The last 1 year in Nigeria has been one of the longest in time past, it’s been a case of a Yoruba adage “ E diye ba lokun, Ara o rokun, Ara o to adiye”. Meaning the bird lands on the rope, the Bird is not comfortable, the Rope is also not comfortable, in business terms a loss/loss scenario as nobody wins.
I was opportune to have a strategy session and discussion a few days before 20/10/2020 with a top government functionary, discussing the best way to dowse the tension already being generated by the EDNSARS Issue, but unfortunately, things went out of hand on 20th and the mediation strategy proposed never saw the light of day.
I highlighted the need to understand who this group of youths are, their motivation, their temperament, and what they intend to achieve and based on this proposed solution.
For clarity I will go over the analytics of this segment, the ENDSARS generation is made up of 70% generation y ( ages 9-25) 23% of Millennials ages (25 and 40 years), and 7% Gen X ages(41-56 years old).
With these stats, you will know that the power range of this group falls between 18-30.
If anything you need to understand that this generation is a different one, driven by purpose or goal more than money or financial rewards, support each other regardless of social status, fight and protect the vulnerable amongst each other, hold temporary leaders accountable as any iota of doubt you lose your influence with them they easily the next “sense-making” individual who understands their values and is pursuing that purpose without any “personal interest” becomes the next “temporary leader” and why during the challenging times, they were asked to present a leader and they chorused “ we have no leaders”, meaning we are led by purpose and vision and anyone regardless of who you are, who can genuinely lead us towards our purpose takes the “ temporary leadership” seat until someone better comes along and we move to the next “ temporary leader”.
The Endsars brand movement Personality.
They can’t be lied to; they will dig your file out in 20 minutes and you will end your career before it even started, can’t be deceived as they are highly educated and can read between the lines, can’t be bought as they are not a self-centered generation, but a generation that is collaborative in nature looking to help others up.
Their mission is simple “they want a child of nobody to become somebody without knowing anybody” and this means let the competent do the job regardless of race, color, tribe, party, religious lines, or age.
The tag line above is very evident in the Start-up ecosystem in Nigeria today as many top tech talents and leaders of teams building Unicorn companies “were not born with silver spoons” and many don’t even know anybody, but are succeeding very well regardless of oppositions.
Looking closely at issues that the ENDSARS brand ran into, a lot of the time the issues are caused by the Millenia+ Gen x members in the movement, looking to get a seat at the table of government or business but using the ENDSARS movement as the tool to get the attention. As soon as the “ personal agenda” of such individuals get noticed, their influence in relation to the movement gets deflated immediately by the group and all of a sudden their words and followership hold no bite again and they suddenly fizzled- out, no once, not twice not three times has this happened.
Unfortunately, the movement was against the brutality from Men of SARS, but the force approach used in dealing with the issue escalated if from fight against a single law enforcement agency to a fight against government and oppression, and since 20/10/2020, the government has been utilizing force and the more force applied the more rage It generates from the youth. The more force applied the more the #ENDSARS Brand gain more global recognition at the expense of the “ Brand Nigeria” gaining a not too good reputation globally. Like I said earlier no matter how we look at this, it is a loss/loss for us all, regardless of the side, you are on.
In time past the Government made individuals wealthy due to contracts and monopoly licenses and the beneficiary have no choice but obey the government’s orders even if the customers and users of their products are not happy. But that power has since reduced as the new generation makes wealth from technology Value creation, talent utilization via online platforms, and various ways globally with the government not having much control. The level of technology savviness is at par with global peers, thanks to the web access and various online training and this has been displayed times without number. From account getting locked to switching to Bitcoin in hours, from Ban on Twitter to VPN, and many more.
Truth is, the loyalty of this segment is first to the general purpose of growth and progress for all before other things, you will be shocked that Gen Z has resigned their appointment in organizations siting the fact that their organization is Anti-ENDSARS, Many fathers are defending policies outside, whereas in their homes a major war is being fought as their children are at loggerheads with them on these issues and are ready to leave- home if that is what will drive home the message for the parents.
All this said what is the way forward, another Yoruba adage says” AGBA GBON, OMODE GBON, LAFI DA ILE –IFE, Meaning, it’s the wisdom of the elderly and the Wisdom of the youths that build a Town. But as it stands right now the Wisdom of the elderly is “cunning “ and the Strength and Wisdom of the youth becomes “rage” at every opportunity, either way, nobody wins.
2023 is around the corner and everyone wants to show relevance; The youth trying to show “strength” and the elderly trying to show “ Wisdom”, May I appeal to us to please not take “no corruption personality” as a leadership skill or competence, or being an “Aluta leader” as a leadership skill; Being an influential member of the ENDSARS MOVEMENT alone is also not enough competence for a great leadership choice!. All I know is that is it easier to lead when there are enough resources to execute agendas, but when the resource is scarce, and things are bad the responsibility falls on the shoulder of leadership to use skill, competence, and all it has to make the best out of a terrible situation.
May I ask a rhetorical question above again? The ENDSARS BRAND; to support or fight, you choose