Prominent Young Advocates of Good Governance
October 03 (THEWILL) – Young people, they say, are the leaders of tomorrow. As the country celebrates its 61st anniversary of independence, THEWILL features five young Nigerians who have remained at the forefront of advocacy and activism to ensure that those in positions of authority are held accountable for their actions, even in the face of to extreme intimidation.
Nigerian comedian, actor and activist Adebowale Adebayo, better known as Mr Macaroni, has always spoken out online and in person against bad governance. He also saw the four walls of a prison because of his activism. The young content creator was among the notable artists whose voices were strong during the #EndSARS movement that rocked the nation in 2020. He spent several nights in the cold on the terrace of the National Assembly in Lagos denouncing brutality policewoman and extortion. He was also present at the #OccupyLekkitollgate protest in February this year and was even arrested by men from the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad (SARS) at the Lekki tollgate. Debo was taken away after several failed attempts to get him out of the protest grounds. However, the actor continued to use his social media space to speak out against the institution of government frustrating Nigerians. He is also one of the few artists known to lend a hand to victims of the system. He was at Jumoke Oyeleke’s home after she was shot and killed by police men during the Yoruba Nation protest that took place a few months ago. The talented actor donated half a million naira to the family of the deceased.
Olorunrinu Bolatito Oduala, also known as Rinu, is a media strategist and human rights defender. She was one of the organizers of the #EndSARS event. She also made history as one of the first women to take to the streets after a video of a man allegedly killed by the infamous Special Anti-Robbery Squad went viral.
The video then sparked what has become the #EndSARS movement. Rinu set up camps outside the Lagos state governor’s office and demanded that the police unit be disbanded. She rallied people on social media and organized blankets for those who ended up sleeping outside the state government building for 72 hours before being attacked by police men.
The little lady later became a threat to the government and her bank account was frozen for 90 days. Due to her activism, Twitter recognized her and verified her account.
Rinu was also a member of the Lagos Judicial Commission of Inquiry and Restitution for Victims of Police Abuse. They recommended punishing the culprits and compensating the victims.
However, she withdrew from the panel after approving the return of Lekki’s toll to the control of Lekki Concession Company, an act she called unfairness. She resigned because she was not ready to be part of the cover-up. Through his social networks, Rinu continued to lend his voice against the system. She recently commented on the injustice suffered by students at Abia State Polytechnic when they were shot while protesting the rape and assault of one of their classmates by state security officers.
Popular disc jockey, Obianuju Catherine Udeh, better known as Dj Switch, added the prefix “activist” to her name after the #EndSARS movement saga. She was among thousands of protesters who called for Nigerian police reform.
Dj Switch also encouraged his social media fans to join the movement in a peaceful protest. She broadcast live of the shooting of peaceful protesters in Lagos State after the event took a negative turn.
Dj Switch posted it on his social media space and within minutes it went viral. She suffered injuries while running to a safe place. Days after the video went viral, she posted another video where she recounted her experience with the shooting and showed fragments of shells that she picked up at the scene of the protest.
She then went into hiding after being declared wanted by Nigerian police. She reportedly claimed asylum in Canada and even gave Cable News Network (CNN) an interview about the Lekki shooting. The singer later denied claiming asylum and spoke to CNN.
After the protest, she continued her advocacy on her social media space. She recently had a live Instagram show with Seun Bakare from Amnesty International and other organizations.
Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz, has been a vocal artist since its inception. His music and social media space are the vehicles with which the singer lends his voice to issues affecting humanity.
In 2018, he released a music video called This is Nigeria. The song highlighted some of the major issues, including corruption, bribery and insecurity, affecting the country.
Despite its success, the song was banned by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), who called it vulgar. Folarin then sued the commission for its action. Falz, who is also one of the leaders of the #EndSARS movement, encouraged other Nigerian celebrities to join the protest in 2020. A few months after the outcry, he released another clip, Johnny, which he has seen. dedicated to heroes illegally killed during the movement.
He was then indicted in the Federal High Court in Bwari, Abuja, by a Mr. Okeke for supporting the #EndSARS protest which was then hijacked by thugs who destroyed lives and property in different parts of the country. Falz also gave CNN’s Christiane Amanpour an interview in which he said President Muhammadu Buhari’s Nigerian police reform promise was infuriating and frustrating because he had been making the same promise for three years. The talented actor and singer also wrote an open letter to the president asking for the reconstitution of the board of directors of the National Rights Commission.
Temitope Majekodunmi is a director, transformational leader and IT genius. He is also an activist who advocated for an end to police brutality in Nigeria. He was one of the main voices in the Lekki tollbooth protest that took place in February 2021. He was elected by young people in an online vote as a member of the inquiry and feedback panel. of Lagos for the victims after the end of the #EndSARS saga.
After being elected, Temitope called on young people who had been harassed, extorted and brutalized by members of the Nigerian police SARS unit and the victims of the Lekki toll shooting to seek justice. As a representative of the panel, he was tasked with listening to the submission of the survivors, interviewing the accused staff, determining the veracity of all claims, recommending penalties for the culprits and appropriate compensation for the victims.