*Says only restructuring can end imminent disintegration
By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere has called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the leadership of the National and State Assemblies and state Governors to heed the patriotic demands of #EndSARS youth, which include reducing their own salaries and expenses; as well as the costs of running government.
In a statement issued on Monday by its Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Afenifere noted that the demands by the youth are reasonable for good governance, better security for life and property and a stable economy.
According to him, the economic implications will boost employment, stimulate demand and pull the country out of depression.
He warned that no amount of threats and unleashing of violence will get the youths off demanding a better deal.
His words: ”It is not helpful blackmailing the protesters instead of looking into their demands and establishing a better livable polity. The spirit behind these protests will rise again and again to demand a better and fairer deal.We cannot afford to continue running Nigeria in the old ways.”
He appealed to the protesters to avert a breakdown of law and order as they warn the government to avoid any action that can escalate the tense situation.
Fasoranti also tasked the government to as a matter of urgency restructure the country into a fairer, more just and equitable polity, in order to rescue it from imminent disintegration and destruction.
The statement read in part: ”Afenifere is not in the least surprised by the, #EndSARS protests that have rocked Nigeria for several days now as it is a natural flow from the cumulative actions of mindless ruling elites over the years and as the NO time comes often in history. We salute the Nigerian youth who have risen to say ENOUGH to the excesses of the Nigerian state symbolized by the crimes of SARS at this period in history.”
”The Nigerian youth have always shown indignation against state irresponsibility at critical stages over decades. In 1961,they shot down the Anglo-Nigerian defend pact. In 1978, they took over the streets of Nigeria in the “Ali Must Go” crisis. In 1986, they had a showdown over the killings of four ABU students by the police and in 1992, it was the anti – SAP revolt.”
”And at a time the government was thinking that it had removed the spark of protests in Nigeria with organized labor compromise over the hike in fuel prices and electricity tariff, the young people woke up again over the extra-judicial killings and other brutalities of SARS. For decades, and more stridently in recent times, patriotic citizens have ceaselessly clamored for a new constitutional order to arrest the downward spiral of our country into the abyss of political destruction.”
”We have witnessed, over the years, the systematic savaging and plundering of our collective well-being in a mindless frenzy of corruption, bigotry, injustice and social decadence, perpetrated with disdain and impunity. The signs have been clear for some time, that we were approaching the tipping point. Events of the past few days, will appear to suggest that the last straw is nigh. As proud forebears of the struggle for the emancipation of Nigeria from the clutches of oppression and injustice, we salute the courage and responsible initiative of the youth in peacefully pressing for justice and social reforms as encapsulated in the #ENDSARS protests.”
”Savaging and plundering of our commonwealth in a mindless frenzy of corruption, bigotry, injustice and social decadence, perpetrated with disdain and impunity, selfishly unmindful of dissipating our assets and wealth; without any compunction in leaving massive Infrastructural deficit and mounting indebtedness for the younger generation.”
”This is the culmination of a lifelong struggle by devoted patriots to bring about a new social and constitutional order in our polity, to institute a new dawn of peace and progress embedded in social justice. This is not the time for long speeches. The message is clear, Let us now rescue Nigeria from imminent disintegration and destruction. Let us restructure our country into a fairer, more just and equitable polity now. To enhance nationwide security, create state police now. To enhance nationwide development and progress return control of resources to states now, to ensure peaceful and harmonious coexistence devolve more powers to the states now.
To reduce corruption and cost of governance reduce the size of government now, now is the time. Tomorrow may be too late.”