A Tribute To Those Youths Who Made #EndSARS Possible


THE ALTERNATIVE  with Reno Omokri

Two weeks ago, I was received by Iceland’s ministers for Justice and Tourism. These were two young women. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, is just 34 years old, and she moved from the ministry of tourism on November 28, 2021, and is now Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir is just 31 years old, and she has been the Icelandic minister for justice since 2019.

And then last week, I was at Saint Lucia, where I was received by Joachim Andre Henry, Saint Lucia’s Minister for Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment. He is also in his thirties.

Previously, I met with Antigua’s Minister for Social Transformation, Samantha Marshall, and was struck by her youth.

I am not dropping names here. I am trying to paint a picture. All over the world, young people are finding a role and a voice. But not so in Nigeria.

There is not a single youth in the cabinet of Buhari. Not one. The average age of Buhari’s ministers is 61 years. Please do not take my word for it. Research it yourself. Yet Most of Nigeria’s populace are under 36. Yet, they are not represented in government!

Obasanjo had multiple youths in his government, including 36-year-old Chukwuemeka Chikelu, and 37-year-old Frank Nweke.

Former President Jonathan had multiple youths in his cabinet, including a 32-year-old foreign affairs minister, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed.

But it seems Buhari is allergic to youths. He does not have them in his cabinet, and does not particularly like them, hence his infamous faux pas in London, when he described Nigeria’s youths as “lazy”!

This disdain that Buhari has for Nigeria’s youths led to the #EndSARS protests. Those protests were a cry from Nigeria’s youths to be involved in their government. And that agitation will not be done away with by meaningless ‘peace walks’ or by inviting Instagram comedians to amuse a Nigerian big man in his office.

The problems of Nigeria’s youths can only be solved by bringing youths into government.

And it is not like there are no capable youths. There are. I was shocked when I read about Buhari’s finance minister’s proposal to plug the N3 trillion subsidy hole by giving out N5000 monthly to 40 million Nigerians. How do you save N3 trillion by spending N2.4 trillion?

Surely, a youth, like Feyi Fawehinmi, can do a better job as finance minister, than the 61-year-old Zainab Ahmed, who has obviously ran out of ideas.

Even within the Buhari administration itself, some youths are buried in obscurity, and who have the brilliance to better manage the direction of the hopeless Buhari regime.

One of such youths is Ajuri Ngelale, who will definitely do a better job as minister for information than Lai Mohammed, who is totally unfit for the job, and has earned an odious reputation for himself as an unrepentant liar and hopeless sycophant.

I am perhaps the most ardent critic of the Buhari administration, and yet, I recently found myself nodding in approval as I listened to the eloquence of Mr. Ngelale, who carries himself well, and seasons his words before discharging them from his mouth.

Even Buhari himself said, “I wish I became Head of State when I was a governor, just a few years as a young man. Now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do.”

The man understands his limitations. His issue is that he is not compensating for his limitations. Old age and ill health are some of his many limitations. And rather than lean on youths, he relies on men like the 69-year-old (allegedly) Tinubu, 77-year-old Ibrahim Gambari, and 82-year-old Mamman Daura.

How can you compensate for your weakness with more of your weakness? This is the dilemma of the Buhari cabal. Nigeria is fragile because they are too old, and they are too old because Nigerians are too docile.

That is why I celebrate those youths who were brave enough to take a stand during the #EndSARS protests. That is why I celebrate Debo Adebayo, AKA Mr. Macaroni. I commend Folarin Falana, AKA Falz. I laud David Adeleke, AKA Davido. And I applaud Obianuju Catherine Udeh, AKA DJ Switch.

There are many others. I cannot mention all. But what I can say is that a time will come when a responsible administration will govern Nigeria, and your labours of love will not be forgotten. It will be memorialised in our currency, and our other national symbols, like stamps, passports and statues.

In you, Nigeria’s youths have good role models, who have and will continue to show that if anyone is lazy, it is not our youths. It is the cabal led by the man who met a total debt of N12 trillion in 2015, and has increased it to N40 trillion, with little to show for it.

I dare say that any of the youths I mentioned above would do a better job than Buhari in piloting the affairs of Nigeria.

How old was Gowon when he became Nigeria’s Head of State? Just 31! Yet, Nigeria made her best progress under him. The Youth Party should look to someone like Davido. If they field Davido for President, they will be shocked at how people will troop out to vote YDPN!

The best leaders in Africa have tended to be very young people. Gaddafi was 27 when he became Libya’s leader. Patrice Lumumba was 34 when he became Congo’s Prime Minister. Gamal Abdel Nasser, Julius Nyerere, Seretse Khama, the list goes on. Even the man Davido is named after became King of Israel at 30.

Reno’s Darts

If Governor Sanwo-olu had the guts of Justice Doris Okuwobi, he would have been calling out Buhari and Buratai, instead of calling Macaroni, Falz and Seun Kuti for a walk for peace. How can you walk on the graves of #LekkiMassacre #EndSARS victims, then call for a walk for peace? Sanwo-olu, grow some balls. Learn from Governor Sam Ortom of Benue state, who looked Buhari to his face and called him out. For how long will you be Tinubu’s lackey? How can you be a Governor and you are still doing baba so pe?

Governor Sanwo-olu should know that it is not ingratitude if you bite the hands that feed you in order to protect the hands that voted for you. Nigerians don’t need a walk for peace. They just need Buhari, Buratai and all those responsible for #LekkiMassacre to walk to prison!

Reno’s Nuggets

When you hear people complaining, listen. That is how you come up with business ideas. The founders of Uber heard people complaining about the difficulty of getting taxis and came up with Uber. Every successful business is just a solution to other people’s problems. For example, if you hear people complaining about the price of rice, chicken and other consumables, don’t just join in on the complaining. See how you can provide those items at affordable prices. And voila! Just like that, you have a business!