will never, ever support anarchy and mob action, but I can never, for the life of me, understand the wickedness that dwells in some of our leaders in this country with the alleged hoarding of COVID-19 relief materials. The warehouses are now being attacked and looted. While we can legally argue that this is wrong, we were all in this country when poor Nigerians were being given miserable packages as “COVID palliatives” during the lockdown. In some cases, a whole household got a little bag of foodstuff that would not feed a five-year-old. The #EndSARS campaign has opened a can of worms. What about the insanely inflated costs around sanitizers, face masks, PPEs and COVID tests? Evil!

FAKE NEWS FIESTA
Those who manufacture and distribute fake news may think they are having fun but they will have to start having conversations with their consciences at some point. If their goal is to set the country on fire, perhaps they should retreat for a minute and ask themselves if even they, and their families, will survive the inferno. Two have stood out in recent weeks. One, using an old video of Niger Delta militants surrendering their arms under the amnesty programme to broadcast a message that Fulani militias were being given arms to attack Yoruba people. Two, using the drama sketch of a body wrapped in national flag to claim that it was a victim of the Lekki shooting. Wicked.

ON MENTAL HEALTH
I was a speaker at the #UNASHAMED2020 Conference on mental health organised by the Asido Foundation. Kudos Dr Jibril Abdulmalik, the CEO/founder and consultant psychiatrist, who is doing a great job drawing attention to mental health issues in the country. Having suffered depression myself nearly nine years ago, I shared my own experience with participants and promised to contribute to the demystification of mental health issues in Nigeria using the media. Korede Bello, the artiste, has apparently been doing a wonderful job in this area. I got to understand that every human being suffers mental illness in different degrees. No-one should be ashamed. Therapeutic.


A short while ago, a friend told me about the experience of her son on his way to the computer village, Ikeja, Lagos. For those who do not know, the computer village is not like a village as in Western countries where a village is a desirable place to stay for the rich since most facilities for a modern life are in their villages without the hustle bustle and stress of city life. The computer village is also not like the African village where life is drudgery as basic facilities like electricity and potable water is a pipedream. It is a piece of land in Ikeja where much selling, buying and repairing of imported computers, phones and accessories take place. So, my friend’s son intended to repair his laptop and make better use of his time since Covid-19, at that time, kept all students out of school.


At a bus stop, the 25-year-old young man was accosted by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and asked about what was in his bag. He told them he was carrying a laptop he was going to repair at the computer village. The SARS police stated that he was a yahoo-yahoo (cyber fraudster) boy. He told them he was not. They asked for his mobile phone. He asked why? They snatched his phone, powered it, and saw the picture of a beautiful white woman. One of them slapped him severally, telling him the picture is enough proof that he is a yahoo-yahoo boy, ostensibly in love-crime with the lady.


With more beating, the SARS operatives asked him for money to redeem his phone. He told them he had no money. They insisted. He called his mother to please send N2,000 into his account that he needed it urgently. She thought it was for the repair of the laptop. She transferred. Having N3,000 in his account, they accompanied him to the nearest Automated Teller Machine (ATM). He withdrew N5,000 and gave them. He returned home crying. Told his mother what had happened; she flared up, wanting to go meet the SARS. The son asked her to thank her stars that he was not killed and persuaded her not to go there. A list going around on some of the people killed overtime by SARS justifies the restraint of the mother. Another video shot at an #endsars rally is out there of a lady whose brother was extra-judicially killed by SARS operatives and was extorted of N350,000 and even almost added sexual intercourse on extortion to secure the freedom of her brother not knowing he had been killed.


Untold numbers of Nigerians have been killed by members of the Nigerian security forces. On February 17, 2019, a video that went viral suggested that one Godwin Onoja was shot dead by an Assistant Superintendent of Customs, Destiny Onebamho, at the Sagamu interchange facing the road to Ijebu-Ode. His wife was later silenced by a token one million naira in May of the same year. Nothing more is heard about Destiny. The SARS operatives used to announce clearly to Nigerians that they would kill them and nothing would happen. And most of the time nothing happened!


