Ochonu Explains Why #EndSARS Protests Have Lasted This Far
Nigerians, especially those sympathetic to the government of the day, have been raising questions over the sustenance of the persistent protests against police brutality and insecurity across Nigeria.
The protests, which have lasted more than two weeks without relenting, have not shown any sign of withering, and some pro-government Nigerians have began to raise questions over the likelihood of faceless sponsors behind the agitations.
Noone has been directly named, but there are insinuations that the sort of organistion, entertainment, chains of food supply and lavatory arrangements that have characterized the protests, especially in Lagos, were bankrolled by some politicians.
But, while the allegations have remained mostly muted and unofficial, a Nigerian-born Professor of History at the Cornelius Vanderbilt University, Moses Ochonu, has explained that protesters have only succeeded in confounding the interventionist modalities of the government, and that was why the protests have lasted so long without cracking.
The professor, who specialises in the modern history of Africa, with a particular focus on the colonial and postcolonial periods, wrote on his Facebook page on Monday:
The #endsars youth protesters have confounded the interventionist modalities of the government. This is why they have sustained their struggle for this long unlike past protests which fizzled out quickly.
Previous protest movements gave government excuses and opportunities to destabilize them. The present generation of protesters have taken all those excuses and opportunities off the table, confusing rulers and rendering their playbook for crushing protests useless.
- Unlike previous protesters, these #EndSARS protesters have refused to organize around a centralized leadership whose members can be compromised, arrested, or picked off to demoralize the movement.
- Unlike previous protesters, they have moved quickly to build an entire physical and cyber infrastructure to support and sustain their movement. To that end, they have established online fundraising platforms, cooked or ordered food, acquired mobile toilets, secured their own security, organized religious services, and booked a lineup of entertainers to provide daily and nightly sonic support for the movement. This resourcefulness has enabled them to avoid the problem of protest fatigue and shortage of support and convenience that plagued previous protests, which enabled the government to wait them out, knowing that protesters would get tired or bored with life on the street.
- The present protesters are even cleaning up after themselves, so the government cannot accuse them of littering or messing up urban centers.
- They have rejected gifts from government-affiliated entities to keep their movement from being coyly bought over or co-opted.
- They have resisted and rejected the effort of political partisans to join their bandwagon so that the government cannot credibly accuse them of harboring a political agenda or of being used for a political hit job on the regime.
- They have leveraged online organizing tools and international networks of solidarity in ways that previous protesters never did.
- They have constructed a radical protest economy of financial transparency that accounts for all their fundraising and spending. This has made it impossible for the government and other traducers to accuse the protesters of shady financial dealings, an accusatory propaganda that government was able to use against previous protesters.
- They have aggressively prevented protesters from destroying property or engaging in vandalism or violence, which would have given the government an alibi to violently crush the movement.
- They have resisted the provocations of security forces and in several instances have supplied policemen with drinks, treated them with cordiality, and incorporated their issues and grievances into their agenda and demands.
We’re all learning from the tactical and strategic genius of this generation.
Share your thoughts on the story Ochonu Explains Why #EndSARS Protests Have Lasted This Far with Nigerian Sketch in the comments section below.