GUEST COLUMNIST By Fredrick Nwabufo
The vulture is a minaciously patient bird. It does not exert itself hunting. It waits to devour the kill of another. It circles the sky while the hunt is on waiting for the opportune time to take advantage and gobble up the carcass. The spirit of 10 Nigerians dispatched to the netherworld since the spasm of #EndSARS protests groans in mortification.
The EndSARS movement began as a righteous agitation against years of police brutality and regime oppression. It was citizens’ convulsive reaction to state terrorism. But it appears the vultures have come to feast on the carnage left in the wake of police clampdown on peaceful protesters.
There will always be people who pursue blinkered agenda secreted in the noble goal of the collective. The EndSARS protests have been miscarried. The movement has been seized by some avaricious interests. The peoples’ fight has been merchandised by those who foxily put themselves up as ‘’stakeholders of #EndSARS movement’’ even while declaring, ‘’there is no leader of the protest’’.
Just like those who sit on high pillaging the country, the youth have among them vultures who feed on the carcass left by the predators of Nigerians. It is like a pyramid of oppressors. The predatory political and business class guts the citizens and leaves the remains from its belch to so-called ‘’youth stakeholders and representatives’’ some of whom have taken up residence on social media.
The #EndSARS movement is now an enterprise.
What started out as organic demonstrations have become contaminated by GMOs – greed, money and offerings. What many protesters on the streets do not know is that while they are giving their sweat and blood for country, some persons are brokering deals for themselves on their behalf. Money and offerings – appearing as benign gifts and support to the cause from those who constitute the bulk of Nigeria’s problems – are exchanging hands.
As a matter of fact, I would like to be educated on this. Why are some ‘’microwave activists’’ parleying with agents of the government and business leaders on #EndSARS protests, but at the same time insist they are not leaders of the cause? So, who and what do they represent at the meetings? Themselves, the movement or their wallets?
Yes, I understand meetings have been held among the same group of people on #EndSARS for at least three times since the protests convulsed. I am also aware that there is a social media dichotomy on this cause. Certain ‘’influencers’’ are enlisted to promote pre-conceived hash-tags to drown out others of kindred purpose. Nothing is without design. The organism of the citizens’ action has been artificiated. There is also an element of opposition sponsorship by politicians who seek to benefit from the crisis.
I must say, there are only two stoic activists whose contribution to the latest struggle is altruistic — Omoyele Sowore and Aisha Yesufu. You can accuse them of anything but not of extracting tolls from their efforts in the cause. And really, you cannot take the mantle of citizen conscientisation from Sowore. Since August 2019, the RevolutionNow convener has been on the beat.
By and large, he is the provenance of the citizen revulsion against police brutality. Yes. He has been on the pedal throttling away and rousing consciences and guts against the inequities of the state.
Also, Segun Awosanya (Segalink) has an undisputed place in the saga of activism against police savagery. His execution by a mob on Twitter on Wednesday for saying the obvious did not come as a surprise to me. Nothing happens on Twitter without a vignette of agenda. You have to look beneath layers and layers of tweets to connect them to the Alpha.
Segun was poignant when he said: “Hustlers being controlled by the lust after money are playing games and throwing narratives around. Your rights to protest must never be commercialised for any agenda. Check the patterns and note the players while keeping your focus. The attempt to hijack the #EndSARS #ReformPoliceNG Movement by known elements that were against it from day one and had to be a part now for fame and earnings is not surprising. They felt they can demonise me and take ownership by force. But they’ll fail again as always.’’
Really, the hustlers have taken over. This is not an attempt to submerge the #EndSARS cause in controversy. But we must get off the emotional high and face up to the fact.
EndSARS has been appropriated. The mission is compromised! I repeat, the mission is compromised!
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist