The 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality in the country showed the resolve of the teeming youth in Nigeria to drive political change and demand for good governance. Their use of the internet, digital platforms and the social media to organise and stage the protests showed not only social and political awareness but creativity and alignment with global trend of democratic civil disobedience to effect political and social change.
The cephalous nature and message-centric, rather than people-centric approach adopted by the peaceful protesters points to a deeper yearning for broader political change to reflect the realities of the average youth in Nigeria, away from police brutality that triggered the protests.
Mass unemployment, collapse of public education, widening inequality gap are some of the underlying issues that triggered the protests, which compelled a lot of youths to join. This is 2021; the #EndSARS movement has lost traction, but salient issues were raised, which demand attention, but sustainable efforts have not been made to ensure that these issues are dealt with decisively.
A look at youth movements around the world will reveal that stronger political actions beyond peaceful protests need to be taken by young people to engender the change they yearn for. Elections are due in Nigeria by 2023, that’s more than enough time for youths to really effect the political change the country needs.
The energy used in the #EndSARS protests needs to be translated into political action. Young people need to engage the political process and platforms (political parties) more and eschew apathy.
Politics is a game of numbers, and 42 per cent of Nigeria’s population is made up of young people; therefore, getting involved in the process will ensure that more young and youth-friendly candidates get into governance.
We did the protests in a remarkable and historic fashion, 2023 is the time for more politically correct actions. With a strong youthful population, our political choices are not limited to the two major political parties.
Chinonso Kenneth, HipCity Innovation Centre, Abuja