EndSARS Youth Movement (The Messengers of Hope) emerges The Guardian’s Person of the Year 2020.
“Authorities in the country didn’t know enough to know that their children, sorry, the youth they have tagged as lazy and docile are well aware of the classics from a social change icon that one of the greatest liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through the great periods of social change. They (the youth) have been awake. They have also imbibed the fact that ‘every society has its protectors of status quo and fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. The young ones in Nigeria who have seen vision of their country through learning and re-learning have noted too that their very survival depends on their ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.
The EndSARS connoisseurs don’t believe in charity anymore. They believe in solidarity. They are aware too that charity is vertical and so it’s humiliating: it goes from top to the bottom – with humiliating offerings. They have read that solidarity is horizontal: it respects the other and learns from the other. They have learnt a lot from the other significant social changers.
The resourceful anti-police-brutality protesters who have long endured the pang of the sour grapes their fathers have been eating, which have set their teeth on edge, are also abreast of a borrowed brilliance from Anwar Fazal who teaches us that even ‘little people doing little things in little places everywhere can change the world’ too. Unknown to the power elite in Nigeria, the artful disrupters in October 2020 are also aware that, ‘social change can occur too when the gap between the ideals that people hold and the realities that they see every day gets too large. The #End SARS salvation soldiers are also armed with the power that their re-learning has given and they now know that ‘the first resistance to social change is to say it’s not necessary’. This has been the weapon the power elite and aristocracy have been wielding to disarm even the watchdogs they have changed to lapdogs.
The bold table shakers, had declared in a classical redemption song: “they are the world”. They took inspiration from a charity single originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa anchored by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson in January 1985: ‘We are the world’. They had declared ‘there comes a time when they had to heed a certain call when the oppressed youth must come together as one. They felt there were young people dying through police brutality… They screamed Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life…the greatest gift of all. They cried as the young Jackson and Richie rallied for hapless Ethiopians in those days: ‘We can’t go on pretending day-by-day…that someone, somewhere will soon make a change…That they are all a part of God’s great big family, after all…And in truth, love from the state is all they need… They shouted: we are the world…we are the children…There’s a choice we’re making..we’re saving our own lives…It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me.
The (EndSARS Youth Movement) young patriots sang again then: ‘when you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all…But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall…well, well, well, well let us realise.. Oh, that a change can only come when we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah..we are the world…we are the children…we are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start agitating for a better Nigeria.
In the main, despite the dispute and concomitant on-going presidential investigations, even the President bowed to the remarkable demands of the young patriots when he said, the voices of the young protesters had been heard loud and clear! And so for that significant testimony of awakening the sleepy and docile seats of power in the country to realise that poverty and hardship are national security threats; for shaking the table of the powerful ones without losing their mojo; for demonstrating through magnificent planning that we can be all leaders and followers of a common cause – to bring back our country; for showing the power elite what it is to be truly Nigerian; for showing that with proper understanding of the times through good leadership, Nigeria can indeed lead Africa and indeed the black race, the EndSARS Youth Movement is The Guardian’s Person of the Year 2020.
Don’t forget to read a companion piece on The Guardian’s 2018 Person of the Year, Leah Sharibu: Remembering a forerunner of resistance on page 6. She is still in captivity.”