Obasanjo spoke when he visited Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ooni of Ife, at his palace in Ile-Ife, Osun state, on Monday. He described the #EndSARS protest as the product of an extensive agitation by the Nigerian youth. He said the youths are clamouring for a better life and there are several ways the government can show it understands their plights by making things easier for them.
“More than 65 percent of our population is under within the ages of 18 and 30; they are not only struggling to acquire education, they are also aspiring for the best that life can offer them,” Obasanjo said. “Some of them didn’t even get educated, while those who are educated are getting frustrated because of lack of opportunities.
We must realize that the lid on the boiling steam would have to be removed. “But, I believe that there are windows of opportunity which the government can explore to show that it cares about the people’s welfare, especially the youth, as the father of the country and particularly, as the father of the youth.
“Fortunately, the president has children and he knows how youths behave. I believe that the opportunities can still be taken to let the youth know that he, as a father, understands their plight and that his government understands their plight and he is ready to make life better for them.”
On his part, Ogunwusi described the protests as a clear message by the Nigerian youths to the government, particularly on the coordinated manner in which the protests were being organised. He urged the youths to suspend the protests and give the government the chance to fully attend to their demands.
“If you look at the #EndSARS protest, you will see that our youths have what it takes to rule the country,” he said “Since day one, they have shown leadership, accountability, and a huge sense of responsibility which have sent a clear message to the government.
“Every day at 11:50 pm, they displayed their financial update, and to me, I’m highly amazed by their sense of accountability. “As a youth leader myself, I am proud that we all have communicated our ideas and it is heartwarming that we have been heard. “Dear youths, it is time to retreat so as to prevent those with ulterior motives from hijacking the peaceful message of peace.
“The whole world is aware of our peaceful conduct and we must not let some bad elements tarnish this enviable integrity. “Once again, I wish to urge our youths to stop the protest, for now, and give peace a chance. This will prevent the government from using force.”