For any civil rule or constitutional democracy to thrive in any nation, three important guiding principles must exist. These are rule of law, equality before the law and fundamental human rights. If any country or nation fails to operate within the ambit of these three tenets particularly the fundamental human rights, where every other right is embedded, such a nation definitely heading towards full blown anarchy.
With the recent protests #ENDSARS, it is clear that Nigerians, especially the Youths are ready to take their destinies into their hands. The youths are ready to stand against bad governance, the youths are ready to say NO to insecurity, NO to corruption, NO to unemployment, NO to poverty and other social menace that are stunting the development of Nigeria.
A school of thought strongly believes that challenges Nigeria is grappling with over the years are as a result of poor leadership and followers. Therefore, it is important that leaders and followers realise they play critical roles in nation’s development.
Roles of leaders in the decision making process and implementation of government development policies cannot be over emphasized. As well, the ability of the followers to rightly choosing or electing (good) leaders into the position of authority are very paramount in the determination of what the future holds for the country.
However, leaders in Nigeria have failed in their duties to capitalise on both human and material resources God endowed the country with, to make it the envious one among the committee of nations. When we are talking about leaders, it is not limited to the present occupiers of political offices, rather it cuts across those that have had opportunity to lead at a time or the other since Nigeria attained her independence.
Nigeria’s leaders have succeeded in subjecting the country into very deep well of poverty, they have made the country capital of poverty in the world through their not only bad but also self centered economic policies. They have made the youths incapacitated, they embezzled money meant for development, they have failed to provide good education, agricultural and health systems. They have rather succeeded in increasing inflation rate, thereby skyrocketed prizes of food items in the market. Unemployment and corruption rates, as well as level of insecurity have become matters of concern and unprecedented. Nigerians are daily living in fear, with no food and job security.
Followers on the other hand, have made themselves slaves to the elite class through their carefree attitude and myopic thinking. They have neglected their active roles in the creation of leadership process. They have given themselves to champion electioneering campaign of bad leaders, rig elections for politicians, even against their interest.
How well the followers follow is probably just as important to any nation’s success as how well the leaders lead.
Followers have left their responsibilities to checkmate the excesses of their leaders. They have turned themselves to mere instruments that elites use to achieve their selfish interests.
Leadership and followership are two parallel words that one can not exist without another. Their combinations make a nation, and their effective coexistence bring meaningful, rapid and lasting development to a country. Many countries in the world that attained independence at the same time with Nigeria have moved to their next level, despite having their challenges. But they were able to leverage on the economic advantage which reside in their followership, by making them (followers) the center of the economic policies.
ENDSARS Protest: My Take
The ongoing ENDSARS protest, I see it as a wake up call to solve so many challenges confronting our dear nation, Nigeria. A call to right so many wrongs in the country’s policing system. A call to curb economic mismanagement and corruption that have been a cog in the wheel of economic prosperity and development of this God own nation, Nigeria. A call to lay solid foundations for our education and healthcare delivery systems. A call to address insecurity that has ravaged our country and relaunch a viable approach security measures to combat same. And lastly, a call to start mapping out genuine steps towards youth emancipation.
What we are witnessing now demonstrates that Nigeria youths are ready to liberate themselves from the hegemony of bad leaders and get involved in the electoral processes that will lead to the emergence of God sent leaders. It shows that our youths are ready to take responsibility by excusing leaders without the knowledge of the 21st economic century that will bring about meaningful economic prosperity and development to the country.
Nigerians deserve better life; we deserve good education, quality healthcare, safe environment, good road network and better infrastructure and other basic social amenities that make life worth living.
I will advise the protesters should not limit their efforts to the streets protest, but rather extend it to participate actively in the electoral processes where their voices will be heard louder, where people of their choice, people they know better, people they know their antecedents, their family background, job or occupation, people they will be able to hold responsible, credible leaders will be elected to represent them at various political offices.
Arc. Giwa is the founder, Hassan Olawale Giwa (HOG) Foundation