Former vice presidential candidate, Tunde Bakare, says the failure to have recognised leaders was an error on the part of #EndSARS protesters.
Thousands of Nigerian youths took to the streets for most of October 2020 to protest against police brutality, but with no recognised leadership.
Most of the demonstrations were coordinated in a decentralised manner and on social media, taking place in many states across Nigeria.
The protests forced the Nigerian government to finally scrap the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
The movement was later hijacked by violent thugs who attacked peaceful protesters and largely disrupted the protests towards the end of October as demonstrators refused to listen to the government’s appeals for dialogue.
Bakare said during an interview on Arise News TV on Monday, November 2 that the lack of leadership undermined the agitation.
Compared to his own Save Nigeria Group demonstrations of 2012 for which he said he had ‘an engine room of leaders and elder statesmen’, the popular cleric said protests must end at the negotiating table.
He said he advised the influencers of the #EndSARS protests to choose leaders to negotiate properly with the government, because leaderless protests, he said, would lead to ‘a social or class suicide’.
“They needed to have chosen leaders they trust. There was so much mistrust.
You negotiate from the position of strength immediately the government buckled,” he said.
Bakare also cautioned the young generation of protesters to not look at the generations before them as useless, as generations in the past also fought for the nation’s future with civil protests.
He said, “We build on the accomplishments of past generations and continue to move on.”
The cleric also advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to ensure that those responsible for the shooting and killing of peaceful protesters in Lekki, Lagos are apprehended.