Innocent I. Enweh (PhD)


October 2020 will go down in the annals of the history of democracy in Nigeria as a black month when, against option for security, freedom and general wellbeing expressed by the youths of the nation, criminal elements sponsored by those who benefit from the misery of the people took to the street to infiltrate the #EndSARS protest match organized by the Nigerian youths thereby disorganizing the protest by destroying public and private properties and shooting at innocent protesters.  With the sense of human dignity and the sovereignty of the people already lost to the culture of temerity perpetuated by military arrogance during the long years of military regime as well as in civilian governments led by retired generals, the idea of strong leader initially had appeared to have popular appeal.  But a generation of politically self-cultivated youths who, looking beyond the shores of the nation, envision a more humane polity had sought, through protest match, to bring to an end the mindless arbitrariness of the ruling elites that have bred brutality across the nation in the last half decade, and to project a republican culture where each citizen’s rights are protected and guaranteed.  The idea of iron-bender-leader, heritage of the military, soon became not only despicable but unfashionable as the nation drifts into Hobbesian state of nature.  The protest match tagged #EndSARS protest was therefore informed by the will for a just and peaceful society.   Although the interpretation of #EndSARS as an acronym appears to have helped to give the protest an inclusive perspective in terms of its content and objective, among the academics, there were those who expressed the anxiety that without an ideological base the protest may not only be short lived but unfruitful.  Given the untimely withdrawal of the protesters from the streets, following the violent attack on them, the problem is to determine how a protest against the abuse of power and violation of human rights could bring about national transformation and eventual emergence of an authentic republic.  The objective of this paper is, therefore, to show that elaborating on the nature, purpose and significance of the aborted protest will help in furnishing an ideological base for mass mobilization that could metamorphose into a national movement capable of generating a model republic built on liberal democratic ideals.  The paper adopts descriptive and analytic methods and argues that a philosophy of reform which is citizen friendly, recognizing the individual as a subject of dignity and rights, acknowledges sovereignty as belonging first to the citizen, and only in a derived sense to the state is desideratum for the emergence of a true republic.  Such a philosophy affirms the reciprocity of rights and duties in the relationship between the state and its citizens. The paper is significant for policy conception, formulation and articulation as Nigeria envisages a new constitution.


poverty, ideology, sovereignty, human dignity, citizenship.

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