The first wave of The #EndSARS protest has come and is gone. It was a essentially a fire-seed. While and when it will come to full inferno, no babalowa or metrologist may know. But for historical watchers it is well to remember that the French Queen Marie Antoinette. She taunted her subjects to be given cake as they complained for bread crumbs. The events of that sarcastic thread, helped propel and guide the guillotine towards through the neck of her spouse King Louis XVI. This is to warn that history is longer than a stretch of barricades, even the governments win out in the first rounds.
Having said this little, we perhaps need to remind ourselves that great history takes a long time cooking and balancing her books. We could all again return to France, especially The French Revolution. Firstly, she is the model revolution. Its structures and foundations have a lot to teach the world.
During the reign of Louis XIV, he reigned with an APP-like uppity arrogance against his people and state. He was so power drunk and self deluded he declared, ‘’I am the state.’’ However, he confounded his own lifetime with all history, with eternity. He didn’t suspect that history, was literally burning under his soles. Anyway, when the historical bonfire history it came consume his grandson. The revolutions guillotined his grandson, Louis XVI in an orgy of peoples power. And that brought to an end the Monarchy in France. France became a Republic. That was the peoples will.
But trust political arrogance, the Queen, to Louis XVI advised the hungry masses to eat cake if they had no bread. However, if the delectable French Queen was insightful enough, if only she knew that those who lack bread are not likely to be cake-eating households she would have bridled her tongue.
Simply put, if the queen and her king consort had lived, had the fellow feeling and humility to understand the people’s true anger, they would perhaps have saved themselves and the Monarchy. But didn’t, for them the peoples are chattel for the rulers.
What happened at Lekki, is similar to how the kings of France ruled their people, as serfs. Rather than conciliate with them, they went ahead and closed the bank accounts and branded them terrorist, etc. Of course there was some deaths or massacre.
#EndARS: Police Remuneration.
After having said this much, let us connect with an aspect of the #ENDSARS, that many are in error understanding. Enhanced Police remuneration, barracks redevelopment, etc.
Before we do let us share a little anecdote. A Lagos based businessman who trades cars from Cotonou to Nigeria, had this to say in passing. ‘’what is baffling is that as much as I can remember the costs of rice, cars, etc. have been more or less the same in the last 10 years and more in Cotonou. The rash in price rises are essentially a Nigerian phenomenon.’’
The implication of this is legion, but let us take a few. First, the currency and general economy of the Republic of Benin is far better managed. The implication of this is that if the Benois and the Nigerian police are to start off with same remuneration, in just less than one year the value of the police officer on the Nigerian side would have collapsed. Of course everybody is aware of such headlines as this: Prices of major foodstuffs in South-West markets increase by 100%. Nov 16, 2020
So, this is a summary of Nigerian ‘’fidicuiary’’ paper money and ‘’gold backed’’ currencies of Nigeria and Benin republic. It is safe to say that the fidicuiary – the trust element – in the Nigeria system is not just mismanaged, it is abused. And that deliberate abuse is to the economic benefit of her elite. Let’s give one example. Not too long ago two of such men were given exclusive right to sally their goods across the Nigerians border. Just two persons of the 250 million Nigeria. Will such rubbish ever happen in Cotonou?
The other line of the argument is that the police are squatting in dilapidated barracks. On the face of it yes, but there are other details. In other jurisdiction, politicians etc do their bribes. But like their fidicuiary currencies, they manage it with care. They are in knowledge that beyond a certain line the system collapses on them. Of course there are independent ‘’Big Brothers’’ to keep an eye on things. It is like cockroaches nibbling at food stock in the dead of the night.
In Nigeria, for instance, Major Chukwuman Nzeogwu did his coup against the background of 10% percenters. Today, in Nigeria whopping sums are collected and the money just ‘’dies.’’ In the end nothing is done. In other words, with a 500 billion dollar police barracks redevelopment, you can bet not 100 billion work will be delivered. And to sweeten the corruption, it will all be substandard. One thing is thus certain. It is that Government offices, both low and mighty are machineries for converting public funds into private fortune.
And we are of the opinion that the saga of police remuneration is a little exaggerated. First of all out in the developed world, the cops who parade the streets do so in uniforms as nearly sartorial as those of their seniors. The only observable difference between a street cop and his police inspection general is their epaulets.
So how do the police top brace get their clothing? That is sign enough that something is gone fishy. Perhaps, like KO Mbadiwe says, it is from ‘’sources known and unknown.’’ The point is that the police top hierarchy are playing games only known to them.
In summary giving out cakes police redevelopment or palliatives won’t do. Even more, some other security barracks are in no greater state of repair.
Finally police must not be paid as if they are aliens or colonialists posted from England. There should not be any panic measures to resolving remuneration issues. Police should paid as one of us. They should be paid plus well measured hazard allowance. To repeat, they should not be paid like they were posted from England to the jungles of Africa or India to civilize us as the British once did.
Too often Nigeria’s remuneration structures has been bastardized – eg the Kuti doctors and allied salary – and all we got from that is the chaos and turbulence in that sector.
So the problem is not in redeveloped barracks, in upped police pay, etc. The solution is in fixing the entire Nigeria. Nigeria is all but a sham. Shalom.
#EndSARS: The nationwide massacres
If the government or its agents are denying their role in the Lekki massacre, what is happening in the rest of the country finds the power top brass flatfooted.
As much as we know this, is the only country where scores and scores get killed and everything goes on as usual. The governors in the north are crying out. Lately, the Sultan of Sokoto is joining them. These men and their communities are bemoaning. And it is simply the failure of government.
However, we take slight exception to thinking it is a north bound phenomenon. It is really a Nigeria-wide alternative power push phenomenon. Non-state actors however described, bandits, Boko Haram, Kidnappers, etc. have take over swathes of the north. But that is to found a foothold. Immediately they consolidate on those areas they will come down the South. So it is a northern emergency as it is a Nigerian.
What is to be done? The first thing to understand is our history as is. From General Yakubu Gowon retired, who ordered and or supervised Africa’s seminal massacre, to the present state of things, Nigerians have been living it out like it was like a jungle soaked in blood.
And from Gowon there has been about seven helmsmen of various hues. There have the shoeless types, the genocidaires, former war criminals etc. Yet, not one has been able to lay the foundation for a workable country. We have tried our best. We have tried our worst and all kinds in between. And they all failed themselves and nation.
The ready implication is that Nigeria, a sub empire the British left behind is too large for Nigerians of any kinds to run. The best move is to unbundle Nigeria into cantons, like in Switzerland. That is into small enough bites for them to run. Shalom.