I stand at my balcony and look down the streets. Cars and other automobiles come and go; children play in the mud; a mother cautions her child not to go near the manhole; the police officers at checkpoints attend to matters judiciously, as a passerby hails them for their efforts in foiling the robbery attempt yesterday; a group of young men argue over who will win the match between Barcelona and Liverpool – one even gestures towards me to arbitrate the matter. It’s a
regular day in my neighborhood. But that was all in my dream. I have woken up now.
Today, I stand on my balcony and look down the streets. Let me tell you what I observe: people in locust formation with placards and cardboards protesting. The average age of these lot can’t be more than 25. They are clearly frustrated and agitated. They clamor for an end to police brutality, an end to the police unit that has bastardized Nigerian youths, reform for the entire police, a peaceful and secure nation. But that is not all I observe.
I hear gunshots, and I see the police hauling teargas in the general direction of the protesters. Unbelievable! I see the
policemen dragging a female protester mercilessly to the station, and manhandling her in the process. I see the exact demonstration of what is protested against in the midst of the protest. But the youths are undeterred. They persevere, they endure, they shout, they cry, and they even offer prayers. The country has failed them countless times, but this time they won’t keep silent. They have had to cope with insecurity, poor educational system, unemployment, and other symptoms of bad governance. Now, they have been the latest victims of inhuman policing, but this time, they won’t keep calm.
I continue to look and to wait for my awakening. But this is not a dream. If this was in my dream, it would have been abnormal. But this is reality, and it is a regular day in my neighborhood. The guy who beckoned towards me in my dream urges me again. But this time, it is not to support one football club against the other. It is to join the movement.
I ask, “Baba, wetin dey happen?”
“#endsars na e dey happen oo. Come, make dem fit hear our voices. Make we soro soke. Our mumu don too much!”, he replies.
I contemplate the offer, and I immediately see the reason for the movement. It is too much. I haven’t had an encounter with these guys, but what about the many others? I could choose to sit down at home, but no. I will protest, I will shout, I will cry, and I will conquer. I no be werey – I no go disguise! I will live to tell my children of this revolution, and how I, along with many other exuberant youths ended SARS or SWAT as they later called it.
Tomorrow, I will still exercise my freewill. And whatever happens, it will be a regular day in my neighborhood.
By Ifeanyi Chidi (Instagram: @ikeweezeey)