Protest To End SARS, Not Buhari : Don't Bite More Than You Can Chew By Vitus Ozoke - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Protest To End SARS, Not Buhari : Don't Bite More Than You Can Chew By Vitus Ozoke


Let's be very clear: any demand by the protesters that President Buhari resign is simply as dumb as it is a nonstarter. It will NEVER happen. So, we might as well get that out of the way right here and right now. And do you know why it will never happen? It will never happen because you are telling the north to resign the presidency 'they' won. It is like one half of the country telling the other half to resign. It is like Southern Nigerian Christians telling the Muslim North to vacate power. That's not how it works. 

In case you haven't been paying attention, END SARS protest is a southern protest. The north, for the most part, are staying out of it. And by the north is meant the Hausa/Fulani. Just because you have a motley crowd of mostly Igbo protesters disrupt traffic in Sabon Gari, Kano, does not pass for the north taking part in the END SARS movement. By disrupting traffic I do not mean to trivialize the achievement of the protesters, but to draw a stark comparison in the strength of the movement in the south and north of Nigeria. 

So, present your demands to Buhari, but don't even think of asking him to resign. It will never happen. Buhari will serve out his term in May of 2023. Only death or military coup can change that. Let's be real. Keep the heat on him, Buhari will have no choice but to meet at least 60 percent of your demands - or maybe more.

Can a Nigerian president ever be protested out of office? No and yes, but mostly no. Nigeria is a deeply divided nation, and the faultlines of our division are both intrinsic and primordial. We are a tribal society, and our politics are prosecuted from deep tribal trenches. Our built-in structural fissures make it difficult, if not impossible, for any genuine sense of secular unity.

Politics in Nigeria, and among Nigerians, is a proxy sport. Buhari is not a Nigerian who is the president of Nigeria. No, he is a northerner who is presiding over Nigeria. He is not that tall, lanky, ganglingly handsome ex-general who is president of Nigeria. No, Mohammad Buhari is a Muslim who is presiding over Nigerian Christians and Muslims alike. He represents his tribal constituency in the Loya Jirga, as it were. Every northerner, every Muslim, views themselves as president through Buhari. Through Buhari, those tribal natives lay vicarious claim to the presidency.

The only time a Nigerian president can be protested out of office is when he is implicated in a constitutional violation. Incompetence, even the most extreme and egregious forms of it, is a moral blackmail which can only be as efficacious in getting a Nigerian president to give up power as the moral depth of the individual president. And from what we have known, those depths have been mostly shallow.

So, to the gallant protesters, keep your eyes on the ball. Stay focused. Don't get carried away by the success of your protest to inject an impossible demand. You risk an avoidable impasse when you make an impossible demand. If you have not included Buhari's resignation in your list of demands, it is important that you issue a prompt press statement disassociating yourselves from it. Otherwise, if you let it sit out there and seep into public consciousness, it will become part of the expected outcomes of your protest for which you will be held accountable. You don't want that. You don't. Good luck and Godspeed!

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