By Sam Amadi
Let me hope someone is listening.
The continuing youth uprising (this is the best description for what is happening and I am grateful to Prof Nwala for it) has to end, and end in a manner that reinforces its meaning. First we need clarity.
Whatever happens by way of reckless violence and criminality is attributed to political mismanagement of a peaceful protest. Those who hired thugs (especially in Abuja) to disrupt the protest are responsible for this widespread fire of criminality. The #EndSars protest would have ended peaceful even if it is threatening the undemocratic Nigerian state. But these operative brought thuggery and thereby created opportunity for anarchists and all kinds of angry and hungry Nigerians to take their revenge on society. This may be the revolt of the poor predicted by Hon. Minister Chibuikem Amaechi when GEJ was in power. Karma has brought when he is in power.
However, this is the right time to speak truth to everyone. Nigerian leadership crisis is endemic, institutional, and structural. Violence will never resolve it. Sensible violence may create an awakening that enables radical actions to solve the crisis. But, violence itself is not redemptive in any sense. Unfortunately for us, there is no vanguard that has the credibility to speak to the rioters, hoodlums or revolutionaries (or whatever you call them) in the streets to retreat. We have all lost credibility in the eyes of the poor, angry and hungry because we have not done anything or enough to fight on their behalf. This is the day of reckoning. There is no leadership in the land-formal or informal. There is no rallying point for resolution of the social anomie.
We are in a terrible situation at this point. The wave of violence across the land will not be able to dislodge the thieving and blundering political elite. But it will further compound the problems of poverty and misery after the uprising. As one young lady observed to me, it is the middleclass that bears the brunt of the uprising. They are the ones whose shops and businesses are being destroyed. They are the ones who will face increased arm robbery and banditry after the police stations are destroyed and ammunitions enter the wrong hands. May be the middleclass is paying for its failure to stand up against the ruling and rich class and support the poor to fight and win the war against oppression. The middleclass in Nigeria (I guess the same everywhere) have rather envied and mimicked the rich and are now facing the fire. This is a difficult time to belong to middleclass in Nigeria.
The #EndSars protests were leaderless. The post-SARS-protests uprisings are also leaderless. The networks of the dispossessed, oppression and dehumanized mass of Nigeria have finally found their voice in orgy of violent revenge. But this revenge will hurt them and us most. If there is anyone out there who has the credibility to step in and play the role that the elected leaders cannot do (because they created the problems), let such a person step out and help us quell the uprising. We cannot destroy everything. Those in the southeast who cry of marginalization should realize that no one can come to our help when the rain starts to beat us. Don’t tell me to have hope because we are leaving Egypt. We are not leaving Egypt too soon. We have to prosper and have peace before the exodus. We have to pray for peace in Egypt while we pray and prepare for peaceful journey to the promised land.
Umunne, don’t be ‘Ububa”; Ububa ziri imi zia ya onwe ya ‘
#Endsars and end the uprising. End the burning and looting.
- Dr. Sam Amadi is a Law professor at Baze University, Abuja.