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THE ENDSARSNOW PROTEST AND THE NIGERIAN YOUTH

-By Colonel Hassan Stan-Labo (Rtd)


1. What is your perspective to the ongoing #ENDSARSNOW protest ?


The #ENDSARSNOW protest is a reflection of the resilience and bottled up frustration of the Nigerian youth out there over the inherent defects and drawbacks of our governance system.

It is a protest that has gone far beyond the #ENDSARSNOW agitation. It has metamorphosed into a Youth movement demanding for Good Governance and Accountability. 


2. Does that not amount to shifting the goal post in negotiations?


He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches, and would therefore insist on the cobbler doing a better than just minor amendments.


3. Do you think the Youths are justified in their agitation and demands.


Yes ofcourse, and to think otherwise is a clear display of lack of patriotism and love for Country. In fact every Nigerian above the age of 50 should bury his head in shame, that our children are doing what we ought to have done decades back in fixing our country.


 We are all complicit whether you were in Government or not.


4. Do you see this ending soon?


It depends on the crisis management strategy applied by Government and the speed with which it avails immediate response to their demands. 


It is quite clear by now that these Youths are not in a haste to get off the streets. 


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All forms of Threats have failed, The rains have failed, Parental persuasions have failed. They have gone ahead to make adequate arrangements for their welfare needs including security. 

Surprisingly, even our usual fault lines as a nation- religion and ethnicity have been temporarily put aside in the national interest.


5. Is Good Governance and Accountability not far orders to be met by Government? 


Definitely not all the demands can be met in the immediate. It is my thinking that when eventually the time for round table negotiation is reached, a framework for implementation would be drawn up spelling out Short, Medium and Long Term Plan of implementation.


6. When will that be? 


I doubt if these Youths are ready for that now. This is probably one of the reasons why there are no arrowhead leaders but collective unanimity in decision making. 


Their concern now is likely to see how much gains can can be realised since the initiative rests with them. It would be 

exploited to place as much demands on the table.


7. What would be your advice to Government in handling the situation.


a. Continue to exercise restraint as we have seen so far. 


b. This is a democracy and the Youths are still acting within their fundamental and constitutional rights to freedom of speech, association and movement.


c. Government should not take any step that would aggravate or escalate the situation on ground.


d. Do not make the biggest mistake of deploying troops. That would only result in another Sharpville massacre inview of their number and level of sophistication.


e. Do not declare a state of emergency. That would call for suppressive actions that are likely to force die-hards amongs them underground. 

The destabilizing consequences of forcing them underground can only be left to our imaginations as that would be the very beginning of a fresh battle front which the Nigerian State can not accomodate now.


GOVERNMENT SHOULD:

a. Release all detained protesters nationwide.


b. Justice to Victims: Appoint and swear in immediately a powerful investigation team to commence work NOW !


c. Commence a nation-wide Visitation to victims' relations.


d. Avail reasonable financial compensation to victims' families. 


e. Bring to book all bad eggs of the defunct SARS.


f. Address the plethora of welfare issues with the Nigeria Police.


g. Set in motion required preparatory spade work for Reform of the Police.


8. ADVICE TO PROTESTING YOUTHS.


The future of Nigeria rests with you. We therefore understand your pains over our incompetence, greed and lack of accountability. 


We are remorseful and bury our heads in shame because we have messed up your future. Don't pull down the roof because the house is yours for inheritance. Your elected Government is ready to listen and meet all your demands.


Some are already being addressed, others would require some consultations with you and ofcourse your participation in implementation to ensure that expectations are met. All these you agree would require calm atmosphere conducive for far reaching decisions to be taken.


Haven said that, let me salute your resilience and determination to see Nigeria fixed. 

My generation and the generations ahead of mine have failed you.


We have plundered the resources of our country through senseless looting and undue pilfering of our collective patrimony to your disadvantage. For those of us not in Government we regret not doing what you are now doing. 

We are gladdened and saddened at same time and therefore urge to show understanding.


Let me also caution to be mindful of politicians, money bags, organisations & bodies of whatever colouration & nomenclature.


Finally, you have the numbers, the energy and youthful exhuberance needed in a democratic setting to turn things around. 


You must use your voting power to end this reign of gerontocracy and serially failed leadership in our country. 


YOU ARE HEIR APPARENTS AND THE FUTURE RESTS WITH YOU TO MAKE NOW !


THANK YOU.


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