November 4, 2020

After the carnage, what next?

For DSO, a new life in a season of expectations

By Sunny Ikhioya

THE almost three weeks exhibition of carnage in our land was, in fact, unimaginable, traversing through the length and breadth of the nation. Some were in support of the Federal Government and its enforcement agencies, while others were bent on bringing government to its knees.

When you consider the extent of destruction, as well as full assessment of losses, the leadership of the nation has a duty to ponder on the issue of youth restiveness in the country. We have highlighted in the past that if a society fails to attain balance, through its internal contradictions, the balance will be attained on its own through the natural process of turbulence.

In everything created by nature, there is balance; so, when we ask leaders to be fair and just in their decision making processes, we are not doing so to patronise them, but to forewarn of consequences of doing otherwise.

In business management, there is the term referred to as “destructive engineering”, some people refer to it as “reverse engineering”, which is simply to pull down-to build. Sometimes, a society has to go through this process of upheavals to be able to redirect its growth process. That is what this country had gone through these past few weeks.

The question is: Have we learnt anything from it. Are we going to continue as if it is business as usual? Are we going after the hoodlums who raided different warehouses in the land? Are we going to truly look at change and see this experience as the right time to execute these reforms?

Are we going to re-evaluate our separateness, distinctiveness and identity, vis-a-vis Nigeria? Are we ready to look at the weakness in our structure and correct the distortions? Are we now ready to prioritise youth training, development and engagements?

How do we integrate our traditional institutions in the management of our resources? Above all, how can the whole units come together and as one people, fight for the strengthening of one united nation, with a determination to eliminate all conflicting interests?

It is a big task for any leadership, but it is achievable if we take away all forms of bias. Unfortunately, the evident body language suggest our usual penchant to look for the fault in other places. This situation calls for the leadership to accept that it has not done some things correctly in the past and is now ready to take remedial action.

It is something every leader in this country must accept; from the local government, state and federal levels, everyone has failed and it is as a result of the greed of our leadership. There is a poser I saw in the course of this campaign and it says: “Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich”. From my observation, government is more focused on fishing out culprits and perpetrators and that will not be the solution for a permanent deterrence.

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It was a display of youthful exuberance, channelled towards an oppressive arm of government and when you consider the circumstances which gave rise to it, especially hunger and poverty in the land made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, you will understand the reason behind youths restlessness.

It is something to be taken into consideration as we deliberate on rebuilding the system. What we witnessed was a mob action with no identifiable leadership; so control was very difficult to effect.

There has never been a revolution in world history that was acted out of an original script. It has always been spontaneous, like a wave, until the pent up sentiments subside; while it lasts rational thinking takes flight. So, those who blame youths for allowing things to get to the extent it did must understand this.

We must also recognise the counter-strategy used by government and its sympathisers, especially pitching Northern youths against their Southern counterparts. All of these factors must be brought into view when we consider how the whole #EndSARS protest derailed on its focus and purpose.

With the morale of the police personnel at its lowest ebb, we must also evaluate their position. As it is now, they are very embittered and will be baying for revenge, having witnessed what happened to some of their dear colleagues, coupled with the burning and massive destruction of their offices. Anyone unfortunate to fall into the hands of these aggrieved policemen now will “see pepper”, literally speaking.

Presently, there are many places, especially in the South, without police presence and as they say: “If you say that the police is bad, try armed robbers”. So, there will be this tendency for people to begin to commit crimes so that those opposed to what happened will quip: ‘we said it’. We must be focused on a holistic solution because it borders on the security and future of our country.

We have, at this moment, managed to bring things back to normalcy. But our solution should be such that tendencies that aggravated the uprising do not occur again. That is why retaliation and vengeance on the part of our security agencies and government officials must be suppressed.

It is in the same light that we are advising the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to withdraw fines placed on three television stations -Arise, AIT and Channels. How do you want the news to be disseminated at these times of live cameras everywhere?

If the news stations fail to broadcast what they have witnessed, the social media will expose them and that will not be good for their credibility. Everything that will make our police personnel to regain their lost confidence must be done expeditiously- training, remuneration, orientation and career. While the actual hoodlums are being fished out, they must avoid a situation where innocent persons are being logged in with the criminals.

There is a case of a woman who was arrested in her neighbourhood while trying to get food for her children. She was arrested for breaking the curfew; she has been in detention for over a week now. The law enforcement agents must do well to separate the innocent from the real criminals.

There are also those who participated in looting palliatives warehouses because they are not able to afford even one square meal a day. Such people must also be identified and treated with lesser degree of punishment from the hardened ones.

What about our politicians and their lifestyles? There is a saying that ‘the blind man does not need anyone to let him know that the market is closed”. In the midst of abject poverty in the land, politicians have chosen to engage in financial recklessness and provocative display of ostentatious living. The people know the source of the wealth and at the appropriate time they will ask questions. It is also incumbent on our governors to begin to do the right things.

If cost of governance is reduced to barest minimum and the extras channelled into development projects, there is no way a state government will not make visible impact; but here in Nigeria, they have their priorities, which is different from that of the people. If we are complaining about nepotism and cronyism at the federal level, it is important that we take the governors to task when they do this at the state levels.

No society progresses without attaining balance in the system; even a strong opposition is part of the balance in the political system. Let us, together, eliminate these negative tendencies and experience a rebirth in Nigeria. All hands must be on deck.

Ikhioya wrote via: