•  
  •  
  • 15
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    15
    Shares

Press Release: Eschew Tribalism in the #EndSARS Protests.

1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment, a non-governmental organization committed to the promotion of democracy and good governance, is appalled at the manner some politicians and ethnic jingoists are bent on putting a spin on the well-organized and very successful #ENDSARS protests that took place across the country these past two weeks; no doubt, and not unexpectedly, with the aim to dress up this world-acclaimed movement in an ethnic toga and give it tribal marks. These fifth columnists are working tirelessly, albeit unsuccessfully, to turn that noble cause to an ethnic agitation, and ultimately, pit one ethnic group against the other.

The allegation by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) President, Alhaji Bello Bodejo that the protest had a sinister agenda by “a desperate politician in the Southwest” to bring down the President Buhari led government is not only unfortunate but divisive. Not to be outdone, The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by Nnamdi Kanu, has been unrelenting in calling out the Igbos to be prepared to take up arms to defend Ndigbo against what they perceive as an orchestrated attempt to exterminate the Igbos. Already, there are reports of altercations between Igbos and Yoruba in Ajegunle area of Lagos. Similarly, we have seen in a recent video circulating on social media, a UK-based Nigerian by name Adeyinka Grandson issuing a 48-hour ultimatum for all Igbo indigenes to leave Southwest states or face imminent genocide and pogrom.

Some politicians and ethnic jingoists are bent on putting a spin on the well-organized and very successful #ENDSARS protests that took place across the country these past two weeks; no doubt, and not unexpectedly, with the aim to dress up this world-acclaimed movement in an ethnic toga and give it tribal marks. These fifth columnists are working tirelessly, albeit unsuccessfully, to turn that noble cause to an ethnic agitation, and ultimately, pit one ethnic group against the other.

As the plot thickens, we recollect the sudden appearance of the little known Abuja Indigenes Association that sprung up overnight, calling on the Inspector General of Police to disband the #EndSARS protests in Abuja or risk actions from the ad hoc association. The group which enjoyed a full complement of national and international media, to any discerning mind, seemed a rag-tag army sponsored by faceless political heavyweights. In the South-South, Niger-Delta ex-militants are also threatening, vowing to cripple the national economy and quit multinational companies from their region. It is indeed a deafening cacophony of war cries by ethnic militias across the length and breadth of Nigeria. Fear hangs over our heads like harmattan haze.

Nigerians are not blind to the fact that it was some faceless political big wigs who unleashed their thugs and hooligans on the peaceful #EndSARS protesters. From the disruptions in Abuja to Lagos and Port Harcourt, there were tell-tale imprints of politicians and agents of government who have life-time retainership on the services of thugs they engage during elections and whenever their anachronistic ethno-religious politics is confronted with tech-driven ideas.

Fortunately, though relatively young, the #ENDSARS protesters appeared conversant, not only with the art of peaceful protest but also with the foxiness of their faceless opponents. They pre-empted every move of those anti-democratic forces. And when their opponents’ plan to foil the protests failed, they lost control of the thugs. The falcon could no longer hear the falconer and mayhem were unleashed upon many parts of the land. The government, and indeed the people, became the ultimate victims!

1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment expects the ethnic chauvinists among us to realize by now that the days of infiltrating peaceful assembly to achieve an ethnic or sectional political agenda are numbered. Thankfully, the youths on their part, have awakened to the fact that they were often manipulated to do the bidding of mindless bigots who do not wish that any youth, other than their own children, amount to anything other than running dirty and criminal errands for politicians! We encourage the Nigerian youths to use all peaceful methods to strike the iron now that it is hot and never to miss the golden opportunity to retire these bloodthirsty political carpetbaggers permanently from Nigeria’s political scene for a breath of fresh air.

We are already delighted that a segment of our youths, represented by the likes of Mr Chukwuma Innocent Ibeh, is inspiring hope in our hearts. Chukwuma, we learnt, took it upon himself to go round the city of Lagos disarming thugs and hooligans and preventing the destruction of public facilities during the mayhem of a few days ago. This poster boy of a new Nigeria has vowed that going forward, he will be on the lookout for other young people hired to snatch ballot boxes at elections. Chukwuma is obviously the face of the emerging new Nigeria where meritocracy should replace the patron culture which our country had long descended into. Therefore, we celebrate this exemplary young man and urge all well-meaning Nigerians to commend Chukwuma for his courage and resolve.

We are already delighted that a segment of our youths, represented by the likes of Mr Chukwuma Innocent Ibeh, is inspiring hope in our hearts. Chukwuma, we learnt, took it upon himself to go round the city of Lagos disarming thugs and hooligans and preventing the destruction of public facilities during the mayhem of a few days ago. Chukwuma is obviously the face of the emerging new Nigeria where meritocracy should replace the patron culture which our country had long descended into. Therefore, we celebrate this exemplary young man and urge all well-meaning Nigerians to commend Chukwuma for his courage and resolve.

Furthermore, we are happy that there is a deliberate program by the youths to take an active part in the politics of our country. No news can be more cheering at this time. Politics is a game of numbers. A demographic that commands sixty-five per cent of the national population, surely is the segment to beat, if only they can galvanize themselves. On the flip side, failure to take their fate in their own hands will mean that the youths will continue to provide the largest number of victims to the effects of bad governance and tribal army.

However, we must advise that in a bid to take back the country, the youths must be circumspect enough to identify credible men and women of the older generation who have ideas and the interest of the youths at heart; people who can support in their agitation and guide them to avoid the old route of ethnic and sectional politics ridden with blood-filled potholes.

Finally, 1001+ Voices for People Empowerment says kudos to the youths who courageously took up the gauntlet and led the activism to reset the country and make it work for every citizen. Like Mahatma Gandhi, you wielded the greatest weapon of warfare in a democracy – bare-fisted and peaceful demonstration, to the admiration of the whole world. Your level of planning an invisible but effective administrative structure is poignant in the face of crumbling social services in the country. Need we add that many state governments have already set in motion machinery to implement your 5-point demand?

That is victory; that should be assured to you that your fallen compatriots did not go down in vain. 1001+ Voices Initiative for People Empowerment, says step aside ethnic-centric politics of bitterness, our leaders of tomorrow have their foot in the door.

Uwem-Obong Ankak
Executive Secretary

  •  
    15
    Shares
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • 15
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •