Govt can’t stop revolution, activists tell Amaechi

April 14, 2013 by LEKE BAIYEWU and TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN
Chairman, Nigeria Governors' Forum, Rotimi AmaechiChairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi
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Human rights activists and groups have taken turns to berate the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for downplaying the looming revolution in Nigeria. They described him as a leader who has lost touch with his people.

Amaechi had last week at the Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders ruled out the possibility of having a revolution in the country.

He had said many Nigerians had become used to suffering rather than pushing for a change.

Amaechi, who is the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, said he was sure that those who gathered to protest against the removal of oil subsidy in January 2012 would have fled if the President had drafted soldiers to the Freedom Park Lagos State and other states to quell the uprising.

But in separate interviews, the activists and groups; Second Republic lawmaker and pro-democracy activist, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite; human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN; the Save Nigeria Group; Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, who were part of the protest, warned that masses’ revolt would consume ‘failed leaders.’

Braithwaite, who was attacked with tear gas by security agents during the protest, said he would not respond to Amaechi’s “simplistic and simpleton” evaluation of very a serious situation.

Braithwaite said, “If I remember rightly, this particular governor was installed in office by an order of court. I don’t even recall that he even contested an election. To that extent, his simplistic reading of the mood of the people in a manifestly oppressive and unjust situation should be dismissed offhand. He does not deserve to be dignified by a response from me.”

Falana said while the governor was entitled to his opinion, “people like him can wallow in illusion that the status quo should remain.”

The spokesperson, SNG, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, also said the governor was ignorant of the issue.

He added that when Nigerians were fighting to liberate themselves, Amaechi allegedly organised a pro-subsidy protest in River State.

Odumakin  said, “Nigerians have shown clearly in January, 2012, that they are ready to liberate themselves; they are ready for a revolt against this bad leadership and it’s a matter of time before the ruling class gets what it’s asking for.

“The time is coming when security agents will be part of the protest because they are going to the same market and they are suffering the same thing, except the ‘oga on top’ who are benefiting. The rank and file are also suffering. It is that revolution itself that would convince Amaechi and those who think like him that Nigerians are capable of revolting.”

Similarly, Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumini, said Amaechi’s statement meant that until Nigerians revolted, they would not have good things of life.

Mumuni said, “The fact that Nigerians are too accommodating of the excesses of their leaders does not mean that Nigerians are afraid or weak. Revolutions are not deliberately planned, they are always spontaneous. And where revolutions have happened in world’s history, they are never planned.

“So, the likes of Rotimi Amaechi should not take the patience and resilience of Nigerians for granted. It is for those who hold power in Nigeria to be alive to their responsibilities.”

Executive Chairman, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, added that mass revolt begins when people are dissatisfied with the way they are governed.

He said there was no standard measure for peoples’ anger, which made it difficult to predetermine when and how a revolution would take place.

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