In 2014 to 2015, the populist propaganda around the APC party was ‘change’, the sloganeering was sold to Nigerians easily and they bought into it without interrogating the person who was going to head the government to be formed. A lot of persons had misgivings towards Buhari because of his past records, but the need for the ‘change’ was enough to account for ‘anyone but Jonathan.’ We forwarned however.
After 4 notorious years of hardship and no movement but inertia, the people have taken stock and had found out that the APC under Buhari has become an epitome of failure, if not total failure, but something close to it.
Instead of generalizing, let us focus on the Police Force that brought about the issue of #EndSars. Before Buhari came into power, the Police was corrupt no doubt, and as part of the ‘change’ ‘change’ mantra, the citizens felt some of the first reforms that would suffice in a matter of months would be in the corrupt Police Force. I mean a holistic approach, not just a small tactical arm of it which SARS was. The entire Police Force was corrupt and that extended to the almost independent SARS, which was as deathly as Boko Haram. The innocent people became victims. People were spending months in their dens if they could not bail themselves, and their main focus were wealthy alleged Yahoo boys. Their victims could not get justice from the government because the government under Buhari was so docile to socio-economic issues affecting the country, it left the country to burn to ashes like Rome under Emperor Nero. Whenever he is able to pick his teeth correctly, his followers applaud him for a feat so difficult to accomplish. They also applauded him for being able to walk without being aided. And those strangely seemed that expectations of him were accomplished.
When Buhari came into power in 2015, the police initially went calm in their criminalities to watch his direction as it was said, a new Sheriff was in town. After they saw that the Sheriff was more of a powerless constable than they thought, they came out with a gusto of corruption that had never been seen before. They became forceful in their activities. Bail went high, lawyers were being beaten in their stations for coming to ask about their arrested clients, highways were blocked with intentions to extort from commuters and getting to be posted to lucrative areas became big business within Force Headquarters. Nigeria became like Jamaica or Haiti. All accusations by ordinary Nigerians and even senators on the neferous activities of these men fell on the ‘deaf’ ears of the president who was going naturally deaf due to what seem old age issues. There was no single reform by the government on the activities of the police that had the input of the people. So the force became worse than it was met by the government.
Thousands of reports of human rights violations were reported and extra-judicial killings went unattended to. Rather, those who were families of victims became victims themselves.
And came the #EndSars protest that was like protest of ANTIFA, Anti-fascism – An uncordinated and leaderless protest to end the unbearable activities of men of the SARS. Although, it started as #EndSars, it was veiled under the pent up anger against the out of favour government of Buhari. And as usual, Buhari led a lackadaisical attitude towards the campaign. He couldn’t come out to address the issues on his own to douse tensions. He was holed in Aso Rock just the way he was when the pandemic ravaged the country. The protest lingered on for days without the president and got to the point the world all over took keen interest in the position of the people just like the Black Lives Matters protests. And unfortunately, as unexpected turn of events, it turned violent in some parts of the country where hoodlums hijacked the protests and lives were lost. The Lekki shooting was the lowest point of the government where soldiers allegedly went to kill and injure peaceful unarmed protesters.
Today, the APC as a party and Government is down and out because Buhari could not sustain the ideals of the party and it’s manifesto. If Buhari had acknowledged his shortcomings as a one who has no known capacity, he would have allowed the erudite professor, Osinbajo, to be the administrative head of the government while he deputes as the ruler of the country or whatever he want to be. Prof. Osinbajo has more capacity than all the Buhari men put together, yet, based on nepotism, tribalism and religious sentiments, they have not allowed Osinbajo to prosper in his abilities. We have seen glimpses of prowess during the time Buhari was sick and out. Those prowess have since been suppressed and he has been made to idle away by the cabal who do not wish him to outshine his dull master. What have we today? A dull country going faster into anarchy than anything while the president issued a 12 minutes threat to the vexed people, the people who had now taken laws into their hands while the president has since relapsed into a lazy chair in his Aso Rock grotto.
Elempe Dele, 2020
(Edited and Dedicated to the Memories of the #EndSars Protests)