The coalition of democracy and good governance groups, ‘#Resume or Resign’ and ‘Our Mumu don do,’ have described as, lies from the pit of hell, an allegation in some section of the media claiming that the current governor of Gombe state, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, the immediate past governor of Ondo state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and other politicians in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are the ones sponsoring the sit-out rally demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari who has been in London since May 7 returns back to Nigeria to resume his presidential duties or that he resigns if incapacitated by ill health.
A pro-Buhari group, Coalition for Truth and Justice, CFTAJ, had on Sunday, alleged that the current rally by the groups calling for Buhari’s resumption or resignation were being sponsored by the aforementioned governors in the tune of three hundred million Naira (N300m).
The National Coordinator of CFTAJ, Charles Timothy, at press conference in Abuja, called on security agencies to place them “under passive watch”, because the protests were being sponsored to destabilise the country.
He said, “It is true that the installment death of the corruption industry is compelling Nigerians to live within their means, which some have interpreted as hardship in the land. Nigerians should therefore task these protesters to inquire from their sponsors if the N300 million paid to celebrity activists – Deji (Adeyanju), John Danfulani and Charles Oputa aka Charlie Boy couldn’t have been better deployed to ameliorate the condition of those facing economic hardship.
“We therefore want to issue firm warnings. Because we know these protesters are mere fodders, tools in the hands of those that paid them to take to the streets, our warning is not directed at the protesters but at their sponsors. We therefore warn Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo and former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko who are the brain behind the protest against the ailing President.
But in a statement signed by Charles Oputa (Leader, #ResumeOrResign Movement) for ‘Our Mumu Don Do Movement’ and Deji Adeyanju (Co-Convener, #ResumeOrResign Movement) for ‘Concerned Nigerians,’ the anti-Buhari protesters said their movement was never and will never be sponsored by anybody especially because it is in line with the provisions of the constitution.
“We have seen the lies and false assertions of a pro government group called Coalition for truth and Justice alleging that the Concerned Nigerians and the Our Mumu don do movement are being sponsored by Former Governor of Ondo state Dr Olusegun Mimiko and Governor of Gombe state Ibrahim Dankwambo.
“The allegations are not just lies but are ridiculous and even embarrassing to those making the allegations. We understand that this is the handwork of detractors that are against our honest agitations for the Resumption or Resignation of President Buhari.
“Concerned Nigerians and Our Mumu don do Movement are not being sponsored by anybody or government figure and will remain unsponsored. Our activities are in line with the provisions of the constitution and we will continue to carry out our daily sit out activities and not be intimidated.
“Furthermore, we will no longer respond to any prevalent distractions or consequent allegations by this administration but we will remain focus in demanding for the President to either Resume or Resign.”
The groups also reiterated their stand that President Buhari must resume or resign. They said they will take their rallies for the demand for Buhari’s resumption or resignation to several cities across Nigeria.
“Wednesday August 16th, 2017 will mark 100 days since President Muhammadu Buhari travelled to an undisclosed hospital in the United Kingdom to treat a yet to be disclosed illness. During this period President Buhari has rarely been seen in public and has not communicated with the Nigerian people in a language that a majority of the people can understand.
“A few days ago the Presidency released images and video footage of the President receiving some of his aides. However, Nigerians were informed that his medical sojourn to the United Kingdom will continue a while longer as his doctors have not given him clearance to return to the country and resume the execution of his duties as President.
“In view of the above, we will hold peaceful processions in several cities across Nigeria and the world at large to press home our demands that President Buhari either returns to the country soon or resigns from office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
However, the pro-Buhari group maintained that the anti-Buhari rallies were sponsored by politicians who are power players in PDP.
The group’s National Coordinator, Charles Timothy, called also said that those calling for Buhari’s resumption are rather victims of their sponsors ‘alleged clandestine motives and urged them to instead, join other Nigerians and pray for the President’s quick recovery.
He said, “Both Dankwambo and Mimiko are entitled to throw away their humanity on the altar of ambition but they must be aware that whatever position they are desperate to attain is not worth plunging the country into crisis over. They are free to spend their money any way they want but financing urchins, riffraff and celebrity activists but truly patriotic Nigerians will not sit by and watch them plunge the country into trouble.
“We urge the law enforcement agencies to place these men under passive watch same as their foot soldiers on the streets to ensure that there is no unexpected breakdown of law and order. This does not in any way suggest that the right of Nigerians to lawful assembly should be abridged, what we are saying is that criminal elements should not be encouraged to use President Buhari’s medical vacation as a cover to wreak havoc on the streets.
“Nigeria is again at crossroads as those that are desperate to collapse the country are again at work. They have tried all manners of gimmicks in the past and woefully failed to compromise the integrity of Nigeria. Some of them have sponsored terrorism or militancy, depending on the region, and failed to use these to bring Nigeria down. They have now resorted to street protests under the guise that they are demanding President Muhammadu Buhari to cut short his medical vacation and resume duties.
“For those who have not noticed, we want to point out that these protesters are not new. They had held similar protests in the past under different names and with multiple excuses. What they have simply done this time is to rebrand their name into #ourmumudondo and add a few more desperate celebrity activists to their ranks; their driving ideology for causing chaos has not changed one bit.
“It is most unfortunate that these motely crowd of desperate people equated themselves with patriotic citizens that followed due process in staging a march to express their feeling about the performance of government. The patriotic citizens conducted themselves in orderly manner and cooperated with law enforcement to ensure their march was not hijacked. Same cannot be said for the #ourmumudondo protesters, whose thugs were confrontational against law enforcement agents from the start.
“To Nigerians, our position remains to renew the invitation to pray for the recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari and for return of peace with prosperity to the country. We appeal to citizens not to buy into the campaign of negativity being financed by the likes of Dankwambo and Mimiko.
“It is tragic that these protesters are victims of their own puppet masters, who are exploiting their joblessness to further personal political interests. We expect that people should, even when they are unemployed, interrogate the long-term plan of those asking them to take to the streets and cause mayhem. When protests degenerate into unruliness it is natural that the peace has to be maintained so these protesters were quite unawares that they were guinea pigs in their paymasters’ poltical experiment.
“Another thing that these protesters are unaware of was that their sponsors have equally mobilized thugs to join the so-called protests for the sole aim of fomenting trouble. The strategy is for these thugs to deliberately clash with law enforcement and then cause widespread violence, arson and looting that will eventually result in a breakdown of law and order. Even more worrisome is the specific request from these sponsors that the thugs must ensure there is loss of life from the protest so that they can claim that security agencies and by implication the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is killing protesters.”