With intelligence instead of politics overshadowing the interpretation of the #EndSARS protest, the politics of security is bound to get hotter. The ‘Realists’ who predominated in the interpretation of #EndSARS are going to be sensitive to anybody, groups or activities seen as sharing lineage with the empirical facts they have about the organisation of the protest.
How much this line of reasoning will help is a matter of debate. The disruption of the Summit of the Coalition of Northern Groups, (CNG) may just be Act One, Scene One of the rounds of contestation over security ahead.
One group feels there is insecurity and it should be discussed. And they gathered to do so. Another group sees them as an assortment with nuisance value and they set out to disrupt it.
It is most likely that the supporters of disruptive tactics cannot be convinced that the summiteers would not come up with a communiqué scoring the government of the day below pass mark although the opposite could also be the case. Realism has a way of shutting itself by the foot.
It all brings back to memory the story of how this tactic of deploying hoodlums played out before. It was under the late General Abacha and pro-June 12 politicians had planned a meeting in Lagos. The regime was wondering how to undermine the meeting, fearful of communiqué that would make more demands on it. Some politician reportedly came up with the suggestion of freezing sufficient quantity of water to solid ice blocks which could serve as missiles.
This was done and on the day of the meeting, the ice blocks proved very effective in scattering the meeting, with many wounded. The genius of using ice blocks was that when the police eventually got there, they found no evidence of what hit those who were wounded. The ice blocks used had melted away. And there were no stones, clubs or sticks.
But the more interesting thing in all these is how it relates to the notion of security as a contested concept. Like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder. Security is a matter of who defines the threat and who gets protected. It is a matter of the power to securitise anything as a threat and justify dealing with it as such. Perception is what matters but as usual, perception has a way of allowing every bit to pass as admissible evidence of complicity of the Other.
That is why it is assumed that high political office holders would always go beyond what meets the eye and always take a broader view of details. That is what may not be happening in Nigeria now and therein may lie the complexity of her crisis.