Ac­tivists mo­bilise to reverse Nige­ria’s slide into dic­ta­tor­ship

The Punch - - NEWS - Femi Makinde

AC­TIVISTS from dif­fer­ent prodemoc­racy groups gath­ered in La­gos on Tues­day with a call to all lovers of democ­racy to start mak­ing moves to pre­vent Nige­ria’s democ­racy from slid­ing into dic­ta­tor­ship.

Var­i­ous speak­ers at the 2019 edi­tion of Nige­ria prodemoc­racy con­fer­ence crit­i­cised the al­leged mas­sive vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights by the regime of the Pres­i­dent, Ma­jor Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari (retd.).

They said all lovers of democ­racy, ir­re­spec­tive of eth­nic or re­li­gious af­fil­i­a­tions, must come to­gether to stop the grad­ual de­scent into fas­cism.

The ac­tivists cited var­i­ous cases of dis­obe­di­ence to court or­ders by the regime; the re-ar­rest of the pub­lisher of Sa­harareport­ers, omoyele Sowore, in­side a court­room as well as lop­sid­ed­ness in ap­point­ments into key of­fices as some of the nu­mer­ous sins of the regime.

The Di­rec­tor, So­cial De­vel­op­ment In­te­grated Cen­tre, Dr Isaac os­uoka, said Nige­ria was al­ready in a se­ri­ous cri­sis and pro-democ­racy ac­tivists needed to come to­gether to res­cue the coun­try.

os­uoka said, “We con­sider this to be a cru­cial meet­ing at a time Nige­ria is in cri­sis. As we move closer to the end of 2019, a year when Nige­ria marked 20 years of civil rule, it is im­per­a­tive for or­gan­i­sa­tions of the pro-democ­racy tra­di­tion to recog­nise and chart a col­lec­tive path to­wards in­ter­ven­ing to halt the slide of our coun­try into dic­ta­tor­ship, increasing in­se­cu­rity and eco­nomic hard­ship for the ma­jor­ity of our peo­ples.

“We be­lieve that this is not the time to go solo. The grav­ity of the cri­sis con­fronting Nige­ria re­quires col­lec­tive ac­tion as re­flected in the col­lab­o­ra­tion to host this con­fer­ence.”

The Rosa Lux­em­burg Foun­da­tion, West Africa’s Project Man­ager, An­gela odah, said Nige­ria’s democ­racy was al­ready in dan­ger.

odah said the Ger­man po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tion was pleased to be part of the con­fer­ence to chart a way for­ward for Nige­ria.

She said, “The brazen sub­ver­sion of the peo­ple’s will dur­ing the 2019 elec­tions and the re­cently con­ducted Kogi and Bayelsa states gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions through wan­ton buy­ing and sell­ing of votes, steal­ing and stuff­ing of bal­lot boxes, violence and killings of Nige­ri­ans must stop.

“The lack of re­spect for court rul­ings, unlawful de­ten­tion of Nige­ri­ans, the at­tempt to curb free­dom of speech through the Hate Speech Bill and the in­va­sion of the hal­lowed cham­ber of our court­room by the op­er­a­tives of the De­part­ment of State Ser­vices clearly show that our democ­racy is a grave dan­ger and it is time for men and women of good­will to stand up and pro­tect our young democ­racy.”

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