WHAT A SPEECH.
’A good traveler leaves no tracks. Good speech lacks fault-finding.’ – Lao Tzu
Every well-meaning Nigerian youth went to bed last night with one thought in mind ’We are finished’ after listening to the 12 minutes of their democratically elected president’s speech, which instead of an appeal and condemnation of the acts of violence and inhumane cruelty shown by the security forces on peaceful protesters across the country. Instead, what they got was more threats, insults, and failure to address the issues of police and military brutality.
On Tuesday 20th of October 2020, a day which would forever live in infamy in the minds of young Nigerians, some still suffering from the psychological and emotional trauma caused by the actions of the military which opened fire on harmless and peaceful protesters in what is now known as the ‘Lekki-Massacre’ this event sent shockwaves across the globe, with foreigners and international community condemning the acts of excessive force to disperse the protesters, but the government declared that, ‘there was a curfew,’ which in any case was an illegal curfew. The state government will later go on to say that ‘forces beyond his control’ were responsible for the attacks, few hours after, by morning, he noted that ‘no fatalities were recorded’ a shocking and disgraceful lie, which only screams one thing, ‘the culpability of the state government’ mind you few hours before the shootings, firstly, ike I’ve noted earlier, the state government declared an illegal curfew, citing security threats and violence erupting in various areas of the state, but it is important to note that the protesters weren’t guilty of propagating any violent acts, these protests were as peaceful as possible, and they were never hijacked by thugs, what happened; although unconfirmed is that the government influenced the violence by paying the thugs to incite violence in order to discredit the legitimacy of the protests, while being a bogus claim, this isn’t the first time our government is in bed with thugs, they do that every four years, weaponizing poverty and illiteracy, now they got their wish, in this case it was apparent because we saw how much protection the thugs enjoyed from the Nigerian state.
Secondly, the security cameras in the location of the ‘black-Tuesday’ massacre were removed. The billboards switched-off by the company managing the said location (Lekki-toll gate) when confronted by the protesters. They claimed to have gotten orders from ‘above,’ sounds familiar?
Thirdly, a few minutes before the shootings started, the surrounding lights, including the street lights, were switched-off, lights controlled solely by the state government. A couple of other things occurred in between these three individual situations, showing the guilt of the state government, yet the government firmly denies knowledge of knowing about the shootings. The aftermath of the shootings left a stain on this nation, with thugs going ‘awol’ on looting and vandalizing spree to protesters taking a back seat, either at home for the fortunate ones, and the unfortunate ones either in the hospital or morgues, one thing was most common, everyone was still shell shocked by what they had just witnessed, the military had no rights to be involved in civil matters, talk less of shooting at unarmed protesters. But still, the federal government which controls the military went silent, the military ranks also went mute, prominent Nigerian politicians, quiet. But unknowingly to them, their silence made them guilty.
After more than 48 hours of silence, the federal government finally let out a statement and intentionally omitted the atrocities of Tuesday 20th of October; instead, he called protesters so-called protesters warned foreigners not to interfere in civil issues and threatened the protesters if they continued their demonstrations. The speech we had spent two days wishing for just made us speechless, made everyone ask, what is the value of a Nigerian life? The actions of the federal government were insensitive and irresponsible, which would lead to security operatives killing unarmed civilians, and nothing will happen, which is one of the significant reasons the youths were protesting against, now such violence has been willed against them.
A military spokesperson simply tagged the videos and pictorial pieces of evidence of the shootings as ‘photoshop,’ which is insulting to the intelligence of youths around the country. Can you photoshop a ‘live video?’ Shows the caliber of people ruling the nation.
For the speech, the president had just one job, appeal to the citizens and make them understand you feel their pains and all those responsible will be dealt with, but instead, the 12-minute clip seemed like dictatorial theatrics; let me give an example of how the speech ought to have been written;
My fellow Nigerians, firsts and foremost, I would love to apologize to you about the delay in communication, investigations were underway, and I didn’t want to speak yet, until I had all the facts, to the lives that were lost on the 20th of October, I take full responsibility, not as a perpetrator, but as the leader of this great nation and a citizen, may the affected families accept my most sincere condolences, I must assure them that justice shall prevail. I also want to use this medium to appeal to the protesters; your government is working tirelessly to address the already agreed terms of your 5-for-5 demands, and we shall announce the developments made swiftly; please I implore you to remain peaceful in your demonstrations as you have shown in the last few days. I am proud of the youths of this nation; they deliver that the future of democracy is bright for this nation, and I promise to safeguard you and meet your demands as I had vowed to do when I was elected. I would also use this medium to warn all security operatives to avoid the use of deadly means in disrupting protests across the nation. Instead, I direct you to give them as much protection as they may require; it’s our solemn duty as their servants to serve their interests always. To the evil entities who wish to hijack the protests for their selfish and violent gains, I will give you a strong warning to steer clear of all protest grounds and sheath your swords; I won’t tolerate any acts of anarchy. Once again, I apologize for the growing violence and the atrocities committed during these past few days; I assure you that investigations are already ongoing, I’ll communicate the details to you soon. I must protect the lives of every citizen across the nation, and I would achieve just that, God willing.
Thank you for listening, Good evening, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Although this speech is fictitious, I can assure you that if the president had said words similar to this last night, tensions would have cleared across the nation.
Endnote: The Anatomy of Conflict:
If there is no communication, then there is no respect. If there is no respect then there is no caring. If there is no caring then there is no understanding. If there is no understanding then there is no compassion. If there is no compassion then there is no empathy. If there is no empathy then there is no forgiveness. If there is no forgiveness then there is no kindness. If there is no kindness then there is no honesty. If there is no honesty then there is no love. If there is no love then God doesn’t reside there. If God doesn’t reside there then there is no peace. If there is no peace then there is no happiness. If there is no happiness – – then there IS CONFLICT BECAUSE THERE IS NO COMMUNICATION!- Shannon L. Alder