Poverty. Corruption. Unemployment. Police brutality. Armed robbery. Hunger. Crippling economy. Kidnapping. Boko Haram. Fulani herdsmen terrorists. Crumbling schools. Dilapidated infrastructure. Sub-standard education. Epileptic electricity. Lack of portable water. No hospitals. No drugs. No healthcare coverage. No social safety net. Nothing works.
Nigerians wonder why these calamities are not enough to shake Buhari out of his comfortable, familiar stupor. There is an absolute brake on change in this country. Every Nigerian acknowledges these problems. Every Nigerian agrees that the problems require a visionary leader. A young, energetic, vibrant, and brilliant leader. A leader who is a giver not a taker. A uniter not a tribal bigot. A leader who knows the way.
Even, as disaster looms, Buhari and any other future president from the north will resist change. Because change is always disruptive. Leadership is showing the way. It is always challenged by change. Buhari and any other president from the north know change means the death of control of power at the center, of resources, of government spoils, of dominance of federal bureaucracy.
I’ll like to be proved wrong. In spite of the #EndSARS protest and murder of protesters, Buhari will not make any worthwhile reform that will lead to peace, progress, and a united prosperous nation. The northerners are not ready for such radical reforms. We are not talking of nonsensical cosmetic deceptive half measure programs. We are talking of bold, concrete initiatives: a new Constitution, restructure, decentralized police as in local and state police, state autonomy to control their resources, devolution of power, new revenue allocation formula based on 60 percent to the states, 40 percent to the federal. A true and equitable federal system.
The lessons of history are clear and should be instructive to Buhari and the northerners who only want power for power sake without any progress to show for it. This is no time for delay and pussyfooting by the spineless general. In 1986, the People Power Movement flooded the streets of Manila, Philippines, with millions in peaceful protest and prayer. Ferdinand Marcos regime folded on the fourth day. In Georgia in 2003, protesters took over the parliament building with rose flowers in their hands. The people drove out President Eduardo Shevardnadze in a bloodless Rose Revolution. In 2019, the presidents of Sudan and Algeria after decades in office, bowed to the wishes of the people.
History informs us that wise leaders learn how to cause change before change crashes down on them. The #EndSARS protesters have spoken loud and clear: They want a new Nigeria. The choice is clear - reform or break up. Killing of protesters by the military will not end #EndSARS protests. It will only serve as a catalyst. The #EndSARS protesters will be back soon - on the streets!