The presidency has challenged sponsors of the trending #RevolutionNow protests to show their faces instead of hiding “behind the veil of social media modernity”.
The movement plans to kick off series of protests across the country on Monday, August 5, 2019. Organisers say they would mobilise hundreds of most frustrated Nigerians to occupy the streets of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and march in 25 states across the country to demand good governance, economic progress, and an end to corruption, insecurity, and repression of critical voices.
A statement issued on Sunday by Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said “the organisation championing this planned action is not fronted by any serious public faces.”
Organisers of the protests are rights activists, under the Coalition for Revolution (CORE), Conveners of Free Nigeria Movement (FNM) and Coalition in Defence of Nigeria’s Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), led respectively by Kunle Ajayi, Raphael Adebayo and Dare-Ariyo Atoye.
One of the leaders of the movement, Omoyele Sowore was arrested by the DSS on Saturday. Same day, the police issued a statement warning the group to put off the march or be held responsible for treason and terrorism.
Even though Sowore is a well known activist, apart from being the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 presidential election and the publisher of popular online news medium, SaharaReporters, Shehu said the organisers were hiding their true identities.
“We call on the sponsors and organisers to have the decency to come forward and make their identity known – out of respect to all Nigerians – so that Nigerians can be fully aware in whose name this “revolution” is being proposed and who the beneficiaries may be,” Shehu said.
He added: “The President of Nigeria and his administration respect and uphold the right of every Nigerian to peaceful protest and civil campaign– whether to raise awareness on issues, and even oppose the government. It is the inalienable right of all citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to do so.
“There is, however, a difference between peaceful call to protest and incitement for a revolution.
“Less than six months ago, Nigeria held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections. Both contests were won resoundingly by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All-Progressives Congress party. The campaign was observed, and results were confirmed by international election monitoring groups and observers. The result was even contested by the losing presidential candidate and his party in Court.
“The ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government and a president in Nigeria. The days of coups and revolutions are over.
“Those making the “revolution’’ call hide behind the veil of social media modernity. But without revealing the identity of their sponsors this shadowy campaign is no better, and no more democratic, than the days of old.
“The President calls on all those who seek to use and hide behind everyday citizens to attain power through undemocratic and violent means, which has been alluded, to come out clearly and be identified. They should lead their march in person. Only then will they begin to have the right to call themselves leaders before the people of Nigeria.”
Organisers and supporters of the movement have however slammed the government, accusing it of twisting the meaning of revolution as it is being conducted by the protesters.
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