By David Royal
Citadel Global Community Church Service Supervisor, formerly known as the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare said Sunday that the nation’s leaders “cannot afford to be sinfully silent when the youth of our nation are being oppressed by a Nigerian state that is supposed to protect them “
Bakare had said weeks ago that the #EndSARS protest was the tip of an iceberg saying that any attempt to solve the problems must go beyond the surface to excavate the underlying factors that led to the protest.
In a series of Tweets Addressing a crucial issue of national importance, Bakare said the tremendous energy of Nigerian youth needs to be channeled into building the Nigeria of our dreams, a nation of which unborn generations will be proud.
He said: “I have chosen as a theme the undying words of Benjamin Disraeli:” The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity. “This has become even more necessary due to the backlash that is being inflicted on some of the Nigerian youth. who participated in the #EndSARS protests.
“My mother, whom I describe as the woman who saw the future, was a disciplinarian who prepared me to become a respectful but bold young man with big dreams. He instilled in me an uncompromising sense of justice and a huge dose of courage and confidence to back him up.
“That sense of justice was what inspired me as a student at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to join other students in the Ali Must Go protests against a military government whose draconian policies made living conditions difficult for students. #EndSARS
“That same sense of justice was what gave me the audacity as a student leader at the University of Lagos to confront the then military head of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo… and declare within earshot of the Nigerian head of state Establish that, he says that.
“This government possesses power without compassion, power without morality, and strength without sight” (to paraphrase Martin Luther King Jnr). Later, an SSS official told me that that day in 1978 a file was opened with my name.
“I have to say that that sense of justice was what I saw at work when Nigerian youth rallied the nation last month in peaceful protests against police brutality.
“As I recalled the unfortunate incident of the shooting of unarmed protesters by Nigerian soldiers, I solemnly recalled how I nearly lost my life in the Ali Must Go protests when armed police officers fired live bullets at a crowd of peacefully protesting students.
“Unfortunately, the bullet that narrowly missed me shot dead the young man next to me, Akintunde Ojo, who was later named a library in UNILAG … it is painful that the younger generation has had to deal with them. beasts that we fight in my generation. #EndSARS
“We cannot afford sinful silence when the youth of our nation are being oppressed by a Nigerian state that is supposed to protect them.
“As our nation returns to the drawing board in the wake of the EndSARS protests, I have watched with great interest the political actions and positions taken by national and sub-national governments to address the broader issues of youth development in Nigeria from the early dissolution of SARS, to the N75B Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (N-YIF) launched by the federal government, as well as the appointment of young Nigerians to research panels established by various state governments.
“I commend these actions by the federal and state governments. To some extent, they have been forced to reflect on themselves and align with the times.
“This season of our national life requires deep humility, sobriety and deliberate thinking, both on the part of the government and the governed, to ensure that our plans, policies and actions are weighed before they are implemented to prevent their recurrence our most recent crises.
“Some of the actions recently taken by the government following the #EndSARS protests may need to be reversed sooner rather than later in our collective best interest so that they do not provoke further protests.
“Among those political actions is the freezing of the accounts of young Nigerians who allegedly sponsored the protests. While I admit that, under our current laws, banks may freeze an account through an ex parte order issued to a law enforcement agency by a court of competent jurisdiction for the purpose of investigation, these provisions of our law should not be used. to intimidate Nigerians. young people simply because they participated and promoted protests against government inaction.
“Targeting and arresting citizens on false charges, deploying judicial investigations as a tool of intimidation, and generally eroding our fragile peace are deeply troubling signs of regression.
“Extending the olive branch to young people at once, and depriving young people of the right to freedom of movement and property enshrined in our constitution in another breath, will send confusing signals and cast doubts in their minds regarding the sincerity of government.
“The immediate reversal of these actions, therefore, will calm raw nerves and accelerate peace in our land. And if there are serious or fundamental security breaches that require the freezing of bank accounts and the confiscation of a passport, these must be reported.
“In the absence of security violations, the rights of citizens must never be trampled on. #EndSARS
“In the words of Robert Green Ingersoll, ‘I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample on. Men are not superior because of accidents of race or color.
“Those who have the best heart, the best brain are superior … The superior man […] it stands leaning over the fallen. He gets up by lifting others up. “
“The government should raise the morale of the Nig. young people by all means and in all possible ways, with the clear understanding that “the best security against the revolution is the constant correction of abuses and the introduction of necessary improvements …
“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes reconstruction necessary” (Richard Whately). #EndSARS
“I have followed the conversation about regulating social media after the violence that accompanied the #EndSARS protests.
“I remember that my statements in this regard during an interview on Arise TV were misinformed and misrepresented by those seeking the occasion.
“Let me say once again that, although I have been the victim of misrepresentations and unnecessary defamation of my character on social media, I remain an advocate for freedom of expression.
