If you’ve wondered about the recent uproar on Twitter after a famous social media influencer posted a picture in which she was hobnobbing with politicians, I’m here to spill the beans. Lol. Okay, on a serious note, One of our dearly beloved icons fondly known as Tao accepted the dinner invitation by the current Vice President, H.E., Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. It seemed to have gone well, except that, in typical Nigerian twitter fashion, Taoo was ‘dragged’ with no mercy. Taao is a popular social media skit maker, and to us, her duty is to make us laugh. She has been doing a great job of that, and so the last thing we expected was for her to ‘fight our cause’ as she claimed to do, without involving us. This particular move received a lot of backlash from young Nigerians, because let’s face it, if you know anything about Nigeria, you know that politicians will line as many hands as they can with money, to get what they want. And what is solidarity, and nationhood in the face of “sapa”.
So, let’s get a little bit context. None of us can forget what happened at the End Sars protest; it is stuff for the history books—which I guess is ironical considering that this country is infamous for erasing history. Young Nigerians came out en-masse to ask for accountability, to ask that their lives not be snatched from them. But what did our politicians do? They called us stubborn, unruly, disrespectful, reckless. And then the army came out and allegedly killed people. I can hardly think about this and not be heartbroken again. It is true that there were unfortunate flaws in our plan and the lack of a physical figurehead was both to our advantage as well as a cause of our inevitable downfall. But I will never forget the energy we had at the end of those weeks, the people we lost and the way we chanted their names until they were imprinted in our hearts. We swore to ourselves and to each other not to be bought over and we reminded ourselves that our integrity was all we had. We were going to do things different from the people that went before us.
Imagine our shock when one of us started to have closed door meetings based on private information. Omo. I have been Nigerian love enough to not trust anything done behind closed doors. However, it’s got me thinking while we are trying to crucify Taaoma, do we consider the dozens of other “youths representatives’ posing as faces of young people. These people could be 50-year-old men calling themselves youths and reprising roles just to fatten their pockets. They could also, unfortunately, be actual young people selling us out for personal gain, because “you have to take what you can while you can.”
Tao’s self-proclaimed trojan horse position was quite insulting in the face of all the lives lost and all the time the government has purposely turned their faces while young lives and livelihoods have been destroyed. But I would argue that Tao or anyone else seemingly more concerned with optics than the actual work should not really be our concern. The important thing I think we should focus on is the people making actual change, the voices that will not be silenced by a dinner with the powers that be. As young Nigerians, and in the face of another election year, this is not the time for division. We need to encourage collectivism, principles, and responsibility to the cause by lending our voices, following up with them, lending our time, money, and talents, and most importantly, lending our character.