This year theme, tagged, “FROM MOMENT TO MOVEMENT: SUSTAINING POPULAR POWER BEYOND 2020.
The conference had 7panelists who spoke on different sub-topics, all garnered at Sustaining Popular power. The conference started with an opening remark by the one of the host Dr. Isaac Osuoka who gave a preview of the State of the Nation.
He spoke about how Democracy and freedom means nothing in Nigeria drawing illustrations and comparisons from what he called the “dark days of military regime” when the country witnessed the highest level of dictatorship, disrespect of fundamental human rights and rule of law. He cited examples from the #ENDSARS protest where peaceful protesters were killed by the military, the high level of insecurity, and the worst state of the social and economic condition that has brought about untold hardship for citizens.
Speaking further, Dr. Isaac Osuoka gave detailed and recent happenings that has placed the nation in a state of disarray. He talked about how poor the nation has become in recent times, the IDP camps that inhabits millions of Nigeria who had lost their homes to violent conflicts, also stretching it to the negative impact of the BokoHaram war, other killings in different geographical locations of the country, and the magnanimous unemployment rocking the Nigerian state. All these and many more practices have hampered the growth of the country and over twenty years, the country is witnessing one of the worst periods in history as the government parastatal is collapsing.
He pointed out the reason behind this year’s conference. According to him “the conveners of the Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference believe in the imperative of civic intervention of the Pan Nigeria character reminiscent of the 1990s pro-democracy movement in the face of current struggle for a better Nigeria.”
The first speaker Dr. Otive Igbuzor, who spoke on “Consolidating the Movement for Social Change: Building Popular Power Beyond 2020.” Going down historical lane, he talked about the first point of argument which he said is the history for material change, then the struggle for other form of change and the organization of different movements that is geared towards change marrying it with the recent Social Movement that the country has witnessed where change is demanded.
Another panelist Mrs. Betty Abah, looked at “Gender and Popular Resistance in Nigeria: Lessons from “EndSARS”. She looked at the key role the women played in the face of the protest. How they went just beyond providing relief materials for protesters, but the protest saw the potential of women participation in popular mass movement. In his words, she pointed out that “making women participation a conscious effort” is important as women are being involved to effect change.
Furthermore, Omoyele Sowore an activist, politician and a publisher of Sahara Reporters whose presentation focused on “Between Revolution Now and #ENDSARS: Sustaining Popular Power In Nigeria.” While narrating his ordeal as activist and his arrest in the court of law, he stated the fact that the Nigerian government has lessons to learn from the #ENDSARS protest as most of the active protesters are children of democracy born in the 1999s. He talked about the inception of the #ENDSARS protest and how it was successfully led across 20-25 cities across the globe birthing out the idea of Revolution Now, which the country is experiencing. In his statement he pointed out how the Revolution Now protest became a formidable stopping the detention of activist, police brutality.
Speaking on “Resistance and Repression, the imminent of New Wave of Crisis” was Baba Aye. In his presentation he looked at the resistance of the masses towards a repress government while also drawing illustration from the recent #EndSARs protest. Angel Odah also spoke form the Gender perspective while pointing out the need for spontaneous organization building.
Comrade Jaye Gaskia spoke on “How not to build the barricade: Lessons from the #ENDSARS 2020. Starting from the history view point he talked about the Student rebellion of 1986 in the aftermath of the ABU massacre, the Anti-SAP Uprising of May 1989, the January Uprising of 2012, and the #EndSARS youth uprising of October 2020 are historical, political, and revolutionary moments.
In building the barricade he looked at key factors like organization, mobilization, leadership, initiative, purpose, and politics and rapped up with the lessons from the #ENDSARS protest. The meeting ended with Interventions from Civil Rights Council, Revolution Now and Take It who had their representatives give a brief summary of what these organizations do.
The conference ended with concluding speeches by all panelist and a vote of thanks from the moderator Comrade Ken Henshaw.
Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference
organized by Social Action
17th of October, 2020.: