By abiodun KOMOLAFE
IT is no longer news that ‘End Special Anti-Robbery Squad’, (#EndSARS) protest in Nigeria has gone into a self-induced coma, albeit, inadvertently. But, while the world is waiting, patiently, for the outcome of various inquiries into the mystery surrounding the death of this ‘decentralized social movement’ against police brutality in dear fatherland, let it be known that ‘organized youths’ created and owned #EndSARS , while ‘disorganized youths’ crippled it.
There is a class of sophisticated, well-organised youths who initiated the ‘#EndSARS protest’ to push forward the agenda of a holistic overhaul of the Nigerian system – awe complete rehabilitation of the entire country. Unfortunately, the organised youths did not carry along their disorganized counterparts, who have nothing to offer but aggressive violence and expressive template of wanton destruction. Although they are youths, miscreants, ruffians, street urchins and the likes do not have what it takes to organize peaceful protests. They could neither read nor interpret the philosophy behind the #EndSARS as it was meaningless to them. Those youths, who, through thick and thin, philanthropic gestures, community assistance and cooperative loans, managed to get some education and specialised training, thus escaped the enveloping ecology of poverty of the ‘wretched of the earth’, initiated the #EndSARS protest. But those left-behind youths that the society refused to train thwarted the noble and altruistic efforts of the genuine #EndSARS protesters. Now, the individuals and families who are perceived as beneficiaries of the warped system are only reaping the fruits of the ‘iniquity of inequity’ that the collective system sowed. From the above, one can safely say that #EndSARS was primarily a battle to save Nigeria’s soul.
Be that as it may, #EndSARS protest was strategically defective. Though well received, it was ‘limping’ on arrival. To begin with, as at today, the disorganised youths are in the majority in Nigeria; and theirs is the popular culture of the debased and the downtrodden in the society. They are truly and thoroughly socialised into the culture of poverty, corruption, thuggery, political sabotage, assassination, looting and arson, among others. In fact, they are tools in the hands of the nouveau riche; and everywhere they are, crime thrives. The organized youths thought they could speak ‘plenty turenci’ and pass through. But they couldn’t! The lesson, therefore, is that people must buy into your vision before it is executed. Policies are better made by the people, through the people, and for the people.
Marxian politics recognizes intelligentsia. In other words, the academic arm of any struggle is key to the struggle because it handles the philosophical background of that very particular struggle. For any struggle to achieve its aim therefore, there must be a functional structure, a sure philosophy, which explains the underpinning theory upon which the struggle is based. A struggle without philosophy is useless while a struggle without the powerhouse, that is, the intellectual backup, which is the strategic holding for that movement, is, at best, counter-productive.
The intellectuals among the protesters, or support group, did a poor job. They failed woefully to anticipate the probable response of the Federal Government. But the disorganised youths did not appear from the sky. They are Nigerians. They are those whose future was trampled upon by those who now claim to be their leaders. They are so traumatised and, their minds, so warped that setting an edifice as befitting as Television Continental (TVC) on fire was like a game to them.
The university system in Nigeria was supposed to provide the best crop of Nigerians. That was the whole idea when it first started. But, unfortunately, even, as the custodian of the best and finest ideas and orientation, it failed woefully to consider the negative implications of the widening gap between the elite status-group and the rest of the society. Strangely too, we deliberately and systematically destroyed our education through poor funding and corruption. So, the society was groping in the dark. Since nature abhors vacuum, while the elites were dancing to Beethoven symphony and having dinners with expatriates and all manners of ambassadors within the serene environment of the university for instance, a disoriented man just came from nowhere with his brand of Fuji music, which prescribed no hard moral restrictions or control. It’s free for all! Since ‘Omo Rapala’ was speaking the language, which the mass of the people could relate to, and understand, ‘Orobokibo Fuji’ had no problems resonating in the minds of the targeted Nigerians – the disorganised youths. That was it! Beethoven lost the tune and ‘Orobokibo’ and allied stuff became the popular culture.
When the Wole Soyinkas of this world started the Pirates Confraternity, it was purely elitist. It was the usual fraternity club in universities all over the world. For membership, certain standards were imposed such as ‘high academic performance.’ Eventually, other students who could not meet up with the academic requirements of Pirates looked for alternatives. Before long, the vision and ideals of the founding fathers became extinct. It’s show-time for the low-lifers. From the above, one can see that the challenge is everywhere.
At a point in this country, property owners were no longer willing to rent out their houses to teachers, for obvious reasons. The unfortunate thing is that Nigerians have forgotten the ‘garbage-in, garbage-out’ feature of life: that the frame of mind under which a pupil is taught was most likely to affect what he or she becomes in life.
Again, why are the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) still shouting ‘Biafra’, decades after the end of the civil war? Of course, it is because the first Biafra failed. Impliedly, it may be difficult for #EndSARS to achieve its aim if its leaders are not focused. A society without focus cannot survive. It is a cultural thing. Though the current #EndSARS strategy is fine, it is rather defective because, at the end of the day, the youths must trust somebody to take them to, and speak for them at, the roundtable. They just must. That is where Max Weber’s works on the limitations of democracy come in. It is always an unfinished business.
Whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”, so says the Holy Writ. #EndSARS has become a clarion call for self-appraisal by past and present leaders in Nigeria. The wicked and selfish elite group in Nigeria should also have a re-think. The evil men do live after them. Now that the chicken has come home to roost, it’s time the elites were afraid.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State ([email protected]; 07087941459 – SMS only)
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