As Nigeria democracy day draws closer, a human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has called on all Nigerians not to participate in any programme or event that may be planned by President Muhammadu Buhari government for that day.
June 12 as we all know is officially a democracy day in Nigeria, but Buhari’s government recently moved the democracy day from May 29 of every year to June 12 in honour of the late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12 Presidential election, which was annulled by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Democracy day is celebrated in remembrance of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election.
However, a human rights activist, in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday called on all Nigerians, especially activists, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and all lovers of democracy, to boycott any event planned for that day by the Federal Government.
According to the statement titled, Boycott June 12 Events In Protest Of Twitter Ban, Bad Government And Media Censorship, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria explained that it is hypocrite for the government to claim to celebrate the principles of June 12 democracy day, when the same government is in gross violation of the freedom of expression by people it claims to govern, through its illegal ban of Twitter, bad government and the unjustified censorship of all media organizations.
He noted that Democracy day represents total freedom and free expression of the will of the people, but since the government decided to suspend Twitter operations in the country, they have violated spirit of June 12.
He called on all Nigerians to protest against this by boycotting all programmes and events that may be slated for the celebration of the June 12 election, until the exit of the present administration headed by Muhammadu Buhari.
Adegboruwa also attacked the National Assembly for failing to do the will of the people, saying that he hasn’t seen the voice of the national assembly in support of the people of Nigeria at this critical time when their rights are being trampled upon with severe impunity by the executive arm of government.
According to his words; “It will be hypocrite for the government to claim to celebrate democracy day on June 12, when the same government is in gross violation of the freedom of expression by people it claims to govern, through its illegal ban of Twitter and the unwarranted censorship of all media organisations. June 12 represents total freedom, the free expression of the will of the people, justice, equality and respect for human rights.
“The decision of the government to suspend the operations of Twitter and to force media organisations to comply, are contrary to the spirit of June 12. As a mark of protest in rejecting the suspension, all Nigerians of good conscience should isolate the government by boycotting all programmes and events that may be slated for the celebration of the June 12 election, until the exit of the present administration headed by Muhammadu Buhari.”
“We cannot continue to live in a nation where the exercise of the fundamental and constitutional rights of citizens depends on the personal idiosyncrasies of those in power, where the institutions of State are deployed to settle personal grievances, just as President Muhammadu Buhari is doing in respect of his personal dispute with Twitter, for which all Nigerians are now subjected to forced solidarity.
“It is unfortunate that the National Assembly could not find its voice in support of the people of Nigeria at this critical time when their rights are being trampled upon with severe impunity by the executive arm of government.”
Meanwhile, another human rights activist, Yele Sowore had announced that there will be a protest on June 12 which is democracy day, in a bid to call the government to order. Sowore had announced a peaceful protest against the present government over the increasing insecurity in the country.
Taking to Twitter, the human right activist wrote; “Ex-Special Adviser to @GEJonathan Ahmed Gulak was assassinated yesterday on his way to Imo airport because @MBuhari has lost total control of governance, tomorrow across Nigeria join the rally and on June 12 ensure you join the #Buharimustgo rallies. Shut down the evil regime!”
Lots of cities, according to Sowore, have been confirmed to join in the protest. The activist, in Twitter post last Thursday said Akure, Kaduna, Kano, Zaria, Abuja, Lagos, Benin City, Port Harcourt, Abeokuta, Lokoja, Oshogbo, Yola, Calabar, Onitsha, Awka, London, New York, Jos, Makurdi, Warri, Ibadan, Ilorin, Minna, Lafia, Damaturu, Gombe, Joburg, Toronto, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have confirmed to join the June 12 protest with hashtag #June12Protest #BuhariMustGo.
According to various publicity posters, the protest will make 14 critical demands which are; abolish 1999 constitution, end terrorism, end banditry, Isa Pantami must go, that is the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy who has expressed sympathy for terrorists, free all detained activists, end insecurity, justice for all EndSARS victims, Free the two anti-Buhari protesters namely Larry Emmanuel and Victor Anene Udoka who are being detained in Kogi State, Buhari Must Go, revert electricity tariffs, end ASUP that is the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics strike, revert fuel price, revert party deregistration, and free Nicholas Mbah.
In related news, on Tuesday, lawmakers from the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) staged a walkout from the chambers while plenary was still ongoing. The walkout came as a result of the rejection of the point of order raised by their leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda. The PDP lawmaker had asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives to the setting up a Committee to probe the Twitter ban in Nigeria.
The Speaker had rejected the point of order. Explaining why, the Speaker said a decision had already been made to take on the matter and a Committee was mandated to probe the circumstances of the ban. He however called on Hon. Kingsley Chinda to resume his seat.
Hon. Kingsley Chinda however continued standing and continued with his motion. Swiftly, the Leader of the House, Ado Doguwa lent his voice, asking Hon. Kingsley Chinda to comply with the speaker’s directive.
In addition, the Chief Whip of the House, Hon. Mohammed Mongunu joined in asking Chinda to take his seat and allow the matter as the Speaker had ruled. Seeing that the House was getting heated up, the Speaker quickly moved on with the proceedings, calling for the attention of the House and ignoring Hon. Kingsley Chinda.
At this juncture, Hon. Kingsley Chinda and his colleagues gathered their belongings and ready to exit the chamber. Suddenly, there were shouts of “you can leave, you can go” from some of the lawmakers.
Insisting on speaking and several leaders of the House shutting him down, Hon. Kingsley Chinda led other PDP members out of the chamber. They later addressed journalists to say the action was in defence of Nigerians.
Addressing the journalists later, the PDP Caucus led by Hon. Kingsley Chinda said that the point of order was an added prayer to the Speaker’s speech. While he commended the Speaker for the proactive measure, he said that 10 days was a long period of time for Nigerians to wait before resuming their Twitter operations.
He said it was wrong for the speaker to have ruled him out of order. The Caucus however vowed to continue to tweet despite the directive by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. Speaking on behalf of the Caucus, Hon. Kingsley Chinda challenged the government to arrest them on behalf of Nigerians.