The second phase of the #RevolutionNow nationwide protests which will resume on Monday August 19 will attract several activists and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from across the country.
Sources within the Coalition for Revolution (CORE), organisers of the protests, also termed ‘Take IT Back (TIB)’ told The NