By Adeoluwa Olanrewaju
For the past one week, there have been agitations in Nigeria, the world’s most populous black nation. It began as an insignificant and usual protest but soon evolved into an un-ignorable cry led largely by the Nigerian youths. The outset was linked to police brutality and particularly the underhandedness of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad popularly known with the acronym SARS, a unit of the Nigerian Police Force.
It is an agitation that had taken too much time to happen, recalling the countless victims of the inhuman treatment that many had gone through with a good number quite unlucky and having to pay with their lives.
Sensing that this was a protest unusual, the Federal Government issued a quick ban on SARS, and a few days later, the government announced a new unit to be known as Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT).
The protest clique, claiming to be without a leadership, penned down five-point agenda, which again the government swiftly announced to have consented to. The government’s unusual concession would have been expected to terminate the protest and life moves on again.
On the contrary, the movement continues to gain momentum across major capital cities, towns, and the Federal Capital Territory. Those in the diaspora are adding their voices with social media providing the greatest platform for the protest.
In the space of one week at least, we have witnessed an unusual government proactiveness. Agitators make valid demands and they are immediately granted; at least let’s believe so. State governors, fearing to be made irrelevant, are swiftly granting the wishes of the people. That was nothing but celebrating Christmas in October.
The Pointers that cannot be Ignored
On the first of October 2020, Nigeria marked 60 years of independence but her experience has been quite challenging. She remains the poverty capital of the world with almost half of her population living below the poverty line.
Not less than 54 million Nigerians are unemployed. Nigeria holds the record for the highest number of out of school children. Her police is ranked 127th in the world. Despite being the world’s 11th largest producer of crude oil, Nigerians wallow in abject poverty and squalor.
Her citizens have been very much used to irresponsible government, high disregard for the rule of law, human rights infringements, and widespread corruption un-imaginable. Though fighting corruption with two principal agencies, Nigeria ranks 146 as the least corrupt nation out of 180 according to the Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International.
But then, this one week has proven that change is not impossible after all. We have seen that the government could be so pressured to ban an ineffective security unit, listen to her citizens, and implement their demands.
We have seen the youths raise funds to fuel the process. They have provided relative security within their capacity to cater to the defense of the protesters. They have effectively mobilized for medical supplies and personnel to ensure that any protester needing medical supply is able to access one effortlessly. They have provided meals to school the palliative lords how best to treat humans.
They have provided fun to ease stress. And the religious found the moment strategic enough to organize prayer walks. Some even find the comfort to pass the night on the protest ground, perhaps, the latter is better off than the slums where many Nigerians abode.
Aren’t these the basic things Nigerians are calling off? The one-week governance from the youth is definitely not a perfect system, but it surely strikes some major chords.
At sixty, one is welcomed to the elders’ forum. Any childish behaviour at this level is most probably irredeemable. There are certain things sane countries must get right at sixty. Certainly, this is no longer a protest about police brutality solely, but a demonstration against irresponsible and irresponsive governance over the years.
It is piled-up anger to which the present administration happens to be the recipient of its expression. We have continued to be a laughing stock among the comity of nations that should normally hold on until Nigeria arrives before decisions are made. The memories of humiliating experiences, at least on two occasions, when I had to join a special check queue in countries far lesser than ours still hurt. Just because we carry the green passport!
#EndSARS: Where do we go from here?
Momentums are easily quenched when focus is lost. Movements soon die when dammed. We have got to learn from history. These features are very synonymous with expressions that midwife revival – the kind that catalyses righteousness and God-centred holistic transformation.
This is not a religious campaign, rather, it is pricking the conscience of the leaders and the led to the consciousness of the Creator who delights in the justice as well as the welfare of His people.
The Good Book says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” I have read through Lorren Cunningham’s The Book that Transforms Nations, inarguably, the foundation of every nation that gets it right in all her formation is one that gets it right with the Creator.
This is then expressed in actions that feature the desired transformation and manifested in the holistic being of the people.
Back to the reference on 60, since that is what Nigeria clocked this year, let me share some thoughts on its significance. The letter Samekh is the 15th letter of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet and it has a numeric value of 60. Samekh means to “lean upon,” “to uphold,” or “to support.”
According to the Chaz’l, Samekh represents the endless and ever-ascending spiral of God’s glory in the universe. Could it be that the cloud of the raining of glory for Nigeria is formed? Interestingly, the letter Samekh is represented as Yod-Hey in the Hebrew numbering system, which is also one of the Sacred Names of God. Could it be that the Divine is at work in the present realities in Nigeria?
And now this – Preceding Samekh in the Hebrew alphabet is the letter Nun, which suggests someone who is broken and humbled. If the two letters are put together, they produce the Hebrew word nes, which means miracle. I believe in the supernatural! Could the Divine be working out a miracle for Nigeria?
Nigeria is long overdue to provide anticipated leadership for Africa and indeed the world at large. This is not mere daydreaming. By 2050, Lagos will be the most populated city in the world. It means the attention of the world will be here economically, socially, politically, and indeed in every facet of living. How are we getting ready to face that reality? It’s just thirty years away! Nigeria’s median age is 17.9, so it means that well over 60% of us should still be alive by then.
Our religious expressions are very key in this process. Nigeria is one of the very few countries of the world that are equally drawn across Christianity and Islam adherents. The religious tensions and consequent crises that have added to the pains of Nigerians cannot even be quantified.
It is high time we began to raise adherents that are truly faithful and tolerant. In my faith, it is referred to as Discipleship, an intentional and lifelong process where members are raised to be like Christ, our Perfect Model. These are people who are expected to be the salt and light of the nation beginning from their tiniest sphere of influence.
I close with this, now that we are sixty, could it be the said time for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Pa Sydney Elton who said “Nigeria will be known for corruption worldwide but the tide will turn and Nigeria will also be known for righteousness worldwide. Many shall take hold of him that is a Nigerian, saying We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” The pointers strongly suggest so, and we shall not miss it this time around.
Adeoluwa Olanrewaju serves with the Nigeria Center for Global Harvest. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AdeoluwaFelix.