Over the past one week, I have quietly listened to the voice of the younger generation. It has become clear to everyone that the Youths in Nigeria have found their voice and activated their energy for massive social reforms in Nigeria.
Their bravery, commitment, and the leadership they have shown with a high degree of accountability shows these are serious-minded and a very intelligent group of people. Let me start with my personal experience with the SARS group also. Sometime last year I got a call from my wife that she had been arrested and taken to the Police station. I was heading for a service somewhere when I had to rush to where she was. I found what the officer said quite flimsy and to date don’t understand it.
Things were worked out easily because on appearing at the place there was personal recognition as people were greeting me “pastor welcome.” Thinking back, if I didn’t have that social capital, things would have been quite rough. So I do understand what a young person may have to face regularly from such encounters. It can be dehumanizing and humiliating not to talk about stories of people who say they were dispossessed of money etc.
The Government may have in an unprecedented manner come out to verbally assent to the requests of the movement but what the government needs to realize is what they ask for now is action; definite steps taken to show commitment to their words. They have been here before they say, they have seen promises broken, they want actual reform. They ask that simple steps be taken to show it is different this time. Things like bringing to book the officers who allegedly shot at the peaceful protesters should have happened. They say there are peaceful protesters who are still locked up. They need action.
At the heart of this is that this generation is tired of being led this way. Those in leadership must know this generation requires a more accountable system of leadership which are consistent with the ideals of a democratic government. It is a highly-networked generation and they see and have experienced how other nations are being governed. To them, this is no rocket science. Even smaller nations are beginning to leapfrog over Nigeria in development and progress by providing basic infrastructure and amenities with a more accountable form of leadership.
It is actually fundamental. There needs to be a change in our approach to leadership because this generation can actually no longer be led this way. God bless Nigeria