Oct 22, 2020

The #EndSARS Protest: What Next - Adedunmde Onibokun


 My fellow Nigerians,

The last few days have been pivotal in our desire for a Nigeria, where justice, equity and fairness are the order of the day, where our fundamental human rights to life, personal dignity and humane treatment shall be respected. Our leaders, neighbours and the international community have heard our call to action.

Our biggest achievements however are we have shown the world our capacity for demonstrating empathy towards each other, courage, leadership, fellowship and unity. Over the past few weeks not only did we take responsibility for the growth of our country but we organized ourselves in a way never before seen by young Nigerians. Most importantly, we were able to secure the commitment and action from government and the Nigerian Police to #EndSARS and #Endpolicebrutality in Nigeria.  


However, the events of the last 48hrs has shown us that we have not achieved our goal, the response of security forces to the peaceful demonstration of young Nigerians show that the problem is not only the Special Anti – Robbery Squad but also the need to reform the Nigerian Police and promote credible and accountable leadership in Nigeria.


The peaceful protests are a start in the right direction and we must ensure that the legacies of our fellow Nigerians who paid the ultimate price in our struggle for sustainable governance in Nigeria are not wasted. That the sacrifice of everyone who participated in the #EndSARS campaign, sustained injuries and were subject to threats to their lives are not for nothing.


To achieve this I propose the following –


1.     The #EndSARS Protests

While protests is a strong way of showing disapproval, as seen from recent events, it is not immune to manipulation and can easily be turned into a riot. Holding a protest though the most popular way of showing dissent is only one of the over hundred ways of non – violent action and I urge young Nigerians to become creative in using the peaceful protests to send clear messages. Demonstrators should become more strategic with the protest, they must always be peaceful, organized and not fall below the recent standards that have been applauded by everyone.


2.     Political Will & Participation

You will agree with me that political Will is needed to create the type of democracy we want, however, the political structures of today are in the hands of career politicians who have led this country since the 70s and 80s and have shown time and time again that their loyalty is to themselves. It is high time young Nigerians grab this political structures and we can achieve this by participating actively in governance and politics. Let us register to vote in huge numbers and join political parties so we can influence the structures from the inside.


3.     Community Outreach

A lot of misinformation has been peddled both online and offline. It is our duty to begin to reach out to stakeholders in our communities and carry them along in our plans for a better Nigeria. Those touts who are not engaged will be used by unscrupulous politicians to scuttle any progress that is achieved, so it’s important that we bring everyone on onboard as well. Like it is said, all politics is local so we must begin to use our local contacts in asking for accountability and governance from our leaders.


4.     Facilitators

The #EndSARS movement has no perceived leadership structure but it has leaders, we successfully crowd sourced a leadership structure that saw everyone taking responsibility. We had people like @fkabudu, @moechievous and @adetolaov take up the responsibility of organizing and in the process built a national legal aid structure. We had volunteers in teams such as legal, emergency services, security, welfare and others.

I want to urge everyone to continue to lead by example. We are all stakeholders in the clamour for a better Nigeria and the victory of one is a victory for all.


5.     Engagement

We cannot stop engaging with stakeholders and government representatives as we have been doing recently. In fact, we must increase our level of engagement at this time. Contact any and all government representatives you know and engage them on their respective deliverables. We must monitor and supervise the government and our elected officials to ensure that they are carrying out their duties and functions satisfactorily.


In the words of Patrick Lumumba, “The day Nigeria wakes up, Africa will never be the same again”.  Young Nigerians have woken up and our struggle is not only for a better Nigeria but for a greater Africa. The world is counting on us, our African brothers and Sisters are in solidarity with us and it is time we show the leadership that is lacking in our polity.

Thank you for reading. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. #EndSARS 

Adedunmade is a Nigerian Lawyer, Author and Blogger. Youcan contact him via @adedunmade on social media and via dunmadeo@yahoo.com