The youthquake taking place in Nigeria has taken everyone by surprise including the demonstrators themselves.
Remarkably, withing hours of young men and women spilling out on the streets, the Inspector General of Police ordered members of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to desist from their dreaded stop & search activities but the youths said that was not enough.
Few days later as the demonstrations intensified and after a meeting with the president, SARS was proscribed completely – some progress at last.
It was either that the proscription of SARS further galvanized the youths or the formation of Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) by the tone-deaf Inspector-General of Police to replace the proscribed SARS infuriated the people further. Whatever the case was, it doesn’t appear like the Nigerian youths who have been occupying the streets of Nigeria’s major cities are going away soon.
The #endSARS protest is not only about police brutality. It is actually a protest against corruption, injustice, poverty, hunger, sexual harassment, unemployment…It’s an endless list.
A majority of older Nigerians approve of the youthquake but have a question in mind: “what is the endgame?”
The danger is that the government will make the usual cosmetic changes to diffuse the protest or wait for the protesters to get weary of the demonstrations and everything will simply return to normal.
One lesson that has been learnt during these demonstrations, however, is that there is strength in numbers and considering the fact that democracy is a game of numbers, this youthquake should transform into an advantage for Nigerian youths.
Enough of vague speaking. As expressed in the caption above, this youthquake should move online and turn into a voting bloc. Statistically, over 75% of Nigerians are under the age of fifty, no thanks to chronic underdevelopment over the last sixty years that has shortened life expectancy in the country. So the question is, if 75% of the population is under 50 years why do we have a 77-year-old president? It’s as if Nigeria is experiencing a geriatric apartheid – we are being ruled by the minority age group in the country.
To answer the question above, (if 75% of the population is under 50 years why do we have a 77-year-old president?) It’s because until now, Nigerian youths have never been this united politically. If Nigerian youths have been united in their decision to choose our leaders there’s no way we would have a 77-year-old president who is so inept.
Here’s is a summary of what a voting bloc should look like: there are 774 Local Government Authorities (LGAs) in Nigeria. Federal and state legislative constituencies are made up of a single LGA (rarely) or a combination of two or three LGAs (more commonly). If Nigerian youths, who are over 18-years, could organize themselves into online groups according to the LGAs where they are registered to vote with a view to forming the majority in each of more than half of the LGAs in the country they will be in control of decision making in Nigeria.
If these organization can be achieved, it will send a message not only to Nigerian politicians but to stakeholders all over the world that Nigerian youths have had enough and are ready to take over by democratic means.
The problem, however, which is a global problem, is that youths are difficult to mobilise for elections unless they are given enough motivation.
Let us hope the current youthquake will be enough motivation to drive Nigerian youths to the polls during the next general elections.
It must be clarified that the suggestion given above is only a suggestion. Better suggestions are not only welcome but greatly encouraged.
As with all arrangements involving millions of people, when it comes to the implementation, “God and his angles will be in the details”.
May the Almighty God help us all – amen.