The problem with Nigerian security forces is symptomatic of a general malaise of leadership failure and mind-boggling corruption in most institutions, irrespective of whether they are public, private or even social. With the inverse proportion in the relationship between corruption and the rule of law, impunity and injustice has been the order of the day in Nigeria. As Nigerian misleaders rob us dry, the security forces see nothing wrong in extorting openly from citizens. Funds for uniforms are budgeted but police operatives claim they get a paltry salary without allowances to buy boots and uniforms. As a result, they see it as their constitutional right to extort citizens and resistance results in beatings and/or death.


Billions in naira and/or dollars are announced stolen and when some portions are paid back (if at all), such is re-looted by those given the charge over the pretence of corruption-fighting in Nigeria. That the current administration is as corrupt as the one before it is no longer in doubt. The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index makes the case, aside from the nepotism of our President that myself (in a chapter of a published book), and others have documented over time.


It is great that Nigerian youths organized themselves and took a different style of collegiately democratized leadership arrangement to organize the #endsars campaign that has grown into the quest to end many wrong aspects of living in Nigeria. I whole-heartedly endorse the youths exercising their constitutional rights to peaceful protests. The police are a mere symptom to the raging greed and leadership failure that is decimating Nigeria. Such leadership failure is clear in the cluelessness of Nigeria’s misleaders who are having a tenacious resistance to move into the twentieth century and abandon our eighteenth century cattle-rearing using open grazing methods along the roads and farms of others, claiming it is a cultural orientation. Or how does one explain the Nigerian President and his advisers reportedly searching for cattle routes’ gazettes of the 1960s when he lives in the posh Aso Villa in a beautiful mega-city that did not exist until recently! All talks are of cattle ranching, as in countries that produce many more heads of cattle and dairy products for the world than Nigeria falls on deaf hears.


The youths should continue with their sophisticated technology-based peaceful protests. It is not for them to bring forward leaders to be compromised by our corruption culture. The format of “bring your leaders” known to Yoruba, Hausa, Fulani, Tiv etc., and our colonizers was not known to many of the Ibo communities until the British chose to stupidly describe them as acephalous and forced “Warrant Chiefs” on them. Our youths who are the majority among Nigeria’s population should stampede us into the 21st century. It is for them to refuse that policies should continue to be geared towards archaic environmentally unfriendly ways of cattle grazing as opposed to sustainable ranching. More itinerant jobs can be created for those who would like to wander in the bush when the internet is changing the work culture as the Covid-19 period and, hopefully, after would show.


The youths should continue to drive out all those trying to ride on their struggle to fame, including those tithe-extorting so-called religious leaders who have been blessing corrupt kleptomaniacs before now as they all deplete our national patrimony. And these same religious leaders are, all of a sudden, wanting to pray for and preach to the youths. The youths should also continue to separate the wheat from the chaff as they stop marauders being sent to disorganize them as part of the calculations for 2023. There are also thieves who are beginning to loot businesses under the pretense of being part of #endsars.


Our youths have only spent about a week in their agitations for change. It is probably the longest in the post-flag independence period. The question is: How will this end? I have no answer that is based on knowledge. However, I can suggest some possible scenarios and indicate my preferred option as a parent who was involved in the struggle against military rule as a member of the great University of Lagos, Akoka ULSU Executive 1974/75 when we sought to remove Gowon from power after today’s nice elder statesman and prayer warrior announced that the year 1976 he had fixed to return the country to civil rule was no longer realistic. We probably provided the environment for late General Joseph Garba announcing Gowon’s removal on July 29, 1975. I was no longer on the Executive when Dimka tried to overthrow that administration and we overwhelmingly dared tanks before the coup attempt was announced thwarted. We moved en-mass from Akoka towards Dodan Barracks but were dispersed after we had crossed the Carter Bridge when we were assured that the coup had failed. If my memory has not failed, I believe I was in the company of my long-term friend, Kayode Adetola, now a Pastor. I continued with ASUU’s resistance against Buhari/Idiagbon and Babangida whose Administration I fought with my daughter through to the Supreme Court with the aide of Lawyer Solomon Olugbemi as he then was and late G.O.K. Ajayi, (SAN). This digression is to encourage the youths to recognize that the struggle for change has been a long historical one from the Ijebu resistance of British control in 1893 and the Bini resistance in 1897 through to the Opobo people; Herbert Macaulay and many others before Azikiwe, Awolowo, Enahoro, Ahmadu Bello, Aminu Kanu, Waziri Ibrahim etc. I am extremely happy that our children are trying to finish our unfinished business of realizing a better Nigeria. The Yoruba normally pray that their children should be an improvement over themselves.


