Nigeria's massive protest is a citizens' revolt against Federal Government
Thousands of protesters Monday have joined anti-government rallies across the country, ramping up the pressure on embattled ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, government. Widespread anger is targeted at the Buhari led administration as the country grapples with recession and a major stall in economy.
Protesters have taken to the streets mainly in Lagos and Abuja with one simple message for their leaders: We deserve better.
Nigeria certainly pay for better government; the underlying message behind the rising number of public protests there is that citizens "are weighed down by unemployment, high cost of food and a system of government infected with corruption," protesters said.
"Government of the rich, for the rich, making rules for the poor," protesters chanted against a backbeat of anthems by Afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti, a fearless critic of Nigeria's often brutal and corrupt military rule until his death in 1997.
"Unemployed people are hungry and angry," read one demonstrator's sign.
“It’s not just the rich. Everyone is suffering,” said Mary Ejindu an accountant, who had travelled almost 5 hours from Edo state to get to the protest in Lagos, “Buhari is ruining the country. He has to fix the forex issue, fix the economy and encourage private sector.”
Like many of the demonstrators, she put her hopes not in the opposition but in the national assembly to hold the legislators in demanding accountability from the executive.
At the very least, he is guilty of incompetence and arrogance,” read one placard. “Buhari: Quit if you don't have solutions said another. Many others called for him to change his cabinet.
Comedian Seyi Law said the government needs to reshuffle its cabinet. He said people can no longer go to farm because they are scared.
“We are demanding accountability. Make we know those wey dey collect the money. Somebody go school, all the years wey you spend for school, you no see work. Meanwhile one militant wey dey cause trouble dey collect money every month.
“Corruption be like ladder, na those wey dey down na dem hold the ladder make e no fall.
He says government is budgeting millions to buy newspapers when they can make online subscriptions.
Human rights Activist, Chidi Odinkalu said “We thumbed Buhari into office in 2015 because he promised to do a lot, then he got into power and he has never addressed us. When he wants to talk to us he gets into a plane travels abroad and starts gossiping about us.
“Are we so useless that our president cannot address us? Are we so idiotic that our president cannot tell us that things are hard? We don’t get answers, we don’t get empathy and we are told we cannot protest too? What kind of country is that? What kind of citizens are we?
Buhari was supposed to return Monday from a two-week vacation in London. But a statement said he was extending his absence to complete unspecified medical tests. UK-based Songhai Advisory risk analysis said the indefinite extension fuels suspicions about the 74-year-old leader's capacity to govern and increases political and economic uncertainty.