by Adewale Alabi
On Tuesday the 20th of October 2020, the Nigerian army opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki toll gate. We saw one of the protesters die on an IG live stream by Obianuju Catherine Udeh a.k.a DJ Switch. The live stream helped Nigerians stay abreast of the tragic event and the courage with which DJ Switch was able to keep a level head in such a situation kept everyone in awe.
The age-old African myth that a woman is not as brave as a man was destroyed by the overwhelming courage shown by various women who have played one role or another in the #EndSARS protests. DJ Switch’s brave report yesterday sealed that blasted patriarchy tomb forever.
So it’s about time we recognize the struggles of Nigerian women as well as giving them the respect they deserve. Right from the first day of the protests when social media influencer, Savvy Rinu, led a group of young Nigerians in a fierce protest at Alausa, to yesterday when DJ Switch let the whole world in on the massacre, Nigerian women have shown a certain level of courage that is enough to distil any doubts of their equality to men.
Women, both young and old, have been able to show exemplary power and leadership during this period. An example of such is Irianele Virtuous, a 22-year-old lady who worked tirelessly to make sure the protesters and the protests stay strong. In an interview with Al-Jazeera she said;
“My focus is making sure people in these large gatherings don’t get dehydrated,” said the 22-year-old. “I’m always ensuring that water is on the ground, that glucose is available, as well as food [and …] masks so that people will wear them to shield against coronavirus.”
It is also pertinent to note that this could be a marker for Nigerian women to take their destiny in their hands and not wait on men to help abolish laws that do not favour them. The way women have shown up in different ways in these protests show they are the real change-makers in the Nigerian system. The level of coordination we have seen suggests that when and if women are placed in positions of power, the results would be phenomenal.