2020 will always be associated with the COVID-19 and the lockdowns that it forced governments around the world to have to curtail the spread. However, these lockdowns and the restrictive circumstances around them have led to a shortening of tempers that have triggered social upheaval on different continents as young people have reacted to unfavorable social issues in the US, Lebanon, Namibia, and now Nigeria.
The #EndSARS protests are a somewhat predictable outcome and Nigeria has been lucky enough to have its social upheaval led by a middle-class that respects wealth enough to not be destructive as it shuts down society to make its point.
People must understand that this protest would have been hugely destructive if they had been inspired and led by the poorer classes that typically use violence to make themselves heard when they are frustrated enough.
The middle-class youth has stayed focused on a nonviolent approach even after deadly provocation from the security agencies who have gone as far as beating up female protesters and shooting some other protesters dead.
One sensible question being asked a lot is “Why Is the Police so brazen and unafraid of being called to order by the Government?”. Well, the executive and the legislature are indifferent and also compromised.
The Police help the executive and the legislative arms with electoral malpractice and help them actualise their commitment to living above the law so they don’t have moral authority over the police.
Another question being asked is exactly what made for this type of protest that was led by the middle-class. The answer to that is simple; The police disobeyed a key rule of oppression that says that you have to keep these types of shenanigans away from the middle-class and elite youth who have resources.
The Nigerian Police greedily started robbing middle-class youth in neighborhoods like Lekki, Gbagada, and such. People who grow up in areas like this don’t typically have broken spirits. They are educated, confident, and have access to socioeconomic resources that the poor kids in poorer areas lack. So when the line was crossed one time too many, they lost their temper and found their resolve.
They have been superbly organized and self-funded. That comes from education and having parents in white-collar professions.
The Nigerian Police are largely poorly educated and don’t know what they have stirred.
This movement is filled with young Nigerians who are determined to change a Nigeria that has taken the difficulty bar from where their parents met it and placed it way out of reach of even its best and brightest.
Make no mistake about it, this movement will be a force in the next elections. The population breakdown clearly shows that the youth are an overwhelming majority. They are also self-funded so they don’t have any billionaire godfathers they kowtow to so any political leaders that emerge from their influence will have to be accountable to the group or see hell.
There will definitely be teething problems as they go through the process of becoming a well-structured sociopolitical organization but they have the DNA to get the job done. They will succeed because they will attract the offspring of the middle-class and elite into their fold.
The Nigerian Police has unwittingly triggered the resurrection of Nigeria and it is marvelous in our eyes.