𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 #𝗘𝗻𝗱𝗦𝗔𝗥𝗦 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁
Here we are after we’ve dropped the placards and cardboards. Here we are left with cracked voices and broken bones and bruised skins. Here we are nursing bullet wounds, counting and mourning our fallen heroes. But as we count our losses, we still point to our wins. We know that there is no gain without pain. We have learnt our lessons.
The past two weeks of protest is a defining moment that has revealed the possibility that this nation can work.
Some lessons learnt.
For the very first time in forever, Nigerians could call for help and access it in a flash of lightning, at no cost.
The toll-free help-line (01 700 1755) created for the #EndSARS protest provided help for medical aid, legal aid, food and supplies, mental health emergencies and security. Calls went through uninterrupted and help were provided swiftly.
In a nation where the police emergency line is near impossible to reach and even when calls barely pull through, you get loads of excuses until you give up. In a nation where the fire service shows up only when what is remaining of a burning building is ashes and fainting smokes, it is not too much to rate the #EndSARS help-line 99 over 100.
𝗔𝗰𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝘆
In a nation where resources are looted and unaccounted for, where we only hear about huge numbers televised and approved for one project or another, but see nothing tangible done with such money, it becomes strange yet soothing when we see, touch and enjoy the benefits of a working system.
The reality of the #EndSARS protest was that finances, running into tens of millions were not only contributed willingly by concerned Nigerians home and abroad but were well accounted for and utilized.
The impact was felt by dead-dried skins and seen by the blind.
Not only that, daily breakdown of what all monies were used for were also published professionally. An unusual experience.
Many acts of kindness were displayed during the duration of this protest, but these 3 stood out for me.
Two amputees Charles Nnaman and Jane that were spotted at the protest grounds in Lagos and Abuja got the chance to walk on twos again. Crowdfunding was organised for them on Twitter by Nonso Bobby Egemba (@aprokodoctor) for the purpose of raising funds to get prosthetic legs for them.
An old woman who met her fortune hawked groundnuts that barely worth a thousand naira to the Lekki protest ground and left the place a millionaire as protesters took pity on her and raised about 2 million naira for her just in a couple of minutes.
The third and sad one, a product designer, Okechukwu Obi-Enadhuze whose promising future was yanked off as a result of the chaos that erupted after the killings at the Lekki Toll Gate. As at the time of writing this the sum of about 17 million Naira and still counting has been raised for his family through crowdfunding organized by Dípò Awójídé (@ogbeniDipo) on Twitter as well.
This nation is blessed with professionals across various fields who have the capacity to effect significant changes if given the platform and backed with needed resources.
This protest witnessed the mobilization and convergence of highly skilled youths who volunteered their services for humanity and produced significant results.
Lawyers were shuttling within about 16 states to bail out arrested protesters, therapists were attending to protesters going through trauma and other mental related issues, finance experts were controlling the inflow and outflow of finances to cater for hospital bills, food, security damages etc, call agents were attending to hundreds of distress calls daily. Graphic designers, photographers, MCs, DJs etc, were holding forth the creative strongholds.
It was elating to see a seamless and near-perfect service delivery across all the states, well-coordinated from the centre in Lagos by powerful people like FK Abudu, Mo Odele, Samuel Otigba and other amazing people.
Indeed the protest might have not ended up as we’ve expected, but the blessings of people, resources and a glimpse of what a working Nigeria looks like, light up a little flickering candle of hope in our hearts.