We can all agree that to be a young Nigerian today is to be in a constant state of awareness. You are always in an ever-swinging cycle of knowing. It means being tapped into the latest happenings and being in close proximity, through the ever-increasing access the internet provides, to how much better things could be for us in this country.
To be young in Nigeria is to always be angry. Angry and frustrated, so much that we are always talking. We are always reacting to harmful policies and calling out ignorance. We are always interrogating the country’s ingrained hypocrisy and its selective respect for certain humans.
We may not speak on something at all times, it gets tiring, but we remain aware of what is going on and if there is anything this generation represents, it is change. Radical, intentional and bold.
In the past few years we have seen the pace of protests picking up in the country. The culture of marching together in solidarity to raise awareness around an unfavorable social issue is one that continues to gain popularity in our culture. We have seen its power and we are not only taking activism and speaking out off social media, we are merging both mediums because it is possible. Because every platform matters. Because there is no such thing as too much awareness, there are only problems that need solving. And we are here ready to get those solutions as speedily as we can.
As we continue to see the #EndSARS protests unfold, the unrelenting and unanimous body of them, it only makes sense to see this as the start of a new culture where harmful systems will be rejected with a quickness.
While this might be a strongly unifying moment, there is also the hard and undeniable possibility that if queer people or women were to protest yet again for any social issue that primarily targets them, there might not be this much support for them. It is a sad fact that should change with this important cultural moment. There is power in numbers and we are all affected when there is any form of oppression, whether we support its existence or not.
With our access on social media we are raising the much needed awareness and getting as many voices involved as we can and with our protests we are further driving home our point. This is what it means to be a young and Nigerian at this time.
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.