Keyboard Warriors and Freedom Fighters: How The Social Media Is Spearheading A Generational Change
Different hashtags have trended. The calls have been rife and loud, and the social media has gone some mile in helping with that. The youths, who were the keyboard warriors of yesteryears have turned freedom fighters, marching on a long walk to freedom.
Nigerians have stood out in the past few days to fight for a cause for the betterment of the nation. It is good to see and it was not without its own stories.
The government, often quick to flag the actions of the youths as unimportant, were shocked to see the sonating resolution of the people and how angry, tired and hungry Nigerians have been. The hashtags that trended were about SARS, but the pain in people's minds goes beyond the Police, its crass brutality and horrendous killings. It’s about the pain people have been living with. It’s about the hopes of generations to come and the big future ahead of Nigeria.
Foot Soldiers of Ibadan
Youths took to the streets in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital to protest the killing of Ibrahim Jimoh and the extraneous behaviours of SARS officials. Although the federal government, through the IG, has since announced that the mode of operation has changed, Nigerian youths have turned around to say until the reforms are clearly shown, the protests will not end.
The faces seen are angry, and there is a deep pain down the body and soul of many people. While it looked like a jamboree at some point, with music blaring on the underground and dancing going on in front of the state secretariat, the message that SARS has to go and the government’s need to improve was loud. It was an organised protest that had food and drinks to help people quench their thirst and hunger.
The morale is high, despite challenges faced by protesters but the organisation seen was very impressive and precursory of better things to come.
The state government also addressed the thousands of people present at the event, promising to speak to the federal government on their behalf.
Port Harcourt Is Never Afraid- That Should Be Nigerians
On Monday evening, Rivers State government, Nyesom Wike announced a ban on protests in the state. To his shocking surprise, the youths of the state refused his threats and sent the Police detached to stop them back. What was initially feared to be a serious decision ended in peace with the governor addressing the youths to tell them he’s for them and against Police brutality.
Port Harcourt youths showed Nigerians why they have to be fearless against the government when they forget democratic tendencies for fascism at times.
There is no government bigger than the people, and if anything has made us realise this, it is the extent of what’s achievable when we go out as a people.
The future is bigger than any man and Nigerian youths have shown this to the rest of the world.
Social Media Replacing Mainstream Media?
Over the course of a week, Nigeria’s mainstream media went to sleep, rumoured to be a subject of the federal government’s pressure. In this time, social media came to life, as always, keeping citizens abreast of the development seen and the sacrifices made by many Nigerians.
Nigerians don't have to wait to get their stories told, they tell the stories themselves and it spreads wide in no time like wildfire. These stories don’t come without some of their misinformation, but they are-real time and mostly accurate with sources. Most meetings and assembly were done with the aid of the social media and there is an impressive accountability shown by young, angry and betterment-seeking Nigerians.
The Nigerian government has reacted to the spate of brutality shown by the Police but are yet to show full commitment to the compensation of the deceased and the prosecution of the murderers.
Many people would never have seen Nigerian youths reacting at all, not even after many elderly ones see them as lazy and unwilling to work, in a show of obliviousness and stubborn resentment for new trends.
History will recall the role played by the social media in this struggle for a better and more accountable Nigeria, as the Nigerian government struggles to live up with expectations of the masses.