Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has hung Nigeria’s fate on what individual and collectives do in the next few days, saying that this is another moment when Nigeria is on the edge of a cliff.
Obasanjo said in a statement on the shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll Gate Tuesday evening by troops that great harm has been done but that it can be stopped before it completely spirals out of control.
“We are at a critical moment in this crisis and Mr. President must act now before it is too late. This time demands leadership and mature leadership at such” said the former president who reigned from 1999 to 2007.
While appealing to President Buhari to, as Commander-in-Chief and as a parent, restrain the military and other security forces from use of brute force as a way of ending the crisis, Obasanjo, however, argues that the president and his lieutenants did not exhaust the opportunities for dialogue with the protesters before resorting to use of force. He is also saying it is worse that there is denial of wrongdoing in spite of overwhelming visual evidence.
He is sure that the use of force only reinforce anger and frustration of the populace as well as close the window of dialogue and peaceful resolution.
Although he is asking the youth to give peace a chance while making their legitimate demands, he is equally of the view that the demands of the youth as taken to Mister president by the Lagos State governor were not unreasonable or demands that could not be met without anyone’s interest or ambition being threatened.
The presidential spokesmen who never let any Obasanjo statements go unchallenged have not only been quiet for some days now, they have yet to respond specifically to this intervention.
Beyond Chief Obasanjo, the Joint Action Front (JAF) has also responded to Tuesday’s tragedy. Unlike Obasanjo, however, those ones are more interested in a broad movement committed to struggle for systemic change in Nigeria.
“The latest act of massacre of Nigerians brings to fore once more, the point we in JAF have consistently made that: there is a very tiny group of Nigerians who have cornered the wealth that belong to the working people and the poor, who are in majority”, it said, adding that the category under reference loot the treasury and use their stolen wealth to sustain themselves in power through their political parties.
JAF argues that they use their power to get richer and richer while the poor get poorer and poorer. “This is the system of exploitation and oppression. It is the system that brings out the army and the police to kill poor people when they protest against exploitation and oppression”.
The way out, says JAF, is to change that system and replace it with a system where the working people and millions of people who are suffering under the system of exploitation will win power and ensure that the wealth of Nigeria is used to ensure a good life for the majority of the people who are being exploited and oppressed. System change, it says, is not replacing one exploitative government with another exploitative government but about replacing an exploiter government with a people’s government to reorganize Nigeria and put an end to exploitation and oppression.