By Nicholas Adesina
When Twitter had a glitch, couple of days ago some people out rightly laid it at the foot of none other than the Vice President and who can blame them, the seismic impact of the tweet that Prof. Osinbajo had put out the day before on the 16th of October, could still be felt across the messaging app.
“Dear Nigerians, I know that many of you are angry, and understandably so. We could’ve moved faster and for this we are sorry”. [email protected]
The tweet which was part of a thread, went on to address most of the #5for5 demands of the protesters, was utterly baffling to me most due to the fact that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, a politician actually apologized for the actions and or inactions of a sitting government, and for that singular act alone I am of the opinion that the Vice President actually deserves our commendations and accolades for continuing to be a model of humility and a champion for the masses.
While most have now accepted that he has actually spoken on the menace of SARS in particular and that the entire police force requires reform, this was not the situation a week ago as the protesters and their celebrity handlers were always quick to demand that he speak on the issue, obviously or maybe ignorantly turning a blind eye that he had already done so on numerous occasions prior.
I am aware that Prof. Osinbajo was the one who first called for a meeting with the IG of Police on the 4th of October and it was after the meeting that SARS was first banned.
At the conclusion of that meeting, he granted an interview to reporters admitting his angst that young Nigerians were still being harassed on the streets with their phones being forcefully opened and their privacy breached, probably because, as far back as 2018 when he was acting president, Prof. Osinbajo had stated that such illegal actions must stop.
In the week that followed, the Vice President I am told by my source in the villa, held numerous meetings seeking a swift redress to the demands of the protesters most notably of which were the ones he held with the DSS DG and Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission. It all culminated when he took the IG to the President on the 10th of October and it was at that meeting that SARS was effectively disbanded.
Anyone with an ear of the activities of the Presidency on this #EndSARS matter would be quick to tell you that VP Osinbajo has being pulling some serious strings from behind the scenes.
He can be likened to the director or producer in a movie; the ones you never see but are responsible for everything. When NEC, which Vice President Osinbajo chairs, rose on the 15th of October, their resolution was that the state governors were to return to their domains and set up judiciary panels that would see to the investigation of erring officers of the Police force as well as ensure justice and restitution for the victims and we can already see Lagos State leading from the front with the swearing in of their judiciary panel.
As is to be expected, the VP’s message of assurance has been met with mixed reactions with some persons rejecting it based on past mistrust of the government while others are of the opinion that the 6 months time allotted for concluding all the cases was too much, and some others like Aisha Yesufu who have been feeding off the hype are just bent on refusing all forms of appeasement and dialogue.
There are others though accepting the message and preaching moderation and even going ahead to call for cessation of the protests pending when the government would actualize their promises albeit within a shorter time frame, a position which I also share as I think the panels can deliver on their objectives within half the time postulated by the government.
Prominent amongst this group are Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana and Seun Kuti. I will leave you to make up your own mind about which camp to belong to with the concluding words of the thread VP Osinbajo posted on the 15th of October.
“We will continue to update and engage with you all on these action steps and the ones to come, in the spirit of transparency, so that you can hold us accountable. We are, after all, here to serve you and we owe you a duty to win back your trust. Keep safe. God bless you. – YO.”
Nicholas Adesina is a social commentator and environmental enthusiast wrote in from Ibadan