By Simbo Olorunfemi
1. Every struggle is a mix of elements
Every struggle is a mix of all sorts – the brave, the thinker, the naive, noise-makers, the excitable, saboteurs, etc. Each comes with his vibe and colour.
2. Every struggle throws up a variety of motivations.
In a struggle or protest, you can only truly speak for yourself. You can only vouch for what is motivating you. To each participant, his motive. Where the shoe is pinching Mr A is not where it is pinching Miss C. You might be true to the cause but it is unnecessary to expect same level of commitment from any other person. There is always a spectrum of motives and emotion at play. There is always a variety of colours in the flag of protest. It is naive to assume unity of objectives or commonality of purpose on the part of everyone
3. Every struggle throws up Leaders
It is an illusion that a struggle can successfully run its course without leadership. It is possible, even if unlikely, that some struggles can spontaneously break out, but it can hardly start without some person or the other charting the course or helping to guide with direction. No matter how organic it might be at the beginning, leaders eventually emerge. The struggle must throw up leaders. Accepting or rejecting it cannot invalidate that fact. It us up to the struggle to identify its leader(s). It is up to the one whom circumstances throw up to recognise and embrace it with humility. To fail to recognise the moment and place for leadership is to fall prey to loss of momentum or herald a gradual end of the struggle.
4. Every struggle is open to infiltration
Every struggle is a fertile ground for infiltration from those who do not subscribe or believe in the objectives put forward. This is more so when the struggle lacks ideological foundation. It is what it is. Not much can be done. The longer the struggle lasts, the more weariness sets in, the higher the chance for minds to be manipulated, the easier it becomes for infiltrators to come in.
5. Every struggle must have a sense of balance
Every struggle must be intelligent enough to be able to identify the place and time for moderation. At all times, that sense of balance must be there – between the desirable and attainable; between its own interest and that of others who might be adversely affected by its action. It must have the common sense not to go beyond what might make it lose support from the constituencies it needs support from
6. Every struggle must learn from the past
Every struggle must learn from those who have gone before and experience of others. It must learn from protests of the past., take on what worked for them and interrogate their failures.
7. Every struggle must be open to other ideas
Every struggle must be open-minded enough to be able to hear out unusual suggestions from combatants who might not have prominent voices. Sometimes, they can see what those in the lead can’t see. Sometimes, they are able to hear what many, drenched in sweat, overcome by the exigencies of the moment, cannot hear. That singular suggestion from an unusual source can often end up as a life-saver for the struggle.
8. Every struggle does need good negotiation skills
As most struggles eventually end up on the negotiation table, every struggle must be astute at reading the mind of those on the other side. It must be able to know what it is thinking, know want to take onboard from what it is told and what to reject. It must be prepared for unintended outcomes. Make room for dialogue and negotiation. The war might have been presumed won or lost on the field but what then happens on the table will determine actual victory.
9. Every struggle must have parameters for measuring success
Every protest must make its demands measurable and attainable, so that it becomes easier to achieve. There is no point making a demand on someone who has neither the means nor the power to fulfil them. Even the Court, constitutionally vested with power to pronounce judgement, backed by an enforcement machinery, is mindful not to make orders in vain.
10. Every struggle must have a timeframe
Every struggle must have a sense of timing. Its timing must be auspicious. It must be able to recognise when to roll out and pull back. To overstay its course is to stretch itself to the point where it either loses face, demystify itself or loses a battle it could have won.
11. Every struggle must have an end in mind
There must be always a goal, an end in sight, for a struggle to be meaningful. The goal might be unclear to some or muddled up, but somewhere at the back of the mind of the leadership, it resides. If there is no end in sight or the end gets lost in mob of emotions, the struggle loses essence.
12. Every struggle must have an exit plan
Every struggle must have a plan in place to be able to successfully exit with whatever gains it might have made. To not have a plan or lose the moment for exit is to open the flanks up for an erosion of possible gains, turning what might have been victory into a loss.