Scenario 1


The peaceful protests continue and the President refuses to send out tanks to mow down our children. This is unsustainable. The rentier corruption-ridden economy is worsening daily as people are stealing like there is no tomorrow and people are becoming further impoverished. There is talk of recession. So, indefinite protests hampering economic activities cannot continue.


Scenario 2


The President rolls out the tanks and mow down our children to force an end to the unique peaceful protests that are accompanied by 21st century brain-power. Forget about crocodiles smiling and cyber war. Crocodiles do not smile and the youths at the fraudulent toll gate will incapacitate our military even before the start of cyber war. This scenario could lead to the youths running away like those who faced Abacha. NADECO went outside and many Yoruba people were victimized, including Dr. Yinka Adebayo and myself, who were UN staff members.


Another option under this scenario of tank roll-out could be parents joining their children to soak the streets with their blood as martyrs. This option is equally possible. After all, we saw conservative Pastor EA Adeboye, who was on October 5, 2020 told to shut up after breaking a long silence by asking for restructuring, fall in line in support of the youths to carry a placard over last weekend in green suit and white shirt. His placard stated that God hurts when His people hurt. The consequences of this option could range from Libya, Mali, Egypt, to Sudan, etc.


Scenario 3


The National Assembly has visibly failed our youths. Under this scenario, they cannot solve the problem they are part of. A sovereign national conference of nationalities and Nigerian youths could be assembled to consider options for change in Nigeria. Anything is possible under this option.


For me, the minimum is to ensure that Nigerians have utmost freedom, which is the summation of all the freedoms from hunger (zero hunger), freedom from all sorts of discrimination, including gender; freedom from poverty, etc and freedom to live in a just society, freedom to have the rule of law reign supreme which means the throwing out of corruption, freedom to associate, etc - all of which are envisaged by the UN-led and Nigeria-agreed SDGs Agenda 2030. To have utmost freedom, we must #endcluelesslycorruptleadership at all levels - from local government through to eschewing corrupt state misleaders and, of course, pretentious overlords and oppressors at the federal level. For me, a Confederal constitution in which the centre is accountable to the nationalities that set it up is best for Nigeria. It is not the bureaucratic restructuring that is tolerant of corruption that some are canvassing under the guise of high-sounding expressions like “fiscal federalism”. As if the current excessive cost of governance is not oppressive enough, they want to set up a fourth layer of governance. A confederal constitution would be the best way to prevent #EndNigeria. Fortunately, our self-centred legislooters who have apportioned untold sums of money to themselves and are being pursued by the ICPC, as EFCC fails to look into the “off the mic” episode has realized the need to amend the 1999 Constitution. We would like to suggest that we need more than cosmetic amendments.


To conclude, the Nigerian youths have shown that change is better when it emanates from the brain as opposed to brawn. All the threats of going to war from segments of Nigeria over the cyber organized protests of Nigerian youths serve no useful purpose as these youths are not scared like some of their parents. How can a minority be bluffing? Power is widely dispersed and as shown by Nigerian youths, it is not limited to the barrel of the gun. We all saw Yugoslavia and should prevent Nigeria going that way. The Niger Delta people fought the Federal might to a stand-still and late President Yar’Adua capitulated. Please let’s not talk yet about Boko Haram for now.

Undoubtedly in order to promote the video clip of an ethnic revanchist calling on Igbo to leave Yoruba land, this same lunatic fringe has exhumed, and embarked on circulating an ancient fabrication – several years mouldering in the grave – once attributed to me and vigorously denounced.

