By Jimoh Olorede
The #EndSARS agitations of the Nigerian youths which started as a peaceful protest from Lagos on October 8, eventually degenerated into a whirlwind that blew violent destructions of lives and properties across the length and breath of the country. It didn’t spare Osun, the state reckoned as being one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.
Not only that Osun wasn’t spared, not minding its hitherto peace, the protest turned bizarrely as the sitting governor, Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola, was attacked on Saturday 17th of October by hoodlums and political thugs feigning pretence as peaceful protesters. In fact, the governor escaped assassination only by a dint of fate!
Surprisingly, the assassination-escapee governor, last weekend declared a 72-hour amnesty for the supposedly peaceful protesters who turned out to be looters in the state within which they should return to designated centres all private and public properties looted during the protest.
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Sincerely, when I heard Mr. Governor’s amnesty declaration, I thought it was an executive joke, considering the youths’ desperation, perceived depression and violent revolt demonstrated while carrying out their dastardly act of theft and destruction.
Contrarily but interestingly, the 72-hour amnesty became dramatic as many looters, within just 42 hours of the amnesty declaration, returned items stolen to the government. According to the Chairman of the the Loots Recovery Committee and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prince Abdullah Binuyo, the State Government had received a sizeable number of the looted properties worth millions of naira in many Local Government Areas of the State.
Presently, the state government is returning stolen items amounting to several millions of naira back to the private owners in the state. This incredible antithesis and turn of event, positive though, as normalcy has relatively retuned to the state, keeps a discerning mind thinking; the same governor who was to be assassinated is the one whose amnesty order was being respectfully taken as sacred and obeyed!
This raises a lot of questions! One tends to ask, were the hoodlums who attacked the governor and his entourage the same looters who now tuned around to be ‘remorseful’ and ‘repentant’ by obeying the governor’s order returning the stolen materials? Were they the same peaceful protesters who were earlier all over the streets in the state demonstrating their agitations for attention of government? I am not certain, and I’m not sure they were; there was more to the governor’s attack than protest!
Obviously, looters’ impulsively voluntary adherence to the governor’s ‘directive’ especially at this particular time, when the Nigerian youths are unremorsefully and disdainfully disregarding government’s orders, taking laws into their hands as though they had immunity against wanton violation of the laws of the land, is vindictive of Oyetola’s electoral mandate and public acceptance.
Again, the return of normalcy and peace in Osun precipitated by Oyetola’s amnesty cum lion-act declaration for and against remorseful and unrepentant looters, which protesting youths in some other states would take scornfully as a mere pronouncement, is also vindictive of Oyetola’s popularity in the state, and unarguably indicative of a foul play in the protest-pretence foiled assassination attack. The governor, no matter how daring, wouldn’t have had the audacity and or effrontery to address or join the angry protesters, if he was not sure of his popularity and good governance in his state.
If one considers the extent of damage done in the state within the short period of looters, youths’ unrest protesting against Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and their bold contumacy and sheer disregard for the constituted authority, one would infer that their adherence to the governor’s order was a demonstration of remorse, and civic reciprocation of the governor’s goodwill in his governance of the state, and not a sign of fear of arrest or timidity.
According to Ola Rotimi, the renowned playwright who wrote the popular drama: _The Gods Are Not to Blame_, “all lizards lie prostrate, but how can a man tell which one suffers from bellyache”. This is a deep message, in proverbial form for Governor Adegboyega Oyetola regarding his recent assassination attempt by political thugs pretending as peaceful protesters.
Olorede is a media practitioner, researcher, scholar and lecturer. You can reach him via [email protected], or Tel: 08111841887.
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