Sọrọ sókè is a Yoruba phrase that serves as a prompting to speak louder, speak up, or speak more assertively. This phrase has been co-opted both online and offline as a response by Nigerian youths engaged in the #EndSARS protest.
It can be used positively as a way to show support for an opinion or sentiment shared. Like “hell yeah, ride on, volume please, emphasis, elocute, encore,” or something else of that nature. When used offline in this way, it is synonymous to using the “like” and “retweet” button at the same time on twitter.
That was the sentiment Hon. Bona Goodhead was trying to express when Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi was telling Godswill Akpabio “Honourable Minister, off your mic.” Honourable Bona really wanted Godswill Akpabio to sọrọ sókè. Alas, “insaner heads” prevailed and mics were “offed”.
Sọrọ sókè is also used negatively to disagree with, demean and deride an opposing view that is being said “in the rubbish, in the nonsense, and in the something that does not make any sense”.
Remember when the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi was earning the title of “Constituted Authority” in that “showdown” with students of LAUTECH? I can assure you that if “sọrọ sókè” was already a thing back then, that would have been the biggest response he would have gotten from the students.
Remember when high school students in the USA protested after the shooting at a secondary school in Parkland? They were protesting because random folks had access to guns and could go on a shooting spree. Here in Nigeria, it isn’t random people we are scared of.
It is members of the Police Force, the Special Anti Robbery Squad especially that we have come to fear. They will stop youths, kidnap them, rob them of their possessions, then go as far as taking them to the ATM to empty their accounts.
That is a scenario that ends well. In worse cases, they will proceed to arrest said youth, accuse him of being a robber or fraudster, and in some cases, kill them without ever investigating or charging them to court.
This is why the youths have no option but to protest. Enough is enough. This is why we need you all to join in and “sọrọ sókè” when you see #EndSARS or #EndPoliceBrutality pop up on your timeline.
As for those we expect to be speaking up for us in this fight for our lives, from capitalists to entertainers, politicians, influencers, and whoever else, keep telling them to “sọrọ sókè”.
For those who opted to keep quiet, when this victory is won, we will remember you. Be it in 2023, or when you have a product to sell, or whenever you are trying to garner sentiments in your favour. We will remember your loud silence.
And for those asking protesters not to disrupt their days, kindly teach us a better way to get our voice heard. If you are sure it will work, why not come put it to practice by helping us engage the government.
The earlier you help us #EndSARS, the faster you can continue your days unhindered.
For those who say “but SARS has been ended”, are you aware that this government has ended SARS three times already in the last couple of years? If there was a retrogression all three previous times, how can you guarantee us the fourth time will be effective if the government themselves can’t guarantee it?
A day after the fourth order, the police are back brutalizing Nigerians and you want us to walk away like all is well?
To those who feel too safe and unbothered to join this outcry, you do realize that the daughters of the President and Vice President joined in. Do you think you are safer than Zahra and Kiki? Or you think the Ọọni of Ife Is one of the “jobless youths”?
Sọrọ sókè now, so parents can stop losing their children to senseless acts of violence perpetrated by those we have entrusted with our lives.
I pray that a resolution is effected soon and the journey to a better and safer Nigeria can finally begin.