Are Nigerian Youths Ready for a Revolution? – By ThankGod Ukachukwu
The ambivalent, lacklustre and bland reactions of Nigerian youths to the planned nationwide mass protests captioned #RevolutionNow championed by Mr Omoyele Sowore, one of conveners, is the reason Nigerian leaders take the youths for granted. That is the why President Buhari would nominate ministers with average age of 60 and less than 10 per cent of women and zero per cent youths. The youngest ministerial nominee is 45 years old. In United Kingdom, P.M. Boris Johnson appointed a 39-year-old UK-born Nigerian as a Minister in his cabinet. Here in Nigeria, leaders like President Buhari and his generation got their chances to serve Nigeria from their 20s but today ignore the youths and the youths are complicit in the treatment meted them.
Sometime in 2009, as a young graduate, I opened a blog, coming from a student unionist background; I exhumed a revolutionist mind-set and I inscribed as the description of the page, which I titled “Nigeria Revolution” the following words:
“We look forward to a prosperous Nigeria where the basic necessities of life are provided for every citizen. This can only be attained by change of attitude towards governance by our leaders. Obstinacy on their part to embrace change is an invitation to a revolution – violent or non-violent. History will judge!”
I later changed the title of the blog to “Our Dream Nigeria”. However, Sowore is the fulfilment of that prophesy that one day, we would begin to think about revolution to set Nigeria free. I am not surprised because he was a NANS activist who stood up against tyranny as the student union leader of UNILAG.
As at the time of this writing, the Nigerian police are still holding him incommunicado as they arrested him to scuttle the planned protests. They warned Nigerian youths to be wary of the protests. In an official statement on twitter, the police noted that #RevolutionNow “amounts to treasonable felony and acts of terrorism and will therefore not stand idly-by and watch any individual or group in the society cause anarchy in the land”. Nonetheless, the conveners have stated that the protest would go on with or without Sowore from August 5th 2019. Support and calls for Sowore release is trending on social media with #FreeSowore.
Now to our docile youths many of who are citing various mundane reasons why they would not back the protests especially those who are opposed to the incumbent administration. Many of them do not know they are cutting off their nose to spite their faces. Their reasons reason range from the role Sowore and AAC played as a third force in the election weakening the chances of Alhaji Atiku Abubukar (PDP) at the polls to reservations about the protests as an avenue to destabilize Nigeria. Now this is a kvetched perspective.
Many of these youths have not stopped to ask, if President Buhari signed the electoral act amendment, would we have had so many conundrums emanating from the conduct of the election such as the server imbroglio that has been a focal point in the litigation at the tribunal?
A proactive youth population, which is well over 70% of Nigeria’s population, would utilize such an opportunity to call for President Buhari to sign the electoral act amendment, which he declined because “elections were close” in the twilight of his first term. If that is the only achievement of the planned protest. It is a great leap for Nigeria. It was the electoral act of 2015 that made it possible for President Buhari to emerge.
The level of unemployment, the decrepit state of the country, which is all due to a lack of competent leadership, is enough to cure Nigerian youths of the Stockholm syndrome, which has affected them. Supporting the protests and participating could be done with conditions, such that these youths can bring forward their leaders who would join Sowore and others to optimize the demands of the protest. Many of the people who have argued against the protest are towing the line of the Inspector General of Police Mr. Abubakar who said in a press release that the protests are treasonable and amount to attempts to force a regime change.
Given the shambolic state of Nigeria at the moment, anything short of support for the protests by Nigerian youths who have been short changed for such a long time, whose future are continually mortgaged by a generation of leaders that have refused to quit or offer good leadership depicts advanced state of mental siege and escapism. I support the protests and I wish it could be an avenue to compel President Buhari to sign the electoral act amendment. #RevolutionNow
ThankGod Ukachukwu (@kcnaija)
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