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President Muhammadu Buhari has told the sponsors of Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria, which has planned a “Revolution Now” protest, to identify themselves and lead the campaign or lose the right to call themselves leaders.
A statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), “the President calls on all those who seek to use and hide behind everyday citizens to attain power through undemocratic and violent means, which has been alluded, to come out clearly and be identified. They should lead their march in person. Only then will they begin to have the right to call themselves leaders before the people of Nigeria.”
The convener of the protest, expected to take place Monday, and Sahara Reporters’ publisher, Omoyele Sowore, has already been detained by the Department of State Service (DSS).
The presidency statement noted the calls circulating on social and digital media that the Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria plans a “revolution” march “with the aim of bringing ‘regime change’ in Nigeria without recourse to a nationwide vote.”
The statement said the President and his administration respect and uphold the right of every Nigerian to peaceful protest and civil campaign – whether to raise awareness on issues, and even oppose the government, noting that it is the inalienable right of all citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to do so.
It added: “There is, however, a difference between peaceful call to protest and incitement for a revolution.
“The organisation championing this planned action is not fronted by any serious public faces. We call on the sponsors and organisers to have the decency to come forward and make their identity known – out of respect to all Nigerians – so that Nigerians can be fully aware in whose name this “revolution” is being proposed and who the beneficiaries may be.
“Less than six months ago, Nigeria held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections. Both contests were won resoundingly by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All-Progressives Congress party. The campaign was observed, and results were confirmed by international election monitoring groups and observers. The result was even contested by the losing presidential candidate and his party in Court.
“The ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government and a president in Nigeria. The days of coups and revolutions are over.
“Those making the “revolution’’ call hide behind the veil of social media modernity. But without revealing the identity of their sponsors this shadowy campaign is no better, and no more democratic, than the days of old.”