FOR SARS, OR AGAINST SARS? (by Ayodeji Adam Busayo)


 

Dear faithful and loyal Nigerians! Patriotic and formidable citizens who speak and stand up for truth and justice, devoted and unassailable individuals who value lives and the essence of humanity. Uncompromising and dogged compatriots who deploy their resourceful time and strength into getting whatever they believe in. Your praises are gargantuan and so no number of adjectives used here suffice to depict your power of determination. 

In essence, I am proud of your recent achievement. You have demonstrated that, indeed and in truth, there is power in multitude. You have successfully humbled and bowed the government into succumbing to your will. Cheers, now SARS has been dissolved.

But before we get carried away with celebration, I have a number of things I'd like to share with you. First, I want to prepare your minds in advance for a quantum of similar fights and protests. Maybe you still do not realise how many battles this victory will hand us. Since we are united and always on the alert to stand up for justice, we need to know that there are more herculean tasks ahead. The case has always been that Nigerians do not know what to demand from the government or they are not being truthful and patriotic to ask for the right things.

Without any smidgeon of doubts, Nigerians have successfully opened more doors to moral decadence with this well-deserved victory. Long ago, we were familiar with the popular cliché of ‘no work no food’, in fact, there was a joke that was used to illustrate the moral behind sourcing of food in the phrase ‘workshop’-‘nah where man work nah there hin dey chop’. Unfortunately, we have long parted ways with that value nowadays, as many people are doing nothing and they can afford more than three square meals. They even have more than enough going to waste. Recently, a large number of youths have flare for pleasure that besmirches hard work. Many have long swerved the path of moral civility when it comes to money making. They make fortune out of their indulgence in Internet fraudulent acts. Consequently, they flaunt the sudden riches in the latest brand of cars, wrist watches, urban hairstyles, jewelleries, expensive phones and other invaluable belongings that their parents could not afford, although under the fear of SARS, while the few who still believe in the principle of hard work and integrity have little or nothing to show. 

The latter sect live on hopes for miracle and favourable governmental policies. Perhaps casting their gaze on the other side of the room too with the thirst to also live in luxuries like their counterparts because they are human after all, and in the long run, some of them become susceptible. However, many of these vulnerable minds who may have been contemplating whether to swim into the gimmick that will see them live like their wealthy mates, by now, would have come to a conclusion of what will pay them off in the long run. 

Before you cast a stone at me, I have another darkness I'd like to illuminate. Have you ever submitted yourself to any police officer (SARS) and get shot or hassled? Have you ever seen a well-dressed Nigerian being stopped to be searched by SARS and ended up being shot to death after being searched? Or have you ever caught or read any reports of SARS meting out their so-called brutality and killings on Nigerians in corporate places of work, decent gatherings or religion centres?  We will need to be truthful with ourselves and ask a question of what we want. 

Indubitably, the victory is a wide door for terrible intimidation of the sound minded Nigerians who do not want to compromise. Many young adults do not believe in education and hard work any more, many youths have lost their dreams simply because of the illicit behaviours of others, everyone is looking for a means of cutting corners to stockpile wealth, because we are living in a ‘temptation-filled’ world. Therefore, before you think you are the only one who value human lives, ponder more on these consequences in the long run. 

In addition, you may also need to know the toll our reputation will pay for this victory. Although before now, the country has been marked for being duplicitous, even as the perpetrators of this spiteful act carry out the nefarious acts with the fear of the watchdogs in minds. Now, you should be able to imagine how privileged they would be, as they have nobody to disturb them. 

Besides, some of our so-called religious leaders do not carry guns to shoot Nigerians to an instant death but use their tongues to endanger and control their minds. Under the disguise of religion, the mindsets of many youths have been destructively uttered by preachers who paid disproportionate attention to the teaching of religious values and fortune making. Some preachers conveniently told Nigerians that if they do not make money by all means, God is not happy with them. There were preachers who told Nigerians that God will be happy with them as much as they kill innocent people. With their tongues, they kept Nigerian youths on their toes, and this has resulted into the sudden death of some people, criminalization of some people and lack of contentment on many people’s part. Where were all the protesters who won this recent gold medal with their peaceful protests against SARS? Perhaps the government attention was not required then. Can we count the losses we have hitherto incurred to those uncensored religious teachings?

Moreover, if you won’t mind my questions, I would like to request the whereabouts of these courageous Nigerians who have successfully waged war against SARS and won with a landslide when the tariff on electricity was increased and fuel hike hit us in the face just at the dawn of the ease of several months of lockdown. No prostitutes in the demonstration, there were no celebrities and not even the Internet tricksters because they felt they could bear the burden. Would you take a minute to reason about their agitations? Their fear is that they may eventually have nobody to patronize them, if the pressure on these tricksters who earn money without working steeds. We may have successfully dug our own graves by unconsciously joining the #ENDSARS protest rather than making a request of the squad’s reformation.

Likewise, many criminal cases such as rape and armed robbery were reported on daily basis, and the news on these menaces have become commonplace, but powerful Nigerians have protested that a SPECIAL ANTI-ROBBERY SQUAD be dissolved, probably because the squad is lethargic against the perpetrators of those vices but active in the brutality of innocent Nigerians. Unquestionably, it is an antithesis of knowledge to know that these agitators are well aware that the constituents of the just dissolved squad will still remain within the Nigerian Police Force, before craving for their end. They blamed their agitations on the squad’s killing of innocent Nigerians, so I would like to ask if the federal government has dissolved the brutality and their mean attitudes towards Nigerians too.

Recently, many people have been killed in Kaduna and up till now, nothing substantial has been done. Where were these Nigerians? Or those lives were not as important as the one taken by the SARS? No demonstration! No hash tags! And everything was just normal. This, in deed, shows how caring and compassionate Nigerians are for one another.

Finally, while the Edo/Ondo gubernatorial elections were imminent in the midst of the lockdown in the fight against COVID-19, the federal government would not allow the school children to resume to write WAEC/NECO examinations, neither would it allow economic activities to return but it would not stop the elections. And then statistics shows that there are more than four million registered voters in both states and there were less than hundred thousand examination candidates which translates that there would be larger gathering at the polling units than in the examination halls. This, does not despoil logicality to this class of agitators, as none of them came out to protest not even on the social media on behalf of the innocent examination candidates. If that was too far, the current rift between ASUU and the federal government which has lengthened the stay of all higher institution children out of school has not garnered any form of attention from loving Nigerians. What a shame? They all speak volume about the spirit of our collectivism, selflessness, loyalty, empathy and patriotism to our country and ourselves.

We should say without mincing words that not only our government misplace priorities but also we the led. The reason for this is not far-fetched, it is a product of individual and group selfishness. And until individuals work on their minds and become refined, ready to say and stand for the truth without prejudice engineered by ethnic group sentiments, political soppiness, gender slushiness, religious gushes and egocentrism, only then should we be thinking of going places.

By Ayodeji Adam Busayo. 

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