Over time protests have become an option by which masses use to speak to the government, organisations, groups or individuals to express their displeasure as a way of change. In recent times Nigerians have taken to protests to demand change in the country’s governance. How effective are protests in Nigeria? Daily Trust spoke with some Nigerians.
Angela Emmanuel, 35, Businesswoman, Abuja
Protests in Nigeria aren’t effective. Protest in a serene society works, but not in Nigeria, especially in this current administration. We had in the past seen the power of protests, but now the leaders use their federal might to disperse, arrest and in some cases kill protesters. Citizens have the right to protest, that is the best way for the masses to express their displeasure and make the government of the day hear their voices.
Amaka Nworah, Journalist, Abuja
Protests are not effective in Nigeria because our government does not believe in them. Moreover, most protests end up bloody and the politicians end up hijacking the conveners of such protests by buying them over. I can rightly say that it is mostly the case of the people betraying themselves. So the government takes advantage of such situations and the people’s demands are never met.
Abdulkhaliq Aliyu, 25, Entrepreneur, Kano
Protests in Nigeria are effective because we’ve seen positive changes and policy changes as a result of it. Most notably the protest against petroleum subsidy removal by the NLC in 2012 and recently the #EndSARs protest, which resulted in the government disbanding the SARS unit of the Nigerian police and pledging to do more to end police brutality.
However, a protest requires an exceptional capacity for coordination and can only be as effective as the planning and strategies implemented by the protest organisers. These include being non-violent, having a clear message, providing an avenue for dialogue, among others. Protest is a mechanism for social change and therefore organisers of protests must do their homework to make sure the protest makes a positive impact because history has proven that it can be very effective but only when done right.
Al-amin Danyaya, 25, Entrepreneur, Jos
Protests are not effective in Nigeria because they lack coordination and are mostly infiltrated by bad people who disrupt the whole process. In an ideal scenario, a protest should have a leader that will control the affairs of the protesters, but unfortunately, you will see protesters destroying and looting public and private properties.
There are instances where the people protesting do not know the reason for the protest. They only protest because they are given a token so they come out to carry posters, banners and other things.
In Nigeria, a protest may be organized with a good motive, but elites/ politicians can sponsor thugs to come to attack the protesters and make a peaceful protest look violent. In the end, security will disperse the people and that may be the end of the whole process.
Sani Musa, 35, Businessman, Jos
Protests are not always effective in Nigeria because a majority of the protesters have no ideology. They are only pushed to protest against an issue by their paymasters to achieve their clandestine objectives. As long as protests would continue that way in Nigeria, it won’t be effective.
Nasir Umaisara, 40, Businessman, Bauchi
Protest is not effective in Nigeria because of lack of confidence in leaders and considering the endemic corruption that is deep, people won’t trust the leadership of the protest because he might betray the mission of the protesters.
Umar Lurwanu Tailor, 43, Chemist, Jos
Protests are no longer effective in the country because we don’t have a government that listens to its people. The essence of a protest is to expect a change on a particular issue having shown your disapproval. But today in Nigeria, even if you organize a protest, believe me, nothing positive will change because our leaders take us for granted. It is better not to engage in any kind of protest.
Jemimah Gandu, 25, Administrative Staff, Abuja
I believe protests to an extent are effective. However, in Nigeria, we are often heard but actions are never taken. Regardless of that, our voices are being heard and awareness is being raised.
Muhammad Sabihinul Khair, 38, Teacher, Bauchi
In Nigeria, protests are not effective because the protesters, most times deviate from their motive. In some instances, there is a clash of interest among the protesters, which leads to confusion and violence. No responsible government will allow violence and mayhem on its citizens to continue on the street unabated.
Joshua Bassey, 25, Entrepreneur, Uyo
Protests are effective in other countries because it is an avenue in which citizens are heard for swift changes to be made, however, in Nigeria it has not been effective due to the government always going against the pleas of its citizens and not making any changes.
Abigail Otabor, 29, Administrative staff, Port Harcourt
I do not believe protests are effective in Nigeria. Never have we seen any demand being met by the government. Not now, not in the past.
Rilwamu Ubala Umar, 35, Teacher, Bauchi
Protest is not effective in Nigeria because of cultural and religious factors which prevent many from participating and the impression that protest is always a tool of violence in Nigeria and many developing countries.
Chidimma C. Okeke, Rosemary Etim Bassey, (Abuja), Usman Bello Balarabe, Kano, Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos, Hassan Ibrahim Bauchi,