Civil unrest: Charting the course for better order

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The unrest which greeted Nigeria in the past few weeks would certainly be one of the most inciting topics of historical interest in the nearest future. The gradual mounting of pressure from a social media campaign against operatives of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) under the hashtag of “#ENDSARS” to broader demands of reservations against bad governance have done nothing but to erupt wings of phenomena which have pickled at the soothing eye of peace in the country. While this still persists, the fact remains that the societal space within the Nigerian Federation will continue to exist, which therefore demands for a government to keep order in place.

It is on this note that the onus lies on the Government of the day to come to the terms of rationality in addressing the prevailing circumstances of disorderliness which is shooting-off from the protests that began in a much coordinated manner. While expression of grievances continue to persist with the attendant crumbling of economic activities, it is essential that government authorities of the Federation face the realities of the prevailing circumstances to manage the ongoing crisis and chart the course for change.

Worried over the continuous protests which have degenerated into violent demonstrations, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), has on Sunday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take “all necessary steps needed to reconnect with the Nigerian Youths and understand the pulse of the Nigerian people.” In a Statement on Sunday, the National Secretary of the Coalition, High Chief Peter Ameh, who described the recent occurrences as a clear sign of failure of government, said it is a reflection of the urgent need for a revisitation of the Nation’s structural architecture to make it viable and sustainable. Stressing on the need to address the situation, he said: “It is indeed of great concern that lives of innocent Nigerians could be so easily taken away without recourse to the law and due process. These killings of innocent citizens as well as law enforcement agents and destruction of public and private property across the states of the federation does not, in any way, define who we are as a people. These recent occurrences are a clear sign of failure of government and the urgent need for a revisitation of the Nation’s structural architecture to make it viable and sustainable. Our youths have remained united in their collective resolve for a decent standard  of living as well as their struggle for a well reformed Police force. I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take all necessary steps needed to reconnect with the Nigerian Youths and understand the pulse of the Nigerian people. I urge all State Governors to be proactive and immediately champion security of lives and property of citizens within their respective States.”

In his view,  former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke, while addressing journalists on Sunday said the warning that the Country was sitting on “a gun powder” has been echoing from the past. The Social Democratic Party (SDP) Presidential Candidate in the 2019 General elections, who acknowledged the bad state of affairs in the Country, averred that  “there is a trust deficit between the people, especially the youths and the government,” stating that “youths feel cheated” because the older generation in leadership positions had better opportunities during their time as youths in the Country.

He said: “The youths have been badly bruised, and their scars must be well taken care of. The youths are telling us something not in words but in actions. They are speaking in their own manner because people speak differently, some speak in parables too. The youths have to forgive us first, because we are the ones who are managing their resources and they are telling us that our management is poor. They cannot be silenced, they must be heard. If there is right to life, then there is right to livelihood; giving them a job or engaging them is not a privilege but a right. There is a trust deficit between the people, especially the youths and the government. Our democracy is 21 years already. We can’t wait to be fools at 40. We have always warned that Nigeria was seating on a gun powder. From this moment we must be very sincere with the people. We must mean what we say and say what we mean. The youths feel cheated because the older generation had better opportunities at their age. The youth need to know that we are listening to them. The youths should be able to hold us accountable. The engagement of the youth is pivotal. Huge percentage of our youth are idle, in fact over 80 percent of them, because when you see someone carting away used toilet seat then there is a big problem. Television sets can be replaced, cars can be replaced, but a bruised mind is very dangerous to handle. Young people are beginning to ask questions and if the youth feel your statements are empty, they will not take you serious anymore. If they were gainfully employed or engaged they will not come out in thier large numbers. What we experienced in Cross River for the first time is a deep seated resentment from the people who feel a certain state of hopelessness. We must therefore ask ourselves as leaders where we got it wrong with a view to doing more, because what the youths are saying is that we have not done enough.”

The need for the Nigerian authorities to accept the fact of gross inefficiency and poor performance in the management of the Federation is essential. Such acknowledgement constitutes what will serve as the foundation for rebuilding processes in the Country. It is clearly succinct that the Country has been plunged into shambles. The government of the day must come to accept these realities and its frailties in addressing these problems. Resetting the structural order on which the Federation is leaning on is critical.

Change and development may continue to suffer the fate of confusion and chains of drawbacks in as much as the existing structures are permitted to premise the running of the Federation. The fact that the government of the day is handicapped in addressing the worsening challenges in the Country, owes largely to the adamant posture to the existing structures of the polity which have been noted to be wanting for change to reform the working patterns of the Federation.

It is therefore essential to stem down the ongoing protests which have plunged the Country into an unrest, that the Government firstly acknowledge its frailties amidst the troubling circumstances bewildering the Country at the present. It is on the note of this, that the Government of the day should urgently set the background for a new order,  which as a matter of necessity is essential to avoid a repeat of a looming unrest which may with untamableness turn the Country apart than the current disturbances ravaging the Federation. To be proactive in setting the grounds for this new order is mostly alarming to set the table for a peaceful reformation of the prevailing system, rather than have it the violent and revolutionary way.

It is therefore essential in addressing the present unrest, that the political stakeholders holding crucial offices in the Federal structure come to the table of reason to employ the best conflict resolution strategies to stem down the tides of the prevailing unrest which has extended widely across the Federation. The need for the President to relate openly, meditatively, and diplomatically with meditative approaches with the youth is essential for the prevailing situation. This is crucial to set the background and atmosphere for a rebuilding process.