“While I advocate the responsible use of social media, I will never subscribe to any attempt to deprive Nigerian youth of a space and context in which they have found a sense of themselves.
“Through various interactions, I have outlined eight segments of our national life that I describe as constituting Nigeria’s political power blocs, each of which exerts significant influence on the outcome of politics and governance in Nigeria. , namely:
“The State Council and 36 state governors, retired generals, traditional institutions, political dynasties, the private sector (including the media), religious leaders, the Nigerian Labor Congress / Trade Union Congress (NLC / TUC ) and Partners.
“My position has been that any individual or group seeking to be considered politically in Nigeria should not take any of this for granted.
“I would like to affirm at this juncture that there is a ninth power bloc that should not be taken for granted: it is Nigerian Youth with the power of social media.
“Any political group that takes social media savvy young Nigerians for granted does so at their own risk or peril. This is why I strongly advise power blocs, including Southwest governors calling for stricter regulation of social media, to desist.
“Allow me at this point to remind you of the statements I made in this regard on my January 5, 2020 in the State of the Nation when addressing the fact that some people have deployed this tool [social media] in ways that have been less than honorable, it does not justify the attempt to suppress freedom of expression by some legislators who specialize in minors.
“I have been the target of criticism from social networks. I have been misrepresented, defamed, and falsely characterized by SM mischief-makers, but I will not support the removal of the most powerful tool for citizen engagement at 21% through the wrong social media bill.
“Lest we forget, the locus classicus case of Arthur Nwankwo v. The State of 1985 already removed sedition from our laws and instead reiterated that a character defamation lawsuit can be brought against those who abuse the right to freedom of freedom. expression.
“Instead of stifling expressiveness, which is the lifeblood of innovation, what we should do is pass laws that further empower our young and large population to be not only constructive users of social media platforms, but also creators of local solutions.
“To combat abuse, what we must do is provide incentives for proper use of this tool through reward systems that encourage the code of honor, promote responsible conversations, and discourage dishonorable use.
“I therefore affirm unequivocally that these young Nigerians who have found their voice on social media are not the enemies of Nigeria. They are the hope of our nation.
“I assure you that if social media had been invented in the days of our founding fathers, they would have deployed the tool to resist colonial rule and fight for our independence.
“All media, from radio to television, Twitter and WhatsApp, can potentially be abused to amplify our lower instincts, but this in no way implies that these media should be suppressed or repressed.
“I would never align myself with the violation of freedoms, including freedom of expression.
“Progressive governments around the world continue to grapple with how to strike a delicate balance between defending freedom of expression and restricting the spread of misinformation, which can have dire consequences.
“I observe, for example, the creation of the identifier @EndSARSFctCheck on Twitter intended to checkmate the spread of fake news.
“One possible way to address this holistically, and I am open to other suggestions, is for Nigerian youth, with their record of self-government during the #EndSARS protests, to lead the talks alongside local and international civil society organizations. , in order to adopt best practices elsewhere and innovate in light of local realities and ultimately work with media platforms like Fbk and Twitter to flag dangerous content.
“This could minimize concerns around government regulation or repression and places power and responsibility squarely in the hands of the vast majority of end-users, Nigerian youth.
“The existence of this ‘code of honor’, to which I alluded in January of this year, can effectively preclude the need for bills that infringe on freedoms and therefore understandably raise suspicion and concern.
“I call on the youth of Nigeria to begin channeling their enormous energy into an organized movement for a New Nigeria, using all the resources at their disposal, including and especially social media.
“Six years ago, I said that the Nigerian dream ‘lives on in the wearable devices of young Nigerians on social media that keep issues that affect Nigerian people in the foreground of public awareness in the hope that one day a movement by The change + ve will turn on.
“I urge all of our young leaders across our nation, North, South, East and West, to join the progressive forces of our policy for a New Nigeria, the dream nation that is their destiny and right to. birth. breathe to life.
“A Nigeria where the right to life is sacred and no one is brutalized or extrajudicially killed; where no one goes to bed hungry and no child is left without access to quality education; where our homes, schools, streets, villages, roads, and cities are safe and secure. A Nigeria where our hospitals are life-saving institutions and all Nigerians have access to quality healthcare; where no young people are unemployed and our young men and women are job creators; where businesses thrive on innovation and Nigerian-made products can compete anywhere.
“Nigeria, where homes and businesses have access to an uninterrupted power supply, and ideas are facilitated by functional infrastructure and cutting-edge technology.
“Nigeria, where no part of our nation (North, South, East or West) has a reason to feel marginalized, and where all Nigerians take pride in saying, ‘I am Nigerian’; a Nigeria that is a model for Africa and a beacon of hope for the world
“I believe that now is the time to build this dream nation, and that one of the first steps towards this is the full recognition by all levels of government that stifling the spirit, creativity and freedom of Nigerian youth is contradictory. and counterproductive.
“Thanks for listening / reading; God bless you, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and God bless the African continent. #EndSARS “