( Published in Pointout News )
It has come and gone, its zephyr still drops like an ice with cool splendour. The protests and rages on the streets, the media hullabaloo and outcry, the burning and looting, everything has ended and what is left of the struggles is freezing of accounts and sending the perceived protesters to jail.
Anytime I think about the wobbled and disjointed nature of this nation and the action of the youths to the constant oppression, corruption and dehumanization by those in the helm of affairs on the governed, sometimes I do give up on having a better nation.
The #EndSARS protest and its brutality, killings and maiming has given Nigerians nothing but setbacks. If after the sleepless nights on the broken streets, the Government instead of finding solution, resolved to arrest and detain people, where is the achievement? Since SWAT has been made available to replace SARS, what is the gain of protesters who paid the price with their lives?
Till now, I still cannot find the usefulness and benefit of the panel being set up by different states. What exactly do they want to achieve? Many egregious testimonies have been flying on media, reporting to different panels how SARS members have rendered their lives hopeless through assault, brutality, murder and extortion.
Funny enough, the mystery of Lekki shooting still appear like a staged drama despite the amount of evidence and video footages. At the end, the government will come out and tell the world that nothing has happened, we will smile over the lamentations and continue to live a normal life as if nothing actually happened for real; we are used to that. But if the security aide attached to the speaker, Femi Gbajiamila claimed to have shot in the air and killed a newspaper vendor, it is stupidity of the highest order to believe that no killings at Lekki because the soldiers shot in the air.
In Nigeria, we know where the problem lies but to effect the solution has become another problem. Let’s be sincere with ourselves, the protest is not the solution to the heap of problems bedeviling the country. The protest only get things from bad to worse by granting more opportunities to loot more money while the poor masses will always suffer for the policy.
Certainly, the properties that were burnt to ashes would be built by government with public funds, more billions would be awarded for the projects. The #EndSARS damages will be incorporated in the budget. All these would still be done with public funds while many who took part in the protests will be forgotten in detention. If the protest has not changed anything in the system of governance, taken our Universities’ students back to school, reduced the price of petroleum, rendered justice to #EndSARS victims, or provided employment opportunities for the graduates on the streets, then, what is the essence of the protest and what have we been able to achieve? Between government and protesters, who will emerged the winner? Is government not winning the war when we have nothing to show as victory after the hectic days under the scorching sun.
Sooner or later, the voices that speak of unity at protest venues without minding religious differences , educational background, ethnicity and geo-political zones would be dispersed like tattered flag during electioneering to support the same calibre of people we are protesting against. We will begin to attack ourselves again to pave way for another greedy set. Instead of learning our lessons, we will prefer to embrace the suffering-and-smiling syndrome.
Unarguably, as obviously displayed, protests can not make any government official to resign in Nigeria. The calibre of leaders we have are stubborn, tough, selfish and heartless, and this has shown that protests can not change anything; only voters’ cards have the power of transition. If protests did not work out as planned, in 2023, let the youths try and be high on drugs as proclaimed and employ Permanent Voters’ cards to dislodge the power mongers recycling to milk our resources.
( Busy Brain Writes From Offa, Kwara State, Monday 23, November 2020 )
Busy Brain is an opinion writer, poet, journalist and Public Relations Practitioner.