2019 elections: Group holds rally in Lagos, says Nigeria’s democracy is being raped
A group, Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum (NENYLF), has, in Lagos, staged a peaceful rally, denouncing the recent poll exercises in the country, which it said were marred by massive irregularities and frauds, even as it declared that the nation’s democracy was being raped and political injustices meted on Nigerians.
The group, led by its chairman, Alhaji Yerima Shetima, made this declaration on Tuesday at its maiden National Peace and Unity Rally, which saw members trekked from the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, to Labour House in Yaba area of the state.
It called on well- meaning Nigerians from across board to unite and ensure the survival of the nation’s democracy against individuals who it said were desirous of lording their personal interest over and above national interest, warning on the need to arrest the ugly situation in the land.
NENYLF chairman, Alhaji Shetima, while speaking with newsmen, expressed worries about the current political development in the country, warning that it could lead to disastrous end if care was not taken.
According to him, following the conduct of recent elections, which he said were marred by massive irregularities and frauds, leading to inconclusiveness of the exercise in some states, there is need to arrest the ugly situation as the country’s democracy is being raped and political injustices are being meted on the citizens.
Shetima, who is also the president, Arewa Consultative Youth Forum (ACYF), said the group’s outing for the day was occasioned by the outcome of the poll exercise, disclosing that NENYLF intended to move across the six geo political zones, speak to the people and conscientise them to enable them realise the consequences of what was happening in the country as democracy had been raped already.
“Our outing today is a result of the injustices melted on Nigerians, we intend to go to across the six geo political zones and ensure that we speak to the people, we conscientise the people, let the people realise the consequences of what is happening in the country, because democracy has been raped already.
“For some of us who have passion for the people, having spent over 20 years in the trenches and paid our dues and made sacrifices, the way we look at things is not the way others will look at it. It is our responsibilities to ensure that people of like minds come together and ensure the right thing is done, due process must be followed and the will of the people must be seen to prevail above any other interest,” the activist said.
Speaking further, Yerima, while expressing personal pain and lamenting what he termed as threat to the nation’s democracy, which he said the last elections in the country represented, urged well- meaning Nigerians to come on board now to begin to save the situation and face reality.
“Democracy has been threatened already, from all indications well- meaning Nigerians must come on board now to begin to save the situation and face reality, some of us feel very pained because we have paid our dues in the struggle and we are still in the trenches.
“This is not the kind of democracy we all envisaged, we thought that by now we would have gotten to another level of this our young democracy, but from all indications, we are backward more under this administration of the APC and under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“That is why some of us feel that we need to draw attention to it and tell Nigerians the consequences of this recent elections, both the presidential and the governorship. It is nothing to write home about, it was marred with mass rigging and it is an abuse on the sensibility of Nigerians,” he said.
“Let me start from the presidential, if you look very well, you could see that the people came out enmass and voted who they wanted and people have actually spoken. But from all indications, you could see that the second election has justified what happened in the first election despite the poor turnout and that is a clear indication that Nigerians are not happy.
“Some of us saw this coming when we drew attention of Nigerians to it and many people felt that we were just talking because we want to talk, but we all can see from all indications that even from inception that the INEC compromised the election.
“I do not also see the business of the military playing a major role in an election in a constitutional democracy such as ours, so you can see that talking of integrity there is no integrity, and there is a serious flop
“For us as activists, we will mobilise and rally people around, we will ensure that Nigerians feel and have a sense of reasoning, we won’t just fold our hands and allow people run the country as if the country is being ruled by an emperor, we won’t sit down and allow Nigerians to be treated as if we are in a banana republic, no, this is a country. This is a clarion call that all Nigerians must respond to and ensure that the right thing is being done,” he added.
Also speaking, the Secretary General, NENYLF, Aremo Oladotun Hassan, admonished Nigerians not to allow anyone push them into taking the line of politics of tribe and religion, warning that doing that would signal a death knead on the country.
According to him, “There is need for Nigerians to see value in our unity, to ensure that no political person should use his personal motive to divide us.
“I believe that on its own is being achieved, you can see that we are relating and we are passing a message to all our leaders that irrespective of the political issues that is on ground, let no one play the ethnic card, because it is very dangerous to the players and to the drummers themselves.
“Let nobody use ethnic bigotry, let nobody use religion, because those are real issues that can really nosedive into a national civil war if not properly contained,” he said.