Dear Destiny Friends,It is no longer news that Nigeria has been trending for the wrong reasons. Almost all major news platforms in the world and world leaders have aired their views with respect to the ongoing protests in Nigeria. For the record, CNN, BBC, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal as well as world leaders like Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Members of UK Parliament just to mention a few have raised their voices in different capacities, advising the Federal Government of Nigeria and precisely the President Muhammadu Buhari, to arrest the situation by adhering to the legitimate demands of the #EndSARS protesters.
For the benefit of my readers who are not aware of the origin of this article, please take the time to read my last week’s article, #ENDSARS in Nigeria, for a better understanding. It is important to mention that nothing brings a nation down more than insecurity and instability. When there is a total breakdown of law and order, it will be difficult for any nation to move forward, and also, it will be difficult for investors to invest therein. This is the true state of Nigeria at the moment.
Globally, the number one responsibility of any President or leader of a country is the protection of the lives and property of its citizens. As it stands now, the protection of the lives and properties of the citizens of Nigerians is no longer a priority of the government. It is no longer news that the lives and properties of Nigerians have been destroyed and one begins to wonder if we have a functional government. This is because human lives seem to be of no value if we look at the way thugs and security agents killed peaceful protesters.
It’s important to mention that October 20, 2020, will remain indelible in the minds of Nigerians and the world globally because it was on this date, the military unleashed live bullets on unarmed peaceful protesters who were protesting at the Lekki Tollgate. The shootings were sadistic, draconian, and insensitive. In saner climes, the President, Vice President, Governor of Lagos State, Chief of Army Staff, and other key officials of the cabinet ought to have resigned, but the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
The level of impunity in Nigeria is at an alarming rate. It is disheartening to note that security officials in Nigeria can kill a citizen they are meant to protect and say with impunity nothing will happen, and most likely that’s the honest truth. It’s so sad and unfortunate to note that human lives have little or no value again in Nigerian.
Due to the pressure from the international community and well-meaning citizens of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari was compelled to address the citizens after the bloody massacre, but the most heartbreaking and disheartening news the President gave to Nigerian was not being able to commensurate with the families of those who lost their loved ones, but he was quick to condemn the killings of security officials.
One begins to wonder if the president has empathy, even if the President doesn’t have empathy what happens to this sympathy? He didn’t speak like a leader who has blood flowing through his veins.One begins to wonder what’s the way forward for the protesters. The youths have shown that they have what it takes to lead if you look at the way and manner they have conducted themselves during these protests. The organization was well coordinated. They had provision for Legal Aid, medical personnel, relief for victim’s brutality, mental health support, food, and relief for fallen heroes.
That said, many people are still wondering what’s the way forward? Many youths and concerned Nigerians are worried about the future of the protesters because they see hope in the energy and spirit of the youths.It’s important to note that the youths have achieved some monumental progress namely: they made the government disband #ENDSARS police officers, the government accepted their five for five demands, the government has made effort to persecute erring officers who weren’t diligent in performing their duties and most importantly, they made the President address the Nation even though the speech was nothing to write home about.
Again, I ask what’s the way forward for the #endSARS protesters? Many youths are worried about how to proceed. Here are my humble thoughts. Let’s be clear, every protest must have a leader(s)and every movement or protest must be structured. Even though some schools of thought are against having clear leaders so it won’t be hijacked and to the extent he/she is no longer alive or available, the movement can still proceed, however, it’s pertinent to mention that without a clear cut leadership of the protest, it will be hard to coordinate the movement, the advantages of having leadership is much better than not having a leadership structure.
Here are my humble thoughts on why a leadership structure is needed.
1. Good leadership will help to direct and inform the protesters on the way forward
2. A good leadership structure will be in a better position to negotiate when the need arises
3. Good leadership will give credibility to the movement in addition to ensuring it’s not hijacked
4. A good leadership will elaborate in detailed format what we stand for, our missions and visions
5. A good leadership will provide authentic information as opposed to fake news been peddled by rumor mongersThe list is literally endless. The question now becomes how can this work?
We need a good structure that will articulate the direction of the protest, the guidelines of the protest, and modus operandi of the movement. Without a good structure, the movement will look like a ship without a captain or a moving car without a direction.
We need a good administration that will run the internal affairs of the movement. A good administration can be likened to the parts of the body working for the well being of the body. As you may know, if any part of the body is not working well, other parts will be affected. A good administration is like a blind spot which sees and hears what other people can’t see or hear and then report to the appropriate quarters for action
No doubt, we need resources to make the movement work. Without resources, it will be hard to get anything done. We are not fighting with ordinary mortals; we are fighting against forces in government uniforms. Resources are like blood and fuel in human beings and cars. Without blood and fuel, it will be hard for a human being and car to function very well. Again, if the agents of the government shut down any part of the campaign to raise money in Nigeria, those in diaspora and well-meaning people who are interested in developing and bringing change to the system can actually contribute meaningfully.
Last but not least is a strategy. Without a good strategy, it might be difficult to achieve any meaningful progress. You cannot underestimate the importance of strategy. In politics, the strategy is very important for the success of any political campaign. The campaign can be likened to a Business Model Canvas (B.M.C). Our strategy must only be known by the internal agents who will then direct the people on where the next step. For example, we can decide when to go online, and when to go on the street, we can decide on a particular dress code, etc.
The strategy involves reaching out to those in the diaspora, learning from the elders who have been there before us in the fight for self-actualization, negotiating where need be, and planning for the future.
In conclusion, I will strongly advise every patriotic citizen and lover of Nigeria not to give up because we have come a long way. The protest is not a sprint, but a marathon. I strongly believe, if we can brainstorm and articulate ideas on how to re-strategize the protest, I believe we will have a good chance of achieving our aim.
Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of Global Empowerment & Mentoring Initiative. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org