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“Choose Leaders To Negotiate With Government” – Okupe Advises #EndSARS Protesters

Senior Special Assistant (Public Affairs) to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, has advised Nigerian youths protesting against police brutality nationwide to get ready to negotiate with government.

Nigerians, particularly, youths have been on the streets for several days protesting against rights violations by the men of the Nigeria Police Force. They had previously demanded an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the force, leading to the unit’s dissolution by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.

Despite the dissolution of SARS and promises by government to reform the police, the protesters have continued with their agitations, demanding total reformation of the police and justice for victims of police brutality.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Okupe, who was also Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, advised the youths to set up a leadership structure and elect leaders to represent them in negotiations with government for a lasting solution to police brutality.

He further stated that they should compile their demands which must be comprehensive and must also address all areas where leadership and government have failed over the years.

The former presidential aide noted that government’s “non-interference” with their protests should not be seen as government being “cowed”, adding that it takes “much more” than is happening now to cow government.

Okupe, who stated that government has demonstrated “ready acqueisces” to virtually all the protesters’ demands, warned that the masses who are with them now would make a turn around when their daily bread, existence and wellbeing begin to be threatened.

He noted that the nation’s destiny is in the hands of the protesting youths who have a unique opportunity to put their names in gold in the annals of the National History, if not National Treasure.

“Our dear gallant youths, you have done well and virtually the whole nation is proud of you. You have accomplished much and you must gain maximally from this unprecedented national achievements,” Okupe tweeted.

“You really have #sorosoke with no disguise. I want to particularly ask you to note that in all dealings with governments and sovereignties worldwide, and throughout all history, including wars, everything ends on the negotiating table.

“Yes! It all and always ends up on the table. You must be ready to go to table soonest lest you lose your momentum and colossal gains and citizens support. Please observe that the government has demonstrated ready acqueisces to virtually all your demands.

“Secondly it is obvious they have also adopted a policy of non interference with your protests. Please never for one imagine that you have cowed government. It takes much more than is happening now to do so.

“For as long as they keep accepting your demands and they fail to apply force or try to stop you, very soon the threat to your continued success will not come from government but the masses who though are with you now, but when their daily bread, existence and wellbeing begin to be threatened they will make a turn around, and it will not be funny.

“Therefore, please prepare to go to the table with the authorities who are already primed to be receptive.

“To go to the table you need two things. 1. A leadership structure. 2. Well articulated compilation of your demands which must be comprehensive and addressing all areas where leadership and government have failed over the years. You must categorize them into. 3. Immediate. Short time; that’s within 6 to 12 months & Long term.

“Also they must include what can be achieved via legislation and through executive orders and administrative changes.

“To choose leadership will be a challenge to you because I believe this was not on your menu. I advice (sic) you employ technology which you are quite versed in. Create a platform where in each state, those who want to offer themselves can be registered with their CVs and bio data.

“Choose a date and let all your folks who must have registered online to vote, vote for them. Pick the first 10 or 12 or any number you choose to constitute your state leaders.

“All state leaders so elected will come together virtually or physically and select National leaders, ensuring every state is represented. With this team in place and your propositions at hand you can approach the government and begin the historic talk.

“Our eyes and our hopes are on you. The nation’s destiny is in your hands. You have a unique opportunity to put your names in gold in the annals of our National History if not National Treasure.

“May the Almighty God guide you and bless you all with the competency of divine wisdom required for this great assignment. Good luck.”

In another series of tweets Saturday night, he noted that he did not believe that choosing leaders would make the protesters easy preys for government to compromise.

According to Okupe, negotiation with government is “inevitable” and “imperative.”

“There is an inherent fear that if leaders are chosen, they become easy prey for government to compromise… I dont think so!!! The leadership that is required is collegiate leadership whose leadership and membership changes constantly and its voice or arrowhead is not person-located, rather changes constantly,” the former presidential aide tweeted.

“Whosoever is head today is a ‘Numero Uno.’ Negotiation or engagement with government is inevitable and imperative in order to be able to ground solid demands that are capable of producing the Nation of our dream.

“Above all, the suggestions above are more pointers to provide guidance which will guarantee the consolidation of present gains. Ultimately the tool required is WISDOM. By wisdom, a city (nation) is delivered, & wisdom is better than strength, & better than weapons of war (Ecclesiastes 9:16&18)

“Finally, ‘if the axe is full and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength, Wisdom has the advantage of given Success’ – Eccl.10:10. May the God of all Creations make a way for you in this noble adventure in Jesus Name.”

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