As Nigeria marks Democracy Day, there is the need for government at all levels to double their efforts in the safety of lives and property, as well as guarantee a transparent process, as the nation moves to another election year.
Chairman, Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC), Comrade Waheed Lawal, stated this on Sunday, when members of the coalition held its annual June 12 rally in Osogbo, Osun State capital.
Lawal who berated the state of insecurity in the country expressed disappointment that 23 years after, Nigerians are still facing hardship in all strata of life, stressing that the continued ailing of the economy portends the insensitivity of the nation’s leaders to the plight ot the masses.
He said: “MKO Abiola represented Hope for a better Nigeria. It is unfortunate that 29 years after the annulment of June 12, Nigeria is still far from its expected development pedestal. It is so unfortunate that even since the return of democracy, our politicians have continued to re-echo the campaign manifesto of the Shagari regime in 1976, as their agenda for Nigeria close to five decades after.
“We still premise our yardstick of good governance to building roads, schools, providing potable water, electricity and the basic necessities for survival, when nations who got independence after us have moved beyond the basics.
“We cannot over-emphasize how badly we need a working democracy where the will of the people will suppress the desire of the minority, who have been opportuned to continue to rule us, will manifest.
“The primary responsibility of every government is provision of adequate security for the protection of lives and property. With starring facts and incidents, Nigeria is far from winning the war against insurgencies, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, etc.
“The recent attack on a catholic church in Owo where many people were killed with scores injured is a sorrowful evidence that insecurity still pervades the country. We condemn the Owo massacre and call on the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of such dastard act.”
Addressing the members of the public at strategic places when members of the coalition including students, businessmen and women and pro-democracy activism who moved through Ayetoro, Igbona, Olonkoro, Ajegunle, Old Garage, Oke-fia to Olaiya junction all in the state capital, a leader of the movement, Comrade Waheed Saka, called for immediate transfer of the Osun Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode.
Saka condemned the continued harassment, intimidation and killing of harmless citizens by policemen, with a call on the Inspector General of Police to rescue the residents of Osun from Olokode, and “his trigger-happy and blood sucking men.”
He said, “Within a year, Osun has recorded no fewer than four deaths to police brutality and extra-judicial killings which crowns the gross misconduct and anti-democracy tenets experienced by Nigerians, pre and post 1999.
“A borehole operator, Kabiru Babai was shot dead by a policeman at Ota-efun, Osogbo, on December 3, 2021. On July 27, 2021, Mr Saheed Olabomi, a relative of Aragbiji of Iragbiji, Oba Abdulrasheed Olabomi, was also shot dead by a mobile policeman at Islahudeen Area, Oke-Onitea, Osogbo. Also, on April 4, 2022 Mr Abiola Afolabi, a young businessman was shot dead in the middle of the night by the police at Zone II, Osogbo. A 24-year-old man, Olufemi Oriyomi, was allegedly tortured to death by the police. On May 31, a journalist, Toba Adedeji was also shot by the police who were dispersing protesters at Olaiya, Osogbo, with live bullets.
“Surprisingly, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Wale Olokode, has always been manipulating facts on cases of police brutality and extrajudicial killings. We demand that the Inspector General of Police should investigate all the cases of police extortion, illegal arrest and detention, brutality and extrajudicial killings, among other misconducts where characterised the police operations under the leadership of CP Wale Olokode.
“Equally, we want CP Wale Olokode to be transferred out of Osun because of his brazen neglect and continued shield for his trigger-happy officials. The conduct of the police boss have so far shown how inhumane, selfish and unpatriotic he is to the sanctity of lives which he swore to protect.”
Corroborating him, Comrade Ayo Ologun, a member of the OCSC stressed the need for a free, fair and transparent process in the build-up to the July 16 governorship election in Osun and the general election, next year.
“The governorship election in Osun State is coming up on July 16, a month to this time. The precept of democracy which we are celebrating today is for the people to have free will of choosing who represent them in government. We demand from INEC, security agencies, political parties and all other stakeholders that the governorship election must be free, fair, transparent, credible and violent free.
“We condemn in its entirety, the destruction of campaign billboards of governorship candidates in the state. The act remains a tenet of an uncivilized and unhealthy democracy, which Nigerian Politics and its players should have grown from. We equally demand a free and fair election, devoid of any form of rigging for the 2023 General Elections.”
Residents of the state showered encomiums on members of the Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC), stressing that the movement has been instrumental to entrenching the tenets of democracy and justice, as well as timely demands for good governance in the society.