Artist seeks global vigil for victims of #EndSARS Protests
Saddened by the reported shootings of unarmed young protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos by yet to be identified military men on October 20, 2020, U.S.-based Nigerian musician and peace activist, Prince Ayo Manuel Ajisebutu, has invited the global community to join Nigerians all over the world to observe a candlelight vigil in honour of all lives lost as a result of the well intentioned #EndSARS protest.
Prior to the nationwide protest, Prince Ayo Manuel had sued for peace, having sensed a volatile omen, and urged the citizens to embrace love as the only virtue that can save Nigeria from possible genocide.
Things indeed went awry following the peaceful protest that set out to demand an end to police brutality and general reform in governance in Nigeria with the hashtag #EndSARS.
The social commentator moves that the vigil be held in every city around the world at nightfall on Sunday, November 15, 2020, calling on people of goodwill globally to observe a sit-at-home candlelight vigil, if they cannot join gatherings in their community.
“We should come together as a united human race to honour these brave youths that were asking their government to protect and care for them. Unfortunately the same military that was supposed to protect them reportedly took their lives. Let’s come together and stand with their families, for their pain is our pain. When one of us is hurting we all feel it because we are all connected,” says Prince Ayo Manuel.
The goal, according to him, is to get the global community to spiritually lift up Nigeria and its people, and to reassure all that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
“The candlelight vigil for the untimely death of the protesters also symbolizes light of hope for all Nigerians. It signifies a rebirth of Nigeria: a new nation that will allow its youths to grow and prosper, a new nation that seeks equal rights and justice for all, a new nation that is not run on tribal and religious sentiments. Indeed, the united youths of Nigeria have already displayed in all their actions, that a new nation that unites and cares for its citizens is possible. I urge you all to be part of the change,” he says.
Prince Ajisebutu is the Founder and President of MansMark Records, an entertainment outfit in Los Angeles, California. In 1995 he organized several rallies to save the Nigerian human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9 from being killed by General Abacha. He later joined forces with some Nigerians in Oakland and San Francisco area to form Free Nigeria Movement.
Their activities received the support of organizations such as Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and Rainforest Action Network. He was also the producer and presenter of Voice of Free Nigeria, a weekly radio show that urged Nigerians to take charge of their destiny. The radio was used to protest the annulment of the election of June 12, unjust imprisonment of oppositions and other atrocities committed by the junta regime of General Sani Abacha. His history of activism and constant call for love, peace and unity date back to the 80s, and are reflected in his songs, like “Save Nigeria” (1991), “Africans Unite”(1991) and soon to be released “Make a Change.”
A social change agent, entrepreneur, and creator of A.Y.ZERO clothing line, his personal mantras: Behave Royally, Love, Don’t Hate and We are Connected serve as blueprint for all his business ventures, music, and creative endeavors. To this, he says: “I consider my work to be an evolving, expanding vision to create a better world, no matter what I am doing.”