‘Every generation has a mission. It either fulfils or betrays it’ – Frantz Fannon
Movement of the earth along its elliptical orbit is called revolution. It just found a terminus here in Nigeria! Our youth are angry and our elders wailing. Wild lamentation of women is loud; wailing for their children, because they were no more.
Lost to state infernal machine of terror, oiled by Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS), an arm of Nigeria Police that has now been found to have committed more crime than it prevented!
Let me start with words of warning, advice and encouragement as we set forth to Magnolia, charting ungoverned terrains that have become ubiquitous in our country. It is a rough road, left famished by the beautified beast with bestial passion for cruelty, crudity and counter-civilization that bestride our clime with audacious pride. Let me also encourage that fear does not preserve life and timidity adds no value to it. So, fear not! Be courageous! Fight! Live! Coward has no page in the book of life!
Also read: 4 major protests across Africa: #EndSARS, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, #ShutItAllDown, #CongoIsBleeding
I knew that the police along Agbara – Badagry Expressway have turned that place to Road Bank but I never knew the horror film was as long as it was brought into view by the Nigerian youths during ENDSARS Campaign. It was a deeper and scarier nadir of cruelty and injustices than I ever imagined – a classical example of monumental governance tragedy! Demotragic governance!
How it becomes a herculean task for it to be understood by agents of the government, particularly the security agencies, that civil liberty, equality before law and supremacy of law are the hallmark of democracy and civilization flout common sense. However, this is not to pretend that I do not know that it is rulership tyranny that sustains the lawlessness of Security Agencies in Nigeria. They don’t read what the laws say.
They read the ruler’s body language; and for them, that is the law! Even in seeking solutions for the raging crises of impunity represents by SARS lawlessness and police brutality, we remain pitifully ignorant of the vortex of the fast consuming hurricane. We forgot that Police Train of terror brought us here and that Army’s Van of Bullets can’t get us out! Rather than going into deep retrospection and reflection that could birth thorough reform, we continue with the banality of policy jokes, moving from SARS to SWAI.
The recent celebration of Nigeria’s sixtieth independence offered a platform for a new strategic direction for nation-building. Even while recognizing what he called ‘artificial fault lines’, the rhetoric of Mr President’s speech fed on operational problems and his own concepts of solutions as well as his chosen processes were manifestly operational and pacifist. Although, he recognized ‘people’ as the centre rod of democracy but went ahead to put government’s legs on pedals of development, ignoring the cardinality of ‘people’ he hitherto identified as the main change agent and as the propeller of growth and sustainable development.
The speech was beautiful teaching of the history of national tragedies. However, it came with neither strategy for escape nor tactics to de- freeze a nation frozen by injustices! It was prose fictitiously delivered on geography that needs more than cartographic and facial surgeries! The legs of the land are still left hanging in the intensive unit of a clinic with Surgeons without diagnostic tools. Nigeria needs a new structure to power a national dream.
No new culture will emerge from the old structure that over concentrate constitutional responsibilities on the centre, making state-level governance mere footnote of a supposedly federalist structure’ Recently, I yelled at a roughrider! What a heck! There was a bullion van driver trying to bully me off Bourdillion road while racing to Saudi to fill my tank with Arabian Oil. I had to stop over along the road to Maradi, to ‘ rail’ curses on the dangerous driver! Nonsense! What a ‘Train’ alawapa driver, running, ‘Yuan Yuan’ like Chinese Table Balls on loan to a Prodigal Tennis Club! Prose that captures leadership thoughtlessness and insensitivity to the recklessness of the powerful and extreme harsh economic conditions millions of citizens are forced to endure while they go on to China on borrowing broke, comparing apple with an orange.
Even in the Storm of COVID, the vortex of their insensitivity and stealing does not abate. Thank God, the future is here and our youths are the drivers! Just two weeks of youth-led protest, like red-headed cock, mediocre in power are faced with the impotence of their power. The imperial aristocracy of the famished tyrants burst on their faces. There is testimony on the streets that we are close to promising land. Let those who insist on perishing with the ancient cads remain in the middle of the Red Sea. Like Moses, our youths would soon stretch forth the rod for waters to drown them. The message of the protest is unmistakable.
A country with weak human rights and essential protection machinery must prioritize mechanisms to support human rights as well as strengthening pillar of protection and prevention of abuse of power.
I have always believed that the best way to de-institutionalise Accountability pressure on the government is by speaking up like our youth is doing. An unchallenged governmental power is uncharted liberty. Only President Buhari can end this protest; with clear time-bound youth development action plan wrapped with conflict-sensitive justice-focused nation building speech.
Nevertheless, from the deafening silence of the imperial king, it’s clear we have a deeper crisis of governance than we thought. You cannot continue to build waterless sea where only crocodiles smile yet expects dolphins not to fly on your face. We caged our youths and called them ‘lazy’. Now, the snare is broken and they have proved to be more courageous and intelligent than the Army of Locust that parade themselves as leaders.
Nigerian youths, henceforth, should let their votes carry the voltage of their voices. That’s how they can electrocute ancient cads and become the powerhouse for a New Nigeria. Nigerian youth has the number. It has courage. It now has the experience of struggle. Whenever God wants to deliver a people, He sends a person. Whenever He wants to pull down walls of Jericho, He sends multitude. Our youths, arrows in God’s hand! In the journey to liberty, let me declare that every road to freedom is novel to those who construct them.
There is no traditional route to any desired revolutionary ends. None was ever constructed with the tool of parochial law; but of courage, of hope and abiding faith that drivers of suppressive state structural violence will be overcome and overturned by a new order with own structure and system. It is idle to expect that such a road will be laid with gold and Jasper!
The strategy for liberty is the same as that of the onslaught against sin – resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Gbenro Olajuyigbe is an Abuja based Human Security Expert.