Everyone has the capacity to make demands. It is in us. It is also a choice to make demands or not to make demands and people have to live with the consequences of the choice that they make. Monday the 6th of January was #NaijaBlackMonday. Since after the first #NaijaBlackMonday where citizens decided to wear black to show their displeasure at the invasion of a court of law by men of the State Security Service, it was decided that it would be made monthly. The first Monday of every month is now #NaijaBlackMonday.
Citizens are learning what it is to make demands and fight for their rights. No longer are they willing to be passive citizens who are thrown around by the action of those who govern them but they are now active citizens who want a say in the way that they are being governed. Many have always been afraid of coming out and it has always been a source of fear to go out on a protest and those in authority have encouraged this fear by coming down hard on those who protest so as to discourage others from coming out to protest.
With the #NaijaBlackMonday many are able to do something without putting themselves in harm’s way. They are giving themselves permission to have a voice and show their displeasure at what they do not like about the governance of their country. It might seem inconsequential to many but to some it is an awakening to the capacity that is in them to make a difference
Wearing black on a particular day to signify anger at the bad governance, lack of accountability and lack of transparency might not seem much but it will make people bond and strengthen them by seeing others who are doing something similar. It would make people realise that they are not alone in their displeasure at the happenings in the country. It would also most importantly make them realise that there are others like them who are willing to do something about the situation.
It was Steven Biko that said the mind of the oppressed is the biggest weapon of the oppressor and what we need to do first, is let people know that they CAN!. Mental emancipation is needed for people to get to a place of understanding that they are capable of making a difference with their voice.
It is always best to make demands on issues when it does not concern you. That way when it ever gets to a point where you are affected then you would be able to use your voice most effectively. Sadly many people think when they are not affected then it is not their business to make demands and they always assume that they cannot be victims since of course they pray and it can never be their portion. When they do become victims, they find themselves floundering and unable to do anything and the victim card continue to go round.
Recently in the News a bank was reported to have sacked thousands of its employees without benefits. Many of whom have worked for over a decade. How is it even possible that thousands of people would be sacked and there is no outcry? Well the question is, did they speak when others were affected? What happened when others had been sacked? Nothing! Otherwise they would have been spared.
How do you explain over two thousand people not being able to raise their voices and make demands for themselves? Many have been mentally conquered. They believe you cannot fight a big corporation. Otherwise one will be blacklisted and would not get job. Others are lobbying to either be taken back or get jobs elsewhere while the few who decide to fight get bogged down. A few years later history will repeat itself with another set of victims who would be sacked.
Sometimes all that is needed is for one person to speak up and you can just be that person. Many need someone to spearhead the demand so that they can have someone saying it is okay to speak up. We must always understand that the education we have is not for ourselves alone but for millions of others that are not educated. We all have circle of influence and we must use it to teach people the power of demands and also help them know that we can be that channel through which they can demand. If you are unable to be that channel through which others can demand, ensure you get those whom you can demand through their leadership. What is not acceptable is silence. We cannot continue to be oppressed citizens in our own country. We deserve a better Nation