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Another EndSARS protest needs to happen because nothing has changed – Shehu Sani

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Another EndSARS protest needs to happen because nothing has changed - Shehu Sani

Shehu Sani, a civil rights activist and former senator representing Kaduna Central, has noted that another EndSARS protest – a reference to the 2020 mass protests against police brutality – needs to happen because the lesson of the first one was not learnt.

The agricultural engineer, poet and publisher spoke as a panelist at the Prince Emeka Obasi Inaugural Memorial Lecture held on Thursday in Lagos, with the theme, ‘If This Giant Must Walk; Manifesto for a New Nigeria.’

Sani identified credible elections, security and good education among the key factors for Nigeria’s advancement, but regretted that all three are comatose.

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“The first one is credible elections. If we have an electoral system that produces people who genuinely win elections, at least we’d have legitimacy of leadership at all levels,” he said.

“I don’t know any magic that can be done when the system, and the process through which people emerge in positions of power is faulty.”

On security, he said, “I come from Kaduna, a state where one quarter is in the hands of bandits and terrorists. The present government is doing its best, but if you look at Katsina, Zamfara, Kabbi, Kaduna and Niger, there are villages that are under the control of bandits. You pay money to terrorists to go to your farm, and you pay money to return to your house. Schools are not safe, the farms are not safe.

“In my state, a university was attacked. Students were kidnapped, the parents had to sell all their properties to pay ransom to the terrorists. Bethel Baptist High School, a secondary school, was also attacked. Students were also kidnapped and their parents had to sell all they had to gather over N200m. Several other schools were attacked in the region. It’s as if there’s no authority.

“Most of the people in position of authority today were products of public education, but they can’t take their children to the school they attended. If you want to take your child to a good university, it has to be private. If we don’t do anything about elections, we don’t do anything about security, we don’t do anything about education, I don’t know how we can solve our problems.”

On the question of restructuring, Sani wondered why people who have advocated for it lose interest once they get political power, while stressing that even the low hanging fruits such as the autonomy of state legislatures, judiciary and local governments have proved unrealistic.

“We’re talking about devolution of power; we’re talking about restructuring. Most people who are in positions of authority have a lot of ideas,” he said. ” A typical state governor today will be an advocate for state police, but when they are out of power, and they are in open confrontation with the state governor, they know that their lives are at risk.

“Simple issues of autonomy of state judiciary, state legislature and local government are still a problem, not to talk of the restructuring of the whole country. Restructuring is in the campaign Manifesto of APC. They control the House of Representatives, they control the Senate, they control the executive, they control all the levers of power. Why can’t we gather today or tomorrow and restructure the country?” He wondered.

” If you have Ideas about restructuring, and it’s in your manifesto, and you have political power, but you cannot restructure, what are you waiting for?”

Sani noted further that, “What I have come to observe is that we know the problems of the country, and we know the solutions, but by the time we get to power, we forget both the problem and the solution. The people in position of authority today were part of us. They were in the vanguard of the struggle for restructuring of this country, and it was as if we had the magic wand that would solve all the problems of Nigeria. But from 2015 till date, were still discussing the problem. So, if that’s what we want, then we should continue to discuss the problem without solving it.

“As a country we need to tell ourselves the truth. If this country wants to remain one, united, progressive and foward looking, I think we should make provisions to address the problems we’re facing. Young people, you have to take your own destiny into your own hands. The next EndSARS protest has to come because nothing is happening.”

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