#ENDSARS: The Machiavellian Plot
By Ekechi Gerard
Criticizing the Nigeria government for any issue kin to corruption or injustice is just the same as a comic telling the same joke over and over again. It has become trite, absolutely banal, and no longer stem-winding. But the best part is, we love to do it, and we will continue doing it despite its futility.
I have studied a long list of critics; from T.S Elliott, Karl Marx, Bernard Shaw, etc, down to Christopher Okigbo, Chinua Achebe, and Wole Soyinka. I mean to say, criticism will get you nothing and absolutely nowhere in Nigeria ( or Africa). You will need a little bit more than just words to assail those ears that are heavily fortified against the truth and good reasoning. Maybe a little bit of action and a show violence and resistance will do. But don’t count on it…
Politics should be organized, Smooth and well reasoned. I mean, we all binge watched America’s presidential election like some Netflix special. The only thing missing was maybe a bowl of popcorn and some background music. But on a serious note, the purpose of politics is to enable the members of a society to collectively achieve important human goals they cannot otherwise achieve individually. Through negotiation, debate, legislation and other political structures. Politics procures safety, order and general welfare within the state. In other words, politics should be as democratic as possible.
But politics in Nigeria takes a different view. It is nothing more than a tussle for power. Another season of Game of Thrones. A free ticket to the Hunger Games. What can I say? We are blessed with a line up of thieves and crooks masquerading as leaders. A bunch of agbada and kaftan wearing gluttons with no intellect, nous or cutting edge for the position they occupy. They are only content in doing nothing.
For a country that easily has the largest youths per square foot in the world, you would think that the Nigerian government would be more receptive to their demands and requests. But how wrong can you be?
You know democracy isn’t democracy when the government continuously flouts the constitution, violates human rights, exhibits raw power, terrorizes its citizens and overawes opponents with armed forces.
The #ENDSARS protest just like every other protest before it was a war of attrition between Nigerians and the Nigerian government which left the most vile and nefarious of them victor.
The #ENDSARS experience was a moment of aberration that has once again exposed with no subtlety the primitive state of the Nigerian politics.
The aim of the protest was to curb and strangle police brutality and sue for change. The protest started off peaceful and demanding dialogue with the leaders. Youths were teeming the Streets with too many questions, hoisted Nigerian flags and placards with different inscriptions that only translates to one thing, ” stop police brutality”. As always, the government responded to the protest by dispensing more brutality against the protesters, morphing the protest into something else. It felt like an uprising, like an echo of the Arab Spring. But it wasn’t. It became violent and fiery. Nigeria was on fire and it was beautiful.
But just like the IPOB protests and other protests before it, the #ENDSARS protest became yet another protest in Nigeria to get stuck in a cul-de-sac
I heard people babble about how the government ‘messed’ with the wrong generation – kposhi kposhi! They couldn’t have picked a better opposition.
I don’t think Nigerians have followed the bread crumbs or payed attention to history and the details in it to understand what they are staring at. I mean, how many beatdowns do you have to take before you recognize your bully?
We have been seeing the same faces and the same calibre of people in the government since the 1960’s: empty, vile, cunning, manipulative, incompetent, ambitious and insatiable. Understand that these people do not care about our welfare, our development or prosperity as a people. They are not here to govern or lead us. They are here to seize power and rule. They are here to take from the society and oppress the the people.
You have to understand…
We are are dealing with oligarchs who have picked crumbs off the table of their feudal overlords. These people are skilled in war, trained to keep and maintain power, by means of intimidation and oppression. They will literally chop down and annihilate anything that squarely opposes or questions their power.
But for some strange reason we hoped that a peaceful protest will fix the shortcomings of the government. And suddenly we became oblivious to how ruthless and brutish the government can be:
The Nigerian army’s attack on the “Shell shocked” Ogoni peaceful protesters and the brash execution Ken Saro Wiwa and his comrades.
The attack carried out by the the Nigerian military against unarmed IPOB protesters between 2015 – 2017, which left about 150 IPOB protesters dead. And with the analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eye witness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016 consistently shows that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse crowds. And nothing has been done about it.
The Odi massacre of 20th November, 1999. A massacre carried out by the Nigerian army under the edict of the the president, Olusegun Obasanjo. About 2,500 people were killed.
The Nigerian Army claimed that their attack on the community was retaliatory, after the discovery of the corpses of 19 soldiers who had been reportedly murdered on the 12th of October, 1999 by Tiv militia; and the murder of 12 members of the Nigerian Police on 4 November 1999. The affair which burgeoned into a full-blown litigation “war” was resolved with the Federal High Court awarding a ₦37.6 billion settlement in favor of the Odi Community against the government. Only half of the money was paid.
The list goes on and on.
Peaceful protest might be an effective way to get things in order, but not in Nigeria. We are not that evolved.
To fend off a bully, at some point you will have to throw a punch and fight back and stand your ground. That is why we will never be free, that’s why Biafra will never happen, because we don’t fight like it matters. To get the order and justice we want and deserve, we must fight fire with fire and stand resolute. This battle is beyond words and to win you have to show that you are ready to die.