One thing about youth is its exuberance. This cannot be taken away no matter the situation or faux maturity one may try to show, especially in matters like the one we are facing right now.
At the onset, the movement had credibility and was moving very quickly towards a legitimate agent of change. The cries were legitimate, its modus operandi was novel and engaging. The youths went about their business in a business and orderly fashion. Protest grounds where carnival like and the level of cohesion was appreciable.
The government tried to listen, gave them some reliefs even though its history as a lackadaisical devil-may-care regime made trust a very difficult currency to trade with in this exchange. The people did not believe government’s sincerity and they pressed further. The protests spread to so many cities within the country and internationally. Big international figures started lending their voices and we began to feel that just maybe we have finally reached the tipping point.
However, some analysts had started seeing some red flags. First, the movement claimed not to have Leaders. This is because of historical precedence where government would decapitate an uprising by going for the leaders. So, in a case where there is no leader who do you go for? Much as this advantage was credible, it also threw up a tactical challenge.
With no leadership, what you get is dearth in ideology. So, what we now had was a band of protesters running up and down the streets just shouting the slogans without any cohesive objective towards achieving much more fundamental end points like may be leadership change or a true national awakening. It morphed into a comedy of errors and a philistinic orgy of music shows and debauchery.
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It was not long before the whole thing would be hijacked by street urchins and other groupings who have agenda very far from the noble agenda of the #EndSars crusaders. Today the whole country is wrapped in an orgy of violence. Prisons being broken into, infrastructure destroyed, police bases torched and innocent lives being taken.
The new breed, technology-driven idealists who initially drove the process have now run back into the shadows and back to their local Silicon Valley’s from where they had emerged and seized the Lekki Tollgate. Today mere anarchy is unleashed upon the land, as Chinua Achebe once intoned.
What can be done? Do not get carried away, the reasons for the uprising are legitimate. They stare us in the face. Police brutality and corruption is so endemic that I can dare say that no loving adult Nigerian can swear that he has not faced one kind of police brutality or otherwise. The writer inclusive. Bad government and governance continually stare us in the face and the kleptocracy of the elites is banal.
But the main issue is that of a lack of strategy to force a change in narrative. Our elders will go around bandying an ethnic based restructuring that will do nothing but pander to the interest of very shallow tendencies. Meanwhile, the youths have run amok like campus agitators without depth and an inexperience that is all the more glaring.
We lack strategy. We lack visionary leadership at all levels hence our aragonitic tendencies. We remain a wasted nation peopled by generations of narrow faced non patriots who just run around like headless chickens screaming fire, fire without any hope for revival.
AUTHOR: Joseph Edgar…
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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