EndSARS protest: A call for youth emancipation, credible leaders

FOR civil rule or constitutional democracy to thrive in any nation, three important guiding principles must exist. These are rule of law, equality before the law and fundamental human rights. If any nation fails to operate within the ambit of these three tenets, particularly the fundamental human rights, where every other right is embedded, such a nation is definitely heading towards full-blown anarchy.

With the ongoing #EndSARS protest, it is clear that Nigerians, especially the youths, are ready to take their destinies into their hands. The youths are standing against bad governance, they are saying no to insecurity, no to corruption, no to unemployment, no to poverty and other social menace that are stunting the development of Nigeria.

A school of thought strongly believes that challenges Nigeria has been grappling with over the years are as a result of poor leadership and followers. Therefore, it is important that leaders and followers realise that they play critical roles in the nation’s development. Roles of leaders in the decision making process and implementation of government development policies cannot be overemphasised. As well, the ability of the followers to choose good leaders into positions of authority are very paramount in the determination of what the future holds for the country.

However, leaders in Nigeria have failed in their duties to capitalise on both human and material resources God endowed the country with to make it the envy of other nations. When we are talking about leaders, it is not limited to the present occupiers of political offices, rather it cuts across those that have had opportunity to lead at a time or the other since Nigeria attained her independence.

Nigeria’s leaders have succeeded in subjecting the country into very deep well of poverty, they have made the country capital of poverty in the world through their not only bad but also self centered economic policies. They have made the youths incapacitated, they embezzled money meant for development; they have failed to provide good education, agricultural and health systems. They have rather succeeded in increasing the inflation rate, thereby jacking up prizes of food items in the market. Unemployment and corruption rates, as well as level of insecurity have become unprecedented. Nigerians are daily living in fear, with no food and job security.

Followers on the other hand have made themselves slaves to the elite class through their carefree attitude and myopic thinking. They have neglected their active roles in the creation of leadership process. They have given themselves to champion electioneering campaign of bad leaders, rig elections for politicians, even against their interest.

How well the followers follow is probably just as important to any nation’s success as how well the leaders lead. Followers have left their responsibilities to checkmate the excesses of their leaders. They have turned themselves to mere instruments that elites use to achieve their selfish interests.

Leadership and followership are two parallel words but one cannot exist without another. Their combinations make a nation, and their effective coexistence bring meaningful, rapid and lasting development to a country. Many countries in the world that attained independence at the same time with Nigeria have moved to their next level, despite having their challenges. But they were able to leverage on the economic advantage which reside in their followership, by making them (followers) the center of the economic policies.

I see the ongoing EndSARS protest as a wake-up call to solve so many challenges confronting our dear nation. It is a call to right so many wrongs in the country’s policing system; a call to curb economic mismanagement and corruption that have been cogs in the wheel of economic prosperity and development of this God’s own nation; a call to lay solid foundations for our education and healthcare delivery systems. It is a call to address insecurity that has ravaged our country and launch viable measures to combat the problem. It is a call to start mapping out genuine steps towards youth emancipation.

What we are witnessing now demonstrates that Nigeria youths are ready to liberate themselves from the hegemony of bad leaders and get involved in the electoral processes that will lead to the emergence of good leaders. It shows that our youths are ready to take responsibility and will bring about meaningful economic prosperity and development in the country.

Nigerians deserve better life. We deserve good education, quality healthcare, safe environment, good road network and better infrastructure and other basic social amenities that make life worth living.

I will advise the protesters not to limit their efforts to the street protests but participate actively in the electoral processes where their voices will be heard louder, where people of their choice, people they know better, people they know their antecedents, their family backgrounds, jobs, people they will be able to hold responsible, credible leaders will be elected to represent them at the various levels of political leadership.

  • Giwa is the founder of Hassan Olawale Giwa (HOG) Foundation.


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