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Rivers Crisis: Activists warn politicians against truncating nation's democracy

By The Citizen
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CIVIL Society groups under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society, CCS, Tuesday stormed the office of Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola to register their displeasure over the political crisis in Rivers State.

They also warned political jobbers in the country against truncating the nation's democracy.

Speaking during the protest, the coordinator of Coalition of Civil Societies, Comrade Raji Rasheed stated that the protest was about democracy and Nigeria, saying 'we are not happy with the show of shame in Rivers State. In 1966, people said such issue was a party one and at the end of the day military took over. So we do not want such thing to repeat itself. So all of us must come together and call them to order. We cannot just fold our hand and look.'

He said that the rally was organised to  protect the nation's democracy, noting that 'we want to warn those in power to be careful and to sensitize Nigerians on the need for active participation in the polity'.

A coalition of civil society groups during the protest in Lagos

A coalition of civil society groups during the protest in Lagos

The CCS Coordinator decried the developments in  Rivers  state urging those concerned to call themselves to order in the interest of peace. He seized the opportunity to advice the National Assembly to vote for local government autonomy and vote against the immunity clause in the on-going efforts to amend the 1999 Constitution.

Also speaking, the Coordinator of Concerned Human Rights Nigeria, Comrade Declan Ihekaire said the protest was against anti-democratic elements in the country and the need to protect the nation's democracy.

Ihekaire said 'we are saying no to those who want to truncate the democracy that we fought for. We are saying that whoever that are causing the trouble should be called to order. President Goodluck Jonathan should also call his wife to order, women make issues bigger than it should be. We are saying that the President's wife should be quiet in this matter.'

He said the crisis in Rivers State was capable of crippling the nation's democracy adding that most of the actors involved never fought for democracy.

On his part, the Executive Director of Centre for Rights and Grassroots Initiative, Mr Nelson Ekujumi, said the protest was ' to express our displeasure and to pass a message to the National Assembly, that we won't fold our hands and watch any of our elected officers truncate our democracy because the Nigerians sacrificed their blood, sweat and everything they have to bring about this democracy. Today, we have seen that the beneficiaries of our democracy are our elected officers and not the people, which is why they are treating us with disdain. We are here to say 'NO'.'

The protest walk tagged 'Save our Democracy', which kicked off from the testing ground bus stop on Agidimgbi road Ikeja, terminated at the Governor's office in Alausa.

Governor Babatunde Fashola, represented by his Chief of Staff , Mr Lanre Babalola, assured the protesters of prompt delivery of their message to the appropriate authorities.

We're not happy with show of shame in Rivers

*Warn politicians against truncating democracy

 
 
By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
 
CIVIL Society groups under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society, CCS, yesterday stormed the office of Lagos State governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola to register their displeasure over the political crisis in Rivers State.

They also warned political jobbers in the country against truncating the nation's democracy.

Speaking during the protest, the coordinator of Coalition of Civil Societies, Comrade Raji Rasheed stated that the protest was about democracy and Nigeria, saying 'we are not happy with the show of shame in Rivers State. In 1966, people said such issue was a party one and at the end of the day military took over. So we do not want such thing to repeat itself. So all of us must come together and call them to order. We cannot just fold our hand and look.'

Also, coordinator of Concerned Human Rights Nigeria, Comrade Declan Ihekaire said the protest was against anti-democratic elements in the country and the need to protect the nation's democracy.

Ihekaire said 'we are saying no to those who want to truncate the democracy that we fought for. We are saying that whoever that are causing the trouble should be called to order. President Goodluck Jonathan should also call his wife to order, women make issues bigger than it should be. We are saying that the President's wife should be quiet in this matter.'

He said the crisis in Rivers State was capable of crippling the nation's democracy adding that most of the actors involved never fought for democracy.

On his part, Executive Director of Centre for Rights and Grassroots Initiative, Mr Nelson Ekujumi, said 'this protest is about the state of our democracy. We cannot fold our hands and watch the Presidency truncate the democracy we have all laboured for. We saw it start at the Governor's Forum when President Goodluck Jonathan, who claims to have a doctorate degree, telling the Nigeria people that 16 is greater 19. So we wonder what type of school he went to. In arithmetic, we know that 19 is greater than 16. And he has translated this level of impunity to Rivers State, with the current show of shame going in the state.'

He added that 'we are today to express our displeasure and to pass a message to the National Assembly, that we won't fold our hands and watch any of our elected officers truncate our democracy because the Nigeria sacrificed their blood, sweat and everything they have to bring about this democracy. Today, we have seen that the beneficiaries of our democracy are our elected officers and not the people, which is why they are treating us with disdain. We are here to say NO.'

In the same vein, the protest walk tagged 'Save our Democracy', which kicked off from the testing ground bus stop on Agidimgbi road Ikeja, terminated at the Governor's office in Alausa.
Coordinator of the Group, Mr Raji-Rasheed Oyewumi said that the protest rally was all about protecting the nation's democracy.
Oyewumi stated that 'we want to warn those in power to be careful and to sensitize Nigerians on the need for active participation in the polity'.
He said that Nigeria needed a democracy that would benefit all and not a few.
The CCS Coordinator decried the developments in the Rivers House of Assembly urging those concerned to call themselves to order in the interest of peace of the nation.
Oyewumi seized the opportunity to advice the National Assembly to vote for local government autonomy in the on-going vote on amended portions of the 1999 constitution.
He also urged the Lawmakers to vote against the immunity clause insisting that it would make the nation's leaders sit up.
Chief of Staff to governor Fashola, Mr Lanre Babalola who received the protesters on behalf of the governor, said that he would extend the issue for which the were protesting to the governor.