That statement impudently expounds, as my utterance, what the Hausa want, what the Yoruba want, and what the Igbo want.  Such an attribution – let me once again reiterate – is the work of sick, cowardly minds that are ashamed, or lack the courage, as the saying goes, “to answer their fathers’ names.”  At least the current ethnic rabble-rouser has the courage of his convictions, not so the sick brigade of identity thieves. 

Normally, one should totally ignore the social dregs. However, in the present atmosphere where FAKE NEWS is so easily swallowed and acted upon without reflection, I feel once again obliged to denounce this recurrent obscenity. As for our brother and sister Igbo, I hope they have learnt to ignore the toxic bilge under which some Nigerian imbeciles seek to drown the nation. 

It is time also, I believe, to also enter the following admonition: one cannot continue to monitor and respond to the concoctions of these addicts of falsehood, and their assiduous  promoters who have yet to learn to wipe the filth off their tablets. The patrons of social platforms should develop the art of discrimination.  Some attributions are simply so gross that, to grant them even a moment’s latitude of probability diminishes the civic intelligence of the recipient.

 

Wole SOYINKA

October 24,  2020

Nigerians owe President Mohammadu Buhari an unreserved apology for the embarrassment caused to his soaring integrity over the nationwide protests against brutality by elements of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Nigerians smashed at his chalice of pride when they demanded he address the nation on the Lekki tollgate massacre. How infantile of Nigerians to demand a national apology from Buhari who was in Abuja while “unknown” soldiers killed over 100 unarmed protesters?

 

Buhari was very busy with important errands of tending to his herds of 100 cows before Nigerians forced him with “nationwide protests” to accept their plea to contest presidential election in 2015. Nigerians prayed, fasted, consulted their gods to prevail against any force or forces that could prevent Buhari becoming president in 2015. The gods were on their side, he gifted Buhari to them. The same gods possessed former President Goodluck Jonathan to accept defeat even before the last vote was counted. Christians, Muslims, herbalists and free thinkers celebrated his victory. 

 

President Buhari was voted in to satisfy so many demands/ interests. Majority wanted good governance, they wanted a president that would improve the economic, Social and political situation of Nigeria for the best. Some wanted Buhari to hang all the people who stole money from the treasury - especially governors of states. Many northerners felt it was the time of the north to produce their own President After late President Yar’Adua died. Several Nigerians  also believed he would end insurgency. Most notable pastors, Imam’s saw visions that Buhari held the key to a better Nigeria. What a lengthy bucket list for an old soldier.

 

President Buhari saddled all the weighty loads of expectations and rode straight to the presidential Villa to deliver the “goodies”. Ungrateful Nigerians soon started to grumble. First, they lived on twitter street regretting the choice of Buhari until they summoned the courage to came out of the virtual street to protest #EndSARS across south east, south west and south south. The protest continued to grow despite usual government promises. The police, army response was swift to save Buhari from embarrassment - he is the chosen one and can never be wrong.

 

Certainly Buhari and those who believe in him were not happy with the “unruly” youths. United Nations Ambassador Commasie who was livid with anger that Nigerians dared the will of the gods on the Buhari led government declared that if the military or police fail to put down the protesters, “patriotic” Nigerians would. The very next day “patriotic urchins” were loaded in buses and escorted by security operatives to areas occupied by peaceful protesters. The next was the killing of youths at Lekki tollgate by “unknown” soldiers. Meanwhile hired urchins are still on the street!

 

We have offended Buhari and must beg for his mercy. It is very clear his speechless speech after the Lekki tollgate massacre expresses his anger over attempt on  his reputation as a task force general who believes in use of force as an alternative to dialogue. More than 100 lives lost was too small to dent his speech. Now Nigerians are too shocked to feel the pain the speech left in their hearts. They asked for it, wasn’t that a well written speech?

 

Hundreds of youths died across the country. Hundreds of hired hooligans looted and destroyed Lagos and other major cities of the southern parts of Nigeria. Many innocent peaceful protesters were felled by police, army bullets. What does that matter to our amiable president? Nothing! They simply ruffled his well groomed ego. Trust Buhari, he combed his ego back to its flowery glory, that much we know from the first paragraph of his “speechless speech”. 

