Independence: October 20, 2020 crushed our hope for Nigeria

Another independence day is here and Nigerians are expressing mixed feelings. This is our home; where we live. It is where our people are; we love them, but at the same time, can’t deny that most of us are struggling to believe that things will get better. The amount of people “fleeing” the country have increased and when they announce it on social media, they get a lot of “congratulations”. For what? For escaping Nigeria. Nigeria has become a tragedy; a scary nightmare unfolding little by little. I asked myself, what are we celebrating independence for? A singular, memorable event skyrocketed this loss of hope in redeeming Nigeria. We’d walk down memory lane to see how the events of October 20th crushed our hope for Nigeria.

This was that one time we refused to let Nigeria silence us

The #ENDSARS protest drew so much attention for one outstanding reason — the Nigerian Youth refused to back down. Some people volunteered to sleep at the venues. People were willing to give. Within the space of a week, the Nigerian Youth built a reliable network around the country. Monies contributed were being disbursed accountably. People were willing to develop and provide medical, legal and welfare systems. Also, people put their lives on hold for the course of this country and the police even arrested some protesters. They tried to silence us, but we didn’t succumb. The protest went mainstream. Several countries, governments and people of influence gave their support. It seemed like an absolute win for us.

We thought a new Independence had come

For the first time in several years, everyone was united towards a goal. I listened to the elderly people talk about the protest; I’ve never seen them so much in support of the youth before. Gender issues didn’t divide Nigeria men and women. The protest united our tribes for some days; we even saw some Northern states join the protest. We just wanted our voices to be heard. The youth wanted our government officials, whom we elected to serve the people, to listen to our complaints. Was that too much to ask?

The joy of seeing people stand up for their rights was short-lived. After watching the LIVE videos, hearing the gunshots and seeing people soaked in blood, I heard one of the government officials come out to say “it was photoshopped”. Please, how do you photoshop a live streamed video that thousands of people watched? I still live with the trauma of that night.

As the events following October 20th unfolded, we literally saw the Nigerian government gaslight and emotionally blackmail the citizens. Firstly, the army denied being at Lekki toll-gate. Then, the Governor of Lagos state admitted that the army was at the toll gate, but he did not invite them. So, we proceeded to have a clownery back and forth between the army, Lagos state government and the federal government.

The army later admitted that they were not only at the toll gate, but were also invited by the Lagos state governor and that they only fired bullets in the air. The Lagos state governor said no one was hurt, but he mentioned that he went to see injured people from the toll gate at the hospital. He said no one died, but in an interview with CNN, he admitted that two people died (we all know it’s more than that number). All this clownery displayed towards an event that took people’s lives? The people who elected you to protect them? Optimistic and patriotic people who had burning hope for a new Nigeria? I can’t get past the trauma.

We got brutalized while fighting against police brutality

What kind of hope are you looking for?

We wanted to hear “our president” speak about the killings at the Lekki toll gate; he scoffed at our efforts and told the international media to “backoff”.

Thinking about how, in May 2021, he told the Igbo people he was going to “treat them in the language they understand” and relating it to October 20th, I think it all makes sense now. They don’t think we deserve to be treated as civil people and the language they speak is to “trample on the citizens”.

What kind of hope are you looking for in the Nigerian people? At this point, do you still want people to hold on to their hope for Nigeria? Some of us watched live streamed videos, others were physically present. Some planned to be at the toll gate that night but changed their minds. To these people, they could’ve died.

Shouldn’t we be protesting now? The inflation is terrific, there is hunger everywhere and people are getting poorer. What about how things have tripled in price, how people can’t fund basic needs and how several businesses are running at a loss? Shouldn’t we also protest against the budding insecurity?

But at what cost?

People would rather save themselves from the burning Nigeria, than get burnt trying to save it, because either you do one or the other, it is burning.

It’s simply sad, but also honest. The aftermath of the #ENDSARS protest crushed our hope for Nigeria.

So, when you see people celebrating leaving Nigeria, don’t call them unpatriotic. They’re only being pro-life.

Pray, if you want to pray. Protest, if you want to protest. Leave, if you want to. Celebrate Nigeria and enjoy independence, if you want to. But understand that people gave their lives to Nigeria in exchange for no victory and no honour.

Honestly, what are we celebrating 61 years of independence for?

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8 thoughts on “Independence: October 20, 2020 crushed our hope for Nigeria”

  1. In the words of Jason E. Perry:
    “…history approving tracking record;
    No evil has ever gone unpunished
    And kingdoms come and go and throne get throne to oblivion
    And I am not in any way shook by Satan…”

    God still punishes evil. He’s the same God right now as he was back then; and this is applicable to punishment also not only the strange acts of God, kindness and mercy but also TOWARDS SIN!


  2. Will Nigeria ever get better?
    Sometimes one wonders if there’s still hope for Nigeria. Even at other times when you hear people praying for Nigeria, you wonder whether it’s really worth it.
    I believe one day it’ll all get better, buh that doesn’t stop me from japaaing when I see the opportunity sha.
    One day it’ll all be a story, a story on the “Journey to a Better Nigeria”.
    Thank you for this Piece!…

  3. It was a well written piece, and it kinda describes what my mind went through as I thought back to last year… As far as I’m concerned sha, I’ve decided to stop caring about any of it… If the country gets better, all well and good; and if it doesn’t, I couldn’t care less either way…
    Peace, love and akamu…
    Live long and prosper… 🖖🏽

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