i come from a very troubled generation. A generation troubled by the same system that ought to pacify it. The recurring tradition of abysmal governance and failed political leadership in Nigeria driven by self-interest and other primordial considerations, which take priority over that of young people is deeply troubling. Beyond the immediate demands to #EndSARS and #EndPoliceBrutality by youths is a stronger burden to END a system that suffocates young dreams and brings to naught every attempt to attain the ideal Nigeria.
But the notion that protests alone can bring about that ideal Nigeria, is illusory.
Hence, I am proffering my unsolicited advice (backed by historical lessons) on how we can make the #EndSARS become an efficient tool for rescuing our generation from this unending choke position.
Firstly, campaigns that succeed should be flexible and less predictable. For the #EndSARS campaign to become more resourceful, more innovative tactics besides long marches, graffiti inscriptions, and hoisting of placards need to be inculcated to help the cause. The movement needs to (re)invent new maneuvers capable of incapacitating the system through shock and disruption
Secondly, the campaign must show unity and resilience in the face of inevitable repression and other hydra-headed challenges. This can only be achieved with a solid organizational and leadership structure that imbibes and maintains discipline through and through. If resilience is lost in the movement, it definitely will be at risk of being paralyzed by inaction or fractured by differences.
Thirdly, the campaign needs a wider and diverse reach that is sustainable over a long period. For it to be taken very seriously and inferred some legitimacy, It must gain the support of all age brackets, class distribution, ethnicity, and religious orientations of the country. Sadly enough, with the #EndSARS movement, there seem to be very strong lines of distrust between young people from the southern and northern extracts of the country.
Lastly, a non-violent campaign cannot do well without flipping the support of those who serve the status quo. What this means is that for the movement to work, it must pull the unwavering support of the pillars that help sustain the old system. The strategy of the campaign must be worked in such a way that the religious gatekeepers, the military, business moguls, civil society, bureaucrats must declare and act in allegiance to the movement.
To finish this piece, I’ll use an anonymous quote “Victory is more dangerous than defeat“. Voicing our grievances and aspirations is no longer enough. Voting out an ineffective government is also no longer enough. Young people need to start getting fixated on the wisdom of entrenching democratic institutions and restoring confidence in Nigeria, which to me are much harder tasks. We saw in 2003 the devasting foray of the US and Britain in Iraq. There has to be a plan for what comes after.
It is upon these Sacrosanct that the #EndSARS movement must work its talk or else it will just be another series of futile exercises proceeding in endless, disorienting loops.
©️ Segun Oduyemi, Lagos Nigeria 2020