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Yes, we woke up and then snoozed: An overview of #EndSARS

Article written by Hashim Suleiman

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#EndSARS
#EndSARS

Whoever told anyone that revolution had ever occurred anywhere and succeeded or not without chaos or loss of lives. Were we expecting any different because we felt we had two heads? Or was it just a simple exhibition of lack of knowledge and experience?

If that is then it can be excused only if the appropriate lessons have been learnt going forward.

#EndSARS

#EndSARS protesters

Some of us had gotten excited over the possibility of a wake up by the Nigerian youth in the advent of the #EndSars protests that the entire nation caught up with it albeit with the different regions expressing the hash tags that suited their situations the most as related to the whole security sector.

Some had #EndInsecurity, #EndBanditry etc. As expected the pressure made impact as the government quickly accepted all the demands as they were in their short, medium and long term nature. But the youths did not understand the part as related to a democratic setting that is process ridden, those that no one can control by their whims and caprices.

Such attitude make me appreciate better Drake’s music line which describes the current generation as lacking in patience. Democracy requires patience, lots of it.

Intact, David ‘Davido’ Adeleke has as a follow up to the accepted demands met with the Inspector General of Police to table the 5 of 5 demands and it was applaudable because of its resemblance with engagements characteristic of a democracy.

Davido and #EndSARS protesters

And it is very instructive to note that the government may not have actually known about the level of rot in the SARS ranks until the protests prompted them and they acknowledged and acted swiftly. The only thing missing was perhaps the lack of understanding of democratic processes.

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The reasons why we have always advocated for pursuit of knowledge and participation of activities of one’s society.

I have watched a movie that I can’t remember the name but the one thing I picked out of it was a saying by one of the actors after he had acted a fool all through the movie but turned out the most strategic and intelligent by going home with money while others were held that “A man must always be aware of what’s going on around him”. This is very instructive to anyone who is serious about breaking through the changing society along with increasing complexities.

It was after Davido had met with the IGP and the protests continued that some of us began to see the typical Nigerian youth attitude showcasing itself and I knew it was then wasn’t going to end up well.

The demands started shifting to bad governance review requests after elections have been held in just less than two years ago. You could even air your concern about bad governance but you have to be sectors specific and you must be coming to the table with ample understanding of the workings of the sector so you don’t appear a novice on the negotiation table because that’s where all legitimate grievances end up in a democracy.

How could any youth have thought that the old guard would give up power after decades of experiences and grip coupled with availability of immense resources. It has never worked anywhere and this was the reason why our activism had been a political one where the PVC, the numbers and the ballot become the tools.

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The greatest revolution in a Democracy is the political revolution where you use your strength to negotiate for power with a view to dispensing your ideology when you grab it.

You cannot intimidate or threaten, even the greatest democracies in the world would not take that regardless of the freedom express oneself that is enshrined in the constitution because that I’m itself is not open-ended, it has its boundaries. Coups and mayhem do not fall into such categories and all these-knowledge are essential for strategy formulation.

To show you how much these big guys are masters in the game, they quickly employed the tool they cherish most which is the divide and rule and the bigoted nature of the youths started to rear its head with the most respected influencers making utterances that tended towards hate.

At this point the government had won the game and what was left was the final whistle which was blown at the Lekki Toll Gate and till today that matter remains controversial with no general occurrence over what had truly transpired. Better politicians learn the ropes very well before venturing.

Lekki Toll Gate

#ENDSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate

On a final note, the positives of the protests is that at least the youths have woken up and even though they snoozed they have had a smell of their powers which could be more effective with knowledge and tact.

Furthermore, while we most show empathy and condole those who would have lost loved ones from all the divides, it was instructive to note that such was synonymous with revolutionary movements that does not take into account strategy and leadership.

#ENDSARS

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos) visits places attacked by hoodlums during #EndSARS protests.

It is now time to heal and visit book shops to shop for leadership and mass movements books so as to learn more about how it’s done, afterwards, we would relax and learn the ropes of Nigeria’s unique politics and democracy with a view of infiltrating it and providing the much needed youth energy.

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These are processes of a developing democracy and Nigeria shall come out stronger from this.

God bless the Nigerian youth.

Hashim Suleiman wrote from Abuja. He can be reached via @oneheartnaija.

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