By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Nigerian human right activists Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka Honey and Ifeanyi Okoye have, in different interviews, blamed ex-president Muhammadu Buhari for truncating a peaceful protest across the 36 states with a military action that became historical.
Honey and Okoye spoke on the current state of the country as well as why the ex-president should be called to answer queries on the instruction of the military action as well as all he knows about the protest that went south.
“I would be very honest and this is a constructive explanation from my end. First and foremost, there was an administration in power at that time and ex-President Muhammadu Buhari was the head of that administration. I know for sure that no country’s military act without the approval of the number one citizen, in person of the president, so the number one and only person that should be held responsible for the EndSARS incident which continues to resonate amongst Nigerian youths and has become a stigma, is no one else but ex-president Muhammadu Buhari, “ Honey began.
Supporting Honey’s submission, Okoye, who is calling for ex-Army Chief, Tukur Buratai’s trial, said, “Many people talk and say Governor Sanwo-Olu should not be exonerated but I, Comrade Ifeanyi Okoye, can tell categorically that the governor was never in charge of the security apparatus until we have a state police because we still run a federal police system and central military system with the C-in-C still the president and the president to be answerable for whatever transpired is ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, hence, to an extent, I will exonerate Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was the governor then and current governor. We all saw the effort he made to ensure that the demands of the protesters were met by meeting the president several times, meeting him privately and taking our demands to him but like we all know, Nigeria is a place where citizenry need to be on our toes to get what we want but sadly, the military struck, obviously, on the orders of the C-in-C. Buhari should be queried and asked to give account because he was the President and C-in-C and the actions of the military were carried out on the instructions of the C-in-C and the Chief of Army Staff, who is Buratai. They should be questioned and called to answer several plaguing questions as to why.”
In the same vein, Honey, an entrepreneur and construction expert exonerated the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu but insists the whitepaper document recommendation by the panel he set up to look into the EndSARS activities should be implemented.
“Breaking it down now, I was in Lagos and it was tough, there was chaos, Lagos was like the leading state and we have Babajide Sanwo-Olu, whom I saw on two occasions visiting Buhari with our demands but what went wrong, I can not explain. In fairness to Mr Sanwo-Olu, I also saw him trying to engage us on a few occasions but my issue was when the order was given by the then administration, he could have interjected because we are in a democratic state and not a military state. Governor Sanwo-Olu tried his best but he could have done more. The aftermath of EndSARS saw him visiting the victims, organised a panel and the panel concluded its submission with a whitepaper document but he’s now referring us to the Federal Government. Sadly, the past administration won’t do anything again and the current administration might not be able to do anything because they are just in the system. We are not saying we want to hold Sanwo-Olu responsib;le but what we are saying is that there should be an implementation of the whitepaper document. Even President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration can re-write the story of EndSARS to give hope to the Nigerian youth and that is because the Nigerian youths matter.”
Adding to Honey’s submission, Okoye said, “Governor Sanw-Olu set up a panel that came up with a whitepaper document and despite all that efforts, the recommendation of the panel in the document is yet to be implemented. The military men, the errant police officers, who necessitated the protest, and many more should be brought to book. Till date, neither the military officers nor the SARS operatives have been brought to book for their actions. In the same vein, the Chief of Army Staff or the ex-President have not been tried for their involvement in the military action that occurred in Lagos.”
Okoye rounded off saying the EndSARS protest and the outcome has re-awakened the political consciousness of the Nigerian youth.
He further maintained that this was seen in the outcome of the last general election.
“EndSARS remains a sad one and it’s something that awakens the political consciousness as regards the quest for good governance and demanding accountability from our leaders in terms of creating and implementing workable policies. I would gladly say that the outcome of EndSARS brought about the sub-consciousness of young people. The reality is that the outcome of EndSARS wasn’t what we bargained for and this was evident in the last election. The movement created a sub-conscious political awareness in young people but as much as that, many young people are disappointed with the process. It’s not yet Uhuru, it’s a time to build on the gains of the last election and build the momentum.”