By General Ishola Williams (RTD)
It is wishful thinking with the usual Nigerian “fire brigade approach’. They cannot do it without their elders.
Majority of SARS are young policemen who are bad. What are the youths doing? The Young Police Officers are all graduates, so why do they lose the control of the men they command?
Majority of the members of APC, PDP and other parties are below 50 years of age, if the youths are not hustlers and even though many of them are rich and corrupt, why not take over all these parties?
So far, with respect to money, those responsible are transparent and accountable and no pecuniary conflict yet between various groups and interests. They have also resisted all anti-protesters disruption.
They must keep the integrity of the Protest intact.
They have made demands but what are the expected outcomes at Local, State and Federal Levels?
Above all, what is the strategic and operational objectives from now on for needed Constitutional Changes and identifying the Square Pegs for Square Holes at Local, State and Federal levels?
Age is not an issue. It is honest, incorruptible, and competent persons in good health with proven public and/or Corporate Service that we need in Local, State and Federal Governance Systems.
1. What do you make of it?
The protest is not spontaneous. It is planned because those involved were sure that they will get the fund needed to sustain the protest. They are getting the fund and I am impressed by the exemplary transparency and accountability. It is unprecedented in terms of a protest so far in our country.
Secondly, the protest is following the global trend against police brutality and the need, as one Journalist said, to ‘‘re-imagine policing’’ in an increasing violent urbanized world with its inequities not inequality, because equality is impossible.
Thirdly, it shows the lack of will on the part of the police to reform itself on one hand and on the other hand the deliberate lack of political will and lack of strategic thinkers on the part of the Minister of Police Affairs, the Police Commission, and the National Security Adviser.
It is also important to point out that I don’t expect a nationwide exercise because of ethno-centric differences and, to a large extent, religious impact on thoughts and action. The Southern youths are more acculturated with Western ideologies, ideas and thoughts and in most times; copy the good, the bad and the ugly of the Western way of life.
2. What are the implications for the future especially on politics and the old Politicians?
There is no doubt that there are hidden hands behind the protesters for political reasons, genuine altruism to correct the inexplicable and unacceptable state of our nation and the lack of sensitivity by NASS Members who claim to represent the people but are mainly representing themselves for personal gains and above all, the Governors who are reluctant to change the status quo confused by citizens who demand mediocrity from them and expect excellence from Abuja when all of them are called your excellencies.
Unfortunately, some of the protesters are also using the platform for their own various agenda and some of them for fun. If the protest is sustained at this level in the South, the Governors will be forced to do what is needful, and that includes reducing the post-governorship remunerations and perks given to them. It is immoral, illegitimate and shameful when many of them cannot pay N30,000 minimum wage, provide quality education and healthcare in their states.
3. Is this the beginning of a revolution?
It is not and the majority of the protesters are not for that because it is not yet a nationwide protest which has spread to other Northern states outside Abuja and Cosmopolitan Kaduna. The Northern states are affected by more violent crimes including insurgency to think about any revolution. Even though, the social infrastructures are improving fast, a lot of work needs to be done. Revolution has always consumed those who lead it with very few survivors if they succeed.
4. Will this have any impact on the 2023 elections?
It is too early to predict because a week or even a day can see game changing moves and actions in politics. At the same time, 18th February, 2023 is only less than 3yrs away, therefore, it is time for the Southern Youths to demonstrate solidarity in ensuring that an incorruptible South-Easterner with incorruptible past with the vision and mission occupies Aso Villa from May 2023, with a Vice-President of the same character from the Middle-Belt.
They must also do everything possible to get a Constitution of the Federation with Subsidiarity cum Parliamentary or hybrid system with proportional representation.
As a matter of urgency, we need a Security Sector Reform including the Nigerian Police which must be split into three separate parts of Mobile Paramilitary Force with a Commander and a Squadron in each State; A Crime Intelligence and Criminal Investigation Agency with a DG: and an IGP responsible for REGULATORY not COMMAND STANDARDS and TRAINING for State/Local Government Policing ONLY
With this structure, you do not need any SARS or SWAT.
5. Do you see the youths floating a political party or the youths vying and winning political offices?
I have been reading that there are plans to set up a Youth Party which is good; but it will have to be so disciplined with young men and women of integrity who cannot be bought. They must look up to Politicians cum Moneybags with inexplicable wealth as mentors, etc. they must run like the pre-1966 parties.
That said, how come that the Youths cannot disrupt the APC and PDP when they are the majority and that is obviously where they should start? In addition, there are over 80 parties registered with INEC already with most of them inactive. INEC has therefore been trying to derecognize them as parties. Is there any need for a new party? The Youths cannot do it alone.
(See diagram below).
If the Youths are serious, let them start from the Local Government, lead and demonstrate that Godfatherism, stomach adjustment programme and politricks are dead and competence and character is born. Good local governance means good development from the bottom. At the State level, they must become good political watchdogs and occupy some State Assembly seats in increasing numbers. They will later become Governors with proven public service records and political competence. There are already many young men and women in political positions as Commissioners, Speakers, Advisers and many below 50yrs of age as Governors or Deputy Governors. Have they been game changers? Or they are just following the corrupt herd?
Protests have been part of the Colonial and post-Colonial history of our country and it will continue because there is no perfect Governance. This is because increasingly, post 1966 Nigeria has become a corrupt and more of a Contractocratic rather than democratic developmental State. The goal of these youths’ re-awakening protest must kill Contractocracy (Government of the Contractors, by the Contractors and for the Contractors) and ensure a welfarist developmental State with components based on a federal constitution, founded on equity, subsidiarity, proportional representation, and resource control.
They must take over the Local Government Areas and States first with demonstrated competence.
When that is done, the youths can say we are building a country with minimal corruption that Africa will be proud of.
Olasehinde Ishola Williams