Although a Nigerian music icon, Tuface Idibia, withdrew from the proposed anti-government protest he was supposed to lead on Monday 6th February, some concerned Nigerians went ahead with the protest and registered their grievances against the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
In this article, we explain why the protest might still continue even though the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo had given assurance that government would find a lasting solution to people’s suffering as soon as possible.
“If the people fear the government, there is tyranny and oppression, but if the government fears the people there is liberty and freedom” – Thomas Jefferson
Legendary music artiste 2face pulled out of the #IStandWithNigeria protests at the last minute due to security concerns, but the protest against all odds still went on in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Akure and the Nigerian High Commission office in UK. Later we will discuss the overt and covert intricacies, back door shenanigans of government and its institutions at tacitly suppressing dissenting voices and citizens’ right to protest.
Recently, protests erupted in Romania, US and the Gambia in remonstration to widespread corruption, unfavorable executive orders, despotism and dictatorship.
But I have always held reservations about civil protests in this country because ours is not a government that listens and lead by examples. This is Nigeria where you can’t constructively criticise government’s economic policy and directions (void of any political leanings) unfortunately you’d still be labeled a detractor and enemy of state who is yet to get over losing out in the election.
Our governance apparatchik are so determined to wobble and fumble in darkness of ineptitude and nothingness while clawing on to reins of power for years with no clear roadmap to long-lasting fiscal reforms.
Therefore a single day protest will not drive these political warmongers and greed-driven government officials to a critical self-performance assessment, identifying the pitfalls and retracing their steps.
They will not turn a new leaf in just one day, so if we are going to register our disapproval in form of protests, we must not relent until wave of new ideas in governance and politics, time-tested economic policies, financial liberalization, less cumbersome bureaucratic procedures and civil service administration enhancement begins to manifest.
The protest can’t stop now, even though we have the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo assurances that “our voices have been heard loud and clear”, we need to keep pressure on the National Assembly until we can feel empirical evidences of change, we can amend our existing laws to enable us call for a referendum.
We can have them overhaul our constitution for immediate amendment to reflect new policy directions. We can debate the pros and cons of practical fiscal federalism (though I also have reservations in this regard). Who says we can’t scrap any or both of NASS and HoR?
Of course, our lawmakers cannot continue to enjoy bogus allocations and allowances while our teachers languish in poverty and squalor. The protest can’t stop now. Where are the recovered looted funds amounting to trillions of Naira?
Why do some people enjoy immunity from prosecution? Is it lawful for our public officials to seek medical attention overseas with taxpayers’ money? Police reforms? We can’t stop protesting now. Our leaders are never moved to action with dialogues, they have failed us severally.
Protests must continue. Minimum wage remains the same amidst rising costs of living. Why are enabling laws facilitating ease of doing business and investing in Nigeria not fully obtainable? What has government done to encourage local businesses, manufacturers and SMEs? Pension reforms? Our retirees don’t have to wait endlessly till they die before their pension arrears are paid. Why can’t public officials, politicians, lawmakers and teachers earn same in salary and allowances?
The protest can’t stop now. Do we implement last national confab reports? Why can’t cross-carpeting politicians be barred from holding public office until after 2 or 3 years? How can we stop protesting when we import all class of goods while we produce and export none? Our refineries are moribund and needs resuscitation. After this protest, we need more protests.
We can’t stop protesting until we have participatory democracy where we can assess the performance and full implementation of our budgets, where the citizenry can get to rate the actualization and completion of projects as contained in the expenditure bills at all levels and can hold government responsible.
All these I mentioned and a lot more needed to be immediately addressed, therefore we should not stop protesting until we see positive changes. A-day protest is obviously not enough, we need to do more especially when President Muhammadu Buhari returns.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of LATESTNIGERIANEWS.COM.NG