It is almost two weeks now that the #EndSars protests were brought to a catastrophic end. The world watched in utter shock as what was started by the youths as a peaceful protest against police brutality was hijacked by hoodlums and turned into an absolute carnage and mayhem. First, it started with pockets of violence breaking out between miscreants and the young unharmed protesters and also the mobbing and killing of innocent police officers in retaliation to the many lives of young people that operatives of the defunct SARS unit of the police cut short. But the big one was the horror shooting at the Lekki Toll gate. Soldiers opened fire at the unharmed protesters, leaving many of them injured and an unconfirmed number of people dead. The carnage that was to follow was as horrifying as it was unprecedented. Dozens of government institutions were burnt and private owned organizations were not spared as well. Television Continental and The Nation Newspapers, both owned by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu were also torched and completely razed down. Shopping malls were looted to the scratch and the looting continued all over the country. It was a catastrophe of monumental proportions.
There have been a lot of loose ends to the entire saga. There are several questions begging for answers. Not a few were shocked when the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who had done a Yeo man’s job trying to persuade the protesting youths to halt their protests before things got out of hand, declared that he knew nothing about the shooting that took place at the Lekki Toll gate. He said categorically that he did not order the military to open fire on the peaceful protesters. He went on to shock everyone when he admitted that, even as a sitting governor, he has no control over the military and confessed that ‘forces beyond his powers’ were at work. His expectation was that, having ordered a curfew in the state to curtail the outbreak of violence erupting in parts of the state, the protesters would leave the streets so the hoodlums who were mostly behind the violence would have no other choice but to stop or be arrested by security agencies. He had no idea there was a military team standing by to open fire on the youths at the Lekki Toll gate. So, the question is, if the governor did not authorize the military assault on the protesters, who then did? Who invited the Army?
One of the speculations that first made the rounds was that it was the Lion of Bourdillon, the Jagaban, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, that ordered the shooting. Reason? He was said to have gotten frustrated at the prolonged protests because, according to those fueling the rumor, Tinubu owns the Lekki Toll gate and his earnings from the toll gate had been halted for over two weeks by the protesters, so he lost it and ordered the shooting. But a more discerning school of thought were quick to fault this claim. They argued that it must be noted that the same Lekki Toll gate was closed down for months owing to the Covid-19 lockdown, and Asiwaju did not go on rampage, how come the gate was shut for only two weeks and the man ‘declared war’ on harmless children? And besides, the man has insisted that he has no stake in Lekki Toll gate. Secondly, if Asiwaju had such powers, how come he couldn’t order same military to go and protect his investments and shoot at sight anyone who dared to undermine his business interests such as TVC and The Nation?
A more rational school of thought claimed that the soldiers who shot at the Lekki Toll gate protesters were authorized by the mafia and were part of the grand plot to trigger an eruption of violence in Lagos that would shake the state to its foundation and reduce it to a shadow of its former self. The whole idea is to weaken the power base of the Yoruba’s strongest contender for the presidency come 2023, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This was the motive, whether it will work come 2023 remains to be seen. Have you also wondered where the state’s fire fighters were when several properties were being burnt in different parts of Lagos? They were all incapacitated. By who? Your guess is as good as ours.
Another question many have been asking is, who put out the lights at the Lekki Toll gate? Who gave the orders for the lights to be put off moments before the shooting at the toll gate started? Again, this was said to have been done on the orders of Asiwaju and his son, Seyi, but facts have since emerged to show that neither Asiwaju nor his son knew anything about the lights that were put off. Again, this looks to be part of the whole plan by the ‘powers that be’ to conceal under the cloak of darkness the mayhem they were going to unleash on the protesters.
And this brings us to the big question: who are the leaders of the #EndSars movement? This is the one question the Buhari administration is trying hard to unravel. The impression the protesters gave everyone is that they have no clear leader. Apart from celebrities like Falz, Runtown, AY, Peter and Paul Okoye, and several others who are at best the celebrity faces behind the movement, no one or group of persons have been named as the leaders of the protest. Then who are the financiers?
City People investigation reveals that financiers of the #EndSars protests are largely Nigerians in Diaspora. They are the faceless leaders behind the group. These young Nigerians pump in their hard earned money into the protest because they are desirous of a change in the country. It’s not just about police brutality, it’s also about the rot that’s eating deep into the fabric of Nigerian system. And despite the unfortunate hijack of the protests and the catastrophic outcome, these guys are undaunted. They remain committed to bringing change into the country and say no to bad governance.
We must not fail to talk about the long awaited president’s speech. This has also been a subject of discuss ever since the president finally agreed to address the nation on the EndSars mayhem. For close to two weeks, everyone had been expecting the president to make a speech in which he was expected to calm down the youths, assure them their demands would be met and plead with them to leave the streets. But for reasons best known to him, Mr. President ignored the demand from Nigerians for him to make a speech. And Nigerians got angry. “Of course, we now know the president does not care about the youths of this country, that’s why he called us lazy, abi?” Nigerians began to react. “We know Mr. President is not bothered about what’s going on in Lagos State because his relationship with Tinubu has become terribly frosty.” Another opined.
Many believe that the ‘highly coded’ romance gone sour between the President and Asiwaju is possibly a lot more serious than we know. It shocked many when Asiwaju himself said on national television that the federal government had accused him of being the financier of the #EndSars protests with the intent to create unrest and make the country ungovernable for the present administration. This probably explains the president’s apathy to the carnage that took place in Lagos and why he didn’t bother to talk about Lagos or the Lekki Toll gate shooting that caused uproar within and outside the country. It is the same reason why he has not bothered to commiserate with TVC or The Nation or sent messages of solidarity to Tinubu, the man who single handedly got him into power.
For those who understand the dynamics of the kind of powers at play, they know this war is far from being over. Yes, 2023 is still a long away, but for the elements involved, 2023 starts now. And if you know Asiwaju well enough, he is not a man that would roll over and concede defeat. No, he won’t. Asiwaju is a fighter, a warrior who has won many battles. This one will not scare him, if anything, he is at his best when he is deemed to be down and out.
Many expect that the Lion of Bourdillon will roar again. And when he does, it will be resounding. Let his detractors be warned, the race for 2023 is far from over.