The beginning of the year 2020 has been riddled with hardships especially from the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic which almost ruined the world economy, political instabilities that almost plunged some countries into disarray and different forms of insecurities that have threatened the world’s peace, among other challenging situations. These challenges may have predicted more doom for the future, they have also more than ever brought unity to the world which reaffirms the notion that the world guarantees sustained existence when nations help one another.
The pandemic which at first struck China and almost sent the mighty nation crumbling on her feet sent high palpitations to all corners of the world. There was increased medical research coupled with frantic searches for the cure to curb the spread. There were also interventions from World organisations and philanthropists to curtail its spread. Now that the pandemic still remains a global health challenge, first-world countries have been making efforts to find vaccines to put a permanent halt to its spread and save humanity.
Curtailing the spread of this deadly virus will improve the world economy and will send a great huff of relief to humanity. Fortunately, there’s already a breakthrough in the search for the cure as the United Kingdom has already approved a vaccine “that has been tested in large clinical trials,” according to a report. The pandemic brought strangeness to the world, but we have learned to live with it, after all, adaptation is necessary for survival.
In Nigeria, the story did not differ. When the pandemic struck, the federal government put in puny preparations which instead escalated its spread. For a country like Nigeria where the government cares less for its citizens, severe economic hardships escalated crime rates and other forms of misdemeanours. The government though said it intervened by providing palliatives to the citizens, it was only until recently that reports revealed that the supposed palliatives for the citizens had been hoarded by inhumane politicians for their selfish ambitions. Some citizens retaliated by looting these palliatives from the warehouses they were kept, but this only led more to the breakdown of law and order.
Perhaps the pandemic brought multiple reflections from the citizens, especially as they saw the lacklustre attitude of the government towards their survival. They must have thought that waiting or praying for a change without effective actions and fervent determination will only plunge the nation backwards and reduce their hopes of a better country. As the nation’s COVID-19 guidelines were relaxed, the citizens began to agitate for what they believe is needed to forestall more hardships. It was not the clamour that differentiated things, it was the fact that the citizens spoke with the oomph of unity and their “enough is enough” resounded and shook top corridors of power.
While the calls for a change in the narrative were gradually increasing, the nation’s security operatives only made matters worse through extra-judicial killings. This was perhaps the last straw that broke the camel’s back, as the youth became united more than ever to call for a permanent stop to these insane killings. The federal government responded by making some little changes in the security forces but the youth will not be fooled anymore as they called for more changes. They know that it has become typical for the Nigerian government to make changes that won’t eradicate the problems, so they stood still with vibrancy that dazzled the leaders who believed their tenacity must be backed up by some local or foreign authorities.
To prevent further demonstrations they say will cause national instability, the Nigerian government gunned down the protesters in a brutal massacre that will never be forgotten in the country’s history. At the time of writing this, the parties accused of orchestrating this massacre have only shifted blame to one other in the characteristic “Nigerian way” to cloud the truth. More so, there were concerns from international bodies as the killings increased but our obstinate political leaders not only dismissed these concerns, they also promised more deaths if there were more protests.
These killings doused whatever confidence the youth had. Everyone wants a better Nigeria but no one wants to be the sacrificial lamb. Our leaders may have thought the battle was over as they continued to threaten more clampdowns if they were any agitations. The youth who are bent on making a change continued with their agitations after a brief hiatus. The mantra for a better Nigeria has come to stay! The youth have proved unshaken and they are more than ever resolute to agitate for their rights. The most interesting part is that the youth are able to put out these noteworthy efforts without a recognised leader. In all parts of the country, the youth are agitating for a similar agenda, which will raise the nation to the international standard, without holding a national convention or secret meetings to call for a change.
One would expect that the leaders would look into the pleas of the youth and begin the transition of power from the old to the youth, they have not. Their obstinacy only tempts one to opine that the country operates gerontocracy and not democracy.
That the ascension of the youth into the top corridor of powers will bring a change is not a doubt, what is disturbing is the youth who hold some positions in government now have been infected with the negative ideas of our current leaders who care for their personal interests over the nation’s welfare. There is a huge need to orient these sets of people to change their belief in being used as political tools. They should be made to know that their independence from political godfathers is the beginning of a new nation.
The old adage says “United we stand, divided we fall.” The youth who have begun the second wave of protests must know that cooperation will only record achievements; thus they should not allow any elements—political or not—to hamper their calls for a new narrative. They should make their voices firm in their path for change. The Nigerian government will try to employ whatever deceptive means they can to annihilate their resolve, but they must not be shaken. Change in the country would never come on a silver platter; the youth should therefore not throw caution into the wind and make sure they protect themselves from any clampdowns. Togetherness should be their watchword for Nigeria will not break, it will only evolve.
This opinion story has been published on CAMPUS REPORTER with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author. CAMPUS REPORTER does not bear any responsibility for the contents of this story, all views belong to the author.
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