Caveat: Without prejudice to the investigative panel — By Richard Akinola
I have carefully followed developments on the Lekki shooting of October 20 and analyzed pieces of “evidence “ so far. I also watched Channels yesterday, the testimony of Brigadier Taiwo. The death of one or even two persons is bad enough but truth be told, there was nothing like massacre at Lekki toll gate on that date. If my position doesn’t fit into your narrative, l have no apologies.
However, if indeed you have evidence of a massacre, l would appreciate if you present it before the panel and l would highlight it here.
At the end of the day, there are lessons to learn by both sides – the protesters and the government. I knew it would get to this, hence, l cautioned in my pre-October 20 posts on the need for the protesters to suspend the protests and leverage on the concessions made by the government on the five-point demand, then give a timeline for the implementation of the immediate, short time and long time demands, after which they can return to the barricades if the government reneged.
I warned that if they allowed the government to break the protests by force, the struggle would have been substantially lost because l knew it would get to this unpalatable level. I wasn’t being cowardly but applying wisdom. My position may not be popular but l don’t go with the crowd. I don’t crave for popularity or acceptance. I go by my conviction.
I knew from previous struggles that you don’t go to the battle without counting the costs, particularly those who have never been involved in struggles. They said they didn’t need our admonition, that we are old and that our time was gone. But like they say, experience is the best teacher. During our time, we had options A, B, C, even without phones and internet.
But like l earlier said, it’s a learning curve for the youthful protesters. They started well but the initial success beclouded them. They didn’t know when they got infiltrated by yahoo-yahoo guys who came to protest grounds with several bottles of expensive Hennessy, Indian hemp, condoms, et al. Some hoodlums and criminals and those who had the mindset of regime change, hijacked an otherwise altruistic police brutality campaign.
Then, the pernicious vermin called fake news took over the social media space. Unfortunately, the government failed in terms of crisis management. Getting mediators before the matter went out of hand would have been appropriate. I hope both sides would have learnt some good lessons.