The Defiant Ones- By Adepoju Bakare

Last night, while having a long conversation with some friends that ended around midnight, I had a lucid epiphany. You see, our conversations bordered mostly around the #EndSars #EndSWAT #EndPoliceBrutality movement, and our support, and participation in the movement via whatever means (donating, tweeting, joining the protest, etc).

We discussed at length until something struck a chord in me; something resounding and profound that for the first time, I was quite ashamed to be an embedded Millennial. Here’s what I uncovered: The reason our generation lost out in 2012 and 2015 is simple –

We were tainted.

Right from birth without even knowing it, we were taught to be obedient, respectful, diligent, and all that. Which is not a bad thing morally, but can be stifling in the face of true expression. Even though we revolted at some point in our lives, we still somehow reverted back to type. We conformed.

To us, leadership was a principal figure or two standing in the right position, echoing our voices, and making the “right” decisions for us. When there was no one doing that, we lost focus and direction, following in the footsteps of someone that we felt was a close “alternative”. Which explains why we are where we are (pun intended).

We allowed the voices of those we deemed to be our leaders echo louder than ours. We downplayed the power in unity.

So why are the Gen Z winning were we lost? Why are they succeeding where we did not, even though they didn’t grow up susceptible to Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, or Mandela? Why is their rebellion staunch and thumping in the face of negativity? It’s pretty simple. …

They are The Defiant Ones!

They may not have Fela but they’ve got @wizkidayo and @burnaboygram. No Lucky Dube? That’s fine. There’s @nairamarley, @iam_smalldoctor. No Mandela? There’s @falzthebahdguy, @mrmacaroni1, @savvyrinu… And many others.

They are borderless because they never had to deal with the construct of religious, ethnic, or racial divide that the Millennials were born into. They are the true digital natives who believe that the world is really a global village. That’s why Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Triller, and other so-called “vanity” apps represent true homes; a place where they are allowed to be expressive.

These feisty bunch has shown the past generation, especially the Millenials, what correct constructive rebellion can be. While they stepped out to protest, some diverging voices asked if there was a strategy to this because we had conformed, and believed that there must be order before there’s chaos. Forgetting that sometimes, Order can be Chaotic (think #OccupyNigeria), and Chaos can be Orderly (think #PortharcourtProtests).

Visualize a typical war scenario; battle plans have been drawn and the Generals have given the orders. At the enemy front lines, every strategy in the playbook is totally out the window. Then some smart soldier sees an opening between enemy lines, takes some of his trusted troopers and they invade, creating a new strategic framework from a tactical approach.

We the Millenials are the Generals. The Gen Z are the Soldiers. They’ve taken our playbook and made it better and finally confirmed what I’ve believed all along. … “Tactics are most times strategy in action/motion.” So while these fearless soldiers are on the frontline battling it out; sending shivers down the spine of the enemy, as well as reporting back to the Generals that there is a turn in the tide, what next?

Don’t ask what their next move is, become their strategist instead. Help bring some order to the constructive chaos they’ve started. Show them where we erred, and guide them along the right path just as Pastor Sam Adeyemi and Kola Oyeneyin have been doing.

Don’t be a stumbling block on their path to greatness. Don’t try to laden them with heavy armor as Saul did with David. They don’t need it. They’ve got God, slingshots, and stones to bring down this Goliath. Rather, cheer them on. Be the shoulders they stand on as they march this great nation forward. We may have started this journey but they are the Joshua we’ve been waiting for.

Be their guide and guild. So that this victory can be for us all. And while you’re at it, be wary and have true intentions. For these defiant ones cannot be ruled!

Adepoju Bakare @pojubakare

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