Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) has described the arrest and detention of the publisher of online medium, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore as bad news for the political health and image of Nigeria.
IYM said worse was the clampdown on the demonstrators which according to it makes it difficult for the government to “continue pretending it respects the democratic rights of her citizens.”
Consequently, it called on eminent elders and leaders from the six geopolitical zones to immediately commence the process of reinventing, reconciling and recreating the country.
“Nigeria is clearly at crossroads, eminent elders and leaders from the six geopolitical zones should as a matter of urgency, raise a committee of prominent, capable and patriotic leaders to begin the inevitable process to reinvent, reconcile, rejuvenate and recreate our country through the adoption at a referendum, a new people’s constitution, that would enshrine true federalism and devolution of power in our national life once again.
“The game of trying to avoid the truth and pretending this military constitution will make Nigeria great by and by has become offensive.”
In a statement by Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, founder, IYM and Secretary-General of Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA), the body said it was disheartening that the Federal government still believes that using clampdown and intimidation would resolve the problems facing the country.
Ugochukwu-Uko who is also the Deputy Secretary, Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT) said: “The international community could not have forgotten the leaders of the OCCUPY NIGERIA demonstration that shut down Lagos and Abuja, seven years ago. The world also noted that President Goodluck Jonathan did not accuse the demonstrators of plotting to overthrow his government.
“The world, therefore, wonders how and why the people who organised several high-profile demonstrations against Jonathan’s government seven, six and five years ago, have suddenly become intolerant of opposition voices today, simply because they are now in government and therefore at the receiving end.
“It is truly surprising, how government believes that clampdown and intimidation will ultimately resolve Nigeria’s governance, political, and structural issues that have only increased the number of disgruntled and disappointed populace in recent time.
“This clampdown tactics deepened the secessionist agitations, popularised the Shite movement and created allies for them all over Nigeria today. This same clampdown tactics deployed once again, in a bid to avoid the necessary, unavoidable and inevitable conversation towards a new constitution and a new structure, will only turn the leaders and organisers of this demonstration, heroes and celebrities.”
He, therefore, called on government to release Sowore and his colleagues and engage them without further delay, insisting that the tension in Nigeria today demands truthfulness on the part of government and eminent leaders of Nigeria.
“Are there still intelligible reasons and excuses why the whole country should continue to pretend we can still drag on the way we are going today?
“Frightening broad-day killings of priests and kidnapping of citizens simultaneously going on all over the country, demonstrators being shot and manhandled in videos trending in social media, political, ethnic and religious divisions getting deeper by the day. Add these to the unemployment, hunger and frustration in the land, it becomes incomprehensible how any sensible leader could still continue to pretend that all is well.”