The #EndSARS is a metonymy for the call to end all negative behaviours that have bedeviled the opportunity for the greatness of this country selfishly conserved by individuals trusted with power. It means stop empowering thugs.
The Nigerian political class uplifted thugs, (who the millitary caged and in some places wipped out) and empowered them to be millionaires and billionaires after they took over from the military from 1999 and maintain them as their military arm.
It is common knowledge that an unwritten qualification to contest the post of governor and even senator is the procession of a ‘nest of killers’ which are drawn from these thugs mostly from the motor packs. Since the beginning of this 4th republic, immediately a governor enters office he takes over the aparatus of the leadership of the commercial drivers unions and replace them with his cronies particularly those who worked as his bodyguards and thugs before election victory, it doesn’t matter whether they belong to the unions or not.
The thugs have been so empowered to the extent that they contest and won election and where that is impossible they are appointed into political offices by the executives. One of them called Ologbonowon made it to the chairmanship position of the Premier Local Government in Nigeria, Abeokuta South where a vast majority of great men hailed from.
He was Vice-Chairman and later made to benefit from the scheme against a vibrant young man trained abroad, Abiodun Ajayi, the Chairman, who refused to yield to the pressure by the godfathers to be sharing the LG’s money as in business as usual.
He was impeached and the the popular thug, who had been positioned for this, became chairman. It was a serious shame to the Egba Aristocracy as the man could not even read speeches. Yet he was officially in charge when the sitting Alake was to be crowned.
His speech was skipped to avoid embarrassment in the presence of dignitaries from home and abroad. It was ordered by the sitting President then who was Special Guest of Honour that “that boy can not speak here”. But they took him that far against the people’s wish. He became very notorious in office to the extent that he beat a former millitary administrator and general at an Islamic funeral and beat the dead body with the flat side of his machete.
One day, he met his senior in primary school, Wale Sobande and mocked the masters degree holder journalist. He reminded Wale of the song in primary school “Bata re a dun kokoka” which the system used to encourage them to face their studies and smashed its altruism on his bookworm seniour’s face. He said it in Yoruba that those of us that you said our shoes would not sound well because we were doing truancy and thuggery are wearing better shoes today as your chairman, pointing spitefully at Wale’s shoes.
Most times these thugs are not sponsored for specific assignment; they decide on their own. This is the situation. They are under the benevolence and empowerment of one godfather or the other, so they rise to defend the interests of these benefactors when the occasion arises.
After a good job the thugs go to them to make claims that they did the ‘job’ and they are well compensated. For election days many of them do their plans and storm specifically marked polling booths where opposition to their benefactors are strong and do the ‘job’. Mark you, they also storm polling booths where their benefactors are strong to claim glory that they win the election for them and not their acceptability, just to get paid and maintain their franchise, including intervention when they are nabbed by law enforcement agents for other crimes. Thugs don’t like politicians claiming they win election by their integrity or popularity – bad market.
Most politicians are no longer in control of these thugs, it is the thugs that control them. I was covering election in Shagamu one day when thugs came to a polling booth and disrupted the process. They collected materials and massively thumb printed for a party. It was the polling booth of a strong leader of that particular party. The man identified them and told me in confidence that these were their boys and regrettably wondered why they did that. He was almost crying when he said “These are our boys. . . and we are winning very well with the people I have seen coming to vote. Why are they doing this? Our result may be cancelled… Why are they doing this?”
The trend now is thugs attacking workers during strike or rally. They will beat the hell out of civil servants who are on legitimate industrial action. This is what the political class has done but the governors will say they did not sponsor the thugs, who did?
Please, stop empowering thugs! That is a major demand of #EndSARS
By Yemi Akintunde
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