“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
– JK Rowling
Considering the current crises Nigerians are faced with; that famous quote from the author of the popular book series, Harry Potter, can’t be anymore relevant.
At a time like this where the presumably ‘lazy Nigerian youths’ have decided to stand up and let their voice be heard, we all have to unite so that our collective voices would be too hard to ignore. However, some have been slow to join this moving train.
It is admirable to have seen a number of celebrities including Runtown who propelled this movement to full force, and Falz who aided greatly in perfectly articulating the pain of the young Nigerian (the primary victim of police brutality), to Mr. Macaroni who dropped his comic skits for a day to to shed more light on this all-important issue, it was encouraging to see these celebrities use their platform to facilitate real change.
Yet You have no shame in keeping silent.
You’re living off our money and our pain! And you gladly rejoice in this level of wickedness! If I’m wrong? Please! Address the country you “claim” to lead. @MBuhari @GarShehu @NigeriaPolice #EndSARSImmediately #EndSarsNow https://t.co/ehe9RxkCFP
— TEMS (@temsbaby) October 9, 2020
The train has since moved since Thursday with many other notable personalities hopping in to get their voices registered against brutality of their children.
The current EndSARS protests by youth groups is an indication that something is fundamentally wrong with our security architecture.
Bad eggs among the Nigeria Police have been allowed to own the narrative for too long.
— Jimi Agbaje (@jimiagbaje) October 9, 2020
The reports of the aggression meted out to young Nigerians protesting the high handedness of rogue units of @PoliceNG are deeply disturbing. Leaders of our nation ought to listen to and engage with our youth on matters concerning their wellbeing. I hope this approach changes soon
— Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (@bukolasaraki) October 9, 2020
On the flip side, their actions have inevitably exposed the inactivity of other celebrities especially those who have a history of calling for change with their craft, and tagging Nigerians cowards for not fighting for their right.
This is not the time to antagonize anyone. The enemy loves a divided base.
— Odíanøsèn Maçadé (@max_audius) October 9, 2020
Burnaboy and Naira Marley who young Nigerians had banked on, to show out but didn’t, have been the primary recipient of this particular brand of outrage. The anger and frustration brought upon by years and years of negligence from the government and a borderline oppressive rule is beginning to spill on those who although have not done anything particularly wrong, are still being tagged the villains for their silence or staying away from the streets.
Dear Naira Marley, you don't need PR to push your songs. You don't need Nigerians to stream your music. Take ur dad, mum, brothers, sisters & all ur village people to come to your show if you believe it's important… Low budget Charley Boy? & sabo?#EndSARS #EndSarsProtests https://t.co/ZpU1nuZjO0
— #ENDSARS || Amala Tourist/Ambassador☯ (@Savagekizz) October 9, 2020
The outrage is as a result of the unyielding support and patronage shown to these figures over the years, supporting their craft and trending them for the world to notice. In turn, they have failed to return the gesture in these trying times, where their voices would make an astronomical change.
Brands too are not exempted, Nigerians on Twitter are already calling for the boycott of many notable brands in the country who have been silent all this while, despite having a lucrative market share in the country. Among them are Pepsi, Darling Hair, DStv, Netflix, Coca cola among others.
On the sidelines, some others appear to be putting out thoughts that could ignite a gender war in the midst of an emerging movement against a perennial challenge. We really need to realise that such narratives are unnecessary at this time. It is counter-productive and takes away our focus.
look at a WOMAN on the forefront of a fight against an organization that oppresses (mostly) nigerian men. and then i think about nigerian women and how we are treated by these same men. na wa. https://t.co/KjaUzLBMiB
— fuji 5k (@n0manaz) October 9, 2020
While these are really valid points, we may have to be patient with some of these brands and celebrities. They just might end up making the largest impact on the movement… or not, but one thing is certain and that’s the fact they are not the enemy. The enemy is a rogue and corrupt police unit that is continually sustaining such a wicked class of officers that haven’t done much beyond bringing a lot of punishment to the Nigerian people.
For Chinedu Okafor, its all about making an impact with words, creating a profound impression on the audience with the intended narrative.