By Rt. Hon. Victor Adekanye Olabimtan
Abraham Lincoln, in one of his numerous conceptual clarifications on the tenets of democracy, opined that the people are the government, and the power of the people is the ultimate in a democracy.
Thus, I say with all modesty and responsibility that recent events within the last 72 hours in the purview of our national discourse are nothing but ones which we all would not like to forget in a hurry. The fire, the fury, the sensationalist, the brouhaha, the hullabaloo, the twists, the turns, the fear, the apprehension, are ones which unfortunately, we might not be able to let go in our memory for long.
Right before our own eyes, we saw as armed men in Military uniform engaged our most-prized age grade whom we believe are our future. Many were injured, while one person has been confirmed dead by the authorities. Their offense was that they were protesting for a better policing system and an end to decay in governance.
One of the beauties of democracy which we have all come to adopt and cherish over the years of our national existence as a sovereign nation is rights to association, peaceful assembly and expression.
Aside the aforementioned being entrenched in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended, the United Nations and African Union Human Right Charters also prescribes the rights to peaceful assembly as a fundamental and lawful one which must be respected and acknowledged by government of every nation who claims to practice democracy as a form of government.
Let me say very expressly that what was witnessed and reported in the Lekki Toll Gate on the evening of 20th October was grossly uncalled for and stands condemned in its entirety. The assaults and attacks unleashed against peaceful and unarmed protesters by some men in Military uniform is a pure antithesis of democracy.
It is, however, my hope, that a proper investigation would be carried out to unravel all those behind the barbaric acts.
However, while I appeal for total peace across the federating states of the nation of Nigeria, I condemn, in strongest terms, the activities of hoodlums who decided to hijack the noble intention of our honorable youths agitating for a better policing system in our dear country to wreck havoc on our respective patrimony and monulments in Yoruba land, most especially, In Lagos and Ondo States.
I say without any fear or favour that the vandalism, theft, attack and destruction of both private and public facilities across Yoruba Land, especially, in Akure, Benin, Lagos, Osogbo and Ibadan are totally uncalled for.
The extermination of Television Continental (TVC), The Nation Newspapers, FRSC, VIO and LASTMA offices, Oba of Lagos Palace, Hundreds of BRT Buses and Police formations in Lagos plus the wanton destruction of the Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Governorship Campaign Office, the APC and PDP State Secretariats in Akure, Ondo state symbolises an anti-climax in a democracy. I enjoin you all to eschew violence and embrace peace because two wrongs does not make a right.
Consequently, I enjoin all our security operatives to rise to the occasion and ensure that these unscrupulous elements terrorising the peace of our land are brought to book. Nigeria is ours, and we must collectively do our utmost best to keep it peacefully united.
Mr Olabimtan is the Special Adviser, Political Matters and Strategy, Ondo State Government