By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Director General of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has advised that radical approach to politics should be the way out in the current lockjam in the country due to the protests by the Nigerian youths over brutality by the Nigerian police and bad governance.
In a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja, Lukman said the first republic politicians were remarkable due to their commitment to principles of social change, adding that also in the second republic, radical politics was the defining identity of politicians and activists who were committed to issues of social change in Nigeria.
To this end, he said that the current #End SARS protests across the country highlights some levels of citizens frustration, especially by young people in relation to engaging initiatives of government aimed at resolving societal problems.
“The protest and its popularity among our young people are indication of the urgency for our politics to become more responsive and oriented to attract wider citizens participation.
“Intuitively, the ongoing protest is a clarion call on our political leaders in APC to respond to growing demands both within the party and by Nigerians to ensure that the progressive credentials of APC is oriented based on commitment to promote radical politics”, the PGF DG said.
Giving insight into how radical politics can help address the challenges facing the country and the youths, Lukman said in order to address the problem, there is the need for government to immediately review implementation of government welfare initiatives and ensure provision of specific packages targeting young people, in addition to meeting the specific demands of the #EndSARS protests.
According to him, the current protest around #EndSARS is a proof that Nigerian youths are troubled, and they are at the receiving end of all the trouble the country is facing. He said that in many respects, the protests highlighted deficit in terms of government initiatives meeting the expectations of Nigerian young people, which could have emanated from poor communication strategy.
In a veiled caution to the federal government against using military to stop the protests, Lukman said “The protest is very popular, and the leadership appears very determined to continue with the protest. Being the party in government, are we going to painstakingly work for democratic resolution? Or are we going to opt for authoritarian measures to end the protests? The options are daring and challenging. Interestingly, the organisation of the protest doesn’t make these options any easier.
“How can government win the trust and confidence of our young people and get them to vacate the streets? The message from our young people is that there are challenges that require political responses. Police brutality, insecurity, unemployment, etc. are contending political issues. Citizens’ participation in responding to these challenges is a critical requirement to win the trust of Nigerians regarding initiative of government.
“The truth is, the crisis facing us as a nation, as much as it affects everyone, it is more destructive to our young people. For instance, access to educational opportunities is abysmal, the small openings lead to very dark tunnels that may only provide glimpses of hopeless reality. Public education is in worst state such that both teachers and students have to look outside the classrooms for the new society, if any at all.
“Any wonder, therefore, our youth are on the street, campaigning for an end to a problem they consider very deadly? Graduate unemployment is today the new normal. Without any doubt, every patriotic Nigerian should at the minimum be able to accept these fundamental challenges, which is the root cause of today’s protest by Nigerian youth.”
He therefore called for appeal to the leaders of the country to kindly respond to the protest by fundamentally taking the necessary steps to accelerate the process of reforming the implementation of especially government welfare initiatives, having effectively responded to the specific demands of the #EndSARS protest.