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Where is the Outrage?

[By ‘Yemi Adamolekun]

 

 

 

When citizens are beaten and detained by the First Lady of a democratic government, there has to be outrage.  It was outrage against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) that started the #EndSARS protest in 2020.  Outrage against injustice and silence birthed Enough is Enough Nigeria in 2010. Here is the email from Chude Jideonwo that became a street protest and an organisation.           

                          

“Guys,

As I speak to you, the people’s president has finally given in to the constitution. But has anything really changed? Did those playing with our destinies understand the gravity of their actions? You and I know the answer to that.

Just like you, guys, I have had enough. Enough, this time, is enough.

For more than two months, our president went  away without as much as an apology or explanation, we sat and watched as Jos boiled over, we continued to face a humiliating fuel scarcity and they shamefully went back on the promise of 6000 megawatts.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have been played like fools, and in all of this, the young people have been quiet.

 

Where is the outrage?????

I don’t mean on Facebook, Twitter and BBM status updates – I mean, outrage that can actually be heard by those causing the damage? I mean outrage that actually means something?

We should be ashamed that at over 70, Wole Soyinka is still the most prominent voice fighting against all this insanity.

Why are Femi Falana and Tunde Bakare on the streets and we are busy shouting only on the internet where no one cares?

The young people should be on the streets, showing their rage at how our future is being ruined. But no one is taking the gauntlet. People have begun to brand our generation as one that does nothing.

 

The National Association of Nigerian Students is busy giving awards to Maurice Iwu, the National Youth Council has effectively become an extension of the government. The Nigeria Labour Congress? Its silence has never been louder.

This cannot be allowed to happen. If the present government realises that it can do anything and get away with it, then we are doomed.

But how can we be doomed when we actually have the power to make our voices heard? At The Future Awards 2010, many young people heard clearly when the Keynote Speaker, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said “In Nigeria, generation Y, 70%of our 105 million population is under 30 years old.”

 

We are in the majority. We have the power to actually make change happen. So what is our excuse? What will we tell our children – that we lay down and took whatever they hit us with?

No. And that is why I have decided to initiate this charge for young people to make a statement: that enough is enough and we will not take it anymore. And I have gotten my partners at The Future Project to be a part of this. However, this cannot be a private venture. This is a fight that is beyond us.

We need ALL of us to drive it right from the beginning. Because we want history to record that this was the point that the young people in Nigeria began to drive fear into the hearts of our leaders.

 

The people copied in this mail are some of the leaders that young people have accepted as opinion leaders in different areas. It is time for us to fill that position and defend that trust.

What have we decided to do?

We are organising a rally – not in Lagos (what’s the point? Governor Fashola already agrees with us), but in the seat of power itself; Abuja. We are taking hundreds of young people and we will be going to the National Assembly to directly tell the people in power that we are watching them, and we are not going to take it anymore.

We are staging a walk to the National Assembly and we will force them to come out and listen and we will talk to them straight up. Before the rally there will be MASSIVE on-the-ground, media and online publicity – and then on campuses.

There will also be a strong media presence at the walk and we will be getting certain ‘celebrities’ in the arts, entertainment, business, journalism and others who will draw attention to this cause and show that ALL of Nigeria’s youth are unified this one time.

This rally will be in March. 

 

Right now we are in the process of confirming the exact date at the venue in the National Assembly where the rally will be held. There is no doubt that we will get the permission. We will communicate the date to you within five days.

At that rally, our demands are threefold and simple:

  1. We want to know exactly what is happening in the Presidency and to keep Goodluck Jonathan on his toes,
  2. We want an end to the fuel crisis,
  3. We want them to keep their promises on electricity

 

We have selected you as one of the key inner team of resource people for this, and that is because we know you are committed to Nigeria, you understand the media and you have great influence amongst the youth population, as well as the resources to get this done.

However, we must warn that this is not a project to be taken lightly. We are serious about this. This is not a fad and it is not for ‘show’. We need to do this; and it will involve time and it will involve money (though not a lot: principally your ticket to Abuja). So, if you cannot be a part of it for ANY reason, you can reach me with a private

mail and tell me so. Better to not be a part of it than to say you will be and then fall out along the way because history will judge harshly.

There are cynics who believe this cannot work and nothing will change. They lie! Our history shows that civil action can work. Ask Babangida, Ask Abacha, Ask Obasanjo. Even if we think it cannot work, it is better that we do something, rather than fold our hands.

 

Listen guys, whatever industry we work in, no matter how much money we have, if Nigeria becomes a failed state, we will all suffer! We all have a stake in this! We will be unable to drive our flashy cars and have the great events and do fine dinners if we have no country!

This rally will be the first phase. Other things will come up later. But this one we have to do first. This is the one we need you for. This is one we have to make a statement with.

This is our country; our duty; our future.

 

I look forward to getting a formal commitment to joining this effort from you and then we will contact you immediately.

Regards,

Chude.

February 26, 2010”

 

 –‘Yemi Adamolekun is the Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE Nigeria). She has an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics (LSE) and an MBA from Oxford University’s Said Business School.

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