#ENDSARS: The Next Step
Leonard Karshima Shilgba
For a time I held my peace on the #EndSARS movement. In fact, I had tuned off certain matters about Naija. There was a time I became frustrated by Nigerians and disappointed in many of my compatriots for their apparent cowardice, hiding behind the nondescript covers of prayers. There is power in prayer (I know this as a Christian believer and teacher of God's Word), but prayer enervates the mind and imparts grace for mission. When people only pray without acting or committing to the necessary work, they fail in their life mission or purpose.
As a sense of despair threatened the steadiness of my writing pen, eventually, I consoled myself and wrote that my essays would be survived by a generation that would one day arise and find use for them. Maybe such generation is about to emerge. I am cautiously optimistic, but I need some kind of insurance against disappointment. Just a day before, my wife told me that my teenage daughter, who is presently in her last semester in the university sent me a message through her that I must write about #ENDSARS movement. Now I must answer my baby's call to write AGAIN about building a more perfect union.
First, let me advise the Buhari government that the #ENDSARS matter is not about President Buhari. Buhari's managers shall be making an irredeemable mistake to assume that this movement is about Buhari. It is belittling to reduce the #ENDSARS call to an Anti-Buhari Agenda. #ENDSARS is a metaphor for building a more perfect union. The clarity of vision, articulation of intent, and aggregation of like minds shall grow brighter and brighter each passing moment until the haziness associated with its inchoate shape is lifted.
The Nigerian military and security leaders would be well advised to have a correct reading of the scenario so that they will not have too much to account for in the future before the People's Court. The #ENDSARS protests are peaceful, being interlaced with moving prayers and reviving songs. Nigerian security personnel must not trigger artificial violence where hitherto there have been peaceful assemblies.
What is or should be the next step in the #ENDSARS metaphorical national call?
If the people of Nigeria wish to take back their country, and have their leaders truly occupy the office of their SERVANTS, who take instructions from WE THE PEOPLE, the #ENDSARS call must include demand for amendment of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution to include a subsection on REFERENDUM for determination of NATIONAL QUESTIONS. This amendment requires four fifths of members of each of the two houses of the National Assembly and endorsement by two thirds of the State Houses of Assembly. Put another way, 85 senators and 288 members of the House of Representatives must sign up to this. Accordingly, #85-288 must become an appendage of the #ENDSARS movement.
If this amendment succeeds, a Sovereign National Conference Act (SONACA) can be easily passed, and Nigerians can frame a Constitution of WE THE PEOPLE, in which they will include other needed provisions such as the kind of policing they want, the fiscal federation they desire, and a bill of rights.
I commend the newfound resilience and creativity of the Nigerian youths, and hope for endurance rather than brevity. Nigerians must not allow this noble undertaking to be compromised, neither must the call be given the erroneous meaning of ANTI-BUHARI or ANTI-GOVERNMENT. #ENDSARS is against Nigeria's social shape which has refused to work for decades, even pre-Buhari. As long as this shape remains so long shall Nigeria continue to have government after government underperforming.