A member of the Board of Trustees of the All Progressives Congress and former ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Buba Galadima, has said that the demonstration against harassment and brutality by the police was just the tip of the iceberg.
In an interview with PUNCH, Galadima also said the regime was setting the stage for a revolution in the country.
In October, many citizens took to the streets across the country for 12 days to call for the reformation of the police and disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the police.
Galadima also berated Northern governors over what he described as their “shameful” declaration that the youth-led protest, which was engineered by injustices meted out to them by the regime and its enablers, was an attempt to force a regime change.
According to him, unless those in government were playing the ostrich, the #EndSARS protest went beyond seeking an end to police brutality.
He stressed that Nigerian youth were demanding an end to the systemic corruption in public service and the exclusion of qualified Nigerians from access to existing opportunities.
Galadima said, “When #EndSARS started, they didn’t know that the sons and daughters of average Nigerians, who could not get food to eat, (could) make them lose sleep. And they’ve just seen a tip of the iceberg.
“They are leading this country into a revolution that they don’t want to accept. They are the people causing the revolution by excluding, disenfranchising people not on the basis of competence but on the basis of ‘they don’t belong’. That is why we need a leader that is a large-hearted Nigerian who will carry us all along, not because he is an Idoma man or a Bade man.
“Do they know? One of my friend’s sons wanted to join the Police Force. He was asked by these faceless people to pay an amount of money for him to be recruited. My friend told his son, ‘even if I had the money, I won’t pay, besides, I don’t even have the money. If you are recruited because I paid the money, you are also going in there to help yourself to make the money back.’”
Galadima alleged that promotion in the civil service had become cash and carry, arguing that it could cost up to N5m to move from deputy director to director; N2m to rise from assistant director to deputy director and between N500,000 to N1m to move from level 15 to 16.
He also accused some civil servants of taking vacancies to National Assembly members, making it difficult for anyone not connected to the NASS members to get the job.
He said, “Now, I have about seven children with master’s degrees. I have medical doctors, but none of them could be employed (into the public service) because I don’t have the money to give. Even my friends in the government are running away from me because they wouldn’t want to be seen with me, let alone for me to ask for a favour.”
Responding to allegations by Northern governors that the #EndSARS protest was an attempt by some elements to force a regime change, Galadima explained that while the governors were entitled to their democratic rights to hold an opinion and share same, “it is shameful of them that when their kith and kin are being killed in Borno, Zamfara, Kano, Yobe, Adamawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi and Niger, they had no guts to come out or allow their people to protest, because the primary responsibility of every government is to protect the lives and property of citizens".