Nigeria has been mired in immense matters of grave essence to her. The moral fibre of Nigeria was visibly shaken if not even destroyed. It first started with the legitimate protest to end police brutality.
The #EndSARS protest no matter your reservations about it, at the initial stage had genuine reasons or at least ones that would give even a dyed-in-the-wool critic a tough time to be convinced they were not right.
The protest unlike many issues of similar priority was attended by the government with a swiftness that is seldom in almost all pressing national issues that needed such. This was applauded in so many quarters.
In some others, it was received with consternation. What should have begun new dawn of policing in Nigeria, commenced a series of events that have led to more polarization of Nigeria that is nonpareil in recent history.
It reached an extent that Nigeria was thrown into needless and avoidable crisis. The violence that erupted in different parts of the country as a result of the #EndSARS protest could have been avoided, as so many Nigerians had suggested if the protesters had given the government benefit of the doubt by giving them time to implement the policy reforms.
While some had opined that the youth were right not to have strangled at birth the protest for the government to implement their demands, I am of the opinion that they should have given the government a chance to meet their demands.
Whether I was right with those who share the same views with me, the aftermath of the persistent protest has brought avoidable lost of lives, wanton destruction of property, looting spree, and the ensuing chaos that almost consumed Nigeria by the raging fire of undiluted hatred among some Nigerians.
To be fair, to the protesters they denied engaging in the riots that followed the protest in so many parts of Nigeria that the #EndSARS protest took place. They went further to point accusing fingers at the hoodlums who purportedly infiltrated the protest. But that was why I thought they should have stopped the protest if not totally.
Then they should have suspended it and behold what the government’s response would be. They played into the hands of the hoodlums that hijacked what began as an attempt at driving home numerous reforms in this vital institution in Nigeria.
The consequences of this have led to heightening tension in the polity. One that has given the enemies of Nigeria the perfect avenue to wreck the nation and render havoc. I think they must have taken time planning this without the gateway to achieving it or even the platform to be taken seriously. The hijacking of the protest provided such in the grandest way.
When I write enemies of Nigeria, I do not mean any tribe, religion, region or any person. It is teamwork by all of those with a sinister motive. To them, all they seek is the annihilation of the country Nigeria for their selfish reasons. Definitely, not for those they claim to represent their interests.
I believe in hindsight everything is obvious now. Going forward, we have to separate the wheat from the chaff. Nigerians especially the youth must not allow themselves to be pawns in the game of dubious personalities.
Nigeria needs her youth as well as the elders if Nigeria is to weather the storm and emerge stronger. We must strive together to build a great country that works for the vast majority of Nigerians by giving everyone an equal opportunity to thrive.
The future of Nigeria looks promising if the energy and grit exhibited in the #EndSARS protest, the tact in the aftermath, or rather when the hoodlums hijacked the protest could be rightly channelled in building the country which no matter what side of the protest we are; grasp that there is need for critical reforms in virtually all sectors.
I hope the protesters will listen to the voice of reason and embrace dialogue now. May God help Nigerians to do the right thing.
Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani can be contacted on Facebook for further discussion.