 

Instead of lying face down shame faced on the streets begging Buhari, Nigerians are “shockalized at his speech. It is rudeness, unacceptable effrontery for “unknown” soldiers to waste bullets on lazy youths and yet Buhari is asked to apologize. Buhari hates hypocrites, betrayers, and rude youths; his anger is kindled against them. The dead should consider their corpses lucky they are not arrested by the government for polluting Nigeria’s sacred streets.

 

Buhari is a man ahead of his time. He knows his game very well. He knew that one day some rude youths might want to pull up a surprise so he made sure Muslims from the north occupy almost all the prominent positions in the country. He kept his loyalists in the armed forces. He refused to retire service chiefs despite overstaying service years requirement by law. How is it possible that Nigerians are just realizing that Buhari and his lieutenants have a plan which is fully operational and has been tested to stand the tide of protests?

 

It is indeed instructive to assert that  the northern elites loyal to Mr President  have been designated since 2015 to take over governance in the country and keep forever. Rotational presidency or respect to federal character have gone to the trash can. Nobody said a word, only murmurs on twitter street. They almost fooled President Buhari to believe Nigerians were happy with the re colonization agenda.

 

Remember his wife asked him to save Nigeria? She even played a save Nigeria music from the other room. Nobody saw what she had seen few days to the genocide. The wise men around Buhari had concluded plans and nothing could stop it. Video evidence and eyewitness reports are discarded as allegations, fake news just like the Kano governor bribe video. The only real video is the prison breaks, attacks on police facilities, lootings etc. Now you want to drop from the bus? Certainly not! Buhari’s bus has no bus stop, we ride or die!

 

Nigerians will now fall in line after the speechless speech. Soon people will need a government pass for interstate traveling. Gatherings for protest will be banned. Critical opinion against the government will be dealt with by firing squad or imprisonment. Street urchins will be recruited to handle emergency support for police when their help is required. Contents of social media will be monitored for compliance to pro government posts. Platoons of Ahmed Garba will be allowed to freely incite the northern  public into religious war if the presidency of Buhari is tested for incompetence. 

 

Buhari said change begins with you, he did not say get brain and courage to chain his change or change his change. Now police officers are smiling, especially the newly created SWAT because the president got their back. We owe Buhari an apology for even thinking he is a bad boy. Now we have said he is, we should be on the ground seeking his forgiveness. We cannot force him to apologize for what “unknown” soldiers did.

 

Ayegba Israel Ebije,

Is a media practitioner he

Writes from Canada

Can be reached via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The man died on Saturday while he was trying to jump out of a trailer suspected to be carrying food items at the popular Aroma Junction, Awka, Anambra state.

 

A man who was simply identified as Ala Owerri  has died in Anambra state, Daily Trust reports.

The man died on Saturday while he was trying to jump out of a trailer suspected to be carrying food items at the popular Aroma junction, Awka, Anambra state.

According to an eyes witness, the victim who is a mechanic jumped into a moving trailer thinking that truck was carrying food items and on getting to Aroma junction jumped out of the moving trailer and was crushed by the trailer.

The man had gone to the SEMA officer earlier to cart away noodle cartons.

He sighted the trailer on the road and jumped on board only to find charcoal.

He jumped back out and was crushed by the trailer tyres.

His stomach was torn open and his legs broke under the weight of the vehicle.

A mob set the trailer on fire.

Okey Uche said the driver of the trailer never knew that somebody jumped into his vehicle and was not aware when the man jumped back out.

He said that Ala owerri killed himself and nobody should blame the driver for the death

Nigerians trooped out in Gottingen, Germany, and London, United Kingdom, calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria.

 

It has been reported that even though there has been a crackdown on #ENDSARS protesters in Nigeria, the agitation has contained outside the country as citizens outside Nigeria refuse to back down.

According to SaharaReporters, Nigerians trooped out in Gottingen, Germany, and London, United Kingdom, calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria.

