With the economic hardship being faced by Nigerians in Nigeria, it’s getting harder and harder not to grumble about the current state of things.
Bad governance, recession and corruption are some of the reasons why Nigerian singer 2Face Idibia called for a protest on January 25, 2017. He wanted the government to explain their actions and insensitivity to the people.
"I will no longer be quiet," he said in a Facebook live post on January 31, 2017.
“My partners, colleagues and I have come together to create a platform for Nigerians to communicate their real pains to government at all levels in a peaceful and articulate manner with a view to getting lasting solutions to our problems.
"This march is about demanding that our leaders connect with all the people in Nigeria."
2Face’s call caused a lot of debate and controversy. As people took to social media to decipher whether or not to join the protest, the police stepped in and demanded that the ‘Officially blind’ singer cancel the protest.
The Lagos Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said the command would not let the protest hold. Speaking on February 1, Owoseni said intelligence report indicates that criminals might hijack the process.
Initially 2Face refused to cave into cancelling but security concerns made him cave in.
According to reports thousands gathered in Lagos and many others gathered in Abuja, Ibadan, Ijebu-Ode, Benin and even the United Kingdom to protest despite the cancellation.
While this protest got the attention of the Government, there are many other ways to protest outside of taking out to the streets.
Social media has changed the way we demonstrate our grievances. The advancement of this platform in connectivity and communication with likeminds is on a whole new level. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have been used to communicate campaigns.
For instance, since the kidnapping of the Chibok girls in 2014, the hashtag ##BringBackOurGirls has been used to engage the government and keep the conversation going about the need for the girls to be rescued.
Artistic expressions can be used to create awareness on deeper issues. Following USA President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the works of 80 female contemporary artiste was showcased in an exhibition called ‘Uprise’ at a gallery in New York.
Currently sitting at the Nike Art Gallery in Lekki, Lagos is a painting of what resembles the Chibok girls with their haunting eyes waiting to be rescued by the government.
Songs are also a great way to express one’s feelings. The late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was known for singing about his frustrations with the government.
Theatre can also be used to magnify a problem. Performance is a way of expressing, communicating and objecting against injustice. Protest/political theatre is used to raise awareness about issues in society.
In his recent theatre production, ‘Morning On Judgement Day’, Toyin Oshinaike lays emphasis on the enormous rate of unemployment in the country.
Apart from taking to the streets, there are other peaceful ways to demonstrate and bring about social change.