Romanus Ugwu and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Presidency has faulted the planned match by “Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria” with the aim of bringing “regime change” in Nigeria without recourse to a nationwide vote, describing it as inappropriate.
It spoke in reaction to the Department of State Services (DSS) arrest of presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 General Elections, Omoyele Sowore, one of the arrowheads of the planned revolution match.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said President Muhammadu Buhari’s 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.”
The DSS, yesterday, confirmed the arrest of Omoyele in the early hours of Saturday.
Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow protests, which he intended to hold across the country concurrently allegedly in protest against bad governance, was picked up at his apartment at 1.25am on Saturday.
Shehu who said those behind the planned match are faceless, challenged them to make themselves known so that Nigerians will know the real beneficiaries of the protest.
He said: “There is, however, a difference between peaceful call to protest and incitement for a revolution.
“The organisation championing this planned action is not fronted by any serious public faces. 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.
“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.”
The presidential media aide said 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 every day 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.”
Peter Afunaya, DSS spokesman, said Sowore was arrested because he crossed the red-line by calling for a revolution.
“Whether Sowore is with the DSS or not, the answer is an emphatic yes. He is with the DSS because he has crossed the lines by threatening public safety. He has threatened the peaceful coexistence and social harmony of this country.
“There is apprehension and anxiety from citizens and residents. They are worried as to what will happen next. We want to use this opportunity to assure law abiding Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, citizens of the world that come Monday August 5, 2019, there will be absolute peace in Nigeria, nothing will happen and there will not be any revolution.
“The government has been democratically elected and there will not be any forceful take over of the government. The DSS will not idle by and watch self-seeking people take the law into their hands. We will do all that is within the law to discharge our responsibility and ensure that there is peace in Nigeria beyond Monday August 5.”