The Nigerians also urged government to stop the attack and killing of protesting youth, who they described as leaders of the future generation of the country.

They also urged the government to swiftly carry out the reformation of the Nigeria Police Force as well as create jobs, good health care and end poverty in the country.

The #ENDSARS protests, which went on for at least two weeks in Nigeria, was met with stiff suppression by the Nigerian Government.

The government initially hired thugs to attack the protesters before sending in police and army to violently disperse demonstators, leading to death and injury of many.

The army engaged the protesters at Lekki, killing about 10 of them.

This led to nationwide unrest with state governments imposing curfew in a bid to restore normalcy.

See more photos from the protests below:

Police have arrested two hundred and twenty-nine (229) suspects, for various criminal offenses ranging from arson, murder, stealing, destruction of properties, others, two days after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered Nigerian Youths to stop protests.

A statement by the Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Kayode Oyekanmi, said the state’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Olayinka Adeyemi, had commenced the evaluation files of those arrested by the police with a view to determining those that have prima facie case made against them.

Part of the statement read:

“Two hundred and twenty-nine (229) suspects were arrested by the police for various criminal offences, ranging from arson, murder, stealing, malicious damage of properties and assault before and after the state-wide curfew imposed by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to restore law and order.

“After the evaluation exercise, those that have cases to answer will be arraigned before the courts on Monday, while the release of those that have no case to answer will be ensured.

“Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) while calling on Lagosians to maintain peace, law and order in their respective communities, pledged the commitment of the state government to uphold the rule of law at all times.”

Afenifere, the Pan Yoruba Socio-Political Group has disowned the 48 hours ultimatum given to some Nigeria nationals especially the Igbos to quit Yorubaland.

A statement issued last night in Akure by its national leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti said that the ultimatum purportedly issued by one Adeyinka Grandson was not the groups initiative.

The statement was entitled” Quit Yorubaland Ultimatum: Not Afenifere initiative.

It reads ” Our attention has been drawn to a WhatsApp video now going viral purportedly issued by one Adeyinka Grandson or his representatives giving a 48 hours ultimatum ending on Sunday, October 25 to some Nigerian national especially the Igbo to quit Yorubaland.

” Most embarrassing to me as Afenifere leader was that the young man who made the announcement kicked off with the well-known tune of Afenifere anthem, thus giving the impression that this was an Afenifere initiative.

” This is to say that we do not know anything about the quit order or are we in any way connected with the issuance or the initiators.

Pa Fasoranti said that ” For the time being, in addition to our other releases, let us all maintain peace.

MILITANTS in Niger Delta, who threatened to resume hostilities, some days ago, have tabled five new demands before the Federal Government, while waiting for expiration of an earlier ultimatum.

The nine renegade militant groups under the auspices of Reformed Niger-Delta Avengers, RNDA, said it had written the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to evacuate their staff to avoid human casualties, as fighters would occupy oil and gas facilities after destroying them.

Leader of RNDA, self-styled “Major General” Johnmark Ezonbi, aka Obama, who confirmed the development, last night, said militants were in support of the #EndSARS protests and would, surely, escalate action in the creeks if the federal government failed to meet the demands.

Ekefa Olubadan of Ibadan, Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi, was born on October 27, 1950. In this interview with ThePunch, he recounts his childhood as well as social life and career with reference to the Nigerian polity

What was growing up like for you?

I am a regular analyst with a radio station at Liberty Road, Ibadan. On October 1 this year, as the vehicle conveying me got to Liberty Stadium, I remembered October 1, 1960. I was one of the chosen pupils of Seventh Day Adventist Primary School that marched on Independence Day. I was 10 years old and in primary three. Looking back, I remember that 60 years ago, there was an emergence of a new nation, Nigeria. But, looking at it now, all has evaporated like steam.

There are so many problems in the country. What is the bane of Nigeria’s challenges?

The problem is the people. Great communities are made by the people. A vision must be progressive and have the capacity to uplift humanity. Nigeria, as a nation, has no problem. Our leaders are fraudulent.

Are you implying that the vision of the founding fathers of the country has been scuttled?

