By Tim Amosun
Nigeria has over 250 tribes and about 350 languages. These are people of different biological antecedents and historical backgrounds. These are people of different cultural affiliations and divergent moral values. The religious sentiments is also different and thus causing crisis among friends and relations till date. Meanwhile, respect for other’s worldview should be the order of the day.
The #EndSars project is highly metaphorical by the coinage of its name. The reasons that should warrant the protests are enormous.
Without much publicity and media coverages, it came almost sudden and the turnout of youths was quite amazing nationwide! It started as the name suggests to end police brutality, killings and illegal arrests. This included incessant impunity as obvious in the Nigerian project. The conditions of service for the police made the list. The inclusiveness of the youths in the leadership and in the management of the country were not excluded. The need to reduce overbloated expenses on our lawmakers were part of the agitations and requests. The demands were many, relevant and all encompassing.
There are different schools of thought to the protests. We have the social, economic, political, tribal and religious schools of thoughts as the reasons for the protests and agitations. I will never be tempted to argue for or against any of these theories by the proponents of them.
The protest was the fundamental human rights of every Nigerian. The youths were harmless and defenceless in their protests while agitating for true federalism and the change of governance. No doubt, the simple and peaceful protest was hijacked by the thieves, robbers, thugs, miscreants and the hoodlums.
One should expect that the bad eggs would join their force in an environment where protests were ongoing without a statement of expression from the leadership of the country to calm the nerves. Several public and private properties with assets worths billions were carted away and burnt to ashes in and around Lagos just to express anger, depression and the state of frustration from the long abandoned, forsaken and rejected youths. I repeat, the protests was hijacked by hoodlums who equally showed their displeasures.
The CCTV Cameras and the street lights located around the Lekki Toll Gate were deliberately switched off. The next thing was that members of the armed forces started the Lekki massacre and mass destruction. Therrafter, burnings were later reported almost everywere in Lagos. The police also killed many person too.
Some of us are advocates of decency, normalcy and sustainable community development. We desire a better Nigeria for quality lifestyle and standard of living. We strive hard to make it in life. We subjected ourselves to serious and strenuous academic rigours for success and survival in our chosen careers. Yet, the achievement are little and it has not reflect the efforts put into it. Traders, business men and investors are not left out in the struggle to make it in spite of the unfriendly and unstable government policies. In all, we thank God.
Nepotism, corruption, tribalism, embezzlement, religious sentiments, indiscipline, greediness and self-centredness has eaten deep into the fabric of the society in Nigeria. Our legal system is obvious to make money from the rotten system. Realistically, until the legal system of our country is sanitised, we are not heading anywhere. Both the Defendants and the Plaintiffs approach our lawyers. Justice is turned upside down if you do not have money and connections. Previous experiences in the Nigerian history has shown that moneybags win many legal battles.
It is so sad that youths were killed in Lekki and it has happened in other parts of the nation. This has expressed and explained the desperation of our aged politicians to retain power regardless of all agitations. Many souls were lost, both civilians and the police. Some of our brothers and friends who joined the police with little or no money to show for it at the end of the month were also killed. My heart bled for this nation where we shed human blood recklessly without being mindful of the consequences.
The truth be spoken, our political system has produced the thieves, the armed robbers, kidnappers, killers, Boko Haram, looters and the rest of them. Has the thugs started using the guns purchased for them by the political actors before and during the previous elections? The question is left for you and I to answer…
Our long period of silence has inevitably massaged the ego of long maladministration in Nigeria. Silence, most times, means consent. Those who can confront the powers that be are tagged too vocal, hard, harsh, sentimental and biased. Here we are today.
Today, it is obvious that in a country where about 85% of our youths are either unemployed or underemployed. We’ve all murdered sleep and you know the long term effect. The long years of continuous abandonment of youths by the Nigerian leaders is definitely leading us to this level of anarchy and chaotic situations we are now.
You and I are aware that many graduates are yet to get jobs for many years. Disappointments, frustrations and depression are daily evident from the youths. The parents who have spent so much, including borrowed money from different cooperative societies, to send their wards to expensive schools in order to achieve sound and quality education are not exempted. The graduates are without jobs and the consequence is lack of economic liberation.
The saying that a time is coming when the masses will take to the street in defence of their rights is real now. If we are not careful, the over one million Almajiris in the North and the drug addicted youths of the South will continuously become the instruments of election rigging and thuggery in the hands of the same politicians who are daily milking the Nigerians commonwealth. As we can see from many reactions from the past, there is no readiness to transfer power to the capable, dynamic, resourceful, agile, trained, ready and willing young individuals for national service.
We need reforms in many facets of our national lives. We need national rebirths and self-discipline to attain the status of development that we desire. The #EndSars protests has further exposed the wickedness of men. The paliatives that were meant for the less privileged were stored to capacity in different warehouses. Yet, the downtrodden were left to wallow in abject poverty. My thought is, will they repackage them and use to lure the electorates for the next election? Who is fooling who?
Please, let us take time to read submissions from the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sanusi Lamido, Kokori, Ken Saro Wiwa and other voices in Nigeria on how to empower the youths for quality lifestyle and living standard. Watch the videos of few Nigerians who have expressly shown their growing concerns on the need to change the narrative in Nigeria. The structure in Nigeria has given opportunity for Political fatherism. Shame on the system and those who are insisting on celebrating it even when it is not working.
Honestly, we need a change of leadership in Nigeria because we are due for it. Most of our leaders are old and senile! Going through the archives, the freedom fighters for independence in Nigeria were less than 50 in age in those years. Gen. Yakubu Gowon was 29 when he became the military head of state in Nigeria. Most governors were around age 40 during the first and the second republics.
The take home lesson today is that the masses has suffered so much in the hands of the political gladiators who has consistently retained themselves in power over the years. Those who are dead have their children and grandchildren replaced them. Sé ogun layé ni?
Most governors, after their second terms, found their ways into the senate. They want to perpetually retain themselves in power. They’ve tasted power, looted the treasury and they are not ready to withdraw.
We need true federalism. Regionalism can also be explored. 70% of our resources should be retained by the state for internal development while 30% should go to the Federal. This will reduce mad ambition for political positions. Not all politicians are bad. But, I tell you, some good ones are already being corrupted by the bad ones.
We’ve started the move towards achieving the set targets. The youths should mobilise in the same way they’ve done to get their PVC, register to vote and be voted for in the coming 2023 general election. I am not saying that all the youths are qualified. The failure to guide, defend, influence, motivate and mentor the youths had produced inexperienced ones among them.
In the next election, in my perspective, anybody above 60 years of age should not be voted for. Those around 65 can be given political appointments because we need their experiences. Let’s start somewhere in order to get socio-economic cum Political liberations from the hands of the opportunists who are ruling Nigeria.
Let’s move forward as a nation!
Tim Amosun is the Managing Partner of Pradmarcom Consultants, Lagos
By Tim Amosun