The Long Walk to Freedom

20.10.2020. The day Nigerians at home and abroad watched helplessly as the blood of its youths was shed by the government supposed to protect them. The day the rickety, ineffective government officially crossed the line from incompetence to shameless brutality. The day they thought they had managed to snuff life out of the New Nigeria that is being birthed.

I say ‘thought’ because I know it’s far from over. In the ever true words of Dinos Christianopoulos, “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” When people are sick and tired of being sick and tired, a powerful force is unleashed that even the heaviest of military tanks can’t flatten.

When people are sick and tired of being sick and tired, a powerful force is unleashed that even the heaviest of military tanks can’t flatten

Aisha Yusufu

I sat that night paralysed as I scrolled past clip after clip, image after image of the pre-meditated massacre of innocent civilians by the Nigerian State. The protesters wrapped the Nigerian flag around themselves like a shield but alas, the flag was no match for the depravity of our leaders that came in the guise of flag-piercing bullets by the military. What is the Nigerian flag worth if it could not protect innocent young people from being killed by their own government?

As a nation, we have been on life support for many years but I guess the events of last Tuesday was a watershed moment; a moment for all of us to ‘shine our eyes.’ These are not just lazy leaders, they are blood-sucking pests that have drained the country of its resources and clearly won’t hesitate to snuff life out of young people in a calculated way whilst their own children lay comfortably tucked away in ‘the abroad’, thousands of miles away from the criminality of their parents.

Yes, it was a traumatising night but we are ALL wide awake now. From Makoko to Maryland, Apapa to Atlanta, we are AWAKE. Awake to our power and office as citizens. Awake to the fact that the status quo can be threatened and eventually toppled. Awake to the age-long tactics of divide along tribal lines and conquer.

We have no one to thank for this awakening than the brave young people of Nigeria who doggedly put down their yams to ask questions.

So, dear Nigerian youths, thank you. Thank you for at least unveiling the beast behind the veil of leadership we call a democratic government.

Yes, the journey is far. No doubt, the walk to freedom is a long and painful one but thank you to those who have paved the way with their blood, sweat, tears and prayers. We owe you.

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