29th October, 2012
Dear Mr. President,
INVITATION OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY BY THE GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE MR. BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA, SAN, TO THE STREETS OF LAGOS STATE TO WAGE ‘WAR’ AGAINST UNARMED LAGOSIANS
DEMAND FOR GOV. BABATUNDE FASHOLA’S IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION OR HIS IMMEDIATE REMOVAL FROM OFFICE!
May we refer to a letter to the President, Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, dated 16th of January, 2012 by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, partly reproduced below for ease of reference over the so called deployment of soldiers to the streets of Lagos in January 2012 during the protest against hike in petroleum prices!
Quoting Fashola ”It is not disputable that the citizens who have gathered in several parts of Lagos like Falomo, Ikorodu and Ojota to mention a few have largely conducted themselves peacefully, singing and dancing while they expressed their displeasure at the way that we have taken decisions that affect them.
That in my view should not offend those of us in Government. The majority of these people who represent diverse interests have not broken any law. If they have, it is my opinion that in a constitutional democracy, it is the police that has the responsibility for restoring law and order if civil protests threatens the breach of the peace. This is not justification for sending out soldiers to a gathering of unarmed citizens. Every one of us, or at least majority of us who hold public office danced and sang before these same people when we were seeking their votes. Why should we feel irritated when they sing and dance in protest against what we have done?
For me this is not a matter for the military. The sooner we rethink and rescind this decision the better and stronger our democracy will be. If anything, this is a most welcome transformation of our democracy in the sense that it provokes a discussion of economic policies and this inevitably may result in political debate.
I therefore urge the reconsideration of the decision to deploy soldiers and implore the President and Commander-in-Chief to direct their withdrawal from our streets, I must also emphasize that the rights of free speech and protest is not absolute. They impose the duty not to break the law, breach the peace, endanger human life or destroy property whether public or private.
They also impose the duty to respect the rights of others not to support our protest and indeed to support what we oppose. At the end of the day, it is a contest of ideas in which the most persuasive will get the endorsement of the majority of the people we serve. I am convinced that our democracy is mature enough to accommodate this. We must do our best to ensure that it does. God bless you all Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Governor of Lagos State Monday, January 16, 2012 ” End of Quote
We are aware that Governor Raji Fashola was privy to the deployment of soldiers then, and in fact he beg for it, but only for him to latter deny knowledge.
Now, the same Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has now openly declared a ‘war’ against the poor, unarmed Lagosians and has called on the Nigerian Army to join him in this illegal and unauthorized ‘war’(unauthorized by the Senate or a declaration by the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the National Assembly.
He took the campaign and request to the office of the GOC 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Gen. Kenneth Minimah calling on the army unlawfully to join him in the ‘war’ against armless civilians-OKADA.
Prominent among those who were present with Fashola while making the request were his Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa; General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Engr Babatunde Edu; Senior Special Assistant on Security to the Governor, Major Tunde Panox; Chief of Staff in the 81 Division, Brigadier General Ebenezer Oyefolu; Commanding officers, Directors in various army formations, principal staff officers and other senior army officers Sadly the GOC assured Fashola that the army will join him in the ‘war’ against OKADA.
This is Fashola in his true color! We believe the GOC made a mistake in acceding to Fashola’s request without due clearance from the appropriate authority or obtaining a written undertaking from Governor Fashola who will turn round to deny the Army when the ship is down from past experience. Our honest advice to the GOC and the Army is that they should stare clear of pure civil matter provoked by an arrogant, power drunken, tyrannical and insensitive state Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos State. Ask whether he consulted the GOC or the Army before embarking on this suicide mission! Did he consult with his ‘fellow’ Lagosians, Okada riders, civil society, political parties and other stake holders in Lagos state before introducing this senseless, atrocious and unpopular policy? Was there a public hearing and who are those invited to participate?
This is Babatunde Fashola’s cross and the beginning of his end. He must be allowed to carry his cross The GOC and the army should instead go and give a helping hand in the Boko Haram ravaged north if they are idle. All state governors without exception, including Gov Fashola (who was the arrow-head) not only support but pushed the FGN to increase in price of petrol against the wishes and interest of poor Nigerians particularly his ‘fellow’ Lagosians only for Fashola to pretend and deny! Gov. Babatunde Fashola was also privy to the deployment of soldiers to the streets of Lagos then, only for him to also deny!
But now, if Governor Babatunde Fashola, SAN, as the Chief Security Officer of Lagos state has declared a ‘war’ against the citizens of Lagos State and has invited and insisted in involving the Nigeria Army in his ‘war’ then it is an invitation for the declaration of state of emergency in Lagos State and invitation for a military intervention in our body polity. This is very a disappointing, condemnable and highly reprehensible call by a sitting Governor and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, so called. Do you blame Fashola? Where was he when we pro-democracy activists were in the trenches fighting against a most dreaded military dictatorship for the restoration of democracy in our country, Nigeria? He was nowhere to be found! How can he value democracy? Did he work for it? Share opportunist!! Why will Fashola not want to truncate it? But Mr. Basbatunde Fashola should not be allowed in this mad drive to truncate democracy in his drive to draft the military into our body polity.
Therefore we hereby call on the President and Commander-In Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Ebelle Goodluck Jonathan, the Senate President, Speaker Federal House of Representatives, State Houses of Assembly across the country particularly Lagos State House of Assembly, members of civil society, Lagosians, well-meaning Nigerians, all stake holders and the international community to demand for the immediate resignation (as we hereby demand) of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state from office forthwith or necessary steps taking immediately to remove him from office.
This is the only way put paid to his demand or clamor for military intervention from the exalted office of a state governor, prevent anarchy and a genocidal war against unarmed citizens of Lagos state in the hands of a war tasty Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
With Highest Esteem,
COMRADE AYODELE AKELE
PIONEER SECRAETARY GENERAL
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS, NANS
NATIONAL GENERAL SECRETARY
NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY, NCP, FOUNDED BY LATE CHIEF GANI FAWEHINMI
FOR THE ABOLITION OF POVERTY
COMRADE AYODELE AKELE (aniqs)