EndSARS Protest : A Rejoinder to President Buhari’s Address to the Nation By JF Dabo

EndSARS Protest : A Rejoinder to President Buhari’s Address to the Nation By JF Dabo

Your Excellency,

You opened up your 12 minutes address with “Fellow Nigerians,” but Baba, you have not treated us like fellow Nigerians, you have treated us like strangers in the land. You showed careless disposition  towards the killing of our comrades, you disregarded us, you appeared indifferent and couldn’t act swiftly like you would have acted if cows were killed or rustled.

You said “It has become necessary for me to address you” no Sir, it is long overdue, at this moment we don’t even need your address because when we needed you most you rejected us. And when you said you have heard from many concerned Nigerians and have concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs, Sir, it still didn’t justify your long silence. Sir, you don’t need to consult any body before you apologise to Nigerians for the unprofessional actions of the security officers and assuring an immediate investigation and actions on it. Okay, you have heard from the chiefs and others, what about the victims? You need to invite Chimamanda Adichie to lecture you on the danger of single story.

We appreciate you for warning those who have hijacked and misdirected our genuine and well intended protest against the excesses of some members of your supposedly disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). But Sir, who are the hijackers? What is the role of members of your government and party? Do you not see the need to have the Lagos State Government to come  explain their roles in the entire Lagos incidence? While we appreciate your Monday 12th October acknowledgement of our genuine concerns and agitations regarding the excessive use of force by some members of SARS.  How can we trust your promise of meeting our demands when we have lost trust in you and your administration?

You rightly argued that “The choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of citizens as enshrined in Section 40 of our Constitution and other enactments; but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law,” Sir are you accusing us of acting against the law?

You said your Government “listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.” But why immediately create SWAT even before addressing the other concerns?

Throughout your address Sir, you acknowledged the lost of innocent lives in Oyo but you intentionally avoided the Lekki Tollgate  victims and Abuja too. Sir. The Lagos issue is even what caused the escalation, I wonder why and if you understand the implication of your avoidance of the big issue.

Yes Sir, we are right to doubt your prompt actions at disbanding SARs and instituting SWAT, if it had to take you 2 weeks before you could address the nation because you needed to consult. Sir we are right to see your earlier reaction as deceitful and a “sign of weakness.” I wonder how a leader will accuse others of twisting facts that they gathered with supportive evidence, I wonder what you mean by “for their selfish unpatriotic interests.”

You rightly pointed out the facts of the ills associations that have highjacked peaceful protest but your following statement that reads “all these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests.” Is unfair, uncalled for and unfortunate. Hearing that one wonders the genuinty of your acknowledging that their was a highjack and your earlier acknowledgement of the protest as constitutional, right and peaceful. You implicated yourself Sir when you said “Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country” because your early statements of the same paragraph 9 of your address connects the bad acts to our “legitimate expression of grievance.”

We feel insulted Sir, if you sit in Aso Villa and accuse us of “spreading deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens.” Sir, it took many pressure and plea for you to address us, your vice took to his Twitter handle to apologise to Nigerians, but Sir you did not and it never appeared he is acting as instructed by you.

You call it “a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour” but Sir your actions and inactions is enough discredit to you. I wonder what you mean when you say “both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the wellbeing and welfare of citizens,” even when your officers shut at unarmed peaceful protesters?

Sir your paragraph 12 and 13 are irrelevant to the issue on ground, I wonder why you chose a deviation and attempt at distracting the listened with this. I have my reservation on your initiatives that always ended uncompleted and one sided, but I leave that for another time especially that I say it is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

I however will want to take out time to correct a misinformation as contained in your paragraph 14 Sir. You claimed “No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.” I beg to disagree Sir. Permit me correct you Sir.

The Obasanjo adminstration did magic to Nigeria’s poverty status, it brought about a complete turn around, it was a consequence of this adminstration that the teacher in the village could build a house and roof it with mordern roofing sheets, it was a consequence of this adminstration that many Nigerians could afford mobility. Sir the Obasanjo adminstration opened Nigeria to a new economic life, it transformed the lives of many and in all measures, it was an excellent regime as far as poverty alleviation in Nigeria.

The Goodluck adminstration that you succeeded Sir was by far doing great against poverty than yours Sir. It had the best approach to fighting poverty in it’s different fronts. For instance, the Goodluck adminstration improved Nigerian broadband penetration and created a number of technology incubation centres, through it’s Information Technology Development Entrepreneurship Accelerator (iDEA) which massively supported startups for the development of the nation’s software economy.

Another initiative of the Goodluck Ebele adminstration was the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS). You yourself Sir acknowledged the achievements of the GIS initiative. In September 2016 Sir you said the “GIS initiated by the adminstration of former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was retained by the current administration because of the positive effects it had on solving graduate unemployment across the country… more than 41,000 graduates had benefited from the programme, with over 35,000 already exited and have secured jobs.”

Again Sir was the Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWIN) which was launched on October 11, 2011. David McKenzie, (Senior Economist of the World Bank), described the Goodluck’s YouWIN project as “the most successful business innovation … in the world.” He argued that “YouWIN even compared favourably with United States fiscal stimulus, proving 44% more efficient than government spending and 130% more efficient than tax cuts.” also, McKenzie argued that the YouWIN scheme “was 2.5 times as efficient as a 2013 management consulting programme in Maxico, 4.5 times as efficient as a 2014 wage subsidy programme in Jordan and almost 10 times as efficient as a 2011 voçational training program in Turkey.”

These are what others assessed of very few programs of the administration that you succeeded and not Goodluck assessing it Sir.
Sir, you have not given us good governance, you have failed our trust, you have failed your campaign promises. In your regime Sir, Liberty and freedom of citizens have been bused and denied them, so when you say “We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens are protected” I do not understand what you mean because you appear dead mute about the Lagos Tollgate issue. You have failed in your “obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.”

Your address Sir doesn’t justify your call on us to “discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.” You cannot give that call when in your actions and inactions, and especially words you continue to push the real matters under cover. It doesn’t seem “Our voice have been heard loud and clear” like you claimed hence it doest seem you are truly ready to respond as should. Aare Babalola has advised you to address the root causes, Sir do that.

Sir we call for sincerity of purpose and taking responsibility as should.

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