- Category: Politics
- Published on Tuesday, 12 January 2010 00:00
- Written by Admin
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With several other activists, they decried an alleged pilfering of billions of naira from the nation’s coffers and the alleged forging of the President’s signature on the supplementary budget, while describing the current situation in Nigeria as “internal colonialism.”
They also denounced the Monday night interview granted the English and Hausa services of the British Broadcasting Corporation by Yar’Adua, saying it was a charade and “computerised voice of the President.”
The protesters called on Yar’Adua to transmit a letter to the National assembly to enable the latter to confirm Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan as acting president.
Speaking at the rally, Soyinka said the protest was more than Yar’Adua’s absence, but had to do more with the constitutional breaches and the perpetuation of corruption in the country.
He said if Yar’Adua miraculously recovered from his illness and returned to the country, he would still be confronted with the issues being raised by Nigerians.
He said, “I was informed that President Yar’Adua had spoken to the BBC, but my response is this, that the issues are not simply about Yar’Adua’s absence from the country. The issues are numerous to state here.”
He said the issues bordered on the alleged forging of the President’s signature appended on the supplementary budget; the ongoing pilfering of billions of naira and the reinstatement of Zakari Biu, a former police officer accused of torture under the Abacha administration.
He said, “The nation has been taken to ransom; the nation has been despised and treated with contempt. We’ve been treated as colonials, colonised all over, this time, by what we call internal colonialism.
“We are all dignified beings who deserve to know the truth at all times about our method of governance. We are also qualified to say … when we believe that those who are “elected leaders” of this nation, are dragging their feet deliberately over critically issues that concern us, then of course the people will stop and take to the streets. This is normal in any democracy.”
According to the Nobel laureate, the country can no longer tolerate the misrule and the present state of things, adding that it was time to march.
He said, “And if by miracle, and believe me, I do really wish this might happen, if by miracle the missing President will appear among us, hale and hearty, he will be confronted by the same charges that we are levelling against the government today.
“And he will be told to use the miraculous recovery and his new found energy to turn this nation around for the remainder of his tenure. There is so much misleading, there is so much mis-governance, we find double, triple, quadruple and multiple standards in relation to those who are supposed to be citizens of this country. We are sick and tired of extra-judicial killings, these things are too numerous to state here. This is just the first in a series of demonstrations.”
Falana, while addressing the rally, said the President’s speech on the BBC was “a hoax.”
He said the voice was a computerised and synchronised voice of the President and was far from the voice he was familiar with.
He said, “Enough of poverty in the midst of plenty, enough of poverty, enough of the tag of terrorism; enough of absentee Presidency, enough of election malpractices, enough of the collapse of infrastructure.
“Today, we are sounding a wake-up call to our people. We want to show them that we have not been conquered. We are a free people.
“Those who say that the President of Nigeria can govern from anywhere are talking rubbish. When Governor Rashidi Ladoja was impeached by the Lamidi Adedibu gang of thugs in a hotel in Ibadan, the Supreme Court of Nigeria held that it was illegal to convene and hold the sitting of a House of Assembly in any other place other than the House of Assembly.
“Therefore, to purport or claim that the President of Nigeria signed a law in an unknown hospital is illegal under our law.
“This morning, they claimed that the President spoke on the BBC in a very wobbling voice, but I am saying here that the voice of the President I am very familiar with is not the voice on the BBC. What happened this morning was a charade, computerised voice of our President.
“We are, therefore, challenging him and his spin doctors to address us on the television. We want a live telecast.
“We pray that he does not die, but we are saying that he has become incapacitated to govern Nigeria. The constitution does not provide for a President ruling us from a sick bed, in an undisclosed hospital; please enough of the insult.”
Also addressing the rally, Bakare called on Yar’Adua to quit.
He said, “All Nigerians must rise to drive sense into the senseless cabal and their human agents holding Nigeria to ransom.
“Some days ago, the Vice- President of Nigeria, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, said nobody was in charge of Nigeria, he said God was in charge of Nigeria. But God does not sponsor a flop. He said so in order that we will not have anyone to hold accountable. That is the mess we are in.
“We are marching to that institution that is supposed to make good laws for the governance of our nation and we are going with one voice from the East, West, North and South of our nation that enough is enough.
“Even if this institution does not function, let us respect the constitution and let us have an acting president until Umaru is declared dead or otherwise. We don’t know his state right now, whether he is alive or dead.”
Bakare noted that the Presidency was not a birthright of Yar’Adua nor a hereditary title, but a constitutional institution.
He said the rally was not for Jonathan, but for the good governance of Nigeria, adding that the demand was for Section 145 of the constitution to be obeyed.
Former Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mr. Farouk Aliyu, called on Nigerians to reject the conspiracy of a few privileged people around the corridors of power.
He said the rally was not connected to any religious, political or tribal sentiments, but committed to the prosperity of Nigeria.
Other speakers such as Mrs. Ayo Obe, Hajia Najatu Mohammed, Dr. Joe Okei- Odumakin, Babafemi Ojudu, Osita Okechukwu and Pastor Sara Omakwu, also called on the National Assembly and the Federal Executive Council to respect Section 145 of the constitution.
According to Falana, the date for another rally would be announced.