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When ‘enough is enough’train hit Lagos

An elderly woman joining the peaceful mass rally organised by Save Nigeria Group, on Thursday in Lagos.

By Bilesanmi Olalekan

She just wanted to be addressed and known as Mama Enough is Enough. She, like every other protesters, was not happy with situation of things in the country particularly the vacuum created in  the running of government by  the ill health of the president.  Thus, she joined hundreds of other Nigerians from all walks of life  last Thursday, in a peaceful protest over the  stagnation in governance occasioned by President Yar’Adua’s illness and his refusal to hand over government to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

The protest started from the Archbishop Vining Memorial Anglican Church owned Sky power pavilion on Oba Akinjobi Road at  10.30 in the morning. The protesters marched to  Alausa, the seat of government of Lagos State.

Different placards expressing their views and feelings were either pasted on cars, walls and some as tracts given to the motorists who, interestingly appeared happy with the protest judging from their comments. Dr. Tunde Bakare, the senior pastor of Latter Rain Assembly coordinated the protest. The roll call was not different from those that  participated in the Abuja version except with a few ones. General Alani Akinrinade, Femi Falana, Wunmi Obe,  former president of  CLO, Yinka Odumakin and his wife, Joel, Admiral Ndubisi Kanu, Chief Supo Shonibare, Chief Sam Asemota, SAN,  the comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka, Charlie Boy, Ayo Opadokun Shetima Yerima, Tunji Abayomi and Shola Shoyeye. Professor Wole Soyinka was not present. He was away in India.

A peaceful mass rally tagged 'ENOUGH IS ENOUGH' by Save Nigeria Group, on Thursday in Lagos.Photos: Kehinde Gbadamosi.

Mama Enough is Enough with her walking stick, supported by her granddaughter, even though not with the pace of the other protesters, walked all the way to Alausa, chanting the protest songs.  Asked why she chose to join the protest when she could comfortably be at home resting. The 78-year old grandmother said she was happy to be part of the protest, noting that the political class have taken the people for a ride for too long and except the people do something about it like the one she was part of, nothing will ever change. “ I want them to know that I am not happy with the way they are ruling us. I want them to know through this protest that we are tired of their antics. If I sit down at home, nothing will change. It can only change through this kind of peaceful protest. I am happy that I was part of this protest.  Apart from the fact that one is part of it, I am even enjoying myself. My message is that Yar’Adua should relinquish power and let this country move forward”.

Another septuagenarian who shocked some of the protesters particularly the young ones was General Alani Akinrinade. He formed a chain with Shetima, Falana, Bakare Joe Odumakin which jogged, non-stop, all the way to Alausa. He was full of smiles even as he acknowledged cheers intermittently.  He did not address the public. He preferred to be at the background. Alani was one of the prime movers of the National Democratic Coalition known as NADECO which fought the late Abacha military regime to a standstill.

Tunde Bakare, while the march was going, showed that a man of God too can be angry especially when provoked. The protesters briefly stopped on Awolowo Road, opposite the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria building.  The protesters were beginning to cluster together making it choking particularly for the leaders. He then asked everybody to space out  but some, for whatever reason were reluctant, “I said you should space out”, he thundered as he pushed them away.

Bakare lashed out at the Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankola saying he had lost touch with the people. The Speaker had told his members that there was nothing to present to them in the wake of the Enough is Enough protest to the National Assembly. He said a leader does not need to be formally written to before he knows, he understands and appreciates the plight of his people. In order to avoid the same comments of Bankole, Bakare said the group decided to present a letter to Governor Babatunde Fashola who said he would present it to the Governors Forum. For Falana, President of the West Africa Bar Association, his appearance at the podium was short but by the time he left, lots of missiles had been sent particularly to the leadership of the National Assembly.

“The Senate said they are inviting Ahmed Yayale(Secretary to the Federal Government) to tell them about the medical state of the president, the question you will want to ask is, is Yayale is a medical doctor? What happened to his personal physician?

This same David Mark who once said that telephone was not for the poor, the same man who was part of those that cut short of the 1993 election and aborted the process that would have made Abiola the president. There is nothing like Right Honorable in presidential system of government. He says he stands by the Abuja judgment. May be we should ask him, can Jonathan deploy troops, appoint judges, justices of Appeal and Supreme courts.  Charlie Boy, the musician, who joined midway also added colour to the march as he hailed all the way.

In the scotching sun, Fashola addressed the gathering. He said unlike before, the gathering would not have been possible or if possible would have to secure permission from the police. All that have changed. My task is simple regarding this protest, to give this letter to the Governors’ Forum. The gathering was briefly disrupted midway when Joel read out from her phone the message of Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka who was away in India.  At the end of the Fashola speech, Ndubisi Kanu gave his closing remarks before giving Enough is Enough inscribed chilled bottled water.


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