I once had a discussion with a friend about the danger of a revolution – or anything closest to it in a clime like ours in Nigeria. It certainly isn’t that I harbor any feelings that a revolution is evil for any nation, particularly the non violent type, what I find scary is how an opinion can easily split and things degenerate in a clime that has no serious national consensus.
I have had to disagree with law enforcements a couple of times when convinced that they stood law enforcement principles on its head.
Needless to say that, as expected, I often paid dearly.
For anyone who understands the centrality of human life and dignity, Ending SARS cannot but be a subject of interest.
Although, clearly, as I reckon, SARS or no SARS, it is clear, if we must speak the truth how impossible it is to have a police that is truly gbádùn. You check how our country’s police is such that cannot be taken ownership of. You check the centrality of its control and funding.
Recently, I joked about the fake respect state police commissioners accord state governors for reason other than noble. There is officially no accountable relationship between them. What exists is merely the Nigerian corrupt intercourse that births more mayhem.
This is why security remains intractable.
But I digress. Nothing follows a predictable course in Nigeria. MKO Abiola put it more succinctly. He said “in Nigeria, even the most unexpected can happen”. He was right. It was ridiculous and most unexpected to have imagined that decades after he would be murdered, Nigeria would still be languishing under the burden of a centrally controlled police force.
I became relieved when my boss, His Excellency Yahaya Bello, a profoundly wise man, threw his weight behind the call for the scrapping of what has now become a law enforcement scrap – the Special Anti Robbery Squad. Pretty much like our highly cerebral vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the understanding of the power of the people resides richly in him.
But #restructuring is not an orphan, and even if it is, it is for us to nurture it to prominence so that no governor like Mr Jonah Jang or his brother Ortom in Benue would need to resort to crying when violence is visited on their lands.
Difficult as it is to speak in its favor, it is the bullet that ought first to be fired so that the bullet of sorrows and blood – the regular trademark of a bad system – never again get unleashed on anyone on God’s people. SARS is definitely less. The real fear is the piles and piles of issues that politicians have refused to attend to. The reforms that we are shying from.
It is far less costlier to never have to push the masses to press any social charges against the state before the right things were done. Reason is simple. We are unpredictable.
With us, things can morph pretty easily. You may expect us to cry and then we laugh. You expect us to sit, then we stand.
You expect us to ‘do small’ and then we bring crib. This is why the EndSARS protest scares me.
The life that the protest has taken on seems to have more energy than reason. And it is absolutely no fault of anybody’s.
You beat me I cry. You cannot tell me how to cry my cry. It is my cry.
But for the sake of our fatigued nation, I can only, in this circumstance, appeal, very respectfully for calm, or at least, urge that only the non-violent agitation be sustained.
The movement must guard its rank jealously against vandals, thieves and people of blood.
I celebrate the victory. SARS has been disbanded just as we demanded. But for quiet and peace and justice to reign, #restructuring must be at the centre stage of our national conversation.
– Oshaloto Tade Joseph writes from Lokoja.