“The victory recorded in a particular war or battle has given way to the beginning of another”. (Anonymous).
My title may appear to be tricky. Notwithstanding, As a fellow Nigerian youth, I am not trying to criticise the actions of my fellow colleagues who have taken to the streets to fight the tyranny and oppression Meted by the special anti-robbery squad.
The past few weeks wouldn’t go down quickly into history without been remembered for its pivotal role in shaping Nigeria’s democracy. Just like what happened on June 12, 1993, where General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election which could have brought into power the late Bashorun Mashood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, Nigerians were birthed a gift which annulled the excesses of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Unit (FSARS), a highly dreaded unit by Nigerian youths in the nation’s police force.
A week before, several hashtags and agitations had emanated on the need to contain the excesses of this unit which to many were a cudgel to whip the backs on innocent Nigerian youths. What seemingly started like a child’s play recorded the attention of international organisations, political analysts and others. Several protests were staged in many Nigerian states. Thankfully, Nigerian youths were able to breed a sigh of relief as the Inspector General of Police ordered the abolition of the unit and the subsequent movement of officers in the unit to other departments and formations.
Not minding this, however, Nigerian youths need to ask themselves some pertinent questions. A particular one which is the fact that is the #endsars victory a permanent one? How about other battles to be fought and won? Beyond SARS, there are other things to be discussed. I will rather say that ending SARS is just a tip of the iceberg as the other battles need be fought and concluded effectively so the Victory is a permanent one. This piece will give an analysis of some other battles that are ahead of Nigerian youths.
In the first instance, there is the battle to end the rift between the government and the academic staff union of universities. The mention of the above term is enough to send cold shivers down the spine of any Nigerian youth. This is as a result of the negative consequences of the action on the academic life students. According to history, the ASUU strike spans over three decades.
It is as though the issue seems to be unending as the promises made by several governments remain unfulfilled. I will challenge Nigerian youths to sustain and maintain the tempo towards persuading the government to end the constant face-off between the academic labour unions.
Furthermore, there is the battle to end the excessive and wanton expenditure on the path of the government. It is sad that the current Nigerian government prefers to spend funds on trivial issues rather than prioritising the revival of the nation’s economy. This is amidst the current economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Amidst this, the government has gone a step further by increasing the price of essential commodities. Who are at the receiving end in all these? Is it not the youths that are regarded as the leaders of tomorrow? It is high time Nigerian youths understand that the government can no longer take pride in toiling with their future. If truly, they are the leaders of tomorrow, they must arise and fight.
How about the battle to save the economy from collapse? It is glaring that the economy of the nation is in ruins. No thanks to issues bordering around inflation and incurring of debts/loans. As the future of the Nigerian nation, Nigerian youths can also stage a protest towards pressing their demands home. How many Nigerian youths have died due to the fact that they are not able to feed their bellies conveniently?
What about youth unemployment which has forced many to take to menial jobs and criminal activities in a bid to survive? It is sad that several youths with enviable academic grades are made to roam down the nation’s streets aimlessly in the search for profitable employment. How long can Nigerian youths endure this? Certainly not for a long while.
Another battle which hasn’t been won is the battle for youth inclusion in government. When we take a profile at the number of youths in government compared with the total number of youths in Nigeria, it is evident that there is a wide gap. The onus is binding on Nigerian youths therefore to fight this battle towards ensuring that they are given maximal attention on issues relating to political management and governance. If truly we are the leaders of tomorrow, then our action need be felt from now on.
What about the issue of political tyranny and the absence of freedom of speech?
In a democratic setting, the freedom to express and be informed is non-negotiable. However, it is as though this freedom is been denied. Several youths have been captured and jailed for expressing their grievances on the excesses of the government. I hope we haven’t forgotten Dadiyata who has been in custody for over a year for criticising Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, how about Agba Jalingo who allegedly spent days in jail for moving his tongue against the Cross Rivers State Governor? Are we going to continue like this? It is high time Nigerian youths challenge this garrulous actions on the path of the government.
Have we forgotten the war against corruption, tribalism and nepotism, political thuggery, poor health care facilities among others? I salute the strides of the Nigerian youths in the efforts towards ending the impunity of SARS. Nonetheless, focusing on other unfought battles means a collective victory towards making Nigeria a habitable place for all and sundry.
Since the battle remains inconclusive, I urge Nigerian youths to keep the tempo high and the banner flying. Until then it is ALUTA CONTINUA, VICTORIA ASCERTA.