Cloudy at dawn, on Saturday the 30th of June 2018, I had expected it to be just another weekend as I headed to Yaba to carry out my planned activity for the day.
In a bus, I sat admiring the uncommon beauty of Lagos; I sighted from the corner of my eye, a thick gathering of people all in a uniform red shirts, seeming to be agitated.
Out of curiosity, while still in a fast moving vehicle, I tried to focus on the actions exhibited by this energized gathering.
I really couldn’t comprehend what was going on, still I was interested, then I sighted Dr. Oby Ezekwesili (former Vice-President of the World Bank‘s Africa division, former Nigeria’s Minister of Education) standing on a podium and addressing the much attentive crowd, then I knew for sure that something important was happening.
I felt like jumping off the bus, but I was still obliged to arrive at my destination of which I was already running late. Well, I did reach my destination and fortunately my proposed engagement was yet to commence. So I seized that little window and immediately headed back to the venue, despite the discouraging weather.
As I landed I could sense the vigor in the voices and sweats of emotion in the faces of those that spoke and as well I saw hope in the faces of those that listened.
Oh, I just walked into the gathering of Red Card Movement Lagos launch; deep down I was glad to be a witness to a true defiance to the negligence our Nation’s leaders have portrayed to the well being of us the citizens. They stood with a motive to ‘mobilize citizens to fix the leadership problem’.
When I joined in, Dr. Ezekwesili was no longer on the platform; she stood amidst the crowd, and there everybody in the crowd begun holding hands as they sang along in screaming and wails to Timi Dakolo’s ‘Great Nation’. I must confess that this was the most touching sight of Nigerians in one gathering that I have ever seen, it was a magnificent display of unity with all ethnic and religious labels thrown to the side.
As that aura still lasted, Aisha Yesufu (Convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign) stepped unto the platform, and was fierce in her speech as she offered a vast number of analogies to illustrate the incompetence of the Nigerian government, everyone was dazed and ever attentive to all she said as though it was all becoming vivid to them for the first time.
The gathering was indeed a sight to behold as Nigerians of wisdom in old age and the energy of the youth, as well as the innocence of babies that were fused to communicate the fact that, we are all in this together. It was all beautiful.
I mustn’t fail to commend the good looking law enforcement agents that stood to ensure the protest was peaceful and in order. For some reason everybody was comfortable in the presence of one another.
Now, not even going far back in history, we have seen the tragedies and disasters that took place because of what the government has done or has failed to do. The past month of June alone has named itself unfortunate as a result of these incidents, such as the Killings in Plateau, Zamfara, Benue and Taraba, Ojuelegba Incident, Ibadan Bodija-Police clash and the most recent Otedola Fire. It has gone up to the level that most people have tagged the past month as a ‘’Black June’’.
It is apparent that we are yet to understand the “Cause and Effect approach” to preventing problems for ourselves; there is negligence to precautionary measures, and when the worst happens, we all act according to effect instead of tackling what caused it in the first place.
Now it seems, Nigerians are tired of praying. It is said that “only a fool would do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result”, Nigerians have been praying for Nigeria for decades past and this is where we are today. We keep moving from bad to worse and we all know that Heaven only helps those who help themselves.
This Red Card Movement is seemingly something different, a literal action of blowing the whistle and raising a red card to the foul play of our leaders.
But now these questions exist.
Do the voice of the people really hold any weight ?
Are we ready to stand up, blow the whistle and raise a red card to the fouls we see ?
Can we save ourselves from the clutches of backwardness ?
Well there’s only one way to find out.
Time will tell, come Election Year 2019.
I have raised my red card, because I myself is tired.