he 20th of October 2020 will be remembered as a day where the future of Nigeria, which are the youths, got massacred like mere livestock. It is a day of ruthless repression, mindless cruelty, and inhumanity, culminating in the killing of flag-waving Patriots. It was a day that would live in infamy. A day of horror; a bloodstain on our beloved national flag’s white tint. Our beloved nation is ruled by brutal force, and many oppressed citizens have been brainwashed, hoodwinked, and mentally controlled, and are deprived of the capacity, and proactive capacity, to work out their personal freedom; to work out their personal salvation, in a principled manner. In the annals of history, the date 20-10-20 signifies such an ungodly and historic event.
Before now, the Nigerian government in time past had been brutal to its citizenry, especially during a Civil protest. In most developed countries of the world, Police have a dedicated unit assigned to quelling a civil protest, riot or any other form of unrest. Such special units do not come to the ‘battle ground’ with live rounds of ammunition because it is the same people, who they are paid to protect, whom the Police are coming to disperse off from causing chaos that might lead to loss of lives, damage to properties and eventually cripple the economy. And, never will you see the Military at a protest ground taking over from the Police because civil matters are not what the Military were trained for. Worst case scenario, the special units fire tear gas at the crowd, or fire water cannons at protesters.
But, in Nigeria, at the slightest of protest, riot and civil unrest, the first resort on the government’s agenda is sending a battalion of fully armed military in armoured vehicles (the type they had never sent to face insurgencies in the country)to the protest ground to disperse off protesters and kill those who seem ‘indispensable’. They fire at close range and kill at will without remorse whatsoever. And when the military spokesperson finally appears on live media, they always denied ever being involved in such a gory affair.
Prior to the circumstances that culminated in the tragic occurrence 20-10-20, many of our fellow citizens, particularly the restless youths, were not previously exposed to autonomous creative thinking, bold mindset, or thinking outside the box. The youths of our dear country, Nigeria, caught us off guard and became more restless and adamant about the need for a transition from the past to a new beginning. Poor leadership, infrastructural decline, and near-total system collapse were the key factors that gave birth to #EndSars. Many of our fellow compatriots have been successfully pigeonholed by the system, environment, and political actors, notably the adolescents who have had the misfortune of being labelled as “lazy youths.” The problem of Police brutality was only the starting point.
Change is not something that comes easily. It is difficult to accept, especially when you are so attached to the events that occurred in a system that was designed to protect the powerful against the weak. However, once you are confronted with the reality and evidence of the hapless citizens’ vulnerability, you will slowly realise that it is worth fighting for. It has been a tale of sorrow for about a year; nothing has changed materially, and the system and actors have remained in their old ways. This is the most awful component of the entire #EndSars Saga. It is sad and inexcusable.
Let us all take a moment of solemn reflection, especially our leaders, as we remember the martyrs, our patriots, who died as a result of hot bullets fired from the weapons of an unruly Nigerian Military while singing the National Anthem and waving the Green-White-Green National Flag, drenched in our patriots’ blood. This is a very awful and sad situation that necessitates sobriety. It is unfortunate that our dear country Nigeria is strongly polarised along ethnic and religious lines; this may be one of the reasons why the North and South are unable to objectively think in the same direction, as evidenced by the #EndSars protests. Our fault lines have continued to deteriorate.
As of today, our beloved country Nigeria is no longer “One nation, one Nigeria,” as popularised by the party slogan for the general election of 1979, which produced President Shehu Shagari; nor is it “No victor, no vanquish,” as popularised by General Yakubu Gowon’s slogan for unification following the civil war in 1970. We have returned to the pre-civil war era, which was rife with unrest and separatist activity. It is terrible and unfortunate that current political players and their followers are ignorant of history’s verdict, posterity’s verdict, and God’s judgement, while our dear country Nigeria continues to drift away from its former splendour and transform into a sleeping giant.
From the foregoing, it has become critical for us as a nation at a crossroads to begin retracing our actions. It is the ideal time we called a spade by its true name. We must, as a matter of necessity, call out to our noble fathers, statesmen, religious leaders, and traditional rulers, pleading with them to intervene on behalf of millions of our compatriots, engage current political actors, and begin to put things right with a selfless mindset. We cannot continue with a fraudulent process that favours a select few; we cannot continue to show our youths the short end of the stick; we cannot continue with division; we cannot continue with an infectious system and environment that is fraudulent and moving in the wrong way.
To sum up, the date 20-10-20 has become a watershed that separates the past from the future; it has heralded a new period distinct from previous misadventures; it is a fresh beginning, and the blood of our martyrs has been used to wet and sow the seed of freedom. Our forefather’s sacrifice will not be in vain. Today is a new day.