By Oludare Mayowa
The protesting youth under the aegis of #endsars campaign was all over the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Friday blocking both the inward and outward bound traffic to Lagos with thousands of commuters stranded while many trekking to their destinations.
However, the protesters were civil, peaceful, and friendly to all road users, encouraging them to chant the slogan of #endsars and identify with the cause without being molested.
Fuji music croner, Osupa Saidi was on the ground to solidarize with the protesters, who camped in front of the Punch place and was said to have later donated N100,000 to the cause before he continued on his journey.
The message this time around is that those behind the campaign are not the run off the mill kind of youth, like those in government and their supporters will want us to believe.
The crowd consists of youth with sound education and people who are frustrated with the system that has kept them miles apart from their dreams.
From the look of things, those behind the campaign are well organised and understood the basic methodology required to keep the crowd in check and energise at the same time; their resolve is total and this protest could be Nigeria’s own Arab Spring.
Though within the crowd, there are other youths who came just to take advantage of the situation for their selfish motive; but those ones are very few and their impact is very neutralized by the organisers, who keep appealing for calmness and peaceful protest.
Unless those in government are deaf and dumb, the youth of this generation have risen to the occasion to change the narrative and tell the government that it can no longer be business as usual.
Apart from the campaign against the Police brutality, the protesters are determined to ensure that the government is held accountable by living to their words and promises rather than continued to mouthing change and reforms without any result.
The fact that many of the youths are still on the street protesting since last week when the campaign crystallized into public rallies and in spite of the fact that the government said it has scraped the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), shows the disconnect between the government and the people.
It simply means that Nigerians do not trust those in government to do what they have promised to do. The failure of the government to live by its words in the time past has further exercebated the present mistrust between the governed and the government.
Also, the unfortunate announcement of the replacement of SARS with SWAT also demonstrated the lack of tact and proper reasoning within the government. The announcement of the creation of SWAT as a replacement for SARS simply met with disdain and synicism as many people simply described the creation of SWAT as a change of garb for the SARS.
The prolong protest and the determination of the organisers to sustain the tempo is an indication that there is hope for a better country.
The usually docile youths have now found their voices and realise the power in raising their voices, especially when it come to issues that affect their wellbeing and the enire future of the country.
The brutality by the defunct SARS operatives merely provided the right anchor for the campaigners to help extricate the malignant cancer of misgovernance in the country.
Ending the menace of Police brutality alone is not the silver bullet to end all the woes of the country, but rather, the campaign has provided those in government the opportunity to hear clearly the discontent within the country and work hard to end all corruption, misrule, and the abuse of power and privileges by the ruling class, otherwise, the next wave of revolt may be deadlier than imagine.
The government has the very opportunity to engage the youth in conversation on how to turn around the misfortune of the country and transform governance through the involvement of young and vibrant minds in the management of the public sector.
Today, migrating abroad for greener pasture has been made difficult by those countries due to the influx of many Nigerians to those countries; many youths have now realised that they have to make things work in their own country otherwise, the future is bleak for them and the next generation as well.
The next election is going to be critical, if those in government, regardless of their political parties fail to carry out the neccessary reforms both structurally and in the economy. The youths have now realise their capacity to mobilise their own for a good cause and that would be put to good use going forward.
They are surely going to ride on the back of the success of the #endsars campaign to end the political carreer of those who have been opressing the generality of Nigerians and effect the change that we needed to move the country forward.