Yes. On Saturday, January 15, 1966, there was a military coup; the originator of the coup made a statement in his speech, saying Nigeria had fallen due to corrupt politicians. He described them as 10 percenters, but today, we have 100 percenters. Newspapers reported that money meant for feeding students at the peak of COVID-19 pandemic was discovered in private pockets. At the start of the journey, our leaders knew what they wanted. They wanted to drive away the British because once you say you are under any nation, you are slaves.

Sir Ahmadu Bello was saying at the time: Let us first identify our differences. He would always repeat this statement but they would reply and say, “Ahmadu, let us discuss this after independence.” Then the British convinced Ahmadu Bello that “everything has been designed in your favour. In terms of population, you have it and if it is about coup d’état, you have all the military hardware in your region.” A former British Prime Minister, Sir Harold Wilson, said Chief Awolowo could easily govern Britain. In terms of vision, courage and discipline, they were all blessed.

However, the real stumbling block was the promulgation of the decree in May 1966 by Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, turning the regions into groups of provinces. By that, a civil servant or anyone could get transferred from Bauchi to Nkalagu in the East. They should have just left us with true federalism – regional government. The Federal Government is now unnecessarily taking charge of natural resources, internal affairs, education and agriculture.

Can we blame the leadership for this?

The leaders and the followers are to blame because, if the leaders are drumming the beat of fools and idiots and the people do not stand up to dance, the leaders would stop it and change the beat. But Nigerians, particularly the gullible followers of politicians, are repeating the same mistake. Give it another two years, the mad dance shall start again.

Don’t you think this has to do with the people’s level of education?

 

Yes, education is important. Two, there are people of certain ethnic groups in this country that would rather go hungry than allow their children not to go to school, while some others do not bother if schools are closed down.

Can we say you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth?

I was born into an aristocratic family. I am from the Ekerin-Ojengbe family and nobody can push us back. Go and read the Olubadan history; my family is prominently mentioned. Yusuf Olatunji (legendary Yoruba musician) was at my naming ceremony, where Chief Lekan Salami was the master of ceremonies. You can see where I am coming from – aristocratic background but disciplined. 

How did you get into journalism and why?

My father worked with Round Tree Nigeria; the company made chocolates. The manager liked my dad so much. He was elegant, neat and punctual. That was where he derived his nickname, ‘Raimi-Right-Time’ and I think I took that from him.

The manager wanted to take my father to England. My grandfather said, “No, only two of you survived, you are not going anywhere.” My father moved to Daily Times of Nigeria Ltd. He worked in the Marketing Department, distributing the publication to as far as Cameroon. His boss was the late Alhaji Ismail Jose. My father would come home with copies of Daily Times; that was where the interest started. What I liked most were the pictures and the names of the reporters, and also, I spoke good English.

What has changed in journalism between the time you practised and now?

Technology has made most journalists lazy. In our days, when we attended conferences to cover them, you would think we were taking an examination. But today, sharing of reports is common. Again, social media has dealt with them also.

How challenging was it being a journalist during the military era?

During the military era, I was the Press Secretary and Public Affairs Officer of Odu’a Investment Limited. In 1979, I was with the Nigerian Television Authority, Ibadan. I had gone to do a private assignment – I went to cover the Oba Dam. Then, I saw a military inspector. The assignment was not on my schedule; we were not invited but I found out about it and put it in our newspaper. When the military inspector saw it, he told them to go and bring me. His nickname was Colonel Koboko.

You had an encounter with General Yakubu Gowon; how did he influence you?

It was as a result of my background and the enlightenment when I read the daily newspaper. The headline read, “Wole Soyinka will remain in prison.” The second day, I went back and said, “Is this the way you imprison people without trial? What is his offence?” They said he visited Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. I wrote a letter of appeal to the general and a letter of solidarity to Mr Wole Soyinka through the Chief Warder, Kaduna Prisons. When he was released two years after in 1969, Prof Wole Soyinka formally acknowledged my effort.

The late Chief Bola Ige was an icon and you had interactions with him. What fond memories do you have of him?

