There is no cause worthy enough to sacrifice a human life. There is equally never a consolation or memorial that will ever wipe away the sorrow, especially when such lives are lost in the struggle for human rights and equity. Justifiable memorials can only be made, when the wrongs that led to the demise of our martyrs are corrected. (May all the martyrs of #Endsars in Nigeria Rest in Peace)
The #Endsars protests in Nigeria in the later part of 2020, which started as a peaceful protest against police brutality in Nigeria, but later transcended into a worldwide political movement- was a great exhibition of the frustrations of Nigerian youths and population in general over the police brutality and bad governance in Nigeria.
The #Endsars organizers and their followers had a pluralistic appeal which attracted membership from all over the country, including students, workers and entertainers. Music stars, such as Davido, Flavour, Burma Boy, Wiz Kid and many other artists laid their voice and body on the line during the demonstrations.The #Endsars protest garnered unimaginable support across Nigeria which transcended to a global movement. Some of these stars used their international connections to propel what was supposed to be peaceful protests-until the rogue government turned to the barrel of guns.
Irrespective of the brutal crackdown by the federal armed forces, the impact of the protests had already spilled beyond Nigerian borders. The international community was very swift to condemn the heavy handed crackdown on the peaceful protesters by lending their voices through various media channels.
The outpouring support that #Endsars forced the Nigerian government to engage their visible leaders such as the famous afrobeat musician David Adeleke, (Aka.: Davido )in a peaceful dialogue with the government authorities.
I wrote an OP-ED in October of 2020 in support of #Endsars protests which was titled “#Endsars and the reappearance of a monstrous tyranny. ” I reiterated my constant opinion that, “There is a new crop of leaders who are mundanely emanating from various regions of our country, who are politically changing the landscape. These young generations of activists are decoding the codified tribalism which runs in the veins of most Nigerians; through interfaith and inter-tribal marriages. There is a clear value of common cause supported by uncommon valor against the common enemy of -bad governance. These rising crops are showing the will to restore a sense of national purpose that unites us, rather than divide us.”
If anything good came out of the #Endsars protests-it is the worldwide exposure of the very corrupt Nigerian government and a stern warning that the younger generation are sick and tired of mediocrity in the governance of Nigeria-that their unquenchable thirst for a realistic political change, away from the cyclical status quo cannot be suppressed.
Although the #Endsars protests died down, it took a lot of martyrs along with it and left indelible scars on the mind of Nigerians especially the hopeless youngsters- who see no future in this place called NIGERIA.
Then came 2022, another political transitional year in Nigeria. After almost eight years of pain and misery inflicted on the poor masses by the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) which has been the most regressive party in Nigeria since the new democratic dispensation. The APC led government has left the country worse than it found it-very much to my disdain, because I was one of the facilitators that campaigned for this failed government. I was shortsighted about the intrigues in the corrupt Nigerian “democratic” dispensation, and my yardstick was based on Buhari’s performance as a military Head of State. ( My sincere apologies goes to all Nigerians for my myopic judgment)
Mr Peter Obi is former two term Governor of Anambra State between 2007 to 2014. He is a tested technocrat who has experienced all sorts of intrigue in Nigerian politics. After decamping from the All Progressives Alliance (APGA) he pitched his tent with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the hope that the follies of the ruling APC led government will be a factor for PDP to put its house in order as a major opposition.
His deserved quick ascension to the PDP hierarchy attracted a lot of political enemies, he will later run alongside Atiku Abubakar as the PDP Vice Presidential candidate, in a shady election that was declared in favor of APC in 2019.( As I now realize)
His decision to contest for the presidential election under the PDP was seen as a welcomed development by different segments of the population, especially the youths- who in essence represent the most membership of the #Endsars movement.
Peter Obi’s surge in popularity since he declared his intention to run for presidency cultivated a campaign of calumny among his fellow former party members in PDP- more so from his own kinsmen the South East geopolitical zone- who according to their so-called zoning formula were supposed to produce the next presidential candidate.
I knew from the outset that his bid for the presidential ticket under the PDP was illusive, because, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” He was unwilling to undergo the tutelage on how to survive in the corrupt political machinery of PDP. Lest we forget that it was Peter Obi’s political victories that began the genesis of bye elections in Nigeria. He got his mandate as Governor after a three year court battle, he was the first governor to serve out his term beginning from when he was sworn into office, his impeachment from office due to his unwillingness to circumvent the states treasury was overturned by a court order.
From all the intrigues going on in the PDP, it was very glaring that his departure from the PDP was very imminent. It was not conceivable that Peter Obi of all people was going to be lured into a political party primary election which was prearranged as a voter buying exercise. I was especially happy that he dignified himself by pulling the plug on his membership and candidature days ahead of the charade called convention and primaries.
His subsequent emergence as the Labour Party Presidential candidate is a deserving honor for a great man of integrity in his capacity. The Labour Party has finally created a viable third political force in the Nigerian political scene-which is a necessary option to disengage the two moribund political parties of APC and PDP.
Some detractors have been quick to undermine his emergence as a Presidential candidate as well as the Labour Party’s supposed lack of structure in the Nigerian terrain. But permit me to ask; what greater structure is there to have in politics than the structure of the masses? Do we have to rely on the two major political parties of APC and PDP who have shown great ineptitude in governance and even in their own party’s internal democracy- where the highest bidder takes it all.
As his Presidential Campaign veers a different course with Labour Party, Peter Obi’s popularity and acceptance by the masses is growing by the day. Coincidentally, his political base of the youths and working class represent the vast majority of the electorate in Nigeria across tribal divides.
For most of his support base, it is not a matter of party affiliation, ethnic or tribal descent, but a true demand for credible leadership in Nigeria.His departure from the rogue party of PDP is in essence a blessing for Nigerians in disguise. We must all join hands to elect a new government for the people by the people. He has diffused the stronghold of Nigeria’s oligarchs and political influencers.
And for those who ask: why Peter Obi for President? I say: If not now, then when-because repetition of the same action without result is considered insanity. If our past leaders are insane, our youths are ready to cure their melancholy.
#Endsars: This is your year of redemption-march to polls and vote in protest to remove this monstrous tyranny.
The future looks very optimistic.
(He is also the convener of Diasporas Alliance for Good Governance in Nigeria: DAGGON)