We have been inundated with opinions and counter-opinions on the planned protest against the Nigeria’s government on the economic woes facing Nigerians. As usual, discuss on this has taken a primordial twist, by proponents of either side; pulling as usual the ethnic and religious fault lines of Nigerians.
I have ignored the back and forth till now, because frankly, I am at a loss as to why this should be an issue in the first place.
For one, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees right to gather and associate for specific purposes. There are international charters guaranteeing the same, so what is the problem? So, as long as the necessary preparations are done in line with the law, there should be absolutely why the coming protests should not hold.
For avoidance of doubt, we cannot claim to be a democracy and stymie dissents, protests or even the right to lampoon our leaders. And it is the duty of the state to guaranty the safety of lives and property during the planned protest. So, it baffles me why people are quick to condemn protests and their organizers. This government will be doing itself a disservice if it places a bar on the proposed protest march or any other one for that matter!
So what if the target of the protest is our president, Muhammadu Buhari? As American politicians are wont to say, if you cannot take the heat, stay out of the kitchen! All public office holders must be held accountable for their actions and inactions – and it is not only at election times that we should do so.
Second, I find it hypocritical for some folk to criticize president Donald Trump of the USA and egg protesters against him on, while arguing to shield another president from the protest of citizens of the nation he governs! Pure, unadulterated hypocrisy! And, with respect, such folk should be ashamed of themselves.
I even hear that supporters of the president are planning a ‘MEGA’ march in his support to counter that being planned? That is also their constitutional right, and supporters of the first protest would also be hypocritical to condemn such moves!
Nigerians should loose, once and for all, this big man syndrome that our leaders are immune from criticism. It will not happen again, not with the shenanigans of leaders past! Grin and bear it if you are the butt of jokes and derision, while in power.
I often tell my politician friends who moan about the use of social media to pummel them this: THE BEST REVENGE TO CRITICISM IS TO OUT PERFORM YOURSELF IN OFFICE!
Do that and you’d be ‘venerated’! Simple! You cannot claim the privilege of public office (lucrative one at that!) and wish your citizens to ‘leave you in peace’!
Ko le se le o!
So, for all bent on exercising their rights to freely gather and voice their opinions, which ever side of the argument you belong, WELCOME TO YOUR OPEN SEASON!