Let me begin by acknowledging that every nation has its own problems and challenges all the time. But how each one manages its own problems or challenges depend on its leadership. A charismatic or patriotic leader will certainly not have problems carrying the entire nation together to manage its crisis or problems.
The last two or three weeks in Nigeria has been hell for many Nigerians. Hell was let lose as many lost their loved ones, properties destroyed and many may never recover from the effects of the crisis for a long time to come. Even trusts built over the year were destroyed etc.
The ENDSARS protest took so many people by surprise. It was well planned , well funded and well executed. But later flopped as government infiltrated their camp.
The protesters took advantage of the killing of young boy in Ugheli, in Delta state by men of the Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) to vent their anger and took to the street.
Many Nigerians initially did not take them serious until the protest lasted a whole week. The Media both the print, Electronic and the social Media continued to cover and report their activities.
What attracted many people initially was that the protest was orderly and it looked as there was no politician spotted as possible leader. Mainly made up of youths, boys and girls very vibrant, articulate etc.
As the protest entered its second week I stumbled into one of the protesters who is probably well connected to the leadership of the ENDSARS campaign.
We met in a taxi in Abuja and we started discussing the protest. He told me he was one of the protesters and Nigeria should be ready for a Revolution. Initially I didn’t believe him. But I believe him now.
The campaign was well funded. They were given food, bottle water, well taken care off and were even given between three thousand to five thousand naira for transport back home everyday.
He appeared to be a Yoruba man. I asked if former governor of Lagos state Bola Ahmed Tinubu was one of the sponsors of the protest. He said no, that Tinubu was even one of the targets of the protesters. I asked him to tell me who was funding the protest. He said a former Vice President gave them one hundred million naira, a well known young music maestro . Over four hundred thousand dollars were raised from outside the country for the protest.
He said after ENDSARS, and GOOD GOVERNANCE, the next phase of their demand is to ask President Buhari to resign. I was curious, I asked if you asked Buhari to resign. Who will take over. He said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. To be fair to the Vice President, he may not be directly involved in this. But his fans were. He said cant you see that anytime the President Travelled and the Vice President was in charge things got better in the country. I asked but why would Atiku donate N100m for Osinbajo to be President. Maybe Atiku too was not aware of the intention of the protesters.
THE Federal Government of Nigeria later got aware of the real intention of the protesters. It is not just to ENDSARS but also to end Buhari’s Government. Regime change. That is what got the government angry. The first step of the government was to infiltrate the camp of the protesters and divide them.
The protest was peaceful up till Friday 16th October 2020. That was the day they started blocking the road against other road users. Airport road in Abuja was blocked to traffic. Many Air travelers missed their flights as they could not get to the Airport in time.
After that, according to my source, there was divisions among the group as to modus operandi of their operations. Some suggested limiting their protest to Unity Fountain, other said they should take the protest to the National Assembly and the Villa the seat of government. They felt there was no need making life difficult for the masses who had no business with the protest and are not in a position to help matters.
Others on the other side no. they should block all roads and stop movements entirely. So the group broke up into two.
But the government was determined to stop the protest and to stop them from continuing till Friday 23rd October, the day THE BUHARI MUST GO CAMPAIGN was expected to commence.
President Muhammadu Buhari took the matter personal. He saw the protesters as against his regime. An attempted coup in the making. They must be crushed but also conscious of the reactions of the International community to any military invasion against unarmed civilians. They therefore sponsored armed thugs to attack the protesters.
Most of the attack and burning of Police stations were certainly not done by the protesters. It is left for the government to tell us who did it. We saw armed thugs been moved into Abuja. BUT BY WHO. At that point even Governor Sanwo Olu of Lagos State no longer had contact with the President. HE could no longer be trusted.
How can anybody explain what happened in Lagos. People were seen burning Police station, people were seen protesting inside the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, they were not invaded by security operatives. Why is it that it is the peaceful protesters, unarmed protesters at Lekki toll gate that were attacked by Unknown soldiers.
Although soldiers had denied carrying out the attack and I believe them. But it is not the first time. When Kalakuta Republic owned by Fela Anikulapao Kuti was invaded in the eighties. Fela accused Soldiers of invading his club and killing his mother. But soldiers denied it in what was then known as UNKNOWN SOLDIER.
Public and private buildings were attacked all over the country. In Lagos Media Houses belonging to Bola Tinubu was attacked, I immediately remembered what my Abuja source told me, that Tinubu was a target. Oba of Lagos palace was attacked. Both private businesses and shops were also attacked. Bode Thomas in Surulere , Lagos was attacked and all the shops looted and vandalized. . Banks were attacked and looted. All ethnic groups suffered in the attacks, including non indigenes.
I think Nigerians should resist any attempt to divide them because of the protest. That is what the government want to achieve. Divide the country on ethnic and Religious lines. Divide and Rule. Especially as we approach 2023 Presidential Election. We should be vigilant.
We should just put the country first in whatever we do. MANY OF US DON’T HAVE ANY OTHER COUNTRY EXCEPT NIGERIA.
Vincent Egunyanga is the CEO/Editor In Chief NEWS PLATFORM MEDIA.