The dawn of new Nigeria is #EndSARS. A lot of lessons have been learnt from the protest that lasted about a fortnight. For those who are no longer young in the sense of been called youth, it brings a warm feeling even though with a little bitter taste.
The bitter taste is owing to the pockets of violence and the loss of life occasioned by the taking over of the protest by thugs. The warm feeling stems from the fact that the young have decided to take the future into their hands armed with the knowledge that power belongs to the people.
They comported themselves in a very orderly manner and utilised technology. Social media has opened up a vista of opportunity for the young and they have not shied away from utilising it to their benefits. Technology was deployed to the maximum for organising and even catering to the needs of the injured and those in need of help when arrested by the police.
The knowledge driven world has shown that it would no longer be business as usual. It has also shown that protest does not have to rest solely with organised labour or student unionists. The absence of the so called great Nigerian students was not felt. It was a union of the social media savvy.
In times past the student union would have been at the vanguard of protest of this nature. The aluta of yesteryears has come to its untimely demise given that student unionism has become a business. The 1986 Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP) was championed by Nigerian students when the military was in power. Nigerians have however witnessed the loud silence of the Student Unionists since the dawn of democracy in 1998.
The death knell to student unionism was sounded when they involved themselves in the alleged Third Term bid of President Obasanjo. However, Story of student Unionism would be told another time.
The full realisation that power resides with the people drove the #EndSARS protest on. Yes, it is constitutionally right to have a peaceful protest. It reminds one of the Thomas Hobbes writing on the state or leviathan. The people came together and surrendered their power to a higher authority with the intent that the authority will protect them. The power is thus held in trust by the leviathan. This as much was demonstrated by the state when it did not use its instrument of violence against the protesters. And that is how it supposed to be.
What Went Wrong?
The state needed to do more since the people have surrendered its collective power to it. The demands of the people in whom power resided with were a request to the government to accede to its demand. The government, holding power in trust for the people took some measures which may or may have not met the demands. The infiltration of suspected and well coordinated sponsored hoodlums shouldn’t have been an option by whosoever. Shooting of unarmed peaceful protesters is forbidden.
On the other hand, the protesters having had the sweet taste of success in making their demand heard might in future be better organised. It is quite good to go back to the drawing board to take stock of events in the past days.
One thing is outstanding: the protest which started with #EndSARS dovetailed into asking for reforms in governance and had signified asking for everything good for Nigerians. Violence is not part of #5FoR5 of the #EndSARS protest.