Cancelled Nationwide Protest: Wole Soyinka Reacts, Says It’s A National Shame

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has condemned the cancellation of the nationwide protest against the government planned by music superstar Innocent Idibia, popularly called 2Face.

The #OneNigeriaProtest which was supposed to hold on Monday 6th was yesterday canceled by the music icon who cited security concerns as the reason for calling off the anti-government protest.

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In a statement to Nigerians, 2face said:

“Dear Nigerians, after due consultations, it has become clear that the #OneNigeriaProtest scheduled to hold in Lagos and Abuja on Monday the 6th of February is under serious threat of hijack by interests not aligned with our ideals.

“The point I am intent on making is not worth the life of any Nigerian. It is, in fact, motivated by the need to demand a better deal for the ordinary Nigerian.

“I, therefore, announce the cancellation of the planned protest. We’ll share further information in due course.”

In an article to Sahara Repoters, Wole Soyinka said he had written a letter to the Inspector-General of Police, through the Commissioner of Police, Lagos state demanding that the nationwide protest should be allowed to hold so as to respect and safeguard the constitutional rights of Nigerians.

He, however, stated that the news of the cancellation was a deep embarrassment and a national shame ‘triggered by the state’s attempt to water down the criminal code against corruption’ and that the police reversed the hands of the democratic clock.

Hear him:

“Saturday (Saturday, Feb 4), the media offered the nation a space of relief when it carried the expected news of a mutual accommodation reached by the organizers of the demonstration planned for tomorrow Monday, February 6th.

“The theme in summary: Public discontent with the state of the nation and its governance. From the beginning, the organizers had cited quite an extensive list of such areas of concern and demands for urgent attention.

“To my personal consternation, today’s (Sunday) the same media countered that announcement with a stiff repudiation from the apex of the Police command – the office of the Inspector-General. It is such a huge disappointment, and a disservice to the cause of democracy, tolerance of dissent, and principle of inclusive governance.

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“An unnecessary but important reminder: the battle for the right of lawful assembly of citizens in any cause, conducted peacefully, has been fought and won several times over. It is time that this contest is gracefully conceded. It must be consolidated by its routineness as a choice of action at the front of any people’s democratic participation.

“This battle has been won legally, constitutionally, and even morally. It enjoys near global acceptance as one of the means of actualizing the protocols of a people’s Fundamental Human Rights.

“It comes therefore as a deep embarrassment and a national shame that this latest attempt at denial of these protocols rears its head at a time when one of the largest gatherings of humanity is taking place in one of the former totalitarian states of Eastern Europe – Romania. Its size has been assessed as the largest in former Eastern Europe since the fall of the Berlin wall.

“It was triggered by the state attempt to water down the criminal code against corruption and has brought out hundreds of thousands of people into the streets and stadia, day after day, until the much-awaited announcement of the withdrawal of the obnoxious decree. This should resonate within the current Nigerian governance that has made the anti-corruption crusade its mantra…”

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Prof. Wole Soyinka was not the only person to condemn the cancellation of the planned nationwide protest which was supposed to hold today.  The former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili has also slammed the Federal Government for its role in the cancellation of the protest.

After the news of the cancellationof the nationwide protest went viral, Mrs. Ezekwesili took to her official twitter handle @Obyezeks to air her opinion. According to her, it is a failure on the part of the government if her citizens can’t feel safe to voice their concerns and challenges.

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