UDUAGHAN RALLIES YOUNG MEN FOR VIOLENT PROTEST IN DELTA STATE
Following the fall-out from the 'power-to-kill' speech made the Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, Liberate – Delta People's Movement have today learnt of imminent plans by the Uduaghan administration to organise a demonstration in Asaba on FRIDAY 1st June 2012. We have heard from a very reliable source that the administration is paying young men and women fifteen thousand Naira (N15,000) to come on the street of Asaba to demonstrate support for his administration as the Supreme Court sits to hear the appeal of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru for a review of the Supreme Court's earlier decision in respect of the Gubernatorial Elections.
We are aware that this is a tactic used by the Delta State People's Democratic Party (PDP) during elections and have recently been sited in a report by the US Department of State's report on human rights in Nigeria as a source of violence in the State. Given the fragile security situation in the State and the ongoing charged environment owing to the January election being widely considered to have been rigged; we are shocked and appalled that Uduaghan is leading this type of activity in our State again. We condemn in no uncertain terms any such plans to rally young men to a protest in the State as we believe strongly that such a protest may lead to violence, civil disorder, potential loss of life and damage to property.
Clearly we are well within our rights to expect that the Governor will concentrate on the business of resurrecting and completing the numerous failed and abandoned projects littering the State with a particular focus on job creation for the youth in the State, rather than using the poverty created by government inaction to lure young people into activities that might bring them harm, it is simply unfathomable and we urge members of the house of assembly to weigh heavily on Uduaghan to call off such plans.
Liberate have previously considered similar direct action in the State, but have done so with great considering for the welfare and wellbeing of our young people and we have at all times erred on the side of caution. With the continuing looting of the collective wealth of Deltans by a few criminally-motivated politicians led by Uduaghan, it may well become necessary that we would ask Deltans to come out on the streets in peaceful protest across all villages, towns and cities; should that time come, we will do so with the utmost respect for the rule of law and mindedness of the peace and tranquillity demanded by the people. Such is our right in a democracy; but for the Governor to mobilise young men for rallies, paying the vulnerable to join an ill-conceived protest is unacceptable and unbecoming of a holder of such an esteemed office.
The lesson from similar events during election times is that more often than not, some of the young men engaged to participate in such rallies are armed. This has often been blamed for the proliferation of small arms across the State; arms that are then later used to terrorise communities and commit heinous crimes of armed robbery, kidnapping and politically motivated killings. In a week when Uduaghan went out of his way to pronounce that he has the power to demolish any house and the power to kill, we are deeply concerned about the plans of a rally and we absolutely say that whatever the consequences of such a rally are, Uduaghan will bear the responsibility.
Liberate spokesperson, Mr. Cadre Drake said that:
We are beginning to see signs of desperation in Uduaghan since the demise of his mentor, Ibori and he seems unable to focus purely on his duties as governor. It is unthinkable that the executive governor of a State in this Federation would be sponsoring violent protest and disorder in the State. Uduaghan must take hold of his senses and stop this rally urgently. We do not want to see bloodshed on the Streets of our State capital; he should live true to his calls for unity and peace.
Delta State is in a very fragile condition and all the people are asking for, is genuine focus on addressing the long-standing issues of poverty, corruption and poor governance. Liberate is asking Uduaghan to use the opportunity afforded by the sentencing of Ibori to turn a corner. He must now start but calling off the plans for a public protest.