5th Oct. 2020. Let no one kid you and I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but the ongoing protests is no longer about ending SARS or police brutality. This is an avenue for the average Nigerian youth to vent years and maybe in some cases, a lifetime of anger, frustrations, unemployment, oppression and intimidation. #Endsars# was just a vehicle to start the journey but now its about to turn to youth movement organized against government.
I am a youth, one who is very versed and can easily identify with the myriads of issues the average Nigerian youth has to contend with, so I am not in any way an anti-protest person as I believe it’s a constitutional right guaranteed by our constitution and should be respected.
My resolve to proffer an effective means of ending the endsars protests is first as a civil obligation to the government of the day and as a problem solver, I am giving to developing solutions to complex issues. The more complex and tasking, the better.
This endsars protest is a social problem I will really love to participate in offering solutions. Having said that, before I proceed, I would love to say that the solutions discussed here are entirely the work of myself and my team and are done entirely within the context of the information available to us at the moment and without prejudice whatsoever to anyone or group.
First and foremost I must commend the work that has been done so far by the abrupt disbanding of SARS formations nationwide, The online meeting with captain of industries and some youth influencers and the recent announcement by ASUU on school resumption and resumption of NYSC programs.
That is an indication of governments resolve and active engagement in trying to reign in the protests which is also why I resolved to get involved in my own little way.
However, much will still need to be done by way of direct engagements and social programs, media campaigns and government messages all geared towards first, giving the protesting youths a sense of victory or achievement and subsequently, a sense of hope, justice, direction and patriotism.
Also let me advice that all and any plans or suggestions to muscle or attack protesters be jettisoned as that will be counterproductive as its obvious that other political actors are standing by or working hard to compromise the peaceful nature of the protests so far.
- IMMEDIATE ARREST &DETENTION OF ALL SARS PERSONNELS ACCUSED OF HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS.
O.C James Nwafor of Awkuzu SARS Anambra is the poster boy for everything wrong about SARS. I am very sure there are lots more like him and bringing such errant officers into detention with view to be made to face a public commission of enquiry will foist a sense of justice and achievement with protesters. Government has got to show commitment to hold errant officers accountable for their actions.
- DESIGNATION BY THE STATE GOVERNORS OF A PROTEST GROUND IN ALL MAJOR CITIES
The idea here is to avoid the situation as we have in many protesting cities today where economic and commercial activities are grounded due to the ongoing protests.
The various state governments will do well to designate a well guarded, protest point in the major cities as a way to both organize the protests and make the protesters reachable; and also to avoid further disruptions, confrontations in traffic and in economic activities in the major cities.
- CONVENE A COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY ALONG WITH A NATIONAL YOUTH SUMMIT
In furtherance to the point 1 above, a national commission of enquiry should be convened to look into the various reports of human rights violations by the detained SARS operatives.
While a national youth Summit will be commissioned in Abuja and streamed live at all the designated protest venues in the major cities all over the country. The idea of running these programs concurrently is so that the government further shows its commitment to truth and justice during the sittings of the commission of enquiry as well as send a message of hope, faith, unity and patriotism via the instrumentality of the National youth Summit.
A government sponsored non-faith based summit for youths can be organized in Abuja with both national and foreign heroes and founding fathers of nations, intellectuals delivering speeches on nation building and patriotism; program live streamed to many cities at the same time will do a lot to quell the spirit of the protests and meaningfully engage the youths as well as provide a feedback mechanism for more interactions to further air grievances or seek redress.
- GOVERNENT MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
I am very aware that I intend to reach out to professionals in the media world. And so this one is a no brainer. A government sponsored media campaign should be organized ASAP.
With statesmen, governors, politicians, CSOs and intellectuals of good repute and especially MR PRESIDENT; acknowledge in English and in their native dialects the problems and agitations of the protesters and making very clear commitments to a deviation from the past and efforts to building a new Nigeria.
Nobody needs telling the effects of a well coordinated media campaign in our society today. However, in mentioning political actors and PEPs in line with the media campaign, care must be taken in the choice of these people to ensure they are people whose words will resonate with the youths.
Regardless of what anyone says or thinks, the vice president, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, Mr Falana, Gov. Zulum, are but a few of such men whose words will go a long way to resonate with the people. I do not claim to know others more than you do.
Finally, I do not presume to have all the answers but I know by experience and by studies that protests of this nature are as a result of social ills and in Nigeria today, such ills are all around and within us. So what I have come up with are society-conscious, actionable plans to deal with a festering social malady before it outgrows us all.
I do not seek for any commendations or acknowledgements as I am a person given to privacy and quietude. It will be more than enough for me to see a few or more of this recommendations effected and God willing the youths of our great nation can go back to meaningful and worthwhile pursuits.
However, there are more programs and projects that can be deployed and I am well capable of developing further social, economic and youth development programs and events if asked.
May the God of creation, continue to direct our noble cause!!