FROM WHAT I AM SEEING, the dark clouds have gathered!
I have seen the videos of the release of prisoners in Benin City. I have also seen the videos of the burning of Police Stations in Edo State. Likewise, I have seen the video of indigenous people of Abuja threatening to confront any protesters seen in Abuja after 48-hours according to the ultimatum given by the Inspector-General of Police.
I have seen videos of several policemen in Ebute-Metta running helter-skelter even when nobody was chasing them. I have seen videos of looting, attacks on innocent citizens and protesters alike. I have seen blood on the streets. Lives have been lost.
I am aware that in line with the Operation Crocodile Smile, soldiers have been deployed all round the country. Threats have come from the Ministers of Defense and Information. Cracks have also emerged from the ranks of protesters and some people have made a fortune out of our general misfortune.
Miscreants have been ferried in buses into Lagos and Abuja City centres without the police reacting. There will be a showdown. Protesters have shown strength, coordination, capacity, intelligence, patriotic zeal and unprecedented loyalty to the nation. These are the attributes government regimes do not like and will not tolerate.
It is based on these and my experiences as a veteran stakeholder and street protester, who has led several demonstrations in the past; before we lost people’s sympathy, now I have assessed the current situation and come to the following conclusions:
1. A good general is the one that leads his troops to war and comes back with all or most of them.
2. The war that ends on the negotiation table is the only war that achieves the purpose of the war itself.
3. Government has set the stage for a major decisive and precise action to quell the protests within the 24-hour window.
4. December 15, 2015 a major and decisive action was taken against the Shiites in Zaria. A similar one on protesters is very close at hand.
5. If the protest does not stop now and agitation shifted to the negotiation table, the reason for the two-weeks old protests will be lost completely.
6. Many will die. That is the stage we are in now. Do not be the one to die. There are no dead heroes.
7. As painful as it may sound, the wisest thing now is for the protest to end. I cannot imagine the thought of knowing that hundreds, if not thousands, who will have to die and the essence of their struggle and deaths will be lost. But on the trajectory we are now that is the inevitable end.
8. We have made our points as young people. The world now knows we are not lazy youths. The best option now is to articulate on the negotiation table.
9. Many will think it’s cowardice. It is not. But he who fights and runs away, lives to fight tomorrow. The time to run away is now so that we can live to fight another day.
10. The duty you owe your loved ones who are on the streets is to pull them out now. That pot into which they pour blood has been opened.
11. I have seen this and I have spoken. Those who will not listen now will not have a second chance. The site for the mass burial has been identified.
12. I weep as I write this. Make sure this piece goes round the country. Share it widely. You may just save a loved one by sharing.