From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Activists and politicians in Nigeria have described the EndSARS movement as the greatest movement for the country’s social change in 2020.
This description was made recently during the Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference organized by Social Action on Zoom meeting, with the theme “From moment to Movement: Sustaining Popular Power Beyond 2020”.
Dr Otive Igbuzor, a politician and an activist, had observed in his paper presentation that the EndSARS protest across the nation surpassed other form of agitations, stressing that “there is no other better time than now to mobilize for a total change in Nigeria”.
Delivering his paper with the title “Consolidating the Movement for Social Change: Building Popular Power Beyond 2020″, said the history of the society is the history of societal change.
Dr Igbuzor who is the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, stressed that change will happen in a society where the conditions are right, noting the high level of poverty, crime and reported rape incidents in the country.
He feared that Nigeria is witnessing the 2nd phase of recession within two years while politicians are busy satisfying their interest.
Dr. Isaac Osuoka who gave a preview of the State of the Nation, spoke on how Democracy and freedom means nothing in Nigeria drawing illustrations and comparisons from what he called the “dark days of military regime” when the country witnessed the highest level of dictatorship, disrespect of fundamental human rights and rule of law.
He cited examples from the #ENDSARS protest where peaceful protesters were killed by the military, the high level of insecurity, and the worst state of the social and economic condition that has brought about untold hardship for citizens.
Speaking further, Dr. Isaac Osuoka gave detailed and recent happenings that has placed the nation in a state of disarray. He spoke on how poor the nation has become in recent times, the IDP camps that inhabits millions of Nigeria who had lost their homes to violent conflicts, also stretching it to the negative impact of the BokoHaram war, other killings in different geographical locations of the country, and the magnanimous unemployment rocking the Nigerian state.
He pointed out the reason behind this year’s conference. According to him “the conveners of the Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference believe in the imperative of civic intervention of the Pan Nigeria character reminiscent of the 1990s pro-democracy movement in the face of current struggle for a better Nigeria.”
Another speaker at the meeting, Mrs. Betty Abah, looked at “Gender and Popular Resistance in Nigeria: Lessons from “EndSARS”.
She looked at the key role the women played in the face of the protest. How they went just beyond providing relief materials for protesters, but the protest saw the potential of women participation in popular mass movement.
In her words, she pointed out that “making women participation a conscious effort” is important as women are being involved to effect change.
On his part, Omoyele Sowore, an activist, politician and a publisher of Sahara Reporters whose presentation focused on “Between Revolution Now and #ENDSARS: Sustaining Popular Power In Nigeria”, while narrating his ordeal as activist and his arrest in the court of law, stated that the Nigerian government has lessons to learn from the #ENDSARS protest as most of the active protesters are children of democracy born in the 1999s.
He talked about the inception of the #ENDSARS protest and how it was successfully led across 20-25 cities across the globe birthing out the idea of Revolution Now, which the country is experiencing.
In his statement he pointed out how the Revolution Now protest became a formidable stopping the detention of activist, police brutality.