The aftermath of the 2020 EndSARs protest and the Nigerian military’s response ignited a renewed passion among Nigerians for active political participation. Various new initiatives, movements, campaigns, and actions are emerging to elect accountable leaders who embody the right values. I believe success in this endeavour hinges on carefully considering 12 crucial factors.

1. Collaboration & Synergy (Centralized Decentralization).

Regardless of your stance on the #EndSARS Protest, one undeniable factor that contributed to its success in terms of mobilization and engagement was the decentralized nature of power and decision-making. There was no central leadership; instead, people took ownership of the movement and acted upon what they believed was right. This approach led to the emergence of new ideas, innovations, and actions, making it challenging to suppress the protests by targeting specific leaders.

I am confident that this framework will be adopted in the future, particularly in the lead-up to the 2023 elections and beyond, as Nigerians come together to elect their preferred leaders. As you are currently reading this, it means you already have an idea or thoughts about what you want to do, and there are thousands of others like you who share similar ideas. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate duplicated efforts and ensure that individual and organizational actions are coordinated and complementary.

Now is the time to connect with leaders like yourself, to meet and engage with like-minded individuals as you embark on launching your new idea or initiative. To ensure success, it is crucial to establish a framework that facilitates the coming together and collaboration of people and organizations who share common goals while preserving their independence

2. Think Strategy, learn and keep an open mind.

It is essential to approach political endeavors with careful planning, strategic thinking, and decisive action. The game of politics is driven by strategy, not by emotions, aspirations, or passion alone. Major players in politics invest significant sums to engage seasoned consultants with extensive experience in winning elections for their candidates. They possess valuable resources, data, financial power, and organizational capabilities. It’s crucial to avoid falling into the trap of simplistic thinking or solutions when it comes to achieving your goals.

For instance, merely focusing on getting young people to vote, uniting around a single candidate, starting a political party, or organizing a protest may not be sufficient. Crafting a successful strategy requires considering a broader perspective. As individuals or organizations, our thinking, education, experiences, resources, and worldview influence the solutions we propose. Our backgrounds can limit our ability to see the bigger picture and understand the complex interplay of various factors at play.

Even as I write this, I acknowledge that some of the proposals I put forth reflect my own experiences and worldview.

Think strategy, seek knowledge, collaborate with those with more experience, learn, question the status quo and ensure that before embarking on this journey, you have a well thought out strategy that will enable the success of your mission.

3. An Inclusive, Issues driven movement powered by policy.

Many conversations around 2023, especially amongst young people, currently revolve around voter education, getting behind potential youth candidates, launching a party and thinking of ways to organize. As we embark on this journey, Issues and Policy must take centre stage.
We must start by properly articulating the issues that need to be addressed, craft the necessary policy instruments and recruit candidates that will deliver on them. In crafting these issues, we need to ensure it is inclusive and that it is a reflection of the interests of everyone, irrespective of their sex, age, region, religion, status, world view and realities etc. There needs to be a rigorous debate and discussion on issues like restructuring, gender-based violence, the right of women, Security, Police Reform, ASUU, Education, Power, NNPC and Fuel subsidy, the Economy, and local government autonomy etc. The outcome of these discussions will be a set of issues and policy demands from citizens at the local, state, and government levels addressed to those who need our votes; there is also a need for an agreed framework to hold them accountable if they fail.


A piece of advice for candidates planning to run for office doesn’t to build your schedule in a silo or think you know what people want from research conducted by think tanks alone. Go on a tour where you listen and engage with the citizenry, hear their problems, listen to their pain on a personal level, and understand the issues that matter most to them; based on this experience, you can then proceed to draft your plan.


We can take a lesson from the Sustainable development goals regarding the methodology used in its conceptualization and how it is now a rallying goal for the world.

In essence, for 2023 and beyond, we need to craft an inclusive Agenda and vote in candidates who adopt that agenda as opposed candidates simply going by the benevolence of their hearts and faculty to tell us what they think we need or plan to do if elected.

4. Local before federal approach.

The nation is structured so that the presidency wields a lot of power. Therefore, it is not a surprise that most of the ongoing conversation revolves around channelling most of our resources towards effecting change in Abuja. I believe that there is a need to embark on a down-up approach. Politics is local; a lot of bad governance that is holding us down can be traced to people who are our brothers and sister; they are from our villages, they attend village meetings, we know their children and family members, and we send them to represent us; instead, they leverage our collective ignorance and lack of concern to steal our allocations and divert contracts designed to transform our communities. We must start by holding them accountable. 

