Activists from different pro-democracy groups gathered in Lagos on Tuesday with a call to all lovers of democracy to start making moves to prevent Nigeria’s democracy from sliding into dictatorship.
Various speakers at the 2019 edition of Nigeria pro-democracy conference criticised the alleged massive violations of human rights by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
They said all lovers of democracy, irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations, must come together to stop the gradual descent into fascism.
The activists cited various cases of disobedience to court orders by the regime; the re-arrest of the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, inside a courtroom as well as lopsidedness in appointments into key offices as some of the numerous sins of the regime.
The Director, Social Development Integrated Centre, Dr Isaac Osuoka, said Nigeria was already in a serious crisis and pro-democracy activists needed to come together to rescue the country.
Osuoka said, “We consider this to be a crucial meeting at a time Nigeria is in crisis. As we move closer to the end of 2019, a year when Nigeria marked 20 years of civil rule, it is imperative for organisations of the pro-democracy tradition to recognise and chart a collective path towards intervening to halt the slide of our country into dictatorship, increasing insecurity and economic hardship for the majority of our peoples.
“We believe that this is not the time to go solo. The gravity of the crisis confronting Nigeria requires collective action as reflected in the collaboration to host this conference.”
The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, West Africa’s Project Manager, Angela Odah, said Nigeria’s democracy was already in danger.
Odah said the German political foundation was pleased to be part of the conference to chart a way forward for Nigeria.
She said, “The brazen subversion of the people’s will during the 2019 elections and the recently conducted Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections through wanton buying and selling of votes, stealing and stuffing of ballot boxes, violence and killings of Nigerians must stop.
“The lack of respect for court rulings, unlawful detention of Nigerians, the attempt to curb freedom of speech through the Hate Speech Bill and the invasion of the hallowed chamber of our courtroom by the operatives of the Department of State Services clearly show that our democracy is a grave danger and it is time for men and women of goodwill to stand up and protect our young democracy.”