In response to the peaceful #EndSARS protests that later turned bloody following the infiltration of the movement by hoodlums, the Board and Management of the Ugwumba Center for Leadership Development in Africa led by Ugwumba Uche Nwosu hereby call for peace and restraint across the country.
Following the nationwide speech made by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, the time to desert the streets and maintain the peace across the country is now as violence and looting of properties belonging to both government and private companies cannot guarantee us the better future we are asking for.
In as much as we do not subscribe to disobedience to constituted authorities nor disrespect to the rule of law, we strongly condemn the massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate and other killings in other parts of the country while the #EndSARS protests lasted, as they were uncalled for.
As a leadership development center, the anger and hurt expressed by the protesters were what led to the launch of our #RebrandNigeriaCampaign, at about this time, last year. We saw a people that were completely disconnected and alienated from the Government and its activities. Unfortunately, a people cannot survive without leaders, so also there would be no leadership without a people. That means, the people and the Government must see themselves as partners in progress if our aspirations as a people are anything to come by. This is because, a nation is not defined by its leaders only but by the sum total of the people and their leaders.
As outlined in our Rebrand Nigeria Campaign objectives, we Nigerians should begin to love our fatherland and start praying for our leaders. That is what God expects from all of us as stated in 1 Timothy 2: 2 that “we should pray for our leaders, so that we can live in peace with them”. Again, in Proverbs 21: 1 it was stated that “the heart of Kings (leaders, Presidents, Governors, etc) are in the hands of God and He can turn them around as He wills.” The above quotations from the Bible are evidences of opportunities created by God for us to direct the affairs of the land when we pray for our leaders at all levels.
To our Muslim brothers and sisters, please, listen to the message of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, in which he appealed for calm, while urging Imams to pray for and preach peace today.
According to the Sultan, “the JNI hereby appeals for calm, both from the protesters and the military to prevent plunging the country into a State of Anarchy as we are now on the precipice. We should not by our actions give “conflict preneurs” the opportunity to further escalate the situation to full blown violence that will lead us to a despicable condition. We call on the genuine protesters to kindly withdraw from the streets for now to give the government the chance to deal decisively with the hoodlums. Government on its part should also continue to apply restraint and maturity in handling the situation as the atmosphere is so tensed now that any misstep by the government will spell doom for the country.”
Therefore, no matter how devastated our systems may have become, there is no place better than home. What is expected of us is to strategically engage the Government and begin to rebuild the systems from one critical issue to the other.
History has taught us that no protests or demonstrations anywhere ended up peacefully as planned. They only end up as avenues for miscreants to cause mayhem and loot properties of the people and shut down the economy.
We are most grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for heeding to the call from other Nigerian leaders and the youths by dissolving the dreaded SARS squad and for kickstarting the Police reform processes, which include better welfare packages for the men of the Police Force. To the brave, amiable and great youths of Nigeria, we appreciate you all for your determination to cause a change in the system, starting with the #EndPoliceBrutality Movement.
Great Nigerian youths, the time for peace and reconciliation is now!
UGWUMBA UCHE NWOSU,