By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
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”.
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.