By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Human rights activist, Femi Falana on Monday said it is time to mobilise Nigerians for a revolution because of wanton insecurity and the poor state the nation’s economy has become.
Falana spoke at a symposium organised by pro-RevolutionNow activists in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The police had earlier barricaded the venue of the symposium at 46 Ibijoke Street, Oregun area of Ikeja, but later allowed the activists after Falana intervened.
According to Falana, revolution is not a dinner party, but a serious, rigorous and consistent battle for the soul of a country like Nigeria.
“Therefore, what we have done is a mere declaration of our resolve. The struggle is going to be in pains and it will require time. But I believe that we have started and there is no going back. What we have done is to challenge the Nigerian people to appreciate the enormity of crisis of underdevelopment that is confronting the country.
“We do not have a revolution yet in Nigeria. But there is revolutionary pressure in Nigeria. We must seize the advantage of the moment and mobilise Nigerians on the need for revolution and tell them that it will come sooner than later. We all should have hope in the exercise. We have to go round the country and tell Nigerians.
“Nigeria occupies a prominent place globally. It is the only country with the largest concentration of black race. So, if we fail to get it right in Nigeria, the black race is doomed. That is why we all must declare our resolve to double our energy towards achieving the aim of revolution for the country,” he said.
Earlier, Falana commended everyone for insisting that their rights must be respected, saying that Nigerians had the right to assembly and associate peacefully in the country, assuring that “we are going to ensure that all the rights of Nigerian people that we have fought for and won will not be allowed to be eroded by any regime in this country.
“When we were told that we will not be allowed to meet, my mind went back 30 years ago when you have the Buhari, Babangida and other juntas. We defeated the regimes and I want to assure you all that any other dictator will not be allowed to raise their head again in Nigeria.
“I heard that about three persons have been arrested. But I want to assure you that after the programme, I will demand their release because they have not committed any offence. I want to assure you that all those that were arrested and charged during the RevolutionNow for unlawful assembly and peace will be given adequate defended at the court of law.”
Falana said the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration knew those that were breaching the peace of the country, which included terrorists, armed robbers, coup plotters and others.
He said those who went to the street to protest, in exercise of their right to assembly and complain against injustice, corruption and maladministration in the country could not be said to have breached the law of the country, adding that “the Man (Sowore) who was arrested and detained before the protest will be adequately defended at the law court. This is because he has committed no offence.”
“It may interest you to know that even under the colonial regime, Nigerians fought and defended their right. They organized lectures on the need for revolution and the first event was chaired by Chief Anthony Enahoro. After the lectures, they were arrested and charged by the colonial regime. They were not charged for treason felony but for sedition; that they were trying to embarrass the colonial regime. That experience mobilized Nigerians to kick against the colonial system.
“So, let the authority in Abuja knows that the call for revolution is not new in Nigeria. Political leaders in this country have over time call for revolution and they have never been arrested and prosecuted. So if there is a mistake now, such must be corrected. This country belongs to all of us. We are not a contract people. Before today, they claimed that we must not engage in any activity on the street. We are trying to gather inside the hall, they claimed that we cannot do that. But because of our resolve, we won,” he stated.
Former presidential candidate, National Conscience Party, NCP, Martin Onovo, said he was not satisfied with the current state of the country, saying that the nation had the worst police globally.
“We understand how herdsmen have become the greatest threat, overtaking Boko Haram. The problem of Nigeria starts with its leadership. In the UK, the former Prime Minister, Theresa May resigned because she failed with her Brexit plan and I expect the Present administration to tow the line of the former UK prime minister because it has failed and should resign like May did,” he said.
Also speaking, Seun Kuti said “Revolution now was expected to be freedom now. And the reason is that revolutionary requires action and reflection and I believe that AAC did not handle the reflection part of the struggle correctly.
“We all need to wake the people up and let them understand the need to demand their rights. Sowore is active. We are all actors in the act of Sowore. We all must go into the communities and share the revolution idea with the people. We all must act now. It requires that we all demand for freedom and until we all do that, no one can do such for us in this country.
“We all have the right to march on the street to express our displeasure against any policy in the country and the law enforcement officers do not have the right to arrest anyone that engages in such. We need to move into the communities and point out the contradiction in society for them to know why the need for revolution. We all must also demand the release of Omoyele Sowore now. We all must stand firm and ensure adequate mobilization across the country.”