The truth is more important than anything else, even if it goes against popular opinion. Finally, the revolution is being televised, #ENDSARS protest is here, but are we walking the right path in advocating the change we need? I will say Yes but not in the entirety of it.
Before I go on, I’d love to applaud the bravery and patriotic spirit of everyone sacrificing their time, finance, and platform for the #ENDSARS movement. You are proof that the indomitable spirit of Africa and Nigeria is alive and lives.
Over the cause of the #ENDSARS movement which has outlived more than a week now, there are a few loop-holes we have remained unconscious to and if keen care is not adopted, these holes will become so wide enough and eventually swallow us. Maybe we are blinded by the bandwagon policy, nonetheless, it will save us the trauma of crying over spilled milk if we can nip them in the bud.
Valid Leadership Factor:
I understand that years of bad leadership and sabotage have led to the mindset of mistrust and utter vigilance when it comes to assigning leadership roles but the truth is having a leader or a set of representatives in this protest will allay the burden. While I applaud the awareness shown and drawn by the movement so far, this momentum will lose effectiveness if a person or group of people knowledgeable and trusted in their field do not come forth and direct the efforts properly. Change is effected behind closed doors or before a table; meaning this protest can easily become frustrating, not only because the government plans to frustrate us, but also because unlike most labor groups; we did not call them for a sit-down to practically negotiate terms and timelines. We can shy away from it for as long as possible but the truth is we will eventually come to terms with assigning representatives. So why wait too long when it can be now?
Empathy vs Apathy (Name Calling):
Something can mean the world to you and mean nothing to the next person, hence the saying ‘live and let live’. Throw all the tantrums, protest all you want, let there be bloodshed, some people will still feel nothing. It’s a personality trait and majorly because experience has not taught them how to behave in such a situation. Sometimes it can take longer for the individual to come around to feel the same way, or they may never. A case in point is the calling out and “dragging” of America/international artist/creative Beyonce. I cannot begin to list the lengths to which the arguments or reasons for calling her out is not only silly but in all honesty, the height of entitlement. We claim she took advantage of our culture in creating her album and documentary Black Is King. We forget that if nothing else, this was a simple business deal beneficial to all parties. She showcased the beauty of Africa; paid all artists/crew and all other expenses charged. Even helped to showcase our culture in a good light as opposed to the misconceptions that we live in mud houses or sleep under the moonlight or on trees(opportunity in tourism). In summary, she owes us nothing. Her choosing to speak out, like other foreign individuals who have, is a matter of choice. Whether we listened to her songs or not, we didn’t make her, America did and she will be Beyonce with or without us. Keeping in mind that these foreigners have issues they deal with in their own countries. While I celebrate diversity and interest in other cultures, this movement was born to take back power and show that Nigeria and Africa can be great again, so why run to a fellow citizen for aid instead of an intergovernmental agency?
Why are you there?
I mean the protest ground? As much emotion I know this point will stir, I ask this because the reason for your presence determines your actions. Example “Throwing money at the protest, partying, playing pool, hookups”. I understand that as Nigerians, the need to find ways to enjoy yourself and have fun is higher than the exchange rate but think. If the foreign bodies and agencies were to see videos of the protest, which do you think would have more impact and move them to lend their voice? You watching football, clubbing and enjoying musical performances or sitting observing silence for the victims and dead, holding talks about empowerment and Black power/Pan-Africanism or ways to take the movement forward. Now one can say, how do we entertain ourselves staying out all day? The protest must not last a whole day. Maybe certain important days can be set for that. Because in all honesty, a lack of productivity affects the entire economy, not just a few. In the end, partying can be a legitimate reason for police to clear the crowd as constituting a nuisance. If you happen to meet someone and form a meaningful relationship from at the protest, then it’s all fine and good, not that being the hotspot for meet and greet.
Why do you scream “EndSARS”?
Is it for the brutality you fear? Those murdered? Greed? Clout? Some of you rather than proving yourself worthy have shown how much of an opportunist you are. Like every movement, man by his nature finds ways to benefit from a situation. I’ve seen not one or two but many accounts on Twitter tweet “sub for online protesters, RETWEET AGGRESSIVELY BUT YOU MUST FOLLOW FIRST”. Is Nigeria a joke to you!? You turn an on-line protest into a follow-for-follow jamboree? It’s better you don’t protest online at all than play a deceptive card. STOP IT!
Gender, Social, Tribal, and Religious Wars:
As much as we have a common goal, the truth is that we easily let religion, tribe, and social gap cause a rift. Tweets and remarks too quick to generalize a tribe for not standing with you or trying to thwart the efforts should stop. An example is seen in the vandals that came to damage cars in the Abuja protest. Some comments were quick to vilify a certain tribe. Also, the social gap wars, calling out children of important persons in the society, and criticizing their manner of protesting is unkind. Are you proud of everything your parents stand for? It’s the same for the rich kids too. If they want to be part of the protest then why not? stop resurrecting old wounds!
How Long Before We Get Tired?
When Buhari promised us ‘change’, I doubt he envisaged the reverse being the case. We are the ones dishing the change with this revolution but how long can we keep him on his toes? How long before we get tired? The reason I appreciate the carefully thought-out “5 Point Demand” is because it prevents excuses that may arise as to why the government is not complying with demands. I suggest that an addendum to the 5 point plan should be a stipulated time frame for all the requests to be met. This will equally free us from the jinx of a nonstop protest that can lose effect or affect more people in the end. When we make our personal plans, we put a time-frame on them to connote a sense of seriousness, don’t we? let’s do the same with our demands. The energy to protest might seem contagious at the moment, but how long before we are bored of it. Start by imagining there was no protest food…lol.
After This, What Next?
I do not in any way defend the vile actions of the dissolved SARS group, as some of the stories of their actions are both unfathomable and wicked but if the group is completely eradicated, are we saying we do not want a body checkmating armed robbery, internet fraud as well as other crimes in the country? Then this might as well be Christmas in October for the so-called internet fraudsters and criminals who lead us into this pit in the first place. We are being disrespected, blacklisted, and treated badly in foreign countries and as much as we are pained to say it, the majority of it is our fault. Some may say it’s because “they don’t like us” partly that may be true but with all our cries and calls to foreigners and those who took up the cause for our sake, called out our president or faced insults from others like they were the cause of the SARS, will we, in the end, have no shame and return to the cyber crimes when this is all over? Whether we like it or not, bad eggs still roam among us, so what’s the way forward? Oh, you think because of this protest Nigeria is thoroughly cleansed? Don’t be deceived by the goodwill displayed in the protest centers, some of us are good at acting the part. The protest does not write off the bad behavior of the pickpockets in Computer Village, does it? Does it eradicate jungle justice, majorly championed by our generation? Absolutely No. so what’s the way forward?
In the end, it is not just about taking back power, it is knowing what to do with it. Developed countries like America are still facing new issues, so we should know that we as a people, business, brand, policymakers, and citizens we have a long road ahead of us and should think as broad as possible, as well as read vastly. In the end, no one else will save our country but us.
I’ve raised so many pointers in this article and would like your candid opinion in the comment section. What do you suggest as the way forward? Do you agree with all I’ve written? importantly, I’d like to know your reservations. One pertinent question which I decided to save for the last is the hostile reaction showered on people still going about their businesses/promoting their craft at this time. I’ll like to ask, does it mean that if the protest lingers for a month or more, no right-thinking person is allowed to trade online? Promote their music or art? Let’s talk! Kindly leave your comments.👇👇
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