If there’s any lesson to be learned from the events of the past week, it is that every individual must possess an appreciable level of fight in them. The cojones to say enough is enough, the willingness to risk it all if need be in pursuit of what they want. The gumption to speak up when it matters despite natural temperament. What will happen if you do not toe this path, you may ask. Well, you will most likely live a life of dissatisfaction as a result of your docility. And you may tell yourself that’s fine, but deep within…many years down the line, you will rue your cowardice.
It’s the onset of a new paradigm in Nigeria. A generation of lethargic personalities is gradually giving way to one characterised by energetic doggedness. And it was bound to happen. At some point.
It’s the law of nature. When people are oppressed to the point where death holds more allure than the life they currently live, there’s a revolt looming on the horizon. I suspect that many participants of the #EndSARS movement were hitherto unaware they had such a fight in them. The irony that a generation that has been tagged lazy and entitled are the ones demonstrating just what they can do when they are sufficiently pissed is the stuff of fantasy movies. Only that this is reality and not fantasy.
More and more, it’s apparent that the world and the benefits thereof accrue more to people who have a low threshold for injustice than their counterparts who believe providence will sort them. With greed, lust for power, insensitivity, and injustice on the increase especially on the part of political leaders, those who will make meaning of their existence are people who display courage in the face of tyranny.
Things were going to continue hurtling towards the lowest depths of unconscionable depravity if the #EndSARS protests did not happen. The unscrupulous neglect of basic human rights and the testing of the people’s limits would have gone on ad infinitum had the uprising not happened. But now, young protesters have given the ruling class something to think about, especially with the way they have coordinated themselves, replicated the agitation across the nation and beyond, and refused to compromise their stance in the face of financial inducement.
I don’t know how long the outcry for transformed policing and all-round better governance will last, but there’s a bigger lesson to pick from the raucous. One is the importance of being able to speak up when one needs to. Whether your personality type is skewed towards extroversion or not, you must be able to vocalise your displeasure when you are treated unjustly.
Being vocal is not tantamount to trouble-making as we have been made to believe. It is an expression of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Rather than expect others to figure out when they are ill-treating us, we must learn to take it upon ourselves to let them know…just in case they are ignorant. And if it is a deliberate act, we must push back too.
Life is too short to tolerate victimisation of any form.
When you are mute in the face of oppression—whether in marriage, at work, or in society—it doesn’t make you a peaceful person. It makes you a weak person.
But this fight should not only rear its head when some individual or institution is involved. It should make an appearance in the pursuit of your life’s goals too. Some people are the first to hit to streets out of indignation at the many things going wrong within the polity but do not extend the same kind of energy to the personal challenges that plague them.
Lasting solutions start from within. Conviction is birthed on the inside.
Your ability to muster the strength and resilience to tackle your own demons will take you farther than anything to try to change on the outside. And so this fight should be a wholesome, all-encompassing one that ticks all the required boxes.
What’s happening on the streets is laudable, but when the streets are quiet, when everyone returns to their daily hustle, make sure you never lose your own fight.
The journey is long; you’ll need it.