The youths did it! The exhilaration that came with the announcement of the dissolution of FSARS in the wake of the #EndSARS protest was quite heady for me.
I was coming home from church when I opened my Twitter account and saw the announcement by the IGP.
I sort of expected it.
Indeed, the Nigerian youth put not just their #EndSARS tweets on it; they took to Nigerian roads and protested.
Thereafter, the pressure kept on mounting unrelentingly.
People who were cautious over ‘chooking’ mouth into the issue got with the program. The height was supposed #ENDSARS stories shared by the daughters of our President and the Vice President.
DJ Cuppy flew back from Dubai.
Davido announced he was going to Abuja to join the protest.
Burna Boy even though belated, put up billboards screaming #EndSARS.
But I need to be cautious calling out the bigger names. They did not do it.
While we have to credit people like Falz, Runtown, Mr. Macaroni Tiwa and Toke; (permit me if I leave anyone out) for the initial courage to take to the streets; the truth is that the ‘ordinary’ Nigerian youth did this. They sent out millions of tweets. They took to the streets. And they trolled anyone that was standing in their way or trying to shut them down.
In fact, they made the whole world reverberate with #EndSARS.
It was so bloody impressive.
The massive boner I have for their energy cannot come down.
The young people are the life of this world. When they put their minds to it, they are unstoppable.
Presidential platitudes did not impress them.
Deflections by focusing on the manner in which they tabled their angst did not stop them. I mean things like being scolded for using disrespectful tones directed at the presidency meant nothing.
They went on and on and on and on.
But they have always had it in them.
The generations after my Gen X are deliciously irreverent.
I complain about their audaciousness and their unwillingness to bend to what makes them uncomfortable. But I have always admired how they never take our word for anything.
It is the best way to live life. Figure things out for yourself and do what only you want to do. That way, at the end, you know that you were never a puppet moving to strings pulling you. Strings on fingers of people you do not know. People who have their own motivations for jerking their fingers.
For once, it was not a man vs woman debate. It was not a gender dragging. Everyone came together to put an end to a menace that was just making life harder than it needed to be.
I salute the Nigerian youth. Hitherto underestimated and mocked. Called lazy. Called cowards. Scolded every single day for a country messed up by the older ‘responsible’ citizens.
I have never joined in the talk that youth are to be blamed for anything. This is why I usually get angry when people point at them for enjoying Big Brother Naija; pretending that they did anything to get this country to where it is.
The youth played no part in it.
They did not ruin the economy.
They did not tear the country apart with religious and ethnic sentiments.
Also, they did not create Boko Haram.
They did not ruin healthcare and drive away medical personnel to other countries.
They did not create NEPA or is it DISCO.
The youth have been the perpetual victims of a country led by incompetent and greedy people with no vision for the future. They read with rechargeable lamps to get degrees that are obsolete. Thereafter, they ply the streets looking for non-existent jobs.
But see them.
See how they have embraced tech. How they have embraced entrepreneurship. See them acquiring skills and seeking how to make a way for themselves in a country where all roads have potholes no one wants to fill. See how they morphed the entertainment industry into a world recognized industry. All without any help from the government.
Every four years they are courted to bring the numbers to crown politicians; then they are judiciously dumped and ignored till another election comes.
Ignored till the FSARS saw them as an untapped gold mine.
Young people suddenly became targets. Made uncomfortable in their own country.
Now, if these men were building cases and taking care of crime the correct way, who would complain? They followed the proscribed way without even actually tackling crime; they simply duplicated crime.
They were abducting people and extorting them. In some cases, they would torture or even kill for no reason.
These men became the robbers. Untouchable and left unaccountable on the streets of Nigeria.
“I will kill you and nothing will happen.”
Socially profiling people and intimidating them.
For the last 4 years, there have been lots of complaints and even trending #EndSARS.
That did not change anything.
So, something snapped this time round.
They did not wait for celebrities or known activists.
They did it on their own.
It was amazing.
I belong to the generation who had steam but lost it. So, seeing all this is beautiful. My generation did not create the problems. But they became part of it when we started eating from the hands of those who made this country how it is.
To be fair, I get it.
My generation are now parents with school fees to pay and kids to feed. But we are on career paths that depend on our political alignments.
But it is hard to be an activist when the nest is full.
Also, it is hard to leave kids at home to join a protest. Most of our jobs will not be waiting for us if we ditch them to chant slogans.
So, I get it when I don’t see my age mates on the streets.
What I don’t get is why they are criticizing what the younger folks are doing.
But do you want this country to stay as it is?
Or do you think that you are immune because you do not let your kids carry ‘dada’?
Or are you afraid of your plug to this administration that lets contracts come your way?
Why would you mock them and call them names when you and I know that there is a genuine angst?
SHUT UP AND LET THEM BE.
This country belongs to them as well. They have a right to register their discontent.
Finally, I pray they never go back to sleep. I pray they light up the ass of our government till our government cannot sit down comfortably doing ‘business as usual.’