Written by Oluwagbemileke Takuro
A year ago, one of the presidential aspirants of the 2019 national elections and an activist Omoyele Sowore, took to the streets of Lagos to protest against the emerging presidential election winner, President Muhammad Buhari. He was of the opinion that the results of the election were not credible and thus called for a revolution. This led to his detainment by the Department of Social Services (DSS) and was charged with treason.
Since a year had passed following his arrest, he decided pick it up from where he left it before his arrest by calling fellow Nigerians to action on issues that threaten our citizenship due to bad leadership. Using the #Revolutionnow to create awareness and call for volunteers who will physically support this cause in various states of the nation , including Lagos, Niger and Osun, Sowore was able to gather different representatives that took over the streets to lend their voices in a peaceful protest with the aim of bringing about revolution now.
This time, the protest was led by Pelumi Olajengbesi, who aired his opinion to the public that various sectors in our country are not working with many in shambles. He encouraged Nigerians to rise to liberate our nation , take control of their future, fight for their rights and demand political revolution, change of leadership. He went on to back up his recognition of the need for political revolution by saying we need leaders who have clear focus with a passion and concern of the welfare and interest of the people.
The protest which took place on Thursday, 5th of August and started on a good note ended up in a similar manner as his initial protest did a year ago – arrest of some protesters.
Organizations like Socio-economic rights and accountability projects (SERAP) have frowned at the actions of the government as they stated that there should be avoidance of the use of excessive force, and avenue should be provided for citizens to exercise their human rights peacefully.
In an interview granted by the Special adviser on media and publicity to the president, Femi Adesina, on Channels television this morning, he stated that the #Revolutionnow protest was an irritation and a child’s play because all he saw were sprinkles of people and not a large crowd. He went ahead to say that when a revolution is spoken about, it is more of a mass, spontaneous thing.
Apparently the criterion of a protest is now defined by the number of protesters else the reason for the protest will be rendered invalid and overlooked. This point may seem ironical because previous protests done in the past where the protesters comprised of a large crowd were still met with arrest by government officials.
People felt more hurt about his opinion on the protest because in the past, Adesina used to be a person that the world will stop to listen to when he shared his view on important matters.
The National President of Revolutionary lawyers forum, Tope Akinyode, who was also present during the interview spoke about the purpose of the protest and went on to say ‘A failing government has no reason to stay. All that we are asking for is provide employment, provide security for the people and improve the welfare of Nigerians and it is a fundamental right of the citizens to make these demands‘.
The release of arrested protesters are being campaigned for and this has yielded fruit. Though some are yet to be released, efforts are being put in place to ensure safe release of everyone that was arrested.
Despite the fact that it was recently stated that a fine of 5 million naira will be paid for any hate speech made against the government, this did not stop people from lashing out at Adesina for his comment on the protest.
Some also considered this a hypocritical act because some years back our current president, Muhammad Buhari and some other politicians has a protest in a bid to get the then president , Goodluck Jonathan, out of power without getting arrested.