the Suya Stories Blog


#ENDSARS RESPONSE

My heart was broken on October 20th, 2020. In a split second I transitioned from the highs of pride and love for Nigeria during the protest at Lekki Toll Gate, to the lows of horror, despair, and embarrassment following the tragic massacre just a week later.....

Keep reading

It is very difficult for many social media users to scroll without coming across movie poster selfies and comic book historian dissertations on The Black Panther. Even six weeks later timelines are splashed daily with images of fans with arms crossing their chests, a foreboding expression, and the new...


For a moment, I felt that the Nigeria I came to know and love vaporized into the night air. As I watched reports of further shootings, destruction, and utter chaos ensue; I thought the back of Nigeria has finally broken...

My heart was broken on October 20th, 2020. In a split second I transitioned from the highs of pride and love for Nigeria during the protest at Lekki Toll Gate, to the lows of horror, despair, and embarrassment following the tragic massacre just a week later. For a moment, I felt that the Nigeria I came to know and love vaporized into the night air. As I watched reports of further shootings, destruction, and utter chaos ensue; I thought the back of Nigeria has finally broken...


I’m sure like many Nigerians, I thought of where could run to? How do I escape? Any thoughts about my future business plans, ambitions, and aspirations almost left me short of breath. How do I raise funds now? How do I actually manage my team and expect them to pretend everything is back to normal? Am I even ok myself? I spent the last 6 years telling anyone with ears that Africa is the place to be only to find myself “being” in a warzone. I thought “How does literally ANYTHING work right now?” as stared off into space in front of my office laptop.


These questions and more flooded my mind until I remembered the Instagram live stream of one of the protesters from the Lekki Toll Gate Massacre. As bullets were heard peppering an otherwise serene night, a young man screamed into a hail of gun fire “You cannot kill all of us,” and began singing the national anthem. I was brought to tears and finally understood the powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr. when he said “A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live.”


The echoing of this quote in my mind challenged my ego in ways that touched everything from my self-worth to my life’s purpose. The Lekki Toll Gate shooting took place four streets over from my house. The people shot and terrorized were my neighbors, my friends, and my colleagues. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was my moment, this was my fight, and this is my home. The natural conclusion was that, after all I had said and all that I have done in this life; if I am unwilling to risk my life to save my home, then I am unfit to enjoy this thing called life.


How did I arrive as such an extremist view? It is merely a matter of logic. My long history as an activist, the co-founder of a social impact organization, and a victim of childhood bullying taught me that when you poke the bear; the bear pokes back. If you truly want change via protest, you have to take the trouble to where the problem is. Unfortunately, once you find yourselves within the crosshairs of established power structures, it is there you will find your most fierce and merciless battle.


You will find the tattered remnants of justice between the teeth of the monster you antagonize. You will have to sift through the shattered skulls, bullet riddled bodies, and pools of blood to find your equality. It is not until you are willing to nail your hopeful self to the crucifix of your ideals that you are capable of the global shift you desire. No change of epic proportions has succeeded without feeding on the blood of its most passionate followers. The spilling of that blood for those affected, represents a point of no return. It creates a resolve in men and women different from others in the way that it ensures participants know the cost of their revolution.


Those are words are dark, they are graphic, but I would wholeheartedly ask anyone, “Where is the lie?” These words are not a call to a violent reaction but a somber realization of what happens when you speak truth to power. When the thrones of power hear our cry and the fortresses of corruption feel our movement; those at the helm will respond in the only way they know how. The government dug deep into the bowels of their fear to find the ugliest among them. They attempted to decimate our resolve for change through violence. And in the face of their vile retribution, the young thugs, “touts,” and other nicknames for the most impoverished, uneducated, and disenfranchised Nigerian youth among us fearlessly replied; “You cannot kill all of us…”


At that moment I knew we had transformed from a protest to a revolution. The pride that turned to embarrassment, somehow transitioned into a new found respect. This may sound strange and I hope my previous words add context. But… I believed in a way I could not have previously understood, that Nigeria was finally deserving and worthy of the change its youth sought after. The highest price possible is being paid daily. This contribution is not given in the usual form of a faceless and powerless youth, but as a massive wave crashing against and wearing down the bastions of oppression. It was the feeling of finding yourself in the trenches, looking to your right and left seeing, and chiseled expressions of rage and hope intertwined. I found myself among those ready to sacrifice themselves at the altar of a Nigeria we can only dream of in our deepest sleep.


However; even with these deeps-seeded emotions; I still struggle to scratch the surface of what a born and bred Nigerian feels. I know my own response is rooted in the global citizenry my US passport affords me, but I lend stern words to the African diaspora. Wherever we find ourselves on this God-forsaken planet; the degrees of melanin in our skin impact our social standing. It is as if we are the source of a stench that grows with our darkness. In light of unfortunate truths support and pay it forward to the ones that cherish your aroma. In the places where there is an appreciation of your ambiance; take root. In the places where your presence offends the foreign senses huddle together until you stink to the high heavens.


I realized that even in this saga of tragedy, I am in the largest black nation in the world. I am in the richest black nation in the world. And I still believe that Nigeria offers the best chance of global level success for any black person in the world. How can I believe that? Easy, the people have had enough to the point where Nigerian youth face organized crime and advanced weaponry with their hope, passion, and if necessary, their mortal bodies. By engaging those entrapped in the mud of disenfranchised youth, we can create bricks and build a great nation.


Given the importance of Nigeria’s position as a continental influencer, it’s population, and its economy; there is no Pan-African movement that should not have a base in this country. The Nigerian diaspora is one of the most powerful of any grouping of black people and offers the chance to serve as a base of power. That is why I am staying in Nigeria and why I will continue to direct resources here. #EndSARS is a response to so many elements of bad governance we all experience. The law simply does not smile upon faces and Nigeria still offers the best chance to change that and be an example to the global black community. In that spirit the global black community has to become aware of the plight of our family world wide and begin rebuilding from the inside.



First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me


  • Martin Niemöller




It is very difficult for many social media users to scroll without coming across movie poster selfies and comic book historian dissertations on The Black Panther. Even six weeks later timelines are splashed daily with images of fans with arms crossing their chests, a foreboding expression, and the new...

At some point, my friend turned adversary began yelling at the top of his lungs. “Are you saying my MBA is worthless? It cost me $80k and you don’t even have one! How can you say you know more than me?”...

The crowd surrounding the two young men was growing by the second. The lottery shop owner’s chiseled arms rose up and crashed down upon their heads with his slipper in rapid succession...

Elon Musk has yet again plucked what can only be described as the lucid dreams of a creative adolescent into a multi-million-dollar venture. Eleven million to be exact. First it was electric cars, then it was spaceships to mars, and now...