If one word sums up YSC, it is: Integrity

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Snippets from Memorial Symposium for Prof. Adebayo Adedeji

Snippets from Memorial Symposium for Prof. Adebayo Adedeji

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

July 7, 2018 marked the grande finale of the celebration of the life of Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, this time with a memorial symposium on “Africa’s development agenda: Lessons from the Adebayo Adedeji years and policy options for the 21st century”. The symposium took place at the opulent Radisson Blu, Ikeja, Lagos. Radisson Blu is a brand I like. I had stayed in many around the world including the other two in Nigeria on V.I and Abeokuta. But this really posh one does not come cheap. It has panache. Interestingly, memorial symposium took place in the Awolowo room.

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Snippets from Memorial Symposium for Prof Adedeji 

    

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Snippets from the Magodo Associates Symposium

Snippets from the Magodo Associates Symposium

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

On May 3, 2018 the symposium I had joined others in planning within the Executive of Magodo Associates took place. Magodo Associates, a civil society group currently made up of former and serving intellectuals from the University of Lagos and other experts within in Lagos, has been in existence for over 10 years, see www.magodoassociates.org

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Snippets from the Magodo Associates Symposium    

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Biography of a man of Integrity called Prof. Oyeleye Oyediran

Biography of a man of Integrity called
Prof. Oyeleye Oyediran

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

Breezed into Nigeria to, with my wife, attend the funeral of my worthy mentor and role model. The blood family gave me the honour to read a biography on him to the Baptist Church, Bodija, Ibadan congregation. Below is my intervention.

Our late Pa Oyediran was born at Ogbomosho on January 13, 1934. His parents were late Pa Emmanuel Solademi and late Madam Comfort Oyediran. His father was an itinerant trader who met Comfort, in Gold Coast as it was then known and married her in Ghana. His birth was preceded by four sisters. In effect, he was the first relief that his father sought in having a son. In addition, another son and a sister followed his birth.

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Biography of a man of Integrity called Prof. Oyeleye Oyediran

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Tributes to Prof. Oyelęyę Oyediran

Tributes to Prof. Oyelęyę Oyediran

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

During my years at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 1978-1982, many Nigerian members of the academic community visited as guest lecturers, visiting Profs on sabbatical, etc. With Peter Badejo, Saidu Goje, Segun Oyekunle and others, we always took it upon ourselves to reach out to these compatriots, help them settle down and keep them company so that they will not be home sick. We dragged them to Friday night parties that included Africans from Africa like Joseph Njimbidt Ngu, Tim Ngubeni and Tony Brobbey; Africans from America like Cobie “Kwasi” Harris; Africans from the Carribean like Carlene Edie and many brothers from Haiti whose frechified names I am not able to remember right now. We had formed a formidable group at UCLA on building a pan-African orientation. It was not all parties, we were a strong anti-apartheid pressure group within UCLA and we picketed the Bank of America every Saturday pushing for it to divest from apartheid South Africa.

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Tributes to Prof Oyelęyę Oyediran

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UNILAG ASUU Honours Prof Akingbade

UNILAG ASUU Honours Prof Akingbade

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

November 26, 2019 was an important day for me. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Unilag Branch organized a day to appreciate the services of mainly past chairmen and others of the branch.

Mrs. Folashade Sikirat Akingbade, surviving wife of my late comrade in the struggle against military dictatorships (Major-General Muhammadu Buhari and his usurping successor, the Maradona of Nigerian politics: General a.k.a President Ibrahim Babangida),  Prof. J. Funsho Akingbade had invited me and Professors Akere, Kukoyi and Okusanya (Akingbade’s friends till the end), to join her in receiving a posthumous award in his name.

