Not unexpectedly, ‘End Special Anti-Robbery Squad’, aka #EndSARS, protest has been crippled and, its campaigners’ wings, clipped. No thanks to various crude measures employed by those who have mastered the art of mass disinformation, propaganda and violent repression of just causes in Nigeria. May God rest the souls of the yet-to-be-identified number of martyrs for positive change in Nigeria. May God heal the wounds of Nigerians!
There are opinions for and against the emergence of #EndSARS and how the protest, which started as a ‘decentralized social movement’ against police brutality in Nigeria, ballooned into a huge inferno, represented in every nook and cranny of the country. Whether or not the problem of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as a unit of the Nigeria Police Force should be heaped on its progenitors’ dream is immaterial here. In any case, those who hold the view that #EndSARS is prolonged may also have forgotten that, days into the struggle, nothing suggested that the Federal Government was seriously willing to engage the agitated and frustrated youths. The earlier tacit response of government was due to the influence of international rights agencies and foreign countries. The protest assumed a larger than life posture and an institutional affront, which depicted, graphically, the pervasive disconnect between the rulers and the ruled. Put differently, #EndSARS revealed that the existing system or order was not working. Police brutality was just the needed trigger. So, #EndSARS has only come to canvass the need to overhaul the current system. The regrettable thing is that other extraneous factors eventually crept in. The local and domestic politics of each state ultimately had an agonizing burden on the essence of the protest.
Take the #EndSARS protest in Osun State as an example. It’s an irrefutable truth that the extraneous factors, which define its internal politics, were uniquely different from the goals and objectives of the protest. The fifth columnists that infiltrated the crowd also had a diametrically opposing agenda. Unfortunately, it was beyond the capability of the genuine protesters to sift through the mix-multitude. We had an army of unemployed youths, who joined. So also were idle students, because schools were shut down. In the same vein, there were adults, who’re unemployed; and some agitated parents, who, more or less, have lost hope. They, too, joined. Ditto for the foot soldiers of the opposition parties, who felt that ‘Osun #EndSARS ’ has presented a viable opportunity to actually make an incursion and cause distress to the government.
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Internally, there were aggrieved and disgruntled elements within the ruling party, especially, those, who, allegedly, were not only waiting for the opportunity of an implosion but have perhaps become willing and ready tools in the hands of the restless opposition! Also, the ruling party could not honestly affirm that its paradise was trouble-free. Reports indicate that the harmony it presently enjoys is not too far from that of the graveyard. With all these groups and their varying agenda, the possibility of anything happening, from any angle, and, at the slightest opportunity, could not be ruled out.
Let’s face it: the reported assassination attempt made on the life of Osun State governor was nonsensical. To the good people of Osun State, such an act was not only atavistic, it was evolution throwback! The bitter truth is that people don’t quite understand what it means to be a governor, let alone the custodian of the essence of the state. If they do, they would see Gboyega Oyetola as an institution and the symbol of the sovereign powers of the state. It’s therefore abominable that an attempt would be made on the life of a sitting governor. This affront should be redressed, even, if it’s only for the sake of posterity.
But then, wither the place and the efficacy of the state’s security intelligence network in this saga? In saner climes, most of those who partook of the “assassination attempt” on the governor would, by now, have been caught. The source or sources of their weapons would also have been identified and apprehended. The DNA of the man who lodged an axe in the door of governor’s car would have been known by now. It’s because punitive sanctions have become a scarce commodity in our clime that the culture of crime has been on the increase. Until these knotty issues are sorted, nobody is sure of anything.
By the way, what are the objectives of #EndSARS and what actually led to the ruination of the purity of the noble cause? Yes, we had SARS because the safety of lives and property of Nigerians were threatened by armed robbers, social miscreants and the likes. Similarly, #EndSARS emerged as a result of the corruption, mismanagement and bad governance in Nigeria. From what we have all seen however, if we are talking of ending SARS due to illegality, is public looting an antidote to government’s failure? Are current events not pointing in the direction of reinventing SARS?
Whichever way, it is now apparent that fake news can actually destroy a whole society. For instance, some hoodlums razed Oriental Hotel in Lagos, thinking that it’s Bola Tinubu’s property. How do we explain that, especially, now that the truth about its ownership has come to limelight? Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cover arson. So, who covers for the loss of Oriental Hotel, and how do we explain the looting of government and other private business interests?
On the whole, while the logic or central focus of #EndSARS might have been the same nationally, it’s important to note that each state’s focus manifestly reflected its own peculiarity. So, #EndSARS is just like the melting point for all the agitations of different kinds of people and nationalities. It is the voice of a nascent social movement in its embryonic formation stage. Its message is a clarion call for the restructuring of the country from its present terrible and wicked amalgamation.
That looting took place simultaneously in multiple states across the country showed a pattern formation. It depicted a clear Establishments and of lootocracy. What we need to know therefore is what has led us to this pass. Presently, #EndSARS has exposed the poverty index in Nigeria as a fluke. It has shown that all the figures being brandished are nothing but ‘per capita of lies.’ Unfortunately, it seems as if those in charge of governance in this country lack the requisite skill needed to gauge the barometer of the people’s anger.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!