The Oyo governorship candidate of Alliance for the Democracy (AD), in the 2019 general elections, Oyedele Hakeem Alao, has commended the Nigerian youths for the #EndSARS protest.
He also condemned the unjust killing of armless young protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, while he called for caution action from the government.
Hakeem Alao, speaking through his spokesperson, Omotayo Iyanda, in a statement Wednesday night, noted that the #EndSARS protest had been going on peacefully “for two weeks until when unsavoury situations began to set in,” which he said caused a derailment by unsuspected hijackers plus “lack of prompt action on the part of the government, particularly from the Federal Government.”
The former governorship candidate said government could said have exonerated itself from the ugly incident that followed the protest, since it was rumoured it planned to deploy soldiers to disperse and displace the protesters, “until the worst of all happened on Tuesday, October 20 when fires were allegedly opened on the peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State.
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The people’s aggression that followed, it was believed led to the burning of public utilities particularly in Lagos State, likewise attacks against certain individuals such as the invasion of the palace of Oba of Lagos.
“Also, killings of police officers and civilians have been reported in other states of the federation, including our dear Oyo State.”
“Without hiding behind a finger, the recent developments as highlighted above are becoming worrisome and, of course, are condemned. How can we allow the peaceful genuine protest to degenerate to the point of opening fires on our articulate youths leaving them lying in cold blood?
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to further take concrete and proactive steps in solving the crisis already created.
He however said that the wanton destruction and burning down of properties in Lagos after the alleged killing at Lekki could not have been carried out by the genuine protesters.
He said recent events in Lagos and other parts of the country attested to by some video clips on social media have clearly shown that hoodlums, maybe those sponsored by the political class were out to discredit the #EndSARS protesters, and thereby “infiltrated and hijacked the genuine protests by our youths.”
Hakeem Alao said, “the protest ongoing in the country was long overdue as a result of insensitivity and misrule in the country as far is this democratic dispensation is concerned.
“The Nigerian political leaders have taken us for a ride for a long time, hence, our youths began the #EndSARS protest as a sign of the expiration of their endurance.”
He registered his support for the struggle, saying “In this tough time, we are with them (the protesters). They should continue in their peaceful protests because all of us feel and have been having a share of the pains they have been enduring as a result of bad governance across the country.”
The ex-governorship candidate of AD, however, advised the protesters to find a convenient common ground to initiate a dialogue with the government so that the gains of the protest would not be in vain.
“More so, it was better to discuss in a situation like this than to engage in a war-war approach. The youths must have a well articulated document which would contain all their requests to be presented to the government during the negotiation. An agitation without a leadership and a clear direction leads nobody anywhere.
“The ugly incidents of killings, burnings and destruction of public facilities would have been averted if President Muhammadu Buhari, had risen to the occasion and addressed the irate protesters in time. It is time we stopped treating public issues as this with hands in glove.
“As the military has denied knowledge of the killings at Lekki Toll Gate, this is the time President Muhammadu Buhari should act and be on top of the situation by asking all the force and our intelligence agencies to unravel and expose those who were behind the killings.
“Enough of sweeping criminalities under the carpet, of course, not this issue that concerns the ongoing protests across the country, even at a time we are still perspiring under the hit and heat of Covid-19.
“Our President should not allow the situation to degenerate to a complete state of anarchy because it would be worse for all of us as a people.”
While Hakeem Alao commended Governor Seyi Makinde, saying “we appreciate and commend him for responding to the situation in time at least by that broadcast of Tuesday, October 20, 2020.
However, he said that “is not enough because silence does not mean that everything is alright.”
“It is on this note we are calling on Governor Makinde to be more proactive by engaging all stakeholders as community leaders, landlords, park managers, and others, to be vigilant and take precautions in their various locations and posts because we should not allow Oyo State to go the way of Lagos,” Hakeem Alao said.