#EndSARS. All Hail the Redeemers
#EndSARS #EndPoliceBrutality #EndSWAT #EndBadGovernance are some of the trending voices across Nigeria as you read today’s epistle, they are some of the rallying cries of our young people and not only them anymore. Regardless of how it ends, these protesters are the Redeemers we talked about the Friday before 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence celebration.
Let us be honest and clear: If you are part of the confused ones and you are asking, “what do the youths want?” Don’t blame the protestors for not being clear. You are to be blamed for being in slow understanding, if you don’t get the sense of the protest it means your socio-political antenna is defective and that is due to where you are and who you have become. If you don’t understand the quest of these Redeemers then you belong to the generation of squanderers and survivors.
I have posited elsewhere that the generation of squanderers and survivors are these ones who came into the office wearing uniforms and seized power with the use of boots and bullets. These were bullets and boots that we gave them to defend the country against external threats; keep an eye on your “Maiguard” if you have one. They never bothered to inspire or convince, they simply scared, tortured and subdued their fellow citizens. With their decrees and dismissive orders, they ruined the institutions they met and annihilated the middle class that could check them.
After they had wrecked all they could and utterly disgraced themselves, they eased their ilk into power to continue their misdeeds. While the squanderers were destroying the country, the other part of that generation, save for a very few, did not fight back. Most of them who couldn’t, wouldn’t, or simply didn’t stand up to leaders, turned looters. They simply resorted to finding means of surviving. Many left the country to seek greener pastures; the ones that stayed became beggars and hustlers. Rather than being proud of their ideas, dedicated to their professions and be protective of their ideals, they, in the name of survival, became accommodating to rascals. Just to survive, they lowered their standards, wasted their knowledge, and allowed mediocrity to thrive.
Terms like dignity, duties and rights have been trashed by many in this generation; fathers of families are proud to identify themselves as someone else’s boy, professionals beg for an appointment, contractors and suppliers beg and bribe to be paid. Rather than protect their schools, they look for private schools for their children; rather than campaign for good roads, they buy jeeps; rather than insist on stable electricity, they loot and beg to buy generators.
The generation that will save our people from all these will be the generation of Redeemers. They have a strong battle in their hands for they have few examples in sight to support them. Yet they have no choice but to find their voices and chart their own course. They will have to face reality, see where survival mode has gotten the country and they will need to realise that only dignity and dedication can lead to greatness.
For the redeemers to succeed they need to learn to approach reality with knowledge and courage. They need to be wary of deference and gerontocracy.
Well, the Redeemers are here! Their calling card is #EndSASRS and we will hail them. Just look at these protesters with an open mind and you will readily see that these protesters are everything the future needs: They are bold and beautiful in their appearance, they are creative, articulate, thoughtful and witty in their expressions, they are organized, efficient in their actions, swift in their response, and global in their reach. They are not sponsored, they are generally self-reliant and voluntary supported, they are not scheming for positions but are focused on action and results. They even found time to sing the national anthem, pray and honour their martyrs and heroes during the protest. They shared food in an orderly manner and they are not stealing from each other. They did all these and more with no astronomical budget to the commonwealth. When news broke that the Central Bank’s website was hacked, and some wanted the hackers to share CBN money, the Redeemers found time to warn: “Don’t! Let it be known that in our time, we didn’t act like them, we did better”. Yes, you are better and you will do better.
Complacent, incompetent rulers and looters and their lackeys are in trouble. The redeemers want simple but bold and clear responses that seem impossible to a generation of squanderers and survivors. The IGP must go for he seems out of his depth. Nothing personal.
The government in its entirety seems in denial of the real questions at hand. The Redeemers are asking for a complete overhaul of the system, they are tired of elected officials that rule like monarchs and cater only for the few close to them whilst constantly rewarding nepotism over merit.
They are weary of a state that seems only to rear its head to torment them and to inhibit their endeavours under a leadership so remote and so disconnected and seemingly unaccountable.
The Nigerian Police Force from where the SARS and SWAT come from is like Nigeria. It needs to be reformed, restructured, even reinvented. It is good to increase the salaries of the police but please don’t get it wrong the police are not brutal because they are badly paid. They are brutal because they know they can get away with it. Like every lecturer that extorts students, civil servants that frustrate citizens, judges that pervert the cause of justice, and elected officials that shun the voice and concerns of the citizens, they are bullies. Please note bullies bully because they can get away with bullying. Bullies stop once they see impunity is over.
To the Redeemers I say thank you for being you, we are proud of you and no matter how it ends, history will be kind to you. We shall continue to speak up with you.
Join me if you can @anthonykila to continue these conversations.
Prof Anthony Kila is Centre Director at CIAPS Lagos.