CHAPTER 17: A TRIBUTE TO NIGERIA AND HER FUTURE
The violent smoke rushed through the roof in determination to impose its presence in the community. The TV station had been set on fire hours ago, and till now, the fire service was yet to perform its duties. Community members tried to put out the fire, but they feared more for their lives as with every splash of water, the smoke and fire rose even higher.
This ‘fired-up’ building was once office to over 80 members of staff who had barely scraped to safety for their lives as their office and cars were set on fire. The building housed a nationally recognized TV station and a vital part of the economy of the largest economy in Africa, and onlookers watched in horror as the flames completely razed their jobs, sources of income, economy developer, and most of all, hopes.
Before the people could wrap their minds around what had transpired, the winds carried stories of similar destruction befalling other monuments like Police Stations, Fire Service Stations, Local Government Buildings, Bus Terminals, Toll Gates, Prisons, Supermarkets, Local Markets, Buses, Cars and even Banks. Now, the same question plagued the citizens of Nigeria, “How did we get here?”
A handful of surprisingly organized hoodlums had hijacked a peaceful protest and economists have valued the destruction to several billion dollars. But are unable to place a value on the innocent lives lost.
In a country that is yet to recover from the blows of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the recent destruction is the salt on an already open wound.
Barely 2 weeks ago, youths around Nigeria gathered for one purpose: to End SARS, a protest that gathered international recognition with the #endsars hashtag. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, a unit of the Nigerian Police put in place to tackle armed robbery became a menace and began to robb and kill Nigerian youths. Sordid details accompanied many SARS stories and they took it upon themselves to attack young neatly dressed Nigerians.
Over the years, the youths complained to the government and the government responded by dissolving SARS, only to reinstate the squad a few months later. In October of 2020, the youths had had it and took to the streets in their thousands, getting the government’s attention, peacefully.
In the course of the protests, several youth led businesses gave to the welfare of the protesters and over 150 Million NGN was raised and given. Food, drinks, transportation, shelter, medical attention, etc were all taken care of. This was the first time Nigerian youths had stood up,in spite of opposition, for a cause. The protest showed the community orientation of Nigerina youths and how they are able to stand in unity for a cause even without direct leadership.
I, in particular, was in support of the protest as it was inspiring to see the depths of what Nigeria’s youngsters can accomplish seamlessly in various states with unity and perseverance.
Who would think that a campaign born from good intentions could be hijacked by scoundrels and turned into a state plague.
Currently, it may seem as though all efforts may have been in vain, but I beg to differ. The peaceful protests have shown what we, Nigerian youths are able to accomplish together. Over these past weeks, we not only got the attention of the Nigeria government, but also the attention of the world. From the US, to the UK, Instgaram to Twitter, Football to Politics, the world stood in recognition of Nigerian youths.
At this point, I am beyond convinced that what we accomplished from this will serve as a boost in changing our Nation, particularly, the government. In the coming elections, we can pull from this unity and determination, to elect a Nigerian government like the world has never seen. One along with, we will indeed create a truly remarkable Nigeria.
In my humble opinion, the past behind and taking along the lessons learnt will keep us in focus on the future we intend to create and stay before us as a light leading the way. Now isn’t the time to feel terrible or broken, but gather hope from the impact we have made and the future we can still make.
So, what is next?
To build the Nigeria we’d be proud to inhabit, entrepreneurship plays a vital role. I dare say one of the most important roles. The government alone cannot create financial freedom for its citizens, but entrepreneurship can do it. The government alone cannot create adequate jobs for its citizens, but entrepreneurs can help make unemployment a thing of the past.
So, today, I make a call to entrepreneurship. The ability for young entrepreneurs to create successful businesses is the secret to a prosperous and successful Nigeria. This reminds me of the financial boom witnessed in the United States in the 1800s when entrepreneurship boomed the wealth of the nation with the likes of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P Morgan, Madam C.J Walker, Colonel Sanders, Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst, Conrad Hilton and many others transformed the course of the United States even after several wars.
As I always say, the future of Nigeria is written in these very moments and we must not lose hope, but fix our eyes on the Nigeria we intend to build and entrepreneurship plays a valuable role in this.
Until next time, I remain yours in the digital entrepreneurship journey,