Lagos: The centre of excellence that gives Nigeria ginger – Ella Temisan
The past eight days has taught me again that Lagos indeed has the energy mix that can drive Nigeria ahead.
Mind you, the Nigeria I am speaking of excludes a large part of the North. The portion that is held back by illiteracy, largely uninterested and only willing to act once their leader says go.
Lagos, on the other hand, has shown the concept of independent followership can be a thing. We have been able to make being individuals while pursuing a common goal work with flying colours. We have also shown that we can have sense; powered by a little bit of that stubbornness that makes us special.
This stubbornness is the thing that does not let us back down even at gunpoint. After the protesters at Surulere were shot at, some arrested and a few killed; I believed that the whole #EndSARS movement would end. Who would want to come out to risk their lives like that after that type of thing?
But guess what? We were fuelled even more! The anger remained the same, even doubled and we marched on. If I can hug everybody that has taken to the streets for this cause, I would. Laying everything on the line like this can’t be easy.
And it is because of this unifying stubbornness that other states are taking notice; following suit and taking actions to demand what is our right. Look across Nigeria. See men and women marching along the streets of Akure, Enugu, Ogbomosho, Benin and Abuja. We are still pushing and why? Because Lagos still keeps bringing the ginger that is pushing other angry Nigerians forward.
Have you seen the carriage of these protesters on the ground? See how articulate they are! See how calmly they repeat their demands until the government decides to act. The one that gives me the most joy is the call and response. You need an ambulance? You got it! You need food? There is a full course meal waiting to sustain your body.
People are eating food that they haven’t enjoyed in a while on the streets. You need light? Water? Internet? There is somebody there to give it to you. It is your brother being your keeper like we have never seen it before. I am so glad I got to witness this while I am alive.
One thing that stands out during this process is how far removed some parts of Nigeria and some demographics are from reality. It is loud and clear. So that when people say, ‘you’re on your own’, it takes a new meaning.
Another thing is that we can’t back down now. This movement is long overdue and will mean the start of many good things.
But we have to keep the energy going. So, find a way to join the protest for a better Nigeria; starting with the call to #EndSARS or #EndSWAT.
Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer.
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