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UNILAG ASUU Honours Prof Akingbade

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Throwback to My Experience Challenging Ethnic Quota System in Nigeria

Throwback to My Experience Challenging Ethnic Quota System in Nigeria

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

Just stumbled on The New York Times account on the 1988 struggle of my family against constitutionalized ethnic discrimination in Nigeria. The problem of Federal Character remains a major challenge to development in Nigeria. The Constituent Assembly that foisted this injustice was chaired by late Chief Rotimi Williams and promulgated by General Olusegun Obasanjo as Head of State. It has been upheld as the grundnorm since 1979. However, it seems former President Obasanjo is now surprised that President Muhammadu Buhari is ignoring Federal Character as it pleases him as reflected in the former’s letters to the current president. I wonder what Chief Rotimi Williams would say today if he were alive. We fought this case through to the Court of Appeal with late Chief G.O.K. Ajayi (thanks to late Pa Alfred Rewane who provided consideration for the services of the SAN) and Solomon A. Olugbemi Esq., whose consideration was only conviction and friendship.  We had technical win but lost the constitutional substance. We went on to the Supreme Court with Olugbemi alone. The Supreme Court was divided along lines that appeared to me as probably north and south with superb arguments that upheld our right to fight but rejected the suggestion that correcting a constitutional wrong of this magnitude cannot be overtaken by events. Reactions would be much welcomed.

See below as reported by New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/06/world/ethnic-quota-for-nigerians-is-challenged.html

Ethnic Quota For Nigerians Is Challenged

By James Brooke, Special To the New York Times Nov. 6, 1988

At the age of 11, Adeyinka Badejo is learning the hard way about affirmative action, Nigerian style. The daughter of an eminent political science professor here, Miss Badejo hoped last month to win admission to a Nigerian Unity School – a Government-financed prep school for top universities here and abroad.

To Miss Badejo’s dismay, she discovered that several of her sixth-grade classmates scored lower than she did on a national test, but that they won admission to the prestigious boarding school system. In this West African nation where virtually, everyone is of the same race, the difference is ”state of origin” – often a code phrase in Nigeria for tribe.

Miss Badejo scored 293 on a 400-point test – three points below the cutoff for girls from Ogun state, a southern state largely populated by members of the Yoruba tribe. If she had been born to parents from Kano state, the northern heartland of the Hausa and Fulani tribes, she would have sailed into a Unity School with a score as low as 151. ‘Federal Character’ Policy.

Miss Badejo’s rejection was a result of Nigeria’s policy of ”reflecting the federal character.” Through nationally mandated quotas, this policy is intended to ensure that Nigeria’s disadvantaged tribal groups have equal access to higher education and to Government employment.

Femi Badejo, Adeyinka’s father and a professor at the University of Lagos, decided to sue Nigeria’s Minister of Education on the grounds that the Unity School’s admission policy constitutes discrimination.

In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and one of its most diverse, the case has attracted attention comparable to lawsuits challenging affirmative action programs in the United States.

Late last month, Nigerian reporters packed the three wooden press benches in Court 19 of Lagos High Court as opposing lawyers in black robes and white wigs argued their positions.

During a recess, Mr. Badejo, clad in a yellow dashiki-style shirt favored by the Yoruba people, limited his comments to saying: ”There is no comparison between affirmative action in the United States and ‘federal character’ in Nigeria.”

For Nigeria’s southerners, Mr. Badejo’s case has become a minor cause celebre, and several southern educators and politicians have sharply attacked the 10-year-old quota system. ‘Unjust Discrimination’

”I think it’s unjust discrimination,” Lateef Kayode Jakande, a former governor of Lagos State, told a Nigerian reporter. ”The way out is to encourage the underdeveloped ones to catch up, rather than to bring down the developed ones.”

In Ibadan, the nation’s largest city and one that is largely Yoruba, Dapo Ajayi, a high school principal, said the national quota system discourages southern students who see it as reverse discrimination.

Support for the federal character policy comes from Nigeria’s north. The northerners, most of them Muslim, long resisted Western-style education first introduced by Britain, the colonial power here until 1960. Nigerians on the Atlantic coast -Yoruba in the west and members of the Ibo tribe in the east – sent their children in large numbers to British colonial schools.

