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#ENDSARS One Year After, We Must Commit Ourselves to New Values -Yahaya Bello

As the Youngest serving Governor in Nigeria, I will not overlook the trust of our young people expressed across our nation some 12months ago. Indeed every strata of leadership in our nation was called to action, we were challenged to new values in leadership, and were all reminded of the fact that power truly belongs to the people.

At various fora our Dear President has admitted that our Young People spoke out loud and clear against oppression, tyranny and brutality, and that they did so hugely in the ENDSARS protests of October, 2020. The Vice President has admitted that much, and across our nation, States and Agencies of Government are taking steps to atone and mitigate the wrongs done the citizenry by the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS. But the lesson remains and reverberates, it is a call to Leadership at all levels, elected or appointed, to commit to new values. We must make the people the primary trust of leadership. We must protect rights and liberties. We must make the Youths the linchpin of governmental trust, and we must listen when they call us out.

In October 2020 I did not only show solidarity with our Young People in the protests, I also lamented the carnage and the looting that became the sour point of the protestation. As a nation and a people we have learnt deep painful lessons, leaders and followers alike. May we resolve to always listen to each other, to disagree, to agree, and to agree to disagree albeit peacefully. And may we always treasure the flawless width, height and breadth of dialogue and peaceful engagement.

In acknowledging the first year of the ENDSARS protests, I must call leadership and followers to the primacy of dialogue and proactive engagement over fierce contestation. I must as a Leader urge and nudge my colleagues to new paradigms. We must engage with all stratas of society particularly the largest demography which is the Young People.

We must include the Youths, and engage them effectively in leadership across all levels. We must create platforms where they can effectively engage with leadership. We must agree that on the political stage no longer will young people serve only as hewers of wood and drawers of water, but that the young people of Nigeria, must, should, and will be deemed fit and deserving of leadership at all levels.

We commiserate with all the victims, the young people, their families, and with the Security men and women who fell victim to the sad spectacle that became the end of the ENDSARS protestation on the 20th of October, 2020. May we as a nation build values that will make such moments anathema. May we grow values centred on love and dialogue. And may the memories of ENDSARS protestation challenge everyone of us to responsible and responsive values as leaders and the led.

Finally, as noted by the National Economic Council, may our young people sheath their sword and allow the compensatory effort of governments across the nation to serve as worthy memory of the ENDSARS protests a year after.
God Bless Nigeria.




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