two men on caps with hands up showing solidarity

Are You Still Talking?

One would have thought that the events and aftermath of the End SARS protests would leave a lasting fire that won’t easily burn out in the minds of Nigerians, especially the youths.
One would have thought that the events and aftermath of the End SARS protests would leave a lasting fire that won’t easily burn out in the minds of Nigerians, especially the youths.

Let’s take a quick rewind to the peaceful protest that happened in 2020 which had nearly everybody, especially Nigerian Youths on their toes, raising their voices and marching for the change every Nigerian sought at the time.

Remember how we were all energized and filled with hope that the people had woken up and won’t take any nonsense from the government. “You messed with the wrong generation” was the audacious chant on everyone’s lips amidst other chants. The hope of a revolution that was imminent made up the atmosphere. A revolution that would spur Nigeria and its citizens into the better Nigeria we all dreamed of. 

Like a drop of water on the tongue of one that has thirsted for too long, we could taste the feeling of victory, we could taste the change we as youths can cause. We felt powerful, we weren’t backing down, our voices echoed across the world, it was indeed a movement.

Source: Google images

Those two weeks of peaceful protest which unfortunately went south later showed us what we could do to end the bad governance in the country. This time saw the display of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and force of the youths. Social media went agog with the hashtags EndSARS, EndPoliceBrutality and EndBadGovernanceinNigeria, as Nigerians expended their time, physical strength, and resources jovially. 

One thing that rang in our minds was that the youths were ready for the change the country deserves and the upcoming election will be a gamechanger as the youths and more Nigerians will be more involved in electing the most preferred and capable person for the job.

Activists and social media voices implored all Nigerians to keep the same energy and zeal for change during the elections and most importantly months leading to the general elections.

Now, it’s been more than a year after the End SARS protest, and we are in the critical period leading to the general elections. A time when politicians, in their different shades – the incapable, and the capable – frantically and deceptively scramble for the people’s support, favour and vote.

Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash

One would have thought that the events and aftermath of the End SARS protests would leave a lasting fire that won’t easily burn out in the minds of Nigerians, especially the youths. We see that the veil of ignorance/apathy of the Nigerian youths is not lifted completely.

And we see the hypocrisy of celebrities and social media influencers play out eventually, especially with some of them throwing their weight of support behind the very things we want to change in governance.

How are we still lazy or indifferent to the decisions regarding governance in Nigeria. Many without a permanent voter’s card (PVC) are not ready to get one while some who have theirs have no interest in putting their ears to the ground on who is worthy of their votes.

As we see more people leave the country in droves, the ones here are more concerned about joining their Nigerian counterparts “in the abroad” than being involved in the affairs of their country even if it’s their civic responsibility. In some people’s words, “I won’t waste my time or effort on a country that has no hope of being better,” while others say, “I will be a patriotic Nigerian when I japa from Nigeria.” 

But for real o, the number of people japa’ing is alarming and we wonder how many of us will remain in this country. Well, talking about how many people will remain, don’t be too sure that this writer is not planning to japa too (insert side eyes). Anyways, let’s leave this talk for another day.

Back to the real gist, so, many youths are reluctant to get their PVCs and are even more uninterested in voting, yet we keep complaining about things not going the right way for the country. We spend our energy complaining bitterly on social media (most especially our rant headquarters, Twitter) and continue to blame the corrupt politicians who have nothing to lose as long as we are not involved in the political affairs of the country.

We have doggedly believed for years that our votes don’t count and these politicians have played on this belief to their advantage. They do not want you and me who are well informed to participate in the voting process.

They know we will not be easily swayed by the meagre compensations they entice most people in the lower socio-economic class with. The lesser the number of credible voters, the more leeway politicians get to pull off whatever gimmick they have.

There’s never a better time to push the change we desperately sought with the End SARS protest than now. Whether we will still be in Nigeria for a long time or not, we need to be more interested in how things are run in our country. 

Your class, education level or status should not be a determinant of whether to be involved or not. Taking a cue from the “oyinbo” people, we see how vested their citizens are in the electoral process no matter who they are or the class they are in the society. Even if there are claims of a rigged process, this doesn’t deter the participation of the citizens in the next elections.

All I am saying is as Nigerians, no one should be too tired, despondent or too big to vote. We should all be involved in this thing called governance in our little or not so little ways. While we see that the power of the reverberation of our voices together can cause a significant and desired stir in society, let us match up this energy with our actions too.

Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash

Go get your PVC if you haven’t, before registration closes (the last phase of registration ends on the 30th of June 2022) and if you have your PVC already, please pay attention to the political environment of the country. Put your ears to the ground, read in between the lines, pay attention, and prep yourself to vote for the change or semblance of change you want to see.

As a nation, we have a long way to go, however, little drops of water will eventually fill up a bucket. Actively be a part of the change you want to see in the country. 

Till next time, cheers.

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