The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole has reacted to the RevolutionNow protest called by former African Action Congress, AAC, presidential candidate, Omoyele Sowore.
Oshiomhole said Sowore called for a revolution because he lost his bid to become president during the 2019 presidential election.
Addressing State House Correspondents after a meeting of the APC National Working Committee, NWC, with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, Oshiomhole said Sowore had the right to protest but must properly articulate his grievances.
Recall that the Department of State Services, DSS, had arrested Sowore over the weekend for calling for revolution.
Despite Sowore’s arrest, the protest was held in some states of the country.
However, Oshiomhole 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, the 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 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 and route to power 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 the government doesn’t have the right to dictate to people how to protest, but you must state exactly what you want. I ask you to name any country in the world where somebody stands up and say after the election that I contested and lost, now, therefore, I want revolution.
“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 first slaughtered 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. Nigeria must deliver to the poor, APC government must deliver. That is why I told you that the only thing we came here to discuss today is, the easiest part is congratulations, the challenge is now with the mandate, how do you recreate the middle class so that Nigeria can be stable, all other things will then fall in line. All that is required is clear thinking, determination and to ensure that the ministers that are coming are not coming to implement what they think, but that they are coming to implement programmes that the party has agreed to. And that is why they are going to have a retreat before the president assigned ministerial positions to them.
“There is no question that we have challenges but I don’t think if 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 organizing those protests? Initially, when they were organizing 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 right but it does not include the right to suggest that you want to overthrow a constituted order. No, there is a difference.
“As NLC president when we were organizing protest, when we had put down the head of the then-president after one week protest, I think it was late Gani Fawehinmi that said instead of to push him out we raised the head again, and I said our purpose is to defeat a set of anti-people policies that we have seen but recognizing that we are in a democracy and that the president was elected, our mission was not to remove him from office. There is a difference between the two.
“So you can go and contest election and when you lose you say you want to do revolution. It is not about this president, it is not about APC, it is recognizing that we have challenges. Are we prepared to allow non-democratic means to effect a change?
“Nobody knows the value of democracy more than you the media because once upon a time two of your colleagues were convicted for allegedly plotting coup with a pen. The accusation was that he was plotting to overthrow a military government with pen. So we have come a long way, I am for a right to protest but you must state what you want out of the protest. But if you want is a forceful change, then … we have to look at the laws.”