Sunday, June 13, 2021 2:30 pm
Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
A Kogi born based human rights activist, Austin Usman Okai has condemned the State Government for not allowing June 12 peaceful protests in the State, describing it as an act of totalitarianism.
He urged men of good conscience to call Governor Yahaya Bello to order so as to stop him from derailing democracy.
Okai made the observations in a statement he made available to the media on Democracy Day. The statement reads: “The statement attributed to the special adviser to Governor Yahaya Bello on security, Jerry Omodara, threatening law abiding Kogites with repercussion if they dare protest against insecurity, worsening economy and maladministration on June 12 democracy day is not fitting for a democratic elected government – such a statement is the defining characteristic of totalitarian states like North Korea and China.
“Governor Yahaya Bello can not deny the empirical truth that, contrary to the claim by his special adviser that Kogi state is the safest state in Nigeria, the state has been experiencing security challenges for some time now. Was it not the same Kogi state that Senator Odia escaped attack on his convoy by criminals? Was it not in the same state a Local Government Chairman was kidnapped? Gov Bello can fool some people sometimes but can’t fool all the people all the time.
“Nigeria is a democracy and in a democracy, the freedom of expression and association is enshrined in our constitution. Gov Yahaya Bello cannot sacrifice the democratic gains Nigeria has made on the altar of his personal ego and eye service- all in a bid to please the president.
“The same protest and protesters the governor is threatening to deal with ironically, is the vehicle through which our democracy was made possible. Even president Buhari protested and was given full state security under ex-president Jonathan.
“Governor Yahaya Bello must avoid the temptation of breaking the ladder he rose to power on. It is high time men of good consciousness and reason call him to order.
“Till date, under a kangaroo arrangement, two young Nigerians are still languishing in detention for months now because, they exercised their constitutional right to peaceful protest. Our democracy should not be defined by people like Gov Yahaya Bello. Before Bello there was a democracy and after Bello there will be a democracy.
“It will be an insult to the memory of the struggle of MKO Abiola and other Nigerians that lost their life in the struggle to have a democratic Nigeria. Gov. Bello by his words and actions is the antipodes of democracy