November 26, 2020

Today’s word musing and feature writing is coming from a renowned Photojournalist, Blaize Itodo. His write up was as a result of the #ENDSARS protest, the aftermath and lessons learnt.

Its truly worth the read!

It’s a long read but please read, thank you.

LETTER TO MY FELLOW COMPATRIOTS

We have all in our rights been letting out our anger against what is happening to our dear country which is good. But I beg that we toll the path of peace and channel our energies towards our common enemy.

Please I beg of you, reason with me here for a second.

For the first time in our 60years of “in”dependence, the youths of Nigeria had a protest that has been widely acclaimed to be the most orgainsed, most peaceful(for close to 14days) and most effective match in the history of our country.

We all are witnesses to how youths came together regardless of all the divisive elements (Religion, Tribe and Political affiliation) in our country to demand in one voice, one band from their leaders ACCOUNTABILITY. We also can attest to how “solution driven” the protest had been while they make their demands.

Now, are the demands of the protesters wrong? Have they been peaceful? Were their demands met or was there a “deliberate” attempt to meeting their demands? Were the protesters violent in the cause of their demands? Do they need to be protected as they exercise their constitutional franchise as citizens? Were they protected by those that ought to? Is protest a Crime?

Let us all in sincerity, answer these questions for ourselves devoid of sentiments for posterity sake.

The protest gathering was a mini-Nigeria and like in a typical Nigerian setting, was faced with all the challanges we face today as a nation but guess what? These youths had solutions for virtually all of it.

They had monies allocated for things like Nigeria but they were no cries of embezzlement, they provided medi-care to those in need, food and drinks were not in short supply, they even catered for their perceived enemy; the police, and shared with them what they had. There were no complains of hoarding, they cleaned all the mess they made as they move, and looked out for each other while working as a TEAM.

Except for the blockade and attendant traffic that followed, they did all these without any record of violence to other citizens and non citizens alike only to be attacked by sponsored “thugs” and later shot at and killed by the same people(Nigerian security forces) that ought to have protected them while they match to ask for a better Nigeria.

We are all angry no doubt, but I ask that we see beyond our anger and breath out the hate for each other for once. Isn’t it obvious from the protest that our diversity is still our biggest asset🤔 do we need a soothsayer to let us know that our divisions along religious, tribal and political lines are man-made?

Ask yourself, Why are the calls only to stop the protesters and not a call for better security for people exercising their rights as enshrined in our constitution? why it is that non of their demands have so far been met, why haven’t we seen a deliberate show of intent towards implementing their demands? Why are we not talking about the sponsored “thugs” and “unknown” government forces that moved against “peaceful” protesters? Why are we subtly condeming our children for daring to do what obviously, we were not planning to do for them? why? Do we hate them that much? 😓

Frankly speaking, the current state of things is not solely the fault of president BUHARI alone, no. It is a big mistake to think that the peaceful protest was against the person of president Mohammad BUHARI.

This protest is for a system that is no LONGER functional. The current working system of things in Nigeria can be likened to using an outdated operating system on a computer manufacture in #2020.

So, #endsars is not just for the Nigerian police, no. #endsars is for everything that has kept us in reverse for 60YEARS. This protest is not a demands for accountability from the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, alone, no. The protest is for a better Nigeria, it is for the soul of a nation, the one we call the GIANT OF AFRICA.

Nigeria is in crisis no doubt, but good thing is, in it lies our opportunity for GREATNESS.

This is not a time to hate/speak along our existing divisive lines, this is a time to remain focus on our collective demands for good governance from our “servant leaders.” It is a time to harness all our energies collectively devoid of hate and all existing sentiments.

It is now obvious that the youths are not as lazy as we have painted them overtime, they have shown that they can bring solutions to the many challenges of Nigeria using CREATIVITY, ACCOUNTABILITY, ENGAGEMENT and TEAMWORK; the power of our diversity.

I am not asking you to sheath your swords right now, no but we must stop the senseless DESTRUCTION of properties and remember now, that we have a common enemy in our acclaimed leaders and together direct our swords and energies towards this collective enemy not towards ourselves. I plead that we stop cutting-down ourselves in hate and channel this positive anger to good purpose.

I have family and friends i love across tribe, religion and political inclination, I can’t afford to lose them to an obviously orchestrated plan by people of influence to keep us forever divided.

I join you all to observe a minute silence to mourn all those that have lost their young lives in the cause of this struggle, May they find peaceful repose where ever they are.

To all those that have sustained one form of bodily harm, physically, mentally and psychologically in the course of this struggle for a #betternigeria your bloods, your scars and the pains you suffer will never be in vain.

Our hate should be towards our common enemy and not towards our selves please, they are trying so hard to change the narrative but we must remain focused on the goal and avoid the many distractions.

Long live the youths of Nigeria ✊😓
Long live our Leaders to see what the future holds
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
God bless Nigeria 🇳🇬

Blaize Itodo ~ ORDINARY Nigerian.

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