Newsie Events: #Interview Conducted By Divine Sam
Tony Rowland Awobode is an ace media practitioner, a broadcaster and currently the CEO Rock Tof Media and the General manager Jamz FM 100.1 Ibadan. In this interview with NEWSIEEVENTS correspondent Divine Sam, the Mitv television Mr. Tony Rowland popularly known as Don T speak on the protest by the Nigerian youths, the need for the youth to know the rules of engagement and other issues…. excerpts…
How do you see the youth protest, is it legitimate?
Don T: yes it absolutely right, the citizens have the right to protest, but there is what we called the rules of engagement. The youth must also know that if they must protest, they are rules of engagement, so the youth must be aware of what they should do when they are protesting. So they have every right to protest and the ENDSARS protest is legitimate.
Your encounter with SARs:
Don T: many years ago while I was driving my car to work, I suddenly notice that Sienna has overtaken the car behind me forcefully and they wanted to over take me and I blocked them thinking it was a careless driver but they speed up on me to the point I was imagining if they were arm robbers, they finally over take me roughly and before I could say anything five of them came out of the car and open up my hands, they say I should open my boot and when I open my my boot one of them with gun recognized me, as a broadcaster and he saw I am a biker as well, the guy called my name Don T, that was how I came out of the attack, my name rescued me. Just imagine if I wasn’t known, aside from myself I have cousins, my staff that has been harassed, picked up wrongfully.
Would you say the protest is balance by the regions?
Don T: No is not balance, I have leaved in the North, the SARs in the south West, south south, south East they are horrible can imagine the road block in the North, for instance Abuja and Kaduna even the army will not even stop you, highest they will do is to slow you down, checked you and released you to go, no issues no stress. But in the southern region, they will profile you, scolled you, ransacked your bag my brother it is terrible, we can’t take this any longer, it’s unbearable and unbecoming. The SARs, do they know how to tackle the arm robbers? Yes they know how to do their job, infact I give it to them that should not be an argument, but the excesses is what that is bringing about this protest. It has come to the extent where some people are framed, I mean innocent person is frame and extorted money. I cannot say if they are all bad, No I cannot say that because they are some very respectful and responsible ones.
Will you say the protest has yield positive fruit?
Don T : yes, the protest has yield a good results, when a father’s hears his little child talking about something repeatedly the father will definitely pay attention. So the Nigerian youths has been saying something, but now they are shouting, Nigerian youths has come to the point they can no longer go to the father and say father I am hungry and that is what they are doing now and it very legitimate.
Is there any political regional in the protest?
Don T: No there is not, Abuja, Jos, Mina, Niger state these are Northern regions and they were protesting there, yes we have some regional issues. What is affecting the people in the south, may not necessarily be the same in the North so they have different actions. The problem in this country is, there must always be political undertone, regional undertone and religious undertone, all those things are put in place but the Nigerian youths are reacting to what that is affecting them, not political. The protest is centered at corruption, bad governance. The people at the south south and south West are feeling it alots.
Generally, how do you see the protest?
Don T: I will say the protest has been hijacked, that is why I said earlier that there are rules of engagement to secure it legitimacy, at least the areas of concerned should be notify and in protest other citizens should not be armed, it all about equal rights. For instance if blocking the road, it should be one way so that other citizens can use the other way, but when blocking the both it therefore means that the law of the land has been contravene in the protest. Again when embarking in a peaceful protest armful weapons should not be involved, this is what qualifies it as a peaceful protest and the weapons permitted in a peaceful protest is the playcards with the messages boldly written on it, jestures too can be used but must not be fully derogatory, protest can be done with solidarity, but when bottles are broken even if no one is stabbed, it is jestures and signs that are against the rules of peaceful protest. Also we can remain as long in the peaceful protest and pass the message Hence the right perimeter of protest, i think has been defeated.
Is ENDSARS protest the basic needs Nigerian youths should protest and agitate for?