Chief Bola Ige was a talented man. I was lucky to be among his discovered protégés.

You retired in 2009 as the General Manager, Corporate Affairs of Odu’a Investment Ltd. Do you think there is as much regard for the company as there was decades ago?

My answer will certainly not be fair. I left the great institution 14 years ago, but as we speak, I maintain a friendly position with them. However, let me say this without being immodest: After the failure of the April 22, 1990 Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar-led coup pushed Ibrahim Babangida out of Lagos. But before he left, he made a decree – Odu’a should be sold. By God’s grace, I went to Chief M.K.O. Abiola. It took us about six hours until he convinced Babangida to do otherwise.  That was how Odu’a survived.

You are a busy man. How do you manage your time?

When you do things you love, you will not consider the hardship or the discomfort. Having been trained as a journalist, I know that the job is very hazardous – no Ileya (Sallah) or January 1 holiday. I do radio programmes and interviews, but I do more as an Ibadan traditional chief as directed by Kabiyesi and I love it.

Nigerians have been clamouring for self-actualisation. Do you think it is achievable?

Let us go back to the Nigeria of January 1966. Let us go back to regional government.

What are your thoughts on Amotekun?

When somebody comes to your father’s compound or your house and he is not only threatening you but asking you to open the gate or he would come in and injure you, you must defend yourself with what you have. You must not go down in your territory. Your property, particularly your life and dignity, are at stake. Therefore, self-defence is the best approach, not only attack. Amotekun is not the only outfit that was set up; people are only talking about Amotekun, and not mentioning the arrangements in the South-East, Middle Belt and other parts of the country. The Nigeria Police is handicapped in terms of manpower, training, technology, etc., so any unit of the country that will complement the efforts of the police on internal security should be encouraged to do so.

At 70, what aspect of your life has changed?

In movement only. When people saw me walking, they would say, “Do you walk like a soldier because you were in the military?” But now, it is slow and steady.

How do you keep fit?

Because of my mottos in life that “whatever you sow, you reap,” and “whatever you eat, your body reacts to,” I do everything in moderation. I believe in God and being good to others. Don’t wish anybody evil and you will be happy. Happiness is not what you see on the face; it is about the inner one and it radiates. And people will say, “Please what are you using? You are looking younger.” I don’t harbour any anger or malice. I am ambitious but not overambitious. Whatever I run after and can’t get, I believe it is because it is not yet time. My biography has been written, which I will launch on my birthday; my life is full of miracles.

Do you enjoy spending more time at home or at Omo-Ajorosun?

From the prediction that was made, I have always lived my life for public good. If you are going to live for public good, you won’t consider your personal comfort because when the ‘public is good’, we are all going to be shareholders, so anywhere will be home.

What advice do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

They must really be faithful. You can’t deceive God. It is only in Nigeria that we see religiosity without godliness. Let God dwell in your heart, whatever your faith is. The five pillars of Islam say: Accept the Lord your Creator. Love your neighbour and all. God said work and pray; God didn’t say pray alone. Also, always obey the law.

What are your thoughts on Nigeria at 60?

As I said, the people that control us are the major problem, from the local government level to the state level. The country is full of brains and people with potential but it is still crawling at 60. Why must a child crawl at 60? We must take action to prevent it. Democracy, either in Nigeria, India or Britain, has only one colour, and the colour is equity. Anybody who commits crime will want to use tribe or religion. But no, let the constitution work; don’t manipulate things. It is when manipulation comes in that people say they are cheating us.

Can you still recall what happened on Independence Day?

On that day, when we left the stadium and returned to our schools, the government provided lunch for us– rice. I took it twice because the food was in surplus. With the flag up, everyone had a dream. If you knew your brain couldn’t go beyond Primary Six, you would go and learn a skill. Provisions were made for individuals at each level.

I have had the privilege of visiting many countries like Ghana and Cameroon. Nigeria got independence before them but their systems are more organised. As a matter of fact, they are supposed to be following Nigeria and copying us, but the reverse is the case. When you consider how foreign embassies  treat Nigerians, you will understand that the situation is very bad.

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