October 20, 2020.
I went to visit a friend after work that day, and most of our conversation was centered around the #Endsars protest that had been ongoing across the country for almost 2 weeks. We spoke, all the while, oblivious to the fact that something was happening at that exact moment that would shake our generation forever.
I returned home at about 10pm and got on my phone, the first thing that got my attention was a message from my brother who lives at Lekki phase 1, Lagos, just about 3km from the toll gate.
I was confused, what was happening? My heart was racing, tears threatening. I quickly checked status updates on WhatsApp, what I saw and read was devastating, my heart broke, I began to weep. I can never understand it, it would never make sense to me what happened the night of 20/10/2020 at the Lekki Toll gate in Lagos state, when men chose to kill fellow men, who were peacefully asking that their rights to live be respected.
I wept like a baby, I prayed, I joined Nathaniel Bassey on Instagram for the Hallelujah challenge, there were over 32 thousand people online, a testament to the fact that most Nigerians did not sleep that night. Eventually at about 3:30am, sleep claimed me.
I am so proud of Nigerian youths, of how peaceful and organized the protests were. A generation of people that we thought had gone extinct.
Phones that went missing at protest grounds were returned to the owners, funds were raised to repair vehicles that had been vandalized by thugs during the protest, many Nigerians offered their services for free to protesters; free food, free medical and legal services, to name a few. Youths cleaned rally points after the protests, prayer walks were organized in almost every state and people got healed at this walks. There was unity, no segregation of tribe, class or religion. Its one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed in my life as a Nigerian youth. Till the soldiers began to shoot.
The events following the Lekki toll gate massacre have been both interesting and disheartening. From the discovery of COVID-19 palliatives which had been hoarded in states across the federation, to the glaring indifference and lies told by those in leadership, to the looting and destruction of private facilities by hoodlums and very ignorant Nigerians and finally the curfews being reinstated in a number of states. It has been
a hell of a week to remember.
I realize I cannot share all that is on my heart in a single blogpost, I am almost hitting a thousand words, so I have to split this post in two.
In the meantime, protect your heart, this is no time to be depressed, stay off social media if you must, consume stuff that can feed your hope, because the process of labor has just began, these are the birth pangs heralding the delivery of a new Nigeria. The process of labor is often long and painful but the sight and cries of a beautiful live baby makes it all worth the price.
To be continued…