Eleven days after the #LekkiMassacre, Nigerians from all walks of life gathered online for a meeting tagged #WeMoveNaija which was designed to chart the way forward from the remains of the #EndSARS movement.
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Beginning via a Zoom conference call at 3 pm on Saturday, 31st October, up to 7000 Nigerians across the world watched as moderated sessions deliberated on the failings of the movement, and where to channel the momentum which has been generated. One thing stood out and was consistent in all that the panellists, commenters and moderators said – citizen engagement must be stepped up across the board.
The Nigerian polity has always grappled with the problem of breaking down the goals of a great nation to every Nigerian, even the struggling masses. There has always been a divide between the middle class and the lower class; whereas, the upper/ruling class who are just about 1% of the total population sit on the resources of the 99%. The larger section of the ‘National Cake’ is being hoarded just like COVID-19 palliatives were being hoarded by the politicians.
While a number of people who already caught the fever of the #EndSARS protests as their own revolution against bad governance felt disappointed that it is slowly winding down, some are of the position that street protests might be too violent and even fatal for citizens right now.
Unfortunately, the police and the army, while trying to maintain law and order, have still not stopped harassing, arresting, tear-gassing and killing protesters. It is rather ironic that the topic of police brutality which Nigerian youths are protesting about were being visited on them at protest grounds or in processions and afterwards. And the verdict, especially from what culminated at the Lekki toll gate, is that the government does not care about human life.
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Now that physical protests have been tempered by government intimidation, online protest and behind the scene effort to hold politicians accountable have continued to pick up the pace.
Particularly, calls are being made to the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) to begin voter registration and distribution of permanent voters card (PVC) nationwide as soon as possible. Information is also now being shared online and offline (pamphlets & billboards) on the process of recalling erring lawmakers from the National Assembly and State House of Assemblies.
Consensus position of the ‘leaderless’ EndSARS group and ordinary concerned Nigerians is that putting extra pressure on lawmakers by threatening to recall them would make the legislators sit up and heed to the demand of the people.
After all, the observation now is that the people are gradually waking up to the power of sovereignty which they hold despite the imperfect 1999 Constitution. It is this same gospel which the more enlightened class of young persons are being prompted to share to their immediate community and circles of influence.
In the end, we may not have moved on from the carnage and bloodshed meted on protesters by security agencies, but seeking out more workable dimensions for this sudden self-awareness by the Nigerian populace will require new methods. These methods that are being developed must be capable of thwarting the ploy of politicians to frustrate the demand for good governance in Nigeria.
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