By Sunmola Olowookere
The above titled piece written by Femi Adesina, spokesperson to the president, Muhammadu Buhari has been generating controversy from different ethnic groups in Nigeria.
While some took a swipe at him with snide comments such as “what else could he have said? He is working for his pay as the presidential mouthpiece”, others had decided to look beyond his political cloak and see reason with some of the sentiments he shared in his writeup.
He wrote the piece titled “if Nigeria dies, hatred killed Nigeria” and raised a cogent reason why Nigerians must not allow emotions to cloud their senses. A Yoruba adage loosely translated says, when we cry, we also see.
With the recent development in the last one week, we see a people blinded by rage. Rage brought on by perceived lack of concern by the government about the welfare of the people.
Fake information had played a partial role in it.
The EndSARS Protest began peacefully enough. The youths had taken to the streets to demand an end to police brutality, bad governance among others.
The citizens were excited. The masses now had a voice loud enough to shake our government out of its complacency. Steadily and with a planned coordination that surprised all, the youth took to the streets in peaceful protests. The movement gained momentum as the protest became replicated in all states.
Alas, things went horribly wrong on Tuesday, 20th of October, 2020 as some group of soldiers had besieged the Lekki toll gate in Lagos where the youths had converged to protest and according to reports opened fire on the unarmed youths while they held the Nigerian flag and sang the national anthem.
Nigerians wept bitterly for the fallen.
It was a highly tensed week for Nigeria and its environs. Till now, the feeling of tension although lessened has not abated. Also there have been conflicting reports about the incident; such as the numbers of casualty, what really transpired and who issued the order to kill the youths.
In most states of the federation, the protesters raged and defied the curfew imposed by the state governors. Hoodlums took advantage of the breakdown of law and order to loot, unleash mayhem on defenseless members of the public and kill.
In all, the events of last week showed an angry people that had lost touch with all reality, they were bent on ending it all. In a fearsome rage, hoodlums in different states attacked government edifices, burnt government buses and looted government offices. They broke out prison inmates in about three facilities.
With glee, they pounced on government warehouses and discovered part of the palliatives that the federal government had passed to states to be given out to the masses.
They desecrated royal properties and took away staff of authority.
Even private business bore the brunt of the onslaught as the hoodlums and some citizens that could not care less whose ox is gored broke into people’s shop and looted the goods therein.
The development took on a political dimensions as some powerful people took advantage of the violence to burn party Secretariats and campaign offices.
Hoodlums blocked major roads, adjoining routes and almost all nooks and crannies of our neighbourhood in most towns in Ondo state. They made motorists to go through hell. There were queues all over the Akure metropolis.
Most people abandoned their vehicles and trekked. Primary school kids that had never trekked before walked long distances. The hatred was palpable as hoodlums battered motorists.
They shouted at them and made those that honked their cars to wait endlessly. Rickety cars were favoured while good cars were blocked. It was a operation the downtrodden against the well off. The hatred was palpable and frightening. To them it appeared as a small victory.
However, we must all realize that our “small victory” will have results and the results largely will be to our detriments. Hoodlums have tasted dominance and the feelings could be heady. Some hardened prisoners that have not been rehabilitated in the least bit are walking freely. In matter of weeks, we will definitely be seeing the effects. May God save us all.
Presently an article was put together by Officers who participated in Peacekeeping Operations all over the world and it is being circulated online.
They wrote “we hope people cheering what is going on understand the trend of war.
It is always a trend : From Libya to Syria to Yemen to CAR to Somalia to Liberia to Sierra Leone to Ivory Coast to Rwanda. Here are the stages:
Plot 1. People protest.
Plot 2. Government repressed protesters. Soldiers fired live ammunition into crowd killing some protesters.
Plot 3. Mob retaliated and burned down government and political leader assets.
Plot 4. Army and police withdrew due to international pressure to guide their own barracks only.
Plot 5. Mob went after assets and houses of prominent political leaders. Politicians fled abroad with their families.
Plot 6. Mob went after assets and life of middle class or anyone that has semblance of wealth. Estate housing middle class were attacked. Remember no more police or army to protect them.
Plot 7. Full scale war as opportunists with group interests and ego took over competing over interests and end up tearing the country apart.
Plot 8. Refugees flee the country in thousands to become beggars in neighboring countries.
Plot 9. This is not the 1960s. The internal wars will be a recurring decima no uniting force – Libya scenario.
I hope we are praying. All those houses, wealth and loved ones could disappear in a twinkle of an eye.
Those abroad blowing the flame will be eating Kentucky chicken. US, UK and UN will turn a blind eye, except UN peace keepers kept in one expensive hotel – Remember hotel Rwanda.
What we all need is prayer not for Nigeria but for us and our families. The name Nigeria may disappear and we’ll all still bear our family names. The thousands in banks might be worth less than toilet roll.”
It was credited to a concerned retired combatant officer.
These are dire warnings for all of us. While we fight corruption among public office holders, we must also endeavour that in our little capacities, we are accountable and transparent. The change we desire lies in all of us.
From individuals conducts to families, groups, let us endeavour to start the change we desire. It is needless to start mentioning various ways in which the average Nigerian circumvent right procedures in order to create short cuts and easy deals. The list is endless.
Let us eschew violence. If as youth, we destroy the fabric of the structure that we want to inherit, then we will have to build from the scratch when we eventually get what we won.
The violence we are enjoying now will turn out to haunt us if it is allowed to fester. Rage and hatred are dangerous emotions that will not allow us to make the right decisions when we need to.
Let us fight our course cohesively. Say no to destroying any property. Say no to consuming hatred. Block all loopholes through which unscrupulous politicians might want to operate.
Let us give room to dialogue. Not all wars were won on the battlefield, some were won in conference rooms.