#DefendLagos: Another old trick from the political handbook? | The #YNaijaCover

“If you make people uniform, you can control them. If you teach people to read, and think, and question things, you lose control.

So, the best idea is to separate people if you wish to maintain a monetary system. It’s called divide and conquer. By dividing people, they’re not a threat, you can control them.”

Jacque Fresco

The factors against the ‘enthronement’ of a youth-led government in Nigeria anytime soon reared its ugly head once more this Tuesday.

With young Nigerians still embittered over the Lekki Shootings which led to the death of a number of Nigerians, attention had turned to the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos Government. Justice, justice and justice is what has been on the minds of many.

Understandably, these young Nigerians in the call for justice announced plans to stage a protest with the hashtag #OccupyLekkiTollGate at the scene of the Shooting on Saturday 13th February, especially after the news of the panel’s controversial ruling on the reopening of the Lekki Toll Plaza got on social media.

It was however shocking for most people to see same constituency of young people being used to divide the young people in the march for justice. These campaigners who promoted their message with counter hashtags; #DefendLagos and #DemNoBornYourPapaWell called on Lagosians to show their love for the city by attending their rally on Saturday.

For the #DefendLagos campaigners, they called on residents of the state not to cede the city to criminals and insurrectionists. And as expected, it provoked outrage on the capacity of the political class to always resort to divisive tactics whenever their interest is threatened. The Devil’s advocate or is it Lekki’s Advocate arose from the blues strong and organised?

I laugh in Swahili.

Most notably, more than any other period in this country since 2015, the #EndSARS protests had shown how formidable the country’s youth population can be in creating a new path for 21st century governance and a rekindled spirit of nationalism. To the surprise of many, these great Nigerian ‘lazy youths’ queued up behind some prominent faces and were all united by a cause – to bring extra-judicial killings and the numerous excesses of rogue police unit, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to its death; despite 3 unsuuccessful years of continuous call for its disbandment.

Their protests would later be distracted with prison breaks, coordinated attacks by hoodlums and a hijack of the marches by questionable characters; many either brought in government-run buses or ferried away in vehicles belonging to security agencies.

The aforementioned precedent and Tuesday’s #DefendLagos trend is perhaps enough evidence to prove that the #OccupyLekkiTollGate campaigners are up against the hand of Esau and voice of Jacob. It remains to be seen how Saturday’s counter protests would turn out; but if the developments that took place during the #EndSARS protests are anything to go by, it is predictable that organised violence may play out in the name of a ‘clash’ as is common with marches for the enforcement of rights in this country.

Alternatively, according to the old trick of the political handbook, the Police would be present to forestall any form of protests in the name of protecting public peace and order.

The hope of all well-meaning Nigerian however, is that wisdom prevails, and no one is unjustly treated, maimed or declared a casualty.

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