Nigerian man joining #EndSARS protests on wedding day reveals why he did it
A Nigerian man who joined the #EndSARS protests after his wedding told his story in an interview with The PUNCH.
Hanson Olakunle, a 29-year-old software consultant whose photos went viral after he and his wife joined the ongoing #EndSARS protests shortly after their wedding on the Federal Marriage Register, Ikea, Lagos, explains to ALEXANDER OKEER because he did this step
Can you imagine yourself?
My name is Hanson Olakunle. I am a software consultant. I am currently working for a large information technology company in Ikea. I am from Ondo State, I am 29 years old.
Some of the photos you joined in the #EndSARS protest just after the wedding in the Federal Marriage Register, Ikea, Lagos, went viral recently. Did you originally plan to do this?
I married my wife on Wednesday 14 October 2020 at the Federal Marriage Register, Ikea, Lagos. Yes, my real plan was to get married that day. Participation in the protest action was unique to the event. The whole last month (September) and until now I have been busy with the project I am working on. So I didn’t have time to do anything at all. I was very interested in participating in the protest, but I could not, because I do not work for myself. But October 14, 2020 was a day off, a day off at my wedding. But I was also planning to arrange a meeting somewhere in Lekki Phase 1 and thought that after the wedding I would go to the meeting at the reception.
But when I got to the toll station, it got stuck, so I had to get out of the car and cross the road. I saw the energy of kids protesting and pooling resources. If you were there, you would see the organization, except for the time they gave to make sure their voices were heard. At some point, I felt ashamed that I hadn’t even put in a lot of effort. So I decided to protest in my own way by holding up a poster, photographing it and uploading it to social media. I felt that no matter how busy I was, I could just set aside time, take a picture with a sign, share it on social media, and let the conversations continue.
Did your wife also join the protest?
She took the picture.
Did she express fear when you decided to join the protest, especially since you just got married?
He knows my type of person and understands what I like to do naturally. So when I told her about this idea, she agreed, although she did not want to participate in it, because it is confidential. He agreed, took a photo, and together we recorded several videos, although I did not share them.
How did your family members react when they saw your photos go viral?
Thank God for my brothers; they managed to make my mother understand that this was the way it should be. However, my mother called me and told me to be careful; she is a shepherd. But I understand that a person can die only once. Something has to kill the person: it can be what he does or what he doesn’t. If I don’t protest and something happens to me tomorrow, I will die anyway.
What worried you about the state of affairs in Nigeria that prompted you to join the protest?
Education is a big problem. If the government has the right plan for the Nigerian youth, much will be easy for us. It would be easier for us to live. Quality education encourages us to be more presentable in the world. Security is also important. I travel to Lagos and other states of the country. I got mugged, and when I see a cop it doesn’t matter. When I was robbed, they (the cops) told me to write a statement at the police station and that’s it. I will say that there is no adequate security in our country.
I would like Nigeria to change, not only for the government, but also for the youth in the way we think and expect our government to behave, and in the way we act. I think this is more than just a change in structure or system. I think it has something to do with our way of thinking.
Are you satisfied with joining the #EndSARS protests?
I was pleased. Besides the fact that my photographs are on the Internet, I was glad to exercise my right to express my voice in protest, which I know is genuine.
Source: The PUNCH