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What #EndSARS Movement Tells Us About Nigeria

 

The past two weeks have revealed volumes about just how human Nigerians are. Just like everywhere else in the world, Nigerians have been pushed to the proverbial wall and people are fighting back. But in all this, patterns have now become standard practice on both sides and I would like to spell them out. So here are some observations and notions that this phase has enforced or debunked.


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The Nigerian State Is weak

Shocking, I know. The fact that it takes actual intervention from a sitting governor, a speaker and even authorities close to the president himself to free protesters who were unlawfully detained tells you just that. Corruption, cronyism and patronage network have simply replaced the chain of command that is supposed to be constitutionally in place. Further away from Abuja, the more tenuous the FG’s authority becomes. The only thing that keeps the states and local governments in check is the monthly federal allocation and of course, the military which is overstretched as we speak.

The Nigerian Elite Is Aloof

Either that or they are just downright incapable of doing their jobs. How else can we explain how the government has done everything but what the protesters have asked. Especially when these demands ordinarily should not be impossible for a group that is actually given to do their jobs? My theory is they just have gotten used to doing everything but their jobs in the past fifty or so years. With each of docile Nigerians that came by, they have gotten more comfortable and now they can’t even bring themselves to even quell protests efficiently. Consider how they have resorted to using thugs to discredit the protest. A lot of this stems from a poorly concealed disdain by the Nigerian politicians for the people who they govern. They have resorted to time-honoured tactics of throwing money at issues and expecting it to go away. They have tried using ethnicity and religion. So far, none of that has stuck.


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Young People? Underrated

It is true that this protest has not just changed the psyche as to what we can achieve as young people when we put our hearts to it. But even beyond that, young people for whatever reason have underrated themselves for the longest time in this country. They have called us everything from “Indomie generation” to “pressing phone people” to “BBNaija junkies”. But right before our eyes, that generation is shaking the nation to its very foundations on a scale never before seen. Two weeks ago, I would never have fathomed this right here. It should not be taken for granted.

The Middle-Class Is Very key

The middle class has been key in any popular uprising in the history of nations. The reason is the balance that class brings to the discourse as well as their own aspirations. Poor people are too hungry and to engrossed in trying to feed on a daily to stand up to their oppressors. The rich are the very masters of the system so they want it to stay that way. The middle class hence are the only class that can impact the change best as they have perspective given to them by education and the internet these days.

Tech Is The Big Idea

While we were throwing down with the government and its police, Paystack’s investors cashed out on a bet some of them made three years ago when the start-up was acquired by Stripe. That singular event did a lot for protesters’ morale online.

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David Okwara

Some call me David. Others, Emerie. Others, (unfortunate fellows) Biggie. I like to think that I have sense and that is why I write too. Otherwise, I draw and paint and sing (in the bathroom) and love to make people laugh. I love to understand how things work and that’s why I love DIY videos and YouTube of course. Follow me on Twitter @EmerieOkwara

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