Earlier today the “Mad Over You” crooner posted a simple, “THURSDAY IS THURSDAY!!” tweet on his official twitter account.
The tweet was confirmation that the protests he announced yesterday would actually go on.
On Monday he charged Nigerians to come out and campaign for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian police force. Fresh reports of brutality and extortion from the squad led to Runtown’s charge to take the protests beyond social media.
“Let’s all come out to peacefully reach out to our “Elected” leaders beyond social media!!!
Venue/Take Off Point: Lekki Phase 1, Toll Gate” he tweeted.
“This has gone long enough and now we MUST take action! I’ll be leading a protest to #ENDSARS on Thursday, October 8th 2020.
They MUST listen to us, they MUST make/effect REAL and VISIBLE changes! Empty promises won’t work this time!!!”
Runtown appears to still be standing tall but Nigerians must wonder for how long. He has not been the first to call for a protest only to later cancel it.
His colleague in the industry, Naira Marley, just called off a protest of his own in favor of a tame live chat with the police.
Naira Marley’s Protest?
Naira Marley initially came under fire when he said on Sunday that Nigerians only liked to protest on Twitter.
When Nigerians called him out for the statement and challenged him to lead the protests himself, he answered that:
“If y’all want me to lead D(the) protest I will lead but just know that they will send me to kirikiri prison this time.”
This referenced the artists previous run-in’s with the law when he was arrested on suspicions of cyber-crime.
The artist spent a few days in prison but obviously the prospect of spending time in the notorious Kirikiri maximum prison this time around weighed on his mind.
He went ahead to announce a protest anyway for Tuesday by 9am.
“So 9am tomorrow we move
2nd toll gate
No vandalism, no fights and no stealing” he tweeted on Monday.
His tweet drew the attention of the Minister for youths and Sports, Sunday Dare.The minister tried to dissuade the musician from the planned protest.
“I urge you and other youth not to embark upon any protest. Your grievances are being addressed at the highest level of government.
As the Minister in charge of youth I know this is an issue that must be tackled. Government is doing just that.”
Naira marley did not budge however, as he apparently wasn’t convinced by the minister’s assurances.
He replied, “Ekale Sir. We have heard this before. Four times. Why will this time be different? Do you really care about the youth?
“Many of us have been killed and they harass us everyday. What is the assurance this time? We need assurance.”
Naira Marley Backs Down
However Naira Marley found the entreaties of the Nigerian police force more assuring.
The official handle of the Nigerian police force tweeted at the artist:
“@officialnairam1 The Inspector General of Police wishes to inform Nigerian youths that their voices and complaints on the issues of unprofessional conducts by some SARS operatives have been heard very loudly and clearly.”
This was somehow enough for Naira Marley to cancel the protests. He was somehow convinced that there were genuine changes going on this time around in the police.
The self-appointed Marlians president cancelled the protests after that saying:
“We won’t be protesting anymore because there’s a lot of changes being made right now.
As a Marlian we will give them a week to see the changes and if there’s no changes we will start a mass protest. #togetherwecan”
Rather than a protest, Naira Marley only setted for a live chat with the Nigerian police force that was to be held by 11am Tuesday.
The official twitter account of the NPF tweeted:
“Today, Tuesday 6th October, 2020, by 11am, the Force PRO- DCP Frank Mba will be having a live instagram chat with Naira Marley to answer questions and discuss the concerns of young Nigerians on the issues of SARS operations and other burning issues. Please stay tuned.”
Burna Boy Having None Of It
Naira Marley isn’t the only artist to chicken out of a protest in recent days.
On September 29 Sowore had challenged Burna Boy to join an independence day anniversary protest against President Mohammad Buhari’s government.
Burna Boy had previously criticized Nigerians for being unprogressive and cowardly and had promised to keep fighting for them.
Sowore took him on that promise and called on him to emulate Fela (who Burna Boy has indeed being trying to emulate in his musical and stylistic choices) and join a protest against the government on October 1st.
Burna Boy however turned down the invitation and there and there disavowed himself from any claim towards emulating Fela’s revolutionary leanings.
“I am not Fela,” Burna had tweeted in reply to Sowore.
His official reason for not joining up however was because he did not trust Sowore’s intentions.
“Everybody is a Fela fan and supporter now that he is dead. Humans are so Funny, You politicians are ALL the same (especially in Nigeria) and Frankly I don’t trust none of you.@YeleSowore” the self proclaimed African giant said.
The botched 2face protests.
Music legend and inspiration to the likes of Runtown, Burna Boy and Naira Marley, 2face, also received criticism for cancelling a protest he had planned to lead in February last year.
Following worsening economic conditions that has led to a sharp rise in foodstuffs and other essentials, the artist planned a protest to hold on the 6th of February.
His announcement created momentum as several public figures and civil society groups pledged to be part of it on.
However In an Instagram post and a short video via his official handle @official2baba, Tuface announced the cancellation of the protest scheduled to hold in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the country.
He said, “Dear Nigerians, due to security concerns and public safety consideration, I hereby announce the cancellation of the march.”
There were speculations that the artist was intimidated into cancelling the protests by the police who had warned that they received credible intelligence that the protests would go awry.