My encounter with #EndSARS protesters in Ibadan

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By Comrade Adeola Soetan
The Struggle Continues! But I was accused wrongly by the protesting #ENDSARS Youths at Adeoyo roundabout, Ibadan, of being part of Awon Arabi that are oppressing them. I was shocked.

Adeoyo Roundabout in Ibadan was a beautiful festival of mixed feeling of anger, frustration, hope and excitement from #ENDSARS Protesting Youths. It was a sight to behold.

The wrong accusation.
My first attempt to interact and address some youths was initially rebuffed because they said my generation was too permissible of the rot in the system and the oppression successive governments in Nigeria unleashed on the country and its citizens. And that I was part of the people who brought Buhari who has been attacking the youths’ welfare, calling them lazy youths and did nothing when SARS were killing and harassing them, to power.

There was a bearded guy with white gold necklace who didn’t want to hear me at all. “Baba, A o fe gboyin, E wa ninu awon to ba Nigeria je” (We don’t want to hear you, you are part of the people that spoiled Nigeria) Can you imagine that? See me see trouble o.

I told them that I had only voted for Obafemi Awolowo and Gani Fawehinmi as presidential candidates in my life. But the ladies among them appealed to them to allow Baba to speak now.

I was provoked a bit. Then, I asked them if they ever protested when Buhari criminally increased petrol pump price and hiked electricity tarrif or when Jonathan did same when I was on the streets protesting with other elders/leaders that they are were now accusing collectively. That the struggle was not about age but class. Then I introduced myself as a former president of Great Ife, ex-chairman Ogun State NCP under Fawehinmi and a member of Democratic Socialist Movement. It didn’t really make much sense to them as more youths were gathering to hear me now, perhaps because of generational gap and political consciousness.

I brought out my phone and showed them pictures of me and other comrades protesting in Lagos during the JAF organised protests a month ago. I told them that they should not see all elders as one. We are different in ideology and vision of how government should be run, military and political bandits have been running Nigerians over the years. That most Nigerians including elders, fathers and mothers are aggrieved with the way Nigeria is governed and there must be social revolution.

They started calming down and they gave me more time to discuss with them. I advised that they should expand the scope of their demands to include youth employement, government meeting ASUU demands, reversal of petrol and electricity prices, cut in take home pay of elected high profile public office holders among others.

Some of them agreed that those were part of their demands, some said that “Buhari must Go” would be the solution, some said breaking Nigeria was the solution. The bearded guy in white gold necklace said his own demand would continue to be End SARS. because he and his friends suffered so much from SARS when he was a student of LAUTEC, Ogbomosho. Then I cracked a joke with him that why should he be using white gold necklace and keeping beard as a student? He responded angrily that that was not SARS’s job. “Why can’t SARS arrest Buhari’s children when they dress well and use expensive jewelry?

I was getting tired having walked for hours snooping around. Luckily, a micra taxi appeared like a miracle, a Noah’s ark, I quickly stopped the driver to take me to my guest house, that was around 4:30pm. The micra driver was driving like an unrepentant Boko Haram escaping arrest after failed attempt to kill Gov. Zulum of Borno state. I advised him to reduce his speed because many vehicles were taking one way due to ENDSARS protest. He just told me bluntly that he had been in traffic standstill at Challenge since 11:00am. Wao!

I pitied him for the loss of manhour and income but that he should blame government not the protesters because government allowed the protest to start, they unleashed bad governance and didn’t act timely to stop SARS extortion and police brutality. His response was apt: She ani ijoba ni? (do we have government?)

Unfortunately, when I got back to my room tired with pained legs and back due to long trek, I received a text message from my professional massager that she wouldn’t be able to come because of traffic logjam due to #ENDSARS protest in Ibadan. What a disappointment!
Anyway, everyone has one sacrifice or the other to make for the struggle, no matter how little, to make Nigeria better.
Solidarity! Aluta Continua, Victoria Acerta.

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