Today, almost 30 years after independence, a new generation of Nigerians bears the stamp of this colonial inheritance. In the test Miss Badejo took last September, the cutoff point was set by the score attained by the 500th-ranking boy or girl in each state.

Cutoff scores for students from states largely populated by the Ibo or the Yoruba ranged from 280 to 303. Cutoff scores for students from northern states with high Hausa and Fulani populations ranged from 151 to 252.

”The South has had longer access to Western education than the north -you can’t run away from that fact,” Rotimi Williams, a Lagos lawyer, said in an interview.

In 1978, Mr. Williams served as chairman of the committee that drafted Nigeria’s 1979 Constitution. Today, he defends the quota policy as ”a necessary evil.” ‘A Stake in This Country’

”What some might call discrimination is actually making everyone feel they have a stake in this country,” he said in his law offices. ”Otherwise, an outsider might say the universities are dominated by southerners, that the civil service is dominated by southerners.”

Nigerians are debating a new constitution and the concept of federal character will probably be preserved untouched, said one of Mr. Williams’ sons, Ladi, a lawyer who is a delegate to the Assembly. Under law, 5 percent of certain grade-level jobs in the civil service and in Government-owned corporations are reserved for applicants from each of Nigeria’s 21 states.

In a separate interview in October, Nigeria’s President, Gen. Ibrahim B. Babangida, said that federal policy should require ”very good representation of the different regions of the country at points of entry.”

”From then on, very much depends on performance,” the President said. Ladi Williams argued that the ethnic quota policy should not apply to some areas, such as Olympic teams, university presidents and the Nigerian delegation to the United Nations.

But, he said, Nigerians often look at life through an ethnic lens. A few years ago, he recalled, many Nigerians were disgruntled when the national junior soccer team, the Eaglets, traveled to Beijing and won the junior world cup. Commentators noted acidly that the coach and 9 of the 11 starting players were from Bendel state.

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Throwback to My Experience Challenging Ethnic Quota System in Nigeria

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An Open Letter to Graça Machel

An Open Letter to Graça Machel

 Dear Mama Graça,

 Re: Your Solidarity Message to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

It is with due respect that I decided to write to you today. We met at a number of fora over time but none as close as in April 1995 when I visited South Africa with the plan to meet with Madiba and Archbishop Desmond Tutu seeking their respective voices over the incarceration of General Olusegun Obasanjo by General Sani Abacha on that trumped up coup. I did not succeed in meeting Madiba. Archbishop Tutu told me over the phone that he was going to meet Abacha in Nigeria only on MKO Abiola and would not add Obasanjo. With the assistance of General Bantu Holomisa, you agreed to meet me at the airport before your check-in to Mozambique. I remember your being very concerned on my brief and your promise to push Madiba and South Africans not to let go on Olusegun Obasanjo as soon as you return to South Africa. I remain grateful to you for that audience.

I hope you do not object to my calling you Mama. Your two former husbands continue to be revered. Baba Madiba was exactly same age group with my late father. In Ijębu age grade system they are both Ęgbę Obalola. As a Yoruba, the respect for anyone that could be my father automatically transfers to his wife irrespective of her age. And in this instance, you are achieving much yourself for Africa, meaning you have earned respect in your own right.

I read your emotion laden letter to deposed Emir Sanusi within 24 hours of his dethronement. His removal from office, you portrayed as resulting from his “courageous efforts to speak truth to power” etc. This sort of statement got me thinking that your Assistants are doing you disservice by not doing detailed research on Nigeria’s Constitution and the person of the deposed Emir. I was wondering also if the deposed Emir had hoodwinked you at the UN Secretary-General’s body of Members of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates.  Or whether you just felt you must stand by an Advisor to the International Board of Advisors of The Graça Machel Trust irrespective of where that person stands on Omoluabi values.