From an organizing perspective, for as low as 70,000 votes, you can change your local government chairman. In 2019 a state government that oversees Nigeria’s economic epicentre won with around 736,000 votes in the last election; most of those who voted, managed social media communications, staffed situation rooms and conducted a grassroots campaign for these politicians were young people.


Imagine in 2023 that LGA officials, State senators, and governors are helmed by people representing us; imagine the progress we would have secured. 

Instead of solely focusing on how to change Abuja, we will need to change the conversation to how can I as an individual drive good governance, in my state and local government by ensuring fellow citizens like me vote in local leaders that will work for the people.

Do our leaders need to know that it is no longer business as usual?

5. Engage in efforts to educate Nigerians on how power works, so that they can hold the right people accountable and make better voting decisions.

Building on the last point, there has been an uneven focus on the role of the presidency in shaping development outcomes, to the detriment of ignoring other crucial players who wield significant power that affect our daily lives. For example, the core functions of a local government include pre-school, primary and adult education; public health; town planning; roads and transport; refuse collection and disposal; cemeteries and crematoria; environmental protection; sports; leisure and open spaces; and religious facilities. Imagine what will happen if those we elect at the local level can deliver on these responsibilities. There are issues facing Nigeria that result from bad laws and policies that the Legislature can only address, but we focus so much on the presidency; this is not to state that the executive arm of government does not wield much power. I am alluding to the fact that there needs to be proper education of the populace on how the government works and who they should hold accountable for any demands they have.

Aside from improving the effectiveness of our engagement, an educated electorate will ensure that all players are aware that they cannot hide under the cloak of the incompetence of the executive as an excuse to fail to deliver on their responsibilities.

6. Grassroots organizing & Voter sensitization.

Most of us live in a bubble, have a job, can afford a smartphone and data, and can get things to trend on Twitter and Instagram. Sadly the majority of those we need to engage are not on these platforms, and no matter how we try to understand their realities, we can’t.

To succeed as a movement, we will need to break our bubbles and go on an aggressive charm & PR Offensive targeted at engaging those at the grassroots. They do not understand our big English, and they don’t care about the change and good governance English we speak; they know that you will not be there for them when they need to pay their child’s school fees and that you will not be there for them when they’ve starved for three days. They see you send your kids to school daily in your Toyota and travel abroad for vacation. They have less faith in you and the ideas you spew. They have more faith and listen to their pastor, chief priest, imam, the village head, market leader, community leader, Gang leaders, friends, the popular local radio station, local celebrities, and sadly their local representatives who may oppress them etc. Your viral youtube video, campaign, and trending hashtags do not affect them because they cannot even see it in the first place etc.

We need these people to take our country back and make the right voting decisions. To achieve this, we will need to first get down from our gated communities, zoom meetings and tweet chats to understand how to reach those in the grassroots and figure out a way to move the needle to our advantage.

7. Develop a plan to combat the big 4, Tribalism, Religion, Ego & Greed.

If you have not watched this video by  Mr Atedo Peterside, please do; he made a powerful statement which I am paraphrasing as follows “The 5 per cent who rule us can do so because they deploy a divide and rule tactics”. The people currently at the helm of affairs can control us using the big 4 Tribalism, Religion, Ego & Greed.

They will weaponize the big four against your movement and use bad actors and strategies from a spy’s playbook to stir up and feed ethnic and religious sentiments. A majority of Nigerians are hungry and have lost hope in the system and will take whatever they get from whoever it is that gives them the next meal; that is why in every election, you come across news of politicians spending billions of naira to rig elections and pay voters to vote for them. 


You will need to factor in this variable and figure out how to combat this threat.

 8. Candidate, sourcing, vetting, endorsement, campaign support and accountability framework.

To successfully take our nation back, we need to find the right candidates to support and rally around. There needs to be a well-thought-out framework to differentiate those who are in the game simply because they are power-thirsty and those who are committed to serving the people who elect them. It is a fallacy to think that young people are not corrupt or will not rise to become the next oppressors when they get into power. Our wins as a movement can be grossly dampened in the scenario whereby the same people we fought to elect to turn around to behave and act like those we rallied around to get rid of for non-performance. 