Don T: Yes, yes, yes it is, is not bad to protest for something that is affecting the citizens, so the ENDSARS has gone beyond to 5 over 5, 7.7 agenda, police should be reform, is not just SARs because they are anti, we all know what the police are doing it has become so shameful, they will just stand by the road side and be collecting the money they don’t even hide it anymore. it’s very shameful issue to the country and the protest is also part of it. The police are also citizens of the country and they are equally under the law that is guiding everyone, now the ENDSARS protest is also telling the government to improve the police salary skills so the protest also fighting for police, end corruption everybody is suffering from it. Go the civil service, go to get your passport, go for your driving license anything even the list thing like NEPA card and you will see that there is corruption everywhere. The system is bad and it is directly affecting innocent citizens, bad leadership, bad governance end it.
How will you describe the brutality in Lagos State?
Don T: it very, very regrettable my brother, though I am not the president and I cannot speak for him, I can only try to imagine what he is going through, sometimes he could be in a state of misinformation and denial, maybe they are Yahoo boys, perhaps his political enemy and other rivals excuses. But as a father, if he thinks the children are out there crying and shouting and he is not doing anything about it he will pay for the consequences. The country is boiling and the international community is watching us, we have disgraced ourselves, we are protesting against our leaders and bad administration. Whether the protest was hijacked or not the father would have still come out to say something to his children, at least communication or Maybe he is sleeping.
The toll gate scenario was it proper?
Don T: No, no, no it’s painful and is miscellaneous, very abominable, dreadfully, and miserable. That was harassment to life and I am not an advocate for anarachy. Even people driving on the street, they hit each other’s car both of them have right, but imagine if they were diplomatic about it. Same thing here, this situation would have been resolved without brutality and now it has generated serious anarachy and everyone will be at the defense. I talked to a military officer trying to condemn the act, but the person the culprits, not their soldiers, and again the soldiers were not shooting directly they were shooting at the up while the protesters say the soldiers were shooting directly at them so the issues are complicating. I was in a place watching TVC News and I told people around me that the station likely fall into serious trouble and they argued about it, but was just my observation. These people have been shooting and crying for almost two weeks now and nobody is talked to them. No it’s pathetic.
Should the Nigerian Senate be blamed for this?
Don T: Yes of course they are the representation of the people, big blame to them. They should act fast, why are they congregating? what is their Assembly for? Why are they constituting? What is the purpose of that congregation? They are the representation of the Nation so they should quickly profer solutions, they should do overtime.
Do you think the earnings of the National Assembly is affecting the economy of the Nation?
Don T: very very, yes they are and that is part of it. Why are they earning so much? Let me give you an example, you can buy a Japanese car if you really need to commute from this same station to there, Japanese car front-wheel drive, but you decide to go and get an SUV with double engine to be commuting in the city you see that it going to burn five times the amount of fuel in the Japanese car that is even efficient. That is what is happening to the Nigerian Senate, the question now is the cost of their running cars what effect has it brought to the Nation, has it brought roads, infrastructure, good governance, has it reduce corruption? which of this has it done significantly to the growth of the country? None.
If leadership beckons on our youths are they ready for it?
Don T: Yes they are, Nigeria is blessed with some highly intelligent, vibrant, and vision-oriented youths, all that they need is mentorship. The government should relinquish their roles, by involving at least 20% of the youth in active governance. The youth should form at least 20% of governance in Nigeria. Look at all these top banks in Nigeria, most of the very intelligent technocrats are young people, go to civilized world it is young people that is piloting the affairs of the government.
Your message of solidarity to the departed souls and those alive.?
Don T: it’s regrettable that youth who were destined to be leaders has been brutalised under the cold hands of death. For all lives lost may their gentle soul rest in perfect peace and to the immediate family may God grant them the fortitude to bear the lost and to the Nation who has lost their citizens may God grant us the grace to heal and for posterity to forgive the land.
Now to the youths alive for those in the field know the rules of engagement, there is also tactics, diplomacy, negotiation, peaceful demonstration, plans, strategy and lot more not by violence. So let the Nigerian youths apply the roles of engagement to achieve their goals.
Thanks for you so very much, hope to talk to you again soon other time.
Don T: you always welcome. Thanks
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Newsie Events: #Interview Conducted By Divine Sam