My father taught me to speak for rights, justice — Oluwasola Ajisafe
A file image of the #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Tollgate, before the gunfire of October 20, 2020.

Mr. Oluwasola Ajisafe is the CEO of Neskil Integrated Supplies & Big Pee Entertainment. He was born to a family of three in Akure, Ondo State. He is also an IT consultant and ardent philanthropist that has been supporting individuals and small businesses in the sub-urban areas of Lagos State.

He is passionate about grassroots politics, good governance and people development. He is an activist for change and has championed several initiatives targeted at knowledge-sharing, awareness creation and people empowerment. He is a member of the African Action Congress (AAC) party and supports in driving communications for the parties agenda.

On a lighter mood, he also has a weekend hobby as a DJ at exclusive events. He spoke to newsmen on some issues.

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Oluwasola Ajisafe and I was born in 1985. My late grandfather, a close ally and friend of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and my father did well by educating my siblings and I to be politically savvy. But not to make politics our sole life ambition so we are not living at the mercy of others in power and out of fear.

However, we were taught to stand for truth, humanity, transparency, justice and fairness; to consider having a good name and reputation as being more important than stealing. Thieves, corrupt and insensitive leaders can never be interested in the growth of a nation or the progress of others, including the young and the unborn whom they constantly have said are the leaders of tomorrow.

One of the earliest impressions I had about life was a story my father told me about how he stood up to his cohorts in the university as a student union executive and charged them to be upright in their service to the students that elected them to stand as representatives in steering and determining their fate and interests within the institution and externally.

Within the Nigerian context of politics, honesty and integrity in governance are widely known to be lacking while corruption, embezzlement and elected leaders and officials prioritise their personal interests selfishly to the detriment of the people that elected them to serve.

READ ALSO: EndSARS: Why we ‘ve not awarded compensations— Oladimeji

I began to see my father in a new light after that story. He was a hero in my eyes and not just a father. I didn’t know then, but it seems I made a subconscious decision to always speak out and be vocal for my rights.

Of course, it was hard because the majority of Nigerians will always advice you to “be silent and let the mad man pass”. In other words, suffer injustice so you can see another day in the land of the living. And I followed this for a while, but it gets hard after a while. The people remembered in history all have stood for something and some even died for it. But at least, they were remembered.

This is my fuel, my drive and my motivation, to be remembered as one who made a difference in grassroots politics that led to a new breed of citizenry, a change in purpose thereby paving the way for greatness in our land. It will take years for such an ambition to be achieved on a widespread multi-cultural level seeing that our cultural background and tribes plays a big role in the Nigerian ecosystem but it has to start from somewhere. Inter-tribal unity, oneness regardless of tribe cannot be over-estimated. It has to be in the nearest future.

Was the ENDSARS struggle worth the fight?

(Sighs deeply) That’s a tough question. Because it’s not really about getting immediate results, but about increasing people’s awareness about the power that they have; liberating the masses from tyranny and the brutalities that we have faced for years.

While it didn’t really get results, I strongly believe somewhere in the future, this dam of fear and subservience will break.  It is cracking now and I can bet my life on it that with time it will bust and usher in a new Nigeria; one of our conscious making. Not one that was handed to us behind our backs.

The #RevolutionNow movement will make sure of this. The movement is already ongoing and it’s coming up strongly. We deserve a better Nigeria, just as we deserve good leaders, not tyrants and thieves. The National Association of Nigerian Students has a saying that goes “Any decision made for us, without us, cannot be for us”.

The Nigeria of today is a scam and a lie and a mirage. This is what we hope to change in our lifetime for our children. I don’t want my children to grow up asking “But Daddy, what did you do about it?”. Although, I have lost quite a lot as an outcome of my involvement in the EndSARs rally, I trust that my family will be proud of my endeavours and participation someday.

Why did you decide to join in the struggle?

I decided to join because of my personal experiences; the loss I have experienced from the maltreatment by the same unit of the police force.

Seeing how the government handled the COVID-19 palliatives meant for the masses, every normal human should be critical of the government. People have suffered and they continue to suffer. The second event was faced with mass police brutality too as we already envisaged.

What was your experience during the ENDSARS?

Traumatic. I still have nightmares and may be seen a therapist soon. The days that followed after I escaped the scene was tormenting. Remembering a few people that fell at my very side and yet the denial by the army and government…

We falsely relied on the thought that we were safe since we were carrying the Nigerian flag; army code of engagement we really thought. I choose not to go into the gory details as families were thrown into confusion, while some displaced and still trying to pick up the pieces from the aftermath.

Justice will be served in due time, no matter how hard the powers that be try to cover the story and truth.

I fled because I know it like I know my name that if I stay back, the worst may come, and I will no longer be involved in any protests for justice and good governance. The risk to my family is one I cannot be selfish about. As a young father, I decided not to turn my wife into a widow, and my infant son a fatherless kid.

It’s been a tough decision, but you know how the police will boldly say it to your face: “If I shoot you nothing will happen”. If I am “cancelled” over proclaiming our rights, fighting for Nigeria, who will give my family justice? How different will I be from those that we are fighting for even after the first edition of Endsars? Justice still hasn’t been served till today. An attorney-general, as we know today, was killed and justice still hasn’t been served.

If you’re wondering if I have given up, definitely not. I fled because I want something good to happen; the results we seek. I want to be a part of it when it comes and knowing that I still have a huge role to play towards the eventual success; working with other like minds and cohorts who I won’t mention as we continue to strive for the delivery of our mandate for real change, visionary leadership and a better Nigeria.

Do you foresee a national revolution if there is nothing done to address the concerns of young Nigerians?

A national revolution is absolutely imminent. It is already underway. For years, we’ve been ruled by tyrants, we haven’t been governed at all for the benefits of governance. Growth and success are far from what Nigeria has experienced.

What the people have felt is backward growth and increasing poverty, failed health care system and dilapidated infrastructures including education and lack of employment, which has led to so many being vulnerable to the games of the ruling parties buying their loyalty and votes during every election year.

Picture this: the Covid-19 relief materials were perhaps to be kept aside for their usual games where care and support is rapidly and massively given to the poor masses during the election year— an act of loyalty buying and eventually vote buying.

READ ALSO: IGP charges operatives to put EndSARS protest behind them

The manipulation has to stop. The hold on power has to stop. True governance, visionary leaderships and service to the people cannot be so far away. It’s a matter of time and we will not go to sleep until the future generations can be assured of a sane system.

Has government response been favourable to the yearning of the ENDSARS?

Absolutely unfavourable; panels have been set up and now almost broken up with notable persons standing for the people gradually stepping down as they saw the plot to cover up, twist the story and manipulate the people regardless of the truth.

The government continues to be ambiguous in their ways instead of allowing for transparency and the truth. The military has refused to participate in the panel any further with the government playing victim to their non-appearance.

Control of the tollgate handed back to LCC amidst the ongoing investigation and controversy. Clearly, the government is only interested in its revenue-generation infrastructure. A revolution is the only way forward; we can’t give up now.

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