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The political climate in Nigeria for most elderly had thickened overnight, and at the hem of that is a group of leaderless millennials. The kind who are done staying silent over the clouding shades of corruption and police brutality laced with extrajudicial killings.
You can only chase a goat as far as a wall before it turns back, this became a saying our elders taught us, but never knew themselves. Following the extrajudicial killing of youths for simply looking the way they want to be addressed, everyone stepped up and said enough of cowering in dark shadows.
The efforts of these people were well received locally and internationally. In a matter of days the Twitter hashtag, #EndSars, was number one trending in the world. The feminist coalition had become the official finance department, with accountability, not even the Nigeria accountant general can match. Millions were on the streets and everywhere you go, you could tell the country was shaken to its very foundations. Even our ancestors cried out. Unity like never before, religions crossed, lives touched, the government silent, now where are we?
SEE ALSO: #ENDSARS – IS POLICE STILL OUR FRIEND?
After the massacre which the government would rather die than own up to. On 20th of October, 2020 at Lekki toll gate, it became clear, we had brought the wolves into office, even though our house was laid on bricks. The protests are over. The Nigerian government is still out for the blood of its citizens. Speaking of the citizens and our vision, what did the protest reveal about us?
The first lesson that became obvious to even our government was that we can. For two weeks, we called for them to ‘soro soke’, and they stayed silent. This tells us, they not only do not know what to say but they do not also have the power to change anything. There is a disconnect. Evidence will be that the feminist coalition had done in two weeks what our government could not do in 5 years. A democratic state that has never had regard for democracy was placed on an indefinite lockdown by a group of ‘lazy youths’. Yes, we can. Not just create change but also take power.
Another aspect is our own youth bias. While we stood in solidarity, some took two steps away from their brothers, to extents of brutality. It was reported in Abuja, that a certain group of protesters would rather not have changed than receive support from queer protesters. How much hate can one foster in their heart? The undying need to crisscross religion and politics is a societal misunderstanding Nigerians will never consciously confront.
SEE ALSO: #ENDSARS – THE YOUNG ANCIENTS.
Institutionalized ideologies of leadership were and is a factor for everything in Nigeria including the protests. It is by cultural practice, or rather ‘nature’, however flawed for men to take lead. This idea has shaped the way of the world. This idea constantly denied, is not just the catalyst for the feminist movement, but when it is not recognized, is its greatest enemy. Nigerians, especially Nigerian men have subconsciously been programmed to not just only overlook but also discredit the efforts of women in the society. Would this protest be any different? No.
Pastor Sam Adeyemi, rose to the occasion ahead of other religious leaders to speak up against the government. Rapper Falz and comedian Mr Macaroni took to the streets, drawing numbers and sleeping overnight at protest grounds. While all of this is commendable and how the many men who fought, died, and was fully involved gave sound backing to the course. It was the women who led instrumentally in the protests. The feminist coalition had not just managed funds, provide medical care, food, supplies, they had created a working toll-free emergency line in a matter of days.
While this success can be clapped at, it is important to not get lost in the frenzy. It is important to notice the many details. Nigerians called for change, for new parties, and new leaders, but they made it clear that they needed new ‘male’ leaders. As simple as a spoof political banner design, in variations, there were no female presidents, just female vice presidents. Do we overlook these problems? No.
There are smaller societal decays that need addressing. Greed is one of such decay. When it was uncovered that our government officials hid away palliatives from the CACOVID private sector, they still lied even with brooding evidence. However, it was the people who allowed their need to overcome their compassion. Many took more than they were owed and left the next man with nothing or next to nothing. If we seek power, WE must seek power.
Also, it is now clear our government officials except for a minority cannot be depended on, no matter their ethnicity or religion. As long as they are in power, they are of no use. As clear as this is, we should not seek change from them but integrity. Integrity is the more serious, less recognized decay in the Nigeria government. Why is the government for the people synonymous with denial? Why is nothing ever true? Lie and threat have become the language of leadership. They will rather silent every one (social media bill) when we all know a clear conscience fears no opposition.
Since the government hijacked the protest with their paid thugs, it has moved online, where we lick our wounds and continue to fight for change, we must never give up. We must now look inward and ask ourselves the difficult questions and have long-overdue conversations. There will be no room for hate in the new Nigeria, there will be no room for certain ideologies or beliefs that do not foster peace.
The way forward must be local sensitization. Raising awareness for the upcoming elections, not just online but offline to those in our local community, making them see that those in power would rather see them starve than give them free food, they would rather kill them than have they’re united with one voice, and if a change is going to come acceptance must be in place.