By Abdullahi O Haruna Haruspice
You see where the foolishness of some badly bred policemen has led us to ba? For your actions, the land bleeds in needless blood. You use tools given to you to protect the people against the people; extorting money from them, harassing them and snuffing lives out of them, because of money! You now have the money but where is the peace? Everyone is taking the brute of your foolishness. For your foolishness, the nation bleeds in blood.
For the soldiers, what happens rule of engagement? Were you trained just to kill and not negotiate? What happens to your tactical and persuasive drill? What happens to infiltration where you can subtly call for a dialogue?
Years of unaccountable governance has brought us to this ugly reality, where mistrust, distrust and total apathy reign high. Government losing legitimacy from top to bottom. If this doesn’t scare you, nothing else will. Where the people see their government as an oppressive reference, it means total disconnect and the result is what greets us- wanton needless murders.
This is the time for the government to put up its thinking cap, come low to the people and make right what has been ruined. You can’t govern a battered people. Seek genuine reconciliation, retribution and begin real national healings.
And for the rest of us, time to halt the stoking impulse. Let’s halt the push for confrontation, let’s call for calm, let’s not give conflict merchants the room to achieve their aim. No one should die for whatever reason, we must all be alive to have the Nigeria of our dream.
And for the soldiers who led the infamous onslaught, and those who gave the command, justice must take its toll.
Meanwhile, for the people of Lagos and others, Professor Banji Akintoye has these few lines for you, ‘Be wiser than those that seeks to destroy you. Do not give in to their provocations which can be their alibi to destroy you’.
The fire stoking from almost all the commentators give a chilling and ominous sensation, everyone is shouting fire , fire, destroy, destroy! So everything must be level down before reasons will prevail? All the places burnt so far are where the same people we are fighting to better their lives work. After the destruction, where would they return to to make their living? A video shot ten yrs ago can be replay 2020, a picture from Congo can be described as in Lagos! Beware d fakes. Don’t escalate the tension. Push the button of change
We want a better life and destroying the little we have, so so a warped stance. In war, the actors and villains are always the victims, only the earth benefits from war- we leave behind our wasted remains in debris. We shall continue to sue for caution Na matter the perception that comes with it.
As Dike Chukwumerije succinctly opined,
“FROM PROTESTS TO RIOTS…
Because these protests have no leaders, a resort to violence by protesters will lead to anarchy. And in a state of anarchy, the original protesters – that upwardly mobile emergent class of tech savvy, globally connected youths – will be the greatest victims. For it is those who can smash car windows, set businesses on fire and push daggers into the mouths of hapless policemen who will thrive. And they will not be tele-guided by those of us on social media. I tell you, this will not be progress.
Progress is to refuse to take the bait to turn this into a Law and Order issue. Today is not the day to go toe to toe with the State security machinery. Because the movement itself is still fragile, not properly under the control of those who sparked it, deeply vulnerable to hijack, its members not yet seamlessly bonded together enough to survive these age-old tactics of divide-and-rule them on lines of ethnicity, region and religion. You do not go to war with an army in such a state.
And I tell you it is not even the time or place for war. It is the enemy goading you onto a battlefield in which it holds all the high ground. There is now enough destructive violence – both sponsored and spontaneous – on the streets to justify the presence of Force. The narrative has already been floated of the protests being nothing but a front for political interests pushing for regime change. The escalation of protesters demands from #endsars to endBuhari has been cited as evidence. And the constitutional argument deployed that an elected government must not be brought down by violent protest.
It is a chess game with high stakes, and you should not walk with your eyes open into a cul-de-sac. This is the time for cool heads. For many of the lives and livelihoods we destroy in vengeance for Lekki will be as innocent, as non-complacent, as the lives we lost there. Like this, we will lose the moral high ground. I tell you, it is anger misdirected. If we had the discipline, we should mourn our fallen with streets that suddenly fall eerily silent and empty. Graffiti should appear on our walls, dripping red, bearing their names. Songs, poems and viral hashtags. And the week after – or two weeks after, a month after, or two months after… Yes, after whatever period of time has passed they think sufficient to lull us back into the customary forgetfulness – we march again, peacefully, on one day, all together, in one place, demanding nothing but justice for the victims of State brutality. Like this to make this peaceful protest a recurring decimal. Turn it into our national day of mourning – 20/10/2020 – every year, to call their names, victims and perpetrators, that it may forever remain an albatross around the necks of those who made it so, a testament to our resolve to build a State that protects its citizens from terrorism, not one that attempts to control them with it.
And your anger? Like blinded Samson, place your hands against the pillars that actually hold up the building. You are chasing shadows and puppets in the streets, I tell you. If your desire for Better Governance cannot translate into a political movement effective enough to win the Presidency, at least two-thirds of the States, and an equal proportion of seats in the Federal Legislature – then, at the end of the day, you will march kilometres in the blood of protest, but gain not half an inch. Nigeria is well versed in the art of disillusioning the young and idealistic. Lose the naivety fast. Fill your lungs with stamina. And learn to, no matter the provocation, only fight the battles of your own choosing”.