|Mr. Donald Duke|
Former Governor of Cross River state, Mr. Donald Duke, says it was wrong to label the #EndSARS protesters as hoodlums, adding that the protesters only took to the street to register their grievances.
Mr. Duke also expressed displeasure with the way the #EndSARS protest was handled by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, noting that the president should have listened to their grievances.
He said, “If you have children who are protesting, no matter how nonsensical you may think it is, you have to listen to them. I do not call them hoodlums or miscreants because we produced them. They are children and they have parents. If one loves one’s neighbour as oneself, one would take care of everybody. We have not taken care of a group of people and we are now labelling them as ‘miscreants’. We are the miscreants and hoodlums who have appropriated our commonwealth. As regards the #EndSARS protests, there is disaffection in the entire youth strata of society. You have to engage them because whether you like it or not, they would eventually take over. And, you don’t want angry young people to take over the country.
“At the age of 30, I was a commissioner. I am a beneficiary of youthful exposure. At the age of 37, I was already a governor. I don’t want that to be an exception; I want it to be the norm. All the youths are asking for is exposure and opportunities. You cannot tell people that they have a right to life but don’t have a right to a means of livelihood. It is not a right but a privilege to have a job. So many things are imported, but young people in Nigeria can actually make those things here if they are sufficiently empowered. They should be given concessions because each time we import things, we are creating jobs elsewhere. There are about 200 million people in the country.
“There is a big problem if jobs are not created for them. China is not playing. They are creating jobs for their teeming population because they know the country system would disintegrate if they have so many unemployed people. So, to follow that same pattern, most of the things we import can be made here if we put our minds to it.