As young people, most times our blood dey hot. However, we must show that we’re very intentional and intelligent. We must also show that we have not just been watching but have also learned from history. What we’re not going to do is allow this great opportunity go to waste: a time when we have decided not to be ‘lazy’ but to take the bull by the horns. From my observations, I curated a list I believe will further entrench a strategic approach to our demands:
Keep It Civil
I can’t stress this enough. At the end of the day, we’re operating a democracy. Don’t infringe on someone else’s right whilst demanding yours. Taking the high road is not what you do for ‘them’ – it’s something you do for you. If someone does wrong, choose to do right, lest there be two bad people. Don’t be too emotional that you forget to be emotionally intelligent. Don’t give anyone an excuse to have one over you. Once you engage in the mud, you make it easier for the narrative to be hijacked. Stay on message at all costs.
Intensity Is Important But Consistency is ‘Importanter’
Nipsey Hussle got it right when he said, “the marathon continues.” Bringing about real change is never a sprint but a marathon. Don’t think that change will be served à la carte; you have to brace up for the long haul. I have an implicit bias for systems, so the major key alert for me is not starting something, it’s sustaining it. We have to go beyond trending hashtags and organize ourselves into groups that can take actionable steps. Just like one of my fav OAPs put it: “Don’t just get angry, stay angry!”
Don’t fall for this old trick! While we celebrate the influential people and brands that have lent their voices to our cause, this movement is not about anyone but we the people. Once a person or group of persons become the ‘face’ of this movement, it becomes easier to hijack it! We have seen countless examples of some of them huffing and puffing only to call off planned engagements at the last hour because they were courted by certain persons.
We have also seen certain ‘leaders’ come out of closed-door meetings smiling sheepishly after which things went south. Don’t blame me for being a cynic on this one fam, it is what it is.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
If, for some reason, you can’t physically join the movement, send those on ground money to handle logistics, finger foods, chair and canopy rentals, water, simple vitals check, face masks, etc. If you want to support in kind, please do. Offer pro bono legal services to those who may likely be detained in the process. On a bigger scale, they will be needing money to offset major medical expenses of those who have been injured. Publish their story on your media house. Your widow’s mite goes a long way!
The Silence of the Lambs
Hope ya’ll are taking notes of the deafening silence of some of your faves and brands? When it’s convenient for them, they jump on every conceivable trend and try to spin it in their favour, but when it comes to what directly affects you, they are MIA. A great part of communication is listening to what is not being said. Their silence means they don’t rate you as much – they chose their brand over you, you’re only a statistic for their business models and you’re just a prop for their brand expansion.
Do you know what made the BLM so effective: They weaponized their numbers! They unfollowed nonchalant and tone-deaf brands on socials, boycotted their businesses and had them blackballed from their communities. The result? When it began to hurt their pockets, they came correct! Stop riding for brands who won’t ride for you, you’re way too smart for that. These people make the loudest noise when it’s in their interest but when it’s time to return the favour, they chose to bind you to the philistines. Loyalty doesn’t mean you’re foolish, root for those who can maintain the same energy.
Ask for Clear Timeline
Don’t just settle for platitudes, promises and placebos, demand a comprehensive action plan with dates. Some of these rhetoric sound like a broken Aretha Franklin record, they just rinse and repeat the same story. Vague talk is a subtle way of buying time with the hopes that your fire will die out or you will be distracted enough by other things to take your eyes off the ball. Document your engagements and get the media to effectively cover it for all to see!
Focus On The Focus
Please let’s be guided, this is not the time for any other agenda to agend! We’re are speaking with one voice – not Feminist Coven vs Patriarchy FC, not 30BG vs Starboy FC, not Umbrella vs Broom, not Arsenal vs Manchester, not South vs North and certainly not one faith against the other! The oldest trick in the playbook is you divide us along these lines because they are lowkey scared whenever we are united like this. Don’t outsource your thinking to any influencer or thought leader – think for yourself and act accordingly!
We need everyone on Jack’s app doing the Lord’s work to continue. We’re sending love and light to those on Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, hopefully, they will realize that there are more important things than using filters to pepper them and get on with the program soon. By trending the right hashtags on Twitter, we have been able to get the right attention from even beyond our shores. We may have to go beyond tweeting, but it’s something we can all do for a start.
Don’t leave your house without telling at least three of your closest friends and family about your movement. We’re living in very interesting times, this is not a time to be ‘coded.’ Sharing your itinerary will make it easier to track you in the event that anything goes south. Also, move in groups, don’t be a lone wolf; it’s hard to break a broom but it’s easy to break a single broomstick. Don’t share personal data with any group, don’t lose guard, don’t break ranks. He that has ears, let him hear.
Las las, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. At the very least, make sure you show up with a face mask. We should not throw caution to the wind, coronavirus doesn’t care who you are or what you’re fighting for, so please take necessary precaution. These clusters have a high tendency of becoming super spreaders, but I know say God no go shame us.
“We want a Nigerian society where the child of a nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody. No Nigerian is more Nigerian than any Nigerian!”
– Aisha Yesufu
I wrote this for Jimoh Isiaq, my own way of telling him that we will not allow him and others become just another statistic. We’re doing this for the dead, the living and the unborn.