The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has queried the motives behind the #RevolutionNow protests convened by the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore.
Addressing state house correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja after the meeting of the National Working Committee of the APC with president Muhammadu Buhari, Adams a former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) who led series of protests in the past admitted that Nigerians have right to protest but must state what they are protesting about.
He said,“What was the reason for protest? Let’s be honest; I have led series of protest even to this villa. Whoever wants to protest should articulate the particulars of his grievances and make specific demands about the solutions that he wants. So, what exactly, as far as you know as members of the fourth Estate of the Realm, that Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, a presidential candidate, cleared by INEC to bid for power, who had opportunity to ask Nigerians to vote for him, now that Nigerians have voted, the votes have been counted and he was not a favoured candidate, what does he want now? That Nigerians must make him the president?
“Because we all have to be careful, nobody should talk as if we have another country. We have challenges but somehow we have all resolved as a people that the way to power is in the ballot box. Our task as a people is to continue to work to clean up the system so that only Nigerians alone shall determine who governs them at all levels. That I believe is a legitimate thing to fight for. But if you want to overthrow, you want a revolution then he should have spared us the INEC putting him on the ballot paper.
“I don’t want to talk about this but I believe Nigerians have a right to protest, I believe people have a right to contest issues, people have the right to disagree. I have often said government doesn’t have the right to dictate to people how to protest, but you must state exactly what you want.
“Go and check the dictionary and political meaning of a revolution. If it comes, it will be like the Christmas turkey, nobody knows, which one will be slaughtered first on Christmas.
“I think we do need to take things seriously, we have serious issues in this country, I have my own reservations about many things but we have submitted to this process and we must work hard to make it work.
“…There is no question that we have challenges but I don’t not think of you were an American, British, Ghanaian or even a Nigerian, you were about to set up a farm or a factory and you hear that a revolution is in the making, in which country do you hear that? You go to any country including established democracies and say your business is to create revolution…
“Have you monitored what is happening in France, that yellow jacket people, who were organising those protests? Initially, when they were organising those protests they were asking for labour reforms that President Macron introduced but from there they went into something else, you must have seen on your television how the French authorities dealt with that.
“I think we have to be clear. I am a believer that the rights to protest is a fundamental human rights but it does not include the right to suggest that you want to overthrow a constituted order. No, there is a difference.”
But Sowore two weeks ago in Abuja at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the AAC where he announced the protests said he is protesting against election rigging and bad governance.
Oshiomhole also charged the president and the National Assembly to work together to end crippling poverty in the country.
“Our party must be seen to be pro-poor, putting policies in place that will lift our people out of poverty and recreate the Nigeria middle class. Unless you recreate the Nigeria middle class, you are not going to have a stable and a peaceful society.
“The tragedy for now is that over the period people are either very poor or they are very rich. The president has to provide leadership working with the National Assembly leadership to see how we can over the next four years deliver, so that the current situation of extremely poor and extremely rich will is bridged by recreating the middle class,” he said.