Hate speech: Proponents of death clause are pretenders ― Gani Adams
• as he collaborates 2019 edition of Ajagunmale Festival in Lekki
Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Ige Adams, on Tuesday described those behind the controversial hate speech bill as pretenders, saying it was cheery news that the National Assembly and proponents of the death penalty for violators of hate speech had bowed to pressures from Nigerians.
Iba Adams said this on Tuesday while speaking during the 2019 edition of Ajagunmale Festival in Lekki, Lagos, pointing out that politicians that were also the chief promoters and products of hate speech, especially, during campaigns.
“Many of our politicians today are pretenders. During their campaigns, they promised you heaven on earth, and shortly after they have been elected, you hear a different story entirely. I feel sad sometimes whenever I look back and see how Nigeria has drifted from its original ideals of our forefathers, but I always take solace in the belief that one day, whether now or in the nearest future, we shall find our feet and get back on the right track,” he said.
The Aare Onakakanfo, however, noted that there was a need for public enlightenment and education on the issue of hate bill in order to change the narrative notwithstanding the fact that the National Assembly had removed the death clause for violators following pressures from the citizens.
The Aareonakakanfo, who admitted that many Nigerians were ignorant of issues relating to media information gathering and literacy, insisted that the law must be flexible to accommodate other people’s interests.
This was as he contended that political game that had been playing out on the issue of hate speech and a death penalty for violators needed to be considered with utmost importance.
“It is cheery news that the National Assembly and proponents of the death penalty for violators of hate speech had bowed to pressures from Nigerians, but in a gathering like this, it is not out of place to raise and discuss issues that affect us holistically.
“The political game that had been playing out on the issue of hate speech and a death penalty for violators need to be considered with utmost importance,” he said.
Speaking further, Iba Adams described the reactions of eminent Nigerians on the hate speech bill is commendable, adding: “Those that spoke said death penalty for a violator of hate speech was barbaric and unacceptable.”
“Actually hate speech can incite violence and damage relationships in a society, but we need to understand and protect the individuals’rights to express their opinions freely and peacefully. It is
also a fact that freedom of speech is an integral component of a free society. Therefore, imposing the death penalty on violators is uncultured, barbaric, and not acceptable in our society,” he explained.
In his remarks, the Executive Chairman, Lekki Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon. Ogidan Mukadasi said his administration would continue to support the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and the Olokun Festival Foundation(OFF) on ideas and projects that can launch the community positively to the world.
He said the huge attendance of guests at this year’s edition of Ajagunmale festival had really helped in boosting the tourism potentials of the community.
“It is our duty and responsibility to sustain this laudable programme, therefore, as a government, we will continue to play our role. We will continue to support the Olokun Festival Foundation to ensure that this festival becomes one of the most celebrated festivals in the state,” the council boss said.
The Guest Lecturer, Associate Professor Adams Kolade, from the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, spoke on the need to embrace the core values, culture and tradition of the Yoruba race.
He noted that the Yoruba race was a gifted race with potentials to be the best, declaring that efforts should be made to sustain and promote the Yoruba cultural identity through festivals like this.
He applauded the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland for the courage to sustain the laudable ideal of the organization.
“Language is an integral part of our culture. All over the world, the Yoruba tradition and heritage are next to none. As a race that has been so blessed with all these potentials, there is the need for us to sustain all these and one of the best ways to sustain our cultural identities is to cultivate a new habit which will be directed at promoting what is truly ours,” he said.
The Onilekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun, expressed delight at the success of the event, saying that Ajagunmale Festival had come to stay in the area.
He charged all members of OPC not to relent in their efforts, declaring that the traditional institution across the South-West would continue to support the foundation.
Meanwhile, the Aare Onakakanfo, Iba Gani Adams, has predicted that with the celebration of Ajagunmale Festival, Lekki will soon become a top investment destination in Lagos.