By Ola Balogun
Now that tongues have loosened, exposing the horrendous misdeeds of the dreaded SARS outfit to public scrutiny, many Nigerians have discovered with shock that the widespread instances of torture and extra-judicial killings attributed to SARS operatives bear a close resemblance to the horror tales associated with the activities of death squads in past situations in other parts of Africa, such as in Idi Amin’s Uganda or in apartheid South Africa…
Ethiopia under Mengistu’s iron fist, Dr. Hastings Banda’s murderous regime in Malawi, and Sekou Toure’s merciless recourse to a barbaric reign of terror behind a hypocritical ‘socialist’ facade are all examples that spring readily to mind in this connection.
The revelations about the sinister goings on in the SARS police units are also reminiscent of the manner in which killer units proliferated under dictators like Mobutu, Eyadema, Siad Barre, Sergeant Doe and co.
The same ugly phenomenon also reared its head during the Rawlings era in Ghana, culminating in the barbaric assassination of three high court judges who were killed in horrendous circumstances by goons allegedly unleashed by a ruling triumvirate consisting of Jerry Rawlings, his wife and his cousin, Kojo Tshikata…
Looking further outwards, we also find troubling parallels during the rule of South American despots like Pinochet in Chile or Battista in Cuba.
The question that we therefore need to examine is: Why does the chilling saga of SARS horror tales bear such a close resemblance to the terrible examples of the use of instruments of state terror by rogue regimes in Africa and elsewhere? Where does the common thread lie?
Interestingly enough, by claiming to have solved the SARS problem by simply setting up a new police unit to replace it, the Buhari administration has been attempting to deflect attention from the real issues that have been brought to the fore by the current unrest by seeking to portray the misdeeds of SARS operatives as misguided actions by a few rogue elements…
This is of course entirely misleading!
What an unholy exercise in deception!
Fortunately, the young heroes who have taken to the streets in many Nigerian cities to demand a thorough overhaul of the fundamental structures of the Nigerian state are not buying any of the false narrative that the powers that be are attempting to propagate.
Most remarkably, our youths have been astute enough to discern the fact that far from being a simple aberration, the phenomenon of SARS is closely linked to the fundamental issue of how Nigeria is to be governed!
As a result, the logical upshot of the current demonstrations is that the #EndSARS uprising needs to set the stage for a revolutionary overthrow of the present system of governance in Nigeria.
To understand why this should be so, we need to beam a spotlight on the reasons for the repeated failure of the various forms of governance that have been embarked upon by virtually all the post-colonial African states, be it in North or in sub-Saharan African countries, and be it under the guise of parliamentary rule, presidential rule, military rule or alleged Marxist systems of government…
What has really happened is that the transition to independence has largely been a mirage, due to the fact that colonial rule by European powers was replaced by internal colonisation by a power hungry elite that has stepped into the shoes of the erstwhile colonial masters.
As a result, the various constitutions and forms of government that have been enacted in the wake of the emergence of independent African states have almost invariably only had a single aim in view, which has been to entrench the dominance of an entrenched ruling elite…
At the end of the day therefore, our internal colonial masters have been no different in essence from the White minority rulers in South Africa and Rhodesia in terms of their willingness to deploy all available instruments of repression to ensure their hold on power…
Viewed from this perspective, it is easy to understand that SARS did not come about by accident!
In reality, SARS has merely been one among various repressive instruments that have been deployed (and still continue to be deployed!) by the Nigerian ruling elite to maintain a strangle-hold on power, so as to be able to continue to loot the nation’s resources with shameless impunity.
Thus, SARS has now been exposed as the extreme tip of a variety of instruments of coercion that have been systematically deployed by the Nigerian ruling elite since our accession to nominal independence 60 years ago…
By extending the debate beyond the SARS phenomenon in order to call the overall structure of governance into question, the Nigerian youths are definitely pointing in the right direction!
They appear to have instinctively understood that the real issue lies with the confiscation of state power by a greedy elite class that has political, civil service, military, academic and business components, which means that the ugly phenomenon of SARS cannot be eradicated without a thorough overhaul of the apparatus of governance itself…
Manifestly, the current youth uprising in Nigeria is quite capable of snowballing into a full-fledged revolution, but the question that needs to be asked is: Are our young heroes suitably equipped ideologically, and are they well organised enough to be able to impose a viable alternative to the system of government that they are seeking to replace?
In this connection, the on-going impasse that has resulted from the initial success of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt as well as more recently in Sudan provides much food for thought.
Are we going to end up the same way in Nigeria?
How can our youths avert the danger of paving the way for a group of military opportunists to emerge and turn the hands of the clock back to the benefit of the ever-resurgent greedy ruling elite once the revolutionary uprising would have swept the present power structure away?
There is obviously a pressing need for more mature and experienced heads to seek to offer political and ideological guidance to our youths at this early stage for the purpose of providing adequate guidance (not leadership!) to the young lions and lionesses who have currently embarked on the glorious path to a long overdue Nigerian revolution.
To succeed in full, there is obviously a need for our heroic youth activists to be provided with the political and ideological tools that they will require for ultimate success.
Therefore, now is the time for workshops to be organised by well-meaning intellectual patriots of all ages for the purpose of proposing economic, social, ideological and political models that the youths can build on!
WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?