By Femi Orebe
My sincerest condolences to families who have lost any member as a result of the #ENDSARS protests and eternal rest to the young Nigerians who have unfortunately paid the supreme price.
The protests were with complete orderliness until some people with agenda infiltrated thugs into the mix and took it off the hands of the hardheaded youngmen and women who were at the helm of affairs. I suspect there is now a deliberate attempt to demarket some people ahead of 2023. This could be a personal or regional agenda but we would get to know more about this as time goes on.
In all my years, suffering has never been a stranger to Nigerians; we never had all round electricity, water didnt always flow from our taps. Youth unemployment is a constant just like insecurity.
Notwithstanding all these, nothing provoked the Nigerian youth to the level of protests we have seen these past 3 weeks. But no thanks to the unbridled excesses of SARS we experienced unprecedented killing of these young people as well as a massive destruction of properties this past week.
While the bestiality of SARS is the primary cause , there can be no disputing the fact that this crisis has been hugely exacerbated by the level of injustice which Nigerians have seen in the Buhari administration.
Fairness, equity and justice appear to have all kissed our country goodbye.
And to imagine that the President was well warned against the consequences of injustice right at the very beginning of his administration.
The President could not have been luckier than having one of Nigeria’s most respected statesmen give him what has since been described as the ‘Voice From The Grave’.
The following are the words of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, of blessed memory, when in May, 2015 he led a delegation of the Northern Leaders Forum to congratulate the President on his election.
“It is the same Buhari that gave this country a sense of direction when he was a military leader.
This time, I’m sure, Allah has brought him to correct the ills of the past, to reform. But sir, it is easy – and you know it was easy while you were there as a military leader – and with justice, you can rule Nigeria well.
Justice, is the key.
If you do justice to all and sundry – and I say all and sundry – because Allah says if you are going to judge between people, do justice, irrespective of their tribe, religion or even political inclination; justice must be done to whosoever deserves it. Power can remain in the hands of an infidel if he is just and fair. But power will not remain in the hands of a believer if he is unfair and unjust. Behind EVERY CRISIS anywhere in the world is INJUSTICE and the solution to that crisis is JUSTICE.
The world itself can never be governed by force, never by fear, even never by power. In the end, what governs is the mind. What conquers is the spirit. And the weapons of governing the mind and conquering the spirit are justice and fair play.
I have always known you to be a man of justice. I ask you, please, to continue. Don’t change, don’t compromise justice with any thing”.
May Allah help you! Mr. President sir, you know what we have gone through. I am not asking you – and I know you will not – to discriminate against any part of Nigeria. But I am asking you to do justice to all parts of Nigeria. Justice will bring about peace. Peace and stability are the pre-requisites of development. Development will bring employment. With employment, you will not have idle people. An idle mind, is the devil’s workshop. An idle mind thinks nothing but evil, it plans nothing but evil, wants to do nothing but evil. Justice, justice, will do away with all these. I know you can do it. DO JUSTICE TO US , DO JUSTICE TO THEM, do justice to EVERYBODY. Allah will reward you for that. There are certain things that people may say, perhaps, political consideration. Well Mr. President, it is God that you should always have at the back of your mind. For you believe that one day you will stand before God to account for all that you have done. I would rather that you will disappoint people than disappoint your great creator. And may God grant that you will do that which will please God. Sir we have come to congratulate you and congratulate ourselves because this is what we have been looking for. We have been looking for a Nigerian – and whatever anybody may say, you are a Nigerian – but a Nigerian with a sense of justice and fair play and by past records, you have that sense of justice and fair play. We are looking for a Nigerian that would be committed, dedicated and you are such a person. We are, therefore, expecting much from you. We are expecting much from you. We, on our side, are prepared to give you whatever support, in form of advise or anything, that will enable you to succeed in your task. Insha Allah, you will succeed. Insha Allah, nobody will laugh at us. Insha Allah, we will… my goodness, my goodness (waxes emotional). By the grace of God, this is a potentially, the greatest Nigerian leader that we have ever had”.
So Mr President, what happened?
I dont know how it happened. Was it because the President battled with illness for a considerable length of time? Could it be because of his well known respect, and loyalty to those around him, those who are reputed to have been with him through thick and thin, especially during his political odyssey and have since transmogrified to the famed mafia, and whose opinions he might not have been able to controvert? Was it a momentary loss of concentration, which Nigeria’s multitudinous challenges could very well induce or is it simply a love of one’s erhnic group? President Buhari should always have treated this advice like a PNEUMONIC- that is, an aide to memory – never to be forgotten, for even a fleeting moment.
All that is wrong with this country today, these protests inclusive, that is fast turning Nigeria to the likes of Afghanistan, are the consequences of injustice in its governance. President Buhari has not ruled Nigeria as if he knows it is a country of over 250 ethnic groups. This, in essence, means that he disdains the place, and importance, of Justice in his governance of a multi ethnic country like Nigeria thereby, either deliberately or unconsciously, bringing all these problems upon a country that should be the pride of the entire Blacks on the face of the earth. It is for reasons like this that President Donald Trump of the United States of America could justifiably call Nigeria a shithole country and even Ghana, nearby, could start to poke fingers in our eyes, not to talk of South Africa which treats Nigerians far worse. Back home, separatist groups are mushrooming and rearing their heads and even people of the same region, as we see in the North, think nothing of horrendously killing themselves absolutely for nothing.
These are all consequences of lack of justice in our polity on a scale hitherto unknown. For instance, what justice is in senators earning N36M monthly when 50 percent of the Nigerian youth are unemployed? There was this.chat on Whatsapp the other day which reads as follows: while 10,500 University Professors earn N4.8B annually, 469 mostly sleeping, National Assembly legislators earn N128B for the same period and that is not factoring in what comes to them via budgetary ‘envelopes’ and from their so – called oversight functions. What justice is in Fulani herdsmen raping, killing and burning villages, all over the country, and not being as much as arrested, not to talk of being hurled before court for justice to take its turn? Or I ask: is there any justice when the President packs Nigeria’s entire security apparatti with more than 90 percent Northerners and near all of the same religion? What of the entire headship of agencies in the ministries of Health and Education. How many of them come from outside the North?Which reminds me of writing as follows in “ MR PRESIDENT, WHAT IS HAPPENING, 15 December, 2019: “This time around, Your Excellency, I am in a complete fix, and so do need help. In order to taunt me maximally, my traducer – knowing how much I, a Southerner supports you, wrote: “Finance, Customs, Immigration, FIRS, NPA, NNPC, AMCON, NDIC, Federal Mortgage Bank are all now firmly in the hands of Northerners. The Executive, Legislature, the Judiciary, Police, DSS, Armed Forces, minus the CDS, Oil, Airports and Seaports, are all in the hands of Northerners.
The rout is complete”.
The Nigerian youth, well educated, many of them with higher degrees, citizens of the world, absolutely tech savvy, and who know what is happening in other parts of the world , see all these mindless injustice and more.They know that while they are unemployed, many years after graduation, children and relations of these privileged people are surreptitiously recruited into all these organisations even when there were no advertisements placed for any vacancies.
In the same country?
Those of these young men now being needlessly slaughtered, out looking for how to keep body and soul together, are the same ones being subjected to all manner of innanities, illegal detentions, even outright loss of life through the wicked, unchecked instrumentality of SARS.
Need anybody then be told that #ENDSARS# is a mere shorthand for far many national inadequscies?
Going forward, it is our hope and prayer that the President uwould become much more appreciative of Nigeria’s diversities.