After 2 weeks of a nationwide #EndSARS protest that grabbed international attention and shook some foundations in the current leadership of Nigeria, there have been a series of events that have now brought us to a rallying point. Nigerian Youths have tested their power on the big stage. Now, we know what we can achieve as a unit. It is clear that we can make things work as we desire in our country without the current crop of leaders. Even the government can attest to the fact that the youths can take Nigeria back!
We may not have won this particular battle, but the war is far from over.
There are certain truths we must come to accept and structures we must put in place if we want to win this war and take Nigeria back.
Earlier, I was reading something written by my mentor – Lanre Basamta – on twitter. In his words:
“It is clear to me at this point that nothing will change in 2023. Even if Buhari leaves, the structure of this nation remains that the middle-class youths clamoring for change are in a tiny minority. The mass youths needed to perpetuate current disorder are an extreme majority.”– Lanre Basamta Adelanwa
That’s the first hard fact we must accept! But Basamta is not done. He goes further…
“This recent protest made me realize the forces destroying this country. They include the rich oligarch, politicians, senior members of the military, senior civil servants, government contractors, religious leaders, and for-hire youths – divided into the uneducated street hustlers and the educated sycophants.
For those of us who claim to want change in 2023, it’s never going to happen unless we can convert the most strategic group in that conspiracy – For-hire youths. They are most strategic not only because of their size – which is likely 100million in number – but also because they are easily bought over by the government.
These youths are the agberos and road transport workers in the west, the almajiris in the north, the street boys and apprentices in the east, and militants in the south-south. We must find a way to get across and convince them that our battle is theirs, that our clamor is for them, and that a better Nigeria profits them.
We must do this and succeed, else we already failed! What the #EndSARS protest has shown is that although Nigerian youths are the majority, 90% of them can be bought for cheap to wreck every noble effort for change. So before any future move, we buy them also with the vision of how our agenda interlinks with theirs.
This ensures that even if they get paid next time, they will stay true to the vision. There will be no stealing of ballot boxes, no election violence, no mass voting for wrong candidates, sabotage of peaceful protests or generally causing chaos at will.
We all need Nigeria to work and prosper. But we will never be able to achieve it without these youths. They are the critical ingredients for every success – both the government and ours!”
How then do we get these guys on our side? How can youths take Nigeria back?
What’s the strategy and granular tactics to deploy?
That’s where I want to come in, with certain ideas I strongly believe would help us on a grand level.
We want to take back Nigeria? Then we must be ready to use our leaders’ greatest strengths against them.
You see, Poverty, ignorance, and fear are their greatest weapons in keeping power. We must strategically seize those weapons from them.
The more they steal our commonwealth, the more they keep us depending on the breadcrumbs. And they take a few among us, shower them with some cash, and buy their loyalty.
In that same vein, we must find a way to start coming through for each other just like we did in the period of the protest. I say we create a government within the government. Our own government, funded and managed by us, and we extend it to the impoverished communities as much as we can. We empower them and give them hope of a better Nigeria where we all stand up for each other.
The more people we are able to salvage, the more trust we build, and with word of mouth awareness spreading so fast, we will have strong allies in no time. With poverty out of the way, we have reduced their influence.
— #EndSARS (@oyinlolu_a) October 23, 2020
They know that the more we know, the bolder we become in challenging them, so they have ensured to never fund education to the point that liberates the lot of us. This is where we have to start seizing the initiative.
We don’t have to send everyone to a formal school, but we can start educating each other about civic education, basic human rights, the electoral process, the power of your voice, and the need for civility.
These are simple things that even the poorest of the poor, the fiercest thug, and the most illiterate should understand. When we liberate their minds with these truths, we would have won another leg.
Just like they have used fear to subdue the #EndSars campaign, it has been an age-long tactic. Fear of the unknown and the known. Life and non-life-threatening fear. Indecision is also a kind of fear. And that’s what we have to battle.
We must lose our fear for politics, fear for not winning even if we contest, fear of not being heard, fear of dying. No one is more dangerous than a man who has nothing to lose. We must approach the nation take-back with that mentality. Without fear, we can stand toe to toe with them. We will become like a hydra. You cut one head, 7 are ready to replace it.
With these three in place, the next strategy would be to actively get into the political system either by forming our own political party or infiltrating the ranks of the existing parties with our own people and making the right decisions for them in terms of a representative.
With our people getting into decision making positions, we can begin to re-arrange this nation and bring it to the point we all want it to be.
Ensure you have your PVC, and be ready to defend your vote. Therein lies your power.
And that’s how the youths can take Nigeria back.