Since colonial times, traditional authorities knew/know that they are to wear their regalia, enjoy the pomp and pageantry as they deceive their poor people by pretending to be in charge of affairs. I come from royalty in my little village of Òdoşęnlú but knew that I must not enter the fray to be an Ọba as some people encouraged when there was a vacancy. I knew very well that I would lose my freedom of speech and must take permission to travel and was not ready to do so. Gladly another Prince got the unanimous nodding of my community and became the Ọba and we will all stand by him. Deposed Emir Sanusi knew very well what he was getting into but needed to use the throne to escape from one of his flippant oratory against Goodluck Jonathan that earned him suspension as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He did not get his facts right and started adjusting figures.

I can never hold brief for Governor Ganduje, not with his video that went viral. I read the detailed attempt of General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Committee that tried to reconcile the Governor who saw Emir Sanusi II as being involved in partisan politics in Kano. The deposed Emir was advised to operate within the norms of tradition on political affairs and the Governor to take another look at some of the complaints of deposed Emir Sanusi that included the status of the new Emirates that Kano was broken into and the Governor to desist from trying to remove him from office. They both agreed. But the deposed Emir went to Kano and made the salutary speech that I would endorse any day even if he has done very little himself to address poverty in Kano. The speech was very political as it was to praise Gov Nassir El-Rufai who a number of kingmakers are suggesting is a Presidential material. Maybe you now understand why El-Rufai is dishing out posts to the deposed Emir. So much political chicanery and shenanigans. By the way, do you know that a small minority have dominated a larger majority in that part of Nigeria for centuries. Please ask your Assistants to read the Abdulsalami Abubakar’s Committee report as passing reference was made to this dimension of the problem. The report was leaked into the internet.

Mama Graça, politics is a major part of the problem and not some truth being told power. Courage is a small part of the bigger picture.

Yourself, like Antonio Guterres, only know about people who shout loudest. You never pay attention to their lives to see if they practice what they preach. If you asked questions on the lip service that the deposed Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi pays to SDGs as opposed to actions, you would not be writing about his “being a bold inspiration for leaders to hold themselves to account”. Has he been holding himself to account?

The deposed Emir while he was the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, had embarked on an apparent effort, as he claimed, to pursue all bad debtors. He started and got Banks to publish some names. How do I know if what was published were all there was as bad debts? I cannot tell. How do I know what happened to a trickle of the debts that were repaid? The system was opaque to the un-initiated like myself. He was reported to have played a major role in the setting up of AMCON that reportedly acquire toxic debts. The jury is out on this institution that has allowed official brigandage to continue in the banking system as people steal depositor’s money through lending with and without collateral and favored people (especially part of the Kings College mafia) and powerful ethnicities escape untouched or are normally left with so much after corrupt sharing. And the inequalities and inequities in Nigeria are heightened contrary to the expectations of the SDGs.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, wielding the powers of the Governor of the CBN, went on to take over a few banks deemed or declared insolvent (whether they were or not) and sold them to new buyers under new names. Intercontinental Bank Plc fell within this period. The processes of transfer of the Intercontinental Bank remain shrouded in secrecy. What about the ownership of the succeeding institutions and debts write-offs that accompanied these moves that impoverished the country and the people? Has the deposed Emir rendered account? In some countries, he would be brought into the public arena to render accounts as you would certainly expect.

Mama Graça, what can I tell you about Governor of CBN Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s profligacy in dolling out Nigeria’s patrimony as it pleased him? He called it corporate social responsibility but late Pius Adesanmi called it Corporate Social Irresponsibility. Why do we have a budget, if the head of our national bank can act outside that framework and dole money out by fiat but claiming he had a board and the President did not object? More so, when a calculus of the distribution did not measure to the so-called Federal Character enshrined in our Consutution. Your Assistants can give you a summary from so many write-ups of Pius Adesanmi in 2014.

These efforts were well before the to-be-Royal Majesty became a Whistleblower on the shenanigans he claimed to be seeing at the NNPC. He was confusing over how much money was being stolen. And this is a part I want to call your attention to: get your assistants to cross-check on “alternative facts” being spewed to impress people like yourself who have very little time for details. For instance, is it true that poverty has a religious character in Nigeria? There are more Muslims in the Southwest of Nigeria than Christians. Maybe we ought to dig deeper on his data and stop lapping them up like lazy dogs.

