EndSars Protest: Counting the Gains, Casualties or Losses
By Princewell Achor
It’s no longer news that #endsars protest left a lot of horrific tales of woes on its trail. What had begun as peaceful agitation for the end of police brutality across the country, eventually turned violent when bad elements infilitrated and hijacked the protest. The genuine agitators or protesters were at various times attacked. The most devastating attack being the alledge Lekki Toll plaza killings. The aftermath of the unfortunate Lekki saga triggered uncontrollably destruction and looting of both private and public properties.
The chips are down, and Nigerians are taking stock of the events that made ‘things to fall apart, and the center could no longer hold’. Nigerians are counting their huge losses but with minimal gains.
The gains of the protest could be encapsulated in the five key structural/policy demands made by protesters at beginning, which the Federal Government acceded to.
The other gain is the unity of purpose which the young people exhibited in pursuing a common goal. Their voices were heard louder and clearer, with a strong message that enough is enough! Never in the history of Nigeria, have youths nay the digital natives overlooked their ethnicity but united and answered a Clarion call. A call to duty, a call for a better future for the youths, and most importantly, a call for total visibility in the socio-political sphere. That call resonated across the globe, reminding anyone that cares to know that, the ‘lazy youths’ have woken up from slumber to make legitimate demands from their political leaders.
If the EndSars campaign could be to likened a war due to unwholesome acts that heralded the protests in parts of the country, it then suggests that, there was no victor, but only vanquished. Unfortunately, the peaceful endsars campaign degenerated into a war the moment the civility codes that guided the protests disappeared in the minds of some misguided protesters and those hired to scuttle the protests.
All of us are vanquished because we went to war with ourselves and defeated ourselves. We are all counting our losses; we are all causalties of this war. The casualties of this unfortunate war could be likened to various taxonomies in the J P Clark’s famous poem, ‘The Casualties” .
Yes! The casualties are not only those who are dead or wounded in the course of the protest, but include those who are traumatized or emtionally tortured by the death of their relatives and loved ones. The casualties also include those whose businesses and means of livelihood were destroyed and looted. Another category of casualties are those who await death by instalment due to loss of hope and devastations caused by hoodlums in the wake of the #EndSARS protest.
We are all casualties, directly or indirectly. The number of economic man-hours lost during the period of the protest makes all of us casualties. We are counting our losses: the government and masses, we share the burden. The public amenities and utilities that were destroyed or looted belong to all of us; they were provided and will be rebuilt with taxpayers money.
So, who is the victor !
Dr. Achor is a Public Relations Scholar/ Expert, Public Issues Analyst and Political Marketing Communicator