Labour activists list how #EndSARS campaign redefines radicalism in Nigeria
Labour activists listed how the #EndSARS campaign is redefining labour activism in Nigeria through its disruptive nature.
Speaking at a memorial lecture in honour of late pioneer Director General of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Yima Sen, in Abuja, Director, Mac Arthur Foundation’s Africa Office, Dr. Kole Shetimma, observed that while the exemplary life of the late Yima symbolised that of struggles which traversed the political landscape, the recent #EndSARS campaign had provided a fresh definition of activism in Nigeria that relied on the social media and other means of communication.
Shettima, who chaired the occasion, declared that the #EndSARS generation had actually issued a generational retirement for the activists who drove radicalism from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s.
Shettima argue that if the power elite in Nigeria today is still holding on its escapist narrative of the #EndSARS generation as what opposition, enemies of government and cultists put together, then they have got a different thing coming.
He explained, “A new generation with completely new ways of thinking and enacting themselves are in place and kicking with digital jabs that can send systems into disarray. It was part of Brexit, for example, just as it also fuelled the Floyd revolt in the US.
“What Nigeria they are going to build is not what anyone can foresee right now.”
Shettima said it would be rewarding if #Endsars would replicate what Yima Sen symbolised – the harmonious membership of wide-ranging sites of activism.
He lamented that enemy images now pervades the land along with deep suspicion and mistrust, things that Yima fought against.
A professor of Theatre Arts, Prof Iyorwuese Hagher, who went to the same Bristol Secondary School, Gboko with Yima interpreted Yima’s path as the outcome of the motto of the school, which was to be the light of the world.
The Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Dr. Otive Igbuzor said for Yima, every political opportunity should be taken and gateways to advance the progressive agenda seized.
He said Yima believed that political praxis meant taking every path that could lead to progress but resisting incorporation into the world of bourgeois politics in which power is the only thing that matters rather than the good that power could be used to pursue.
Director, Advocacy and Publicity of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who lauded Yima, said his penetrating intelligence, profound personal humility and stubborn commitment to personal values made him a major reference point even in an organisation, which has very high premium on integrity of its members.
“He was passionate about Nigeria and committed to interests of all Northern communities. He felt no discomfort in describing himself as a proud Tiv man, a northerner and a living Christian. His journey through life took him through the nation’s inner recesses of the political process, and he spent his last few years imparting knowledge and wisdom to the next generation of Nigerians at BAZE University where we both taught,” he stated.