However, there was agreement that billions, in US dollars, were missing. The PDP government in power, at that time, rather than pay the CBN top man the returns for being a Whistleblower, made sure Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was suspended from office and so, the enfant terrible, eventually lost the CBN treasure trove to Emefiele but inherited the huge savings late Emir Ado Bayero had put aside for the rainy day at the Kano Emirate Council. Please ask your Assistants to give you a summary of point by point account of Jaafar Jaafar on how that money was spent. The deposed Emir would not disclose what he inherited from his predecessor and how he has spent it more so when he claims it was his own personal money he used in refurbishing the palace. He claimed his named friend asked what to do for him. He chose Rolls Royce that Jaafar Jaafar supplied details on purchases about as well as airfare of retinue to show grandeur around the world. I witnessed one of these myself in Khartoum. He relegated the then President of Sudan to a small VIP as he occupied the space as Lagbaja incarnate. I was surprised when he removed part of the regalia and ate like every other human being inside a confined space that I was lucky to have a seat at – thanks to the UN.

Mama Graça even if the fleet of Rolls Royces were from friends, I am sure you must be wondering why he did not ask those friends to endow institutions to get Almajiris off the streets of Kano. After all, the dethroned Emir appeared to claim he was interested in education for the poor through repeated advocacy. Or better still, you would remember the child he claimed died in the palace as the mother was waiting in line to receive less than $5 from him the potentate to buy medicines.  Would it not have been progressive if whatever late Emir Ado Bayero left was used for supplementary medical institutions in the name of the emirate? Why should a woman have to wait in line to receive less that $5 from the Emir himself? Well, as we say colloquially: What’s my problem as a Yorùbá man, as to the management of the Kano Emirate Council’s savings? After all, as my people say, Gàmbàrí pa Fulani, kò lẹ́jọ́.

His private marital affairs should be of interest to a champion of education for the girl child. To start with, as he pontificates about the ills of polygamy, Mama Graça, have you bothered to ask him how many wives he has? And along that line, how many children in a situation in which yourselves are expressing concern over the population of Africa in 2030/2050? Is he a great role model as you seem to be implying in your letter?

More importantly, for somebody you seem proud of as speaking truth to power, have you asked for details about Sa’adatu Barkindo-Musdafa, daughter of the Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Barkindo-Musdafa, with who he started a relationship that resulted in marriage on the basis of what they call child-bribe? Exchange of Princes on the lives of young impressionable young women. Or did you lap up the claim that he would not have carnal knowledge of her till she can take it (after studying Computer Science) in the eyes of the Westerners that he constantly courts? Maybe he won’t. But why do it at all? Because he can afford it? Or because he is a ‘big man’ in Nigeria? The little that’s expected of you and senior brother Anthonio Guterres is to ask questions about the example this gives on girl child that you both are laudably speaking up about. Yes, she was 18 and he 54 but was this princely transaction in the interest of that teenager? Could she have said no? Please don’t expect Amina to tell it as it is to both yourself and Antonio. She knows that she has to return to Nigeria and will not bite any finger that fed her.

You and I are agreed he should not have been dethroned without due process. More importantly, he should not have been held in the so-called banishment, which is anachronistic. But are you not wondering as I am, as to why he is not ready to fight to be reinstated? Could it be because, the people of Kano have seen through him as they readily welcomed his successor? Or is it because he now wants to be President of Nigeria as some are saying in spite of his saying politics is not for him? I know deceit is part of the game in politics. You keep what you are after close to your chest until there is the opportunity to strike when your adversaries least expect. I really don’t know what he is up to and wish you could help us by reaching his inner thoughts when next you meet.

As a Nigerian, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is free to run for office. I know not to believe what he says only but focus on what he does. I am of course worried about Nigeria in his hands given how he managed the CBN and Kano Emirate Council. The latter got broken up under him as he followed the footsteps of his grandfather into deposition. We cannot afford to have Nigeria handled the same way Kano traditional affairs were handled.

Mama Graça, do you know that some Nigerians are calling for his head over a claim I am yet to research into in detail? If he continues to be flippant in his do as I say but not as I do, I will not be surprised if he is dragged formally before the courts. You would have thought that a courageous individual as you described him would not use the courts to stop investigations. In fact, you should encourage him to open up and prove to the world that he has nothing to hide. He says he did not inherit the kind of money being stated. Fine, records are available at Banks to transparently answer that. A hero as you are portraying him should boldly step forward to clear his name. People like yourself can offer to observe to ensure that he is well treated under acceptable precepts of the rule of law.

My letter, in response to yours is much longer.  I apologize. I hope you will spend some time to read me and ponder whether you still want to be remembered for having written: “Your convictions are powerful ones that ring loudly in the hearts and minds of all those who value human dignity and equality and the causes you are fighting so steadfastly for cannot be silenced”. Mama Graça please take the pains to know more about issues you want to dabble into before entering into the fray.

Sincerely Yours,

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

Click link below to download the letter in PDF

An Open Letter to Graça Machel

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My Ibrahim Agboola Gambari Story

My Ibrahim Agboola Gambari Story

 Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

On May 12, 2020, news got leaked that Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, a quintessential and consummate bilateral and multilateral diplomat had been appointed as the Chief of Staff (CoS) of President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria. I tried to reach him to congratulate him but the number I had just rang till the normal disappointing announcement that asks to try later. So, I passed my greetings through a mutual friend who I know would deliver. That was it for me.

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My Ibrahim Agboola Gambari Story

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Snippets from the first General Assembly of the Yoruba World Congress

Snippets from the first General Assembly of the Yoruba World Congress

Yoruba Nation Beyond Nigeria

Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

Yesterday, February 29, 2020, I honoured with pleasure, an invitation to the first General Assembly of the Yoruba World Congress (YWC). I attach the invitation below. It was an invitation to the general Nigerian public to witness a meeting of the Yoruba nation, including and beyond the Nigerian border. The four to five hours meeting took place at the new Secretariat of the YWC on CMD road near NEPA station, Magodo Phase II. In the hall, we had approximately 75 people in attendance. Some 15 of these, including 2 very professionally senior people from Benin Republic were from the Diaspora. They came from the USA, Venezuela, Mexico, Cuba/Spain and Great Britain

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Snippets from the first General Assembly of the Yoruba World Congress

 

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George Floyd: Tirem os Pés dos Vossos Pescoços

George Floyd: Tirem os Pés dos Vossos Pescoços

Por: Babafemi A. Badejo, Ph.D

Muitos seres humanos condenam com razão a asfixia de George Floyd até o que deve ter sido uma morte dolorosa e agonizante, com ele a gritar: “Não consigo respirar” e a apelar à ajuda da sua mãe já falecida. Mas Derek Chauvin, o representante da polícia (melhor expressão do que “oficial”, que os faz sentir que estão acima das pessoas que devem servir), continuou ajoelhado a sufocar a sua presa como um leopardo faria a uma cobiçada gazela acabada de caçar. Os colegas de Derek: J. Alexander Kueng e Thomas Kiernan Lane ajudaram a conter Floyd, enquanto Tou Thao ficou de guarda a garantir que não houvesse interferência de espectadores, enquanto todos eles desfrutavam do horrível escoar da vida de George Floyd a esfumar-se durante 8 minutos e 46 segundos. George Floyd não foi o primeiro nem o último a enfrentar o “Momento George Floyd”. Em Atlanta, Rayshard Brooks enfrentou-o a 12 de Junho de 2020 e Eric Garner enfrentou-o a 17 de Julho de 2014. Também ele soluçava: “Não consigo respirar”, pois foi asfixiado por Daniel Pantaleo em Nova Iorque.

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