…It was a tale of never-say-die spirit implanted in an average Nigerian youth
After the Ramon Olorunwa Abbass (aka Hushpuppi’s) saga in June, Nigerian youths came under heavy verbal attacks as some kind of get-rich-quick generation.
Hushpuppi was apprehended by the Interpol Dubai, for multiple cybercrimes. He was then extradited to the United States to face trial.
Since the appalling incident, the older generations, the media and they themselves used the life and the ill-gotten affluence of the popular cyber fraudster to x-ray their lives and concluded that the majority of them, if not all were irresponsible.
During the period, an average Nigerian youths was more or less perceived as indolent, wayward and proud. In some views, youths were seen as boot-licking fellows and pawns for malicious political lords, who used them as hoodlums to perpetrate vices and unleash terrors in the society.
However, in contrast to the popular views of the older generations against the younger folks in the country, Naija youths as popularly called, proved to the world that they are special breeds. They are capable of winning Oscars in ingenuity. They’ve made their points through the #EndSARS protests, that creativity, innovations and inventions needed in the digital age, and reside with them.
It can be vividly noted that Nigerian youths utilise the protests against police brutality to sell their skills to the world. It was an avenue to re-write the narratives in their favour. The time was in their favour to set the record straight that had hitherto not been in their favour. It was first an outrage against the recklessness and brutality suffered in the hands of the Nigerian police, especially the dissolved federal special anti-robbery squad (FSARS), but, secondarily, it was the synergy for passion and excellence.
In today’s corporate world, where it is easy for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a graduate to get a plum job in Nigeria, youths go an extra mile to enrich their curriculum vitae. This is very essential if they don’t have a godfather that would be their mouthpiece to land them their desired jobs.
While preparing one’s CV, we were taught to load it with many strengths that could be in one’s advantage. These assets might include volunteering works, hobbies, and even awards and honours received in schools. It could be any of this past acquired or learned gifts that would speak.
In a nutshell, the essence of a CV is to project the capacities of a job-seeker. And, in the same manner, the #EndSARS protests in the country were a CV of this Nigerian younger generation to announce to the government and the world at large, that they were a collective asset. This was what they’ve been parading before the Black Tuesday in Lekki.
The purpose of the #EndSARS rallies across the nation was to pass a message across to the President Buhari-led administration, to disband the personnel and activities of SARS. Their agitations were against the harassment, extortion, brutality and extra-judicial killings of the SARS and the entire police, thereby, a call to the government to reform the police.
These demonstrations began on Thursday, October 8, 2020, and staged in almost all the states of the country, including Abuja. In as much as this was aimed at getting the attention of the government, it had some key parts that should not be forgotten but must be documented as the capacities of the Nigerian youth.
In one of the protests in Abuja, a lady, Jane Obiene, with one limb, was noticed at the forefronts of the rally, using crutches. Looking at her, joining the vanguard was enough to understand how significant the freedom was, and one could not but lament the horror state of this country. Her image depicted the many sorry conditions that Nigerian youngsters experience, and yet not giving up. It was a tale of never-say-die spirit implanted in an average Nigerian youth. The soul of the Nigerian youth is resilient and dogged. I guess this is so because the environment is hostile. And, it is a crime to give up in a harsh environment. That was the reason Jane’s peers, across the federation, who knew they were in the struggle together deemed it fit to buy her a prosthetic leg.
One Jonathan Odoba twitted her picture, commended her efforts and raised the issue that she should be assisted. And in the matters of days, more than 7 million naira was raised to buy the prosthetic leg for the young Nigerian. (Another fellow with a similar challenge was also helped).
The youths showed the world some classic features absent in the present crop of the political leaders: that in their irrepressible spirit, they are compassionate, proactive, transparent, accountable and precise.
These youths, (older folks contributed as well) were organised, to identify a challenge, know how to fix it, and go ahead to achieve it. This is a grand culture and tradition that our corrupt leaders have lost, and should learn from it. Jane is a great advantage to this nation, her fellows know that, to remove her impediment and make her happy, at least in the most possible means. This is what the leaders should learn from the generation the president termed ‘lazy’ at a global state.
While donating the funds, no committee was raised and no sitting allowance announced to attract people to lobby for the jobs. Everybody knew the importance of the cause, and they gave their allegiance to participate.
May I hastily reveal here that the Panel set up by the states to examine the grievances of the victims of the disbanded SARS had not even sat, and some members had started receiving the sitting allowance!
It is now that the Nigerian leaders should look at the #EndSARS protests as the CV of the youths, appoint them to appropriate places to help in fixing the country that the politicians have plunged into a pool of mess. It is unfortunate that the government instead was gunning down the future of the country.
Let me quickly say that I can’t deny that there are unscrupulous elements among the youths, but, the percentage is low compared to the 68 per cent youths of the Nigeria’s population. And, the percentage might have been lower, if Nigerian leaders lead by examples.
There were other capacities worthy of mentioning by these an array of talents to make the protests a success. And one of such was the creation of solar power chargers to charge phones at the protest scenes. Also, we should not forget that on Friday 16 and Sunday 18 October, 2020 respectively, the Muslims and the Christians had their worships peacefully, and each religion watched the tower for the other in their turn.
There were never a moment of a bitter rivalry, that could lead to breaking of ranks. That was what the Nigerian youths were capable of, if given opportunity to explore both mental and natural resources of this nation. This was what they were asking for, before the government on Tuesday, unleashed its terror on them across the country starting from Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos.
Let it be known that these youths kept asserting that there was no leader among them, because all of them were leaders. The Nigerian government and the people in power today should know that leadership is assumed with responsibility and not by titles. The Nigerian youths understood this, and they had recorded that in the annals, through their heroic and brave acts. This must have been one of the most difficult reality to accept by the Nigerian government, before sending the army on Tuesday’s night.
What more can I say than to lend my voice that all men have their weaknesses, but the Nigerian youths at this time have demonstrated to the Nigerian government and the entire world, that they are capable of ruling their world, just let them have their future by not killing them.
The killings are not only physical, they are psychological, as well. If there is anything that this country needs to see and be convinced that Nigerian youths are resourceful and should be treated as heroes, it was the #EndSARS protests.