We will need to create a framework to enable us to find the right candidates, vet them against a chosen set of criteria, and endorse and provide support to their campaigns. We would also need mechanisms to hold them accountable and punish them if they fail to deliver on their mandate.

9. Security, Intelligence gathering and counterintelligence.

I am certain that when the SARS protest started to gather steam, no one in their clear minds believed that the government would open fire directly at protesters, or that #EndSARS would be termed a terrorist group with the bank accounts of key promoters of movement blocked and their passports seized. The same scenario or even more will happen as your movement gathers steam, there will be assassination attempts, people will get killed. People will go missing, will not be seen forever. Killed in a fake robbery attempt, their parents kidnapped. Control rooms or organizing offices will be raided, razed down by thugs, cars and campaign valuables burnt, gatherings will be dispersed by bad actors. The fact is when you go against the powers that be, bad things will happen. There will be efforts by bad actors to infiltrate the movement to sow discord, sponsor young candidates to dilute the votes of young people, monitor your activities to sabotage your efforts. We will have a lot of Judas who will betray the movement for political positions, contracts, money etc. Some may betray the movement as a result of a threat to their life, family or blackmail etc. 

There is a need to be prepared for this scenario, by investing heavily in intelligence and counterintelligence gathering. There is a need to develop frameworks, security protocols and guidelines to protect people and assets from harm.

10. Media, News and Communication plan to combat misinformation, fake news, manage a crisis, educate and engage voters.

In the wake of the Lekki shooting, if you watch the reportage from traditional media houses, you would think that all is well and that the nation was at peace. If you watch NTA, you would think that the government is doing a good job with the mandate entrusted to them by the people. It is no longer news that the media has a significant role in shaping beliefs and perceptions, feeding ideologies and influencing behaviour. We are what we consume. The people in power understand this and have invested heavily in it; they currently own or have interest in some of the top media houses you can think of and have some form of influence in their editorial decision. They are also investing heavily to set up online squads of keyboard warriors and trolls whose sole goal is to spread disinformation, exploit our tribal and ethnic sentiments and conduct information warfare designed to whitewash their activities principles, and discredit their opponents and sow discord. 

We would need to figure out a strategy to combat their whims and ensure that the voters, the people who need to hear our message, hear them. Interestingly the people who work for these media houses are young; the journalist who publish reports, the bloggers and web admins who manage forums, and the camera operators and presenters are made up of young people; we need to aggressively engage with them and ensure that they understand they have a crucial role in delivering the nation of our dream. This is aside from the aggressive campaigns and outreaches we will engage in to ensure our voices are heard.

11. Fundraising and Financial accountability.

Elections are expensive; according to an audit, the APC and PDP spent 7.7 billion nairas combined on the 2015 elections. Irrespective of how passionate we are, we live in a society where cash is king, and money can heavily influence the trajectory of your campaign, from media coverage, billboards, logistics and improving your operational capabilities, securing professional services etc. Running for office is no small financial endeavour; there are scenarios where people have gone bankrupt in pursuit of their political ambition. To get the right leaders elected, you need to raise money, a lot of it. The advantage you have compared to those you are up against is that the movement is run and powered by passionate people. You would therefore have a higher return on investment for every naira spent. Figuring out how to raise funding is crucial to the survival of your goal.

12. Advocate for electoral reform, develop a framework to watch the vote, and a strategy to dismantle the vote-buying and rigging machinery of established interests.

Getting the right people in the office can only be done through the ballot. We would need to ensure that trusted and reliable candidates can get their party nominations and win the elections. Currently, our electoral process is broken and is in dire need of reforms; we need to fight for these reforms. There is a high prevalence of rigging, vote-buying and malpractices conducted by polling officials and some resident electoral commissioners. A handful of people in a room can subvert the people’s will, and our judicial system is heavily compromised. 

The silver lining is that young people are usually the tools those who oppress us to steal elections, from corrupt NYSC poll officials who connive with party officials to thumbprint on ballots to thugs hired to intimidate voters and disrupt the process the list goes on. We need to critically develop and execute a strategy to ensure that our hard-fought efforts are not stolen from us by shady electoral officials.