By Afolabi Akinbola
History is replete with feigned or genuine misinformation and disinformation depending on the agenda of those doing the writing. Marie Antoinette was alleged to have wondered why the rampaging Paris mob was on the streets for bread when they could make do with cakes. Nero was said to be fiddling his lyre while a conflagration had engulfed a significant part of his metropolis and laid the blame for the inferno on the Jews. Both anecdotes were patently false. The federal government of Nigeria and a brigadier Bako were for the past few weeks been turning an unenviable somersault in their renditions of the Lekki massacre of 20th October 2020. The brigadier could be marginally exculpated on the grounds that he was only following orders. His pedigree as a scion of an infamous father who ordered a wholesale massacre in Asaba during the civil war did not help matters. But the mindset of the army command and their commander-in-chief was to shoot the ‘bloody civilians’ who had the temerity to demonstrate albeit peacefully against ‘constituted authority’.
Human memory is short; but the commander-in-chief should be reminded that he was unhorsed by the same army in his first coming. But that is not the point. Buhari made a nation-wide broadcast days after the horrific bloodbath in which he did not even mention the blood-letting not to talk of offering a tongue in the cheek condolences to the victims. He offered a token amount of ‘palliatives’ and that was that. At the virtual conference he held with living heads of state, all his actions were endorsed as if his conferees truly represented the entire nation. The truth of the matter was that he, his conferees, his immediate constituency which was the military and a significant number of the power elite had enjoyed years of absolute impunity in the mismanagement of the nation and its vital and virile youths. The youths could not look back to its past with pride; its present is bleak and future totally hopeless. Years of mass docility snapped with the #ENDSARS peaceful protest. Years of insensitivity and impunity came an end bloodily.
It must be noted that the #ENDSARS came to pass when the elders in the nation had given way to an inexplicable hopelessness and total resignation to an intensified rapine, sectionalism, inefficiency in all sectors and unbridled contempt for the generality of the people in the midst of abundance if there is an equitable distribution of wealth. The departed Jonathan regime was seen as incompetent and justly so! But its successors proved themselves more incompetent and hypocritical and hell bent of putting an end to the cobbled nation as we know it. The protests was at first peaceful before it was hijacked by unscrupulous elements who unleashed a regime of burning and looting across the land. There is compelling evidence to lay the blame of the mayhem on the government who sponsored the state wide deterioration of the protests to violence with the killings of personnel of the police, burning of courts and mass jail breaks in some prisons euphemistically renamed correctional centers. There was no joining of hands between the peaceful and non-peaceful protesters. Their aims were divergent but reconcilable in the future.
The protests caught the government pants down. This was the first time the government was confronted by unarmed critics who have justice on their side. Significantly most were savvy in the application of the internet which some of them made use of in a negative way by doctoring their postings of the bloody affair on the world wide net in real time. Seemingly leaderless, the movement expanded its initial demands. Police brutality was endemic rendering the Roman rhetorical question about who was going to police the police real and urgent. Police sadism in all its ramifications could not be extricated from the all pervasive inequities in the nation. Total restructuring was resonant throughout the nation. Poverty is universal and the blame was squarely laid at the feet of the elites.
When the peaceful nature of the protests was defeated, the deliberate fault lines in the nation blurred and a veritable orgy of burning and looting ensued. Amusing but morally devastating was the mass raid on warehouses used to stack away Covid19 palliatives that were meant for the people. Law and order temporarily broke down and overbearing authority melted away in the wake of the pent up fury of the masses. Hitherto sacrosanct fortresses were assaulted—a prime example being the palace of the oba of Lagos where his staff of office was stolen and an undisclosed sum of money in dollar denomination was also stolen. The incumbent oba is a retired top police officer! The money was allegedly found in a coffin It must be noted that this mass violence was pan Nigeria despite the efforts of northern elites to read sectional meanings to the uprising. There is just too much-unwarranted want and poverty in the nation.
Did the government learn from this unprecedented outpouring of rage? No. After the usual vacillation for which this administration is famous, it got its acts together by freezing the accounts of those perceived to contribute money to the protests which had the tacit support of majority of Nigerians at home and its second class citizens in Diaspora. It gave the special anti robbery squad a new name and it was business as usual for the lawless squad. The government was outraged by the audaciousness and temerity of it all. Foreign media which gave cast iron evidence of the shootings were demonized and Lai Mohammed, the information minister got into his usual stride by misinforming the whole world about what has transpired.
The humongous salary of the legislators continued and avoidable wastages continue within the administration. This is only the beginning of a critique of how the country is mismanaged. A joining of hands by its critics is inevitable in the nearest future. Poverty and suffering is rampant. Those at the top are totally clueless.
The fire next time will be uncontainable and spell the end of the nation.
You want to share a story with us? You want to advertise? You need publicity for a product, service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp – +234 803 3018 881