… Says protest a wake up to Nigerian leaders
By Ezeocha Nzeh
Former Governor of Imo state, Senator Rochas Okorocha has advised Nigeria leaders to learn a big lesson from the youths organized #EndSARS protests, which rocketed several cities in the country
Okorocha, who is presently the senator representing Imo West Senatorial district described the protests which went violent in some cities as a very sad and ugly incident that must not be allowed to escalate to bring more division in the country
While urging the Federal government to look into and address the demands of the protesting youths, the former governor advised that political office holders in the country must make sacrifices that would put them little at party with the people they are representing in office
“I am sad over the ugly situation we found ourselves as a nation within the past few days arising from the #EndSARS protest which has culminated into violence anarchy and civil unrest with many people losing their lives.
“Yes, I know that this is not the time to apportion blames or claim who is right or wrong because there must never be a victor or vanquished in this battle. We must give peace a chance and allow the nation that the entire Africa depends on to thrive in peace.
“What started few days ago as a peaceful protest has escalated into losing many souls and burning properties with people living in fears. This situation is very unfortunate and highly regrettable. I want to sympathise with those that have lost their loved ones due to the protests.
“However, I want to say that this is a wakeup call by the youths of this country to the leaders of this nation. It is a pointer that we the elite have been selfish in handling the affairs of this country. There has been a track record of unfair leadership for a long time.”
The Senator, who spoke during a press conference at the weekend, insisted that the #EndSARS protest was not just targeted at police, but a disappointment and ventilated anger over economic issues in a nation, where joblessness and poverty have been suffered mostly by the youths.
While commending President Buhari for the actions taken so far, especially in reassuring the youths of meeting up their demands, Okorocha warned that “we must also act quickly under this present situation to prepare for the future.
” Today, we have millions of out of school children in the country, it is another time bomb for tomorrow. While the situation is getting under control, government and leaders must rise to their responsibilities to ensure that such future occurrences did not happen again.
“Yes, it was anchored #EndSARS, the Nigerian youths are not against the police but against certain segment of the police formation. So, killing innocent policemen/women and military personnel is really uncalled for.
“We must take some steps towards showing understanding over what has happened. However, I call on all political, religious leaders irrespective of affiliations to rise up to condemn is condemnable and call for peace in every part of the country.
“I also call on those beating the drums of war to desist because doing so will amount to an ill wind that will blow anybody in this country any good. The Coronavirus thought us a lesson that we have to make this nation great and better because there is no other nation to run to and be treated like your own country.
“I pray for peace and for the youths to show understanding. Those that genuinely protested don’t mean evil to watch the country degenerate into an anarchy or civil unrest. We cannot afford to divide or destroy this country now not in our time and generation.
While calling on his colleagues at the National Assembly, as well as other political office holders to make some sacrifices for the interest of the nation and their constituencies, Okorocha noted, “As I speak to you as a senator, I have not received a dime as salary since I became a senator. The point I want to make is that if you look at the allowances given to the senators and break it down for accommodation, transportation among others, it is definitely not out of place. You cannot bring somebody as a senator and expect him to be a pauper who cannot afford a decent meal.
“I don’t know how much of information do Nigerians get leading to the conclusion that senators receive so much. How much is house in Abuja in a year befitting of a senator. I have proposed that if we cannot carry the welfare of senators, we should make laws and cut it down. I had suggested one senator and three House of Representatives per state, but nobody listened to me. How do you justify bringing in a senator without a car or okada to ride.
“The situation now calls for national sacrifice from the leadership. Even if we are going to turn the senators to live in hostels, let everybody cut down 50 to 70 per cent his or her income so that the youths will also have a sense of belonging that the leaders are making sacrifice.
“The truth is that our lifestyle provokes the youths. We must call on leaders, the legislatures and executives, to change our lifestyle as a mark of sacrifice. It is not necessarily because they are comfortable with what they get. And even when they get, they have thousands of people that supported them in addition to the extended family system in Africa.
“I strongly advocate that the legislatures and executives must make sacrifices from their salaries and allowances as a way of ameliorating the situation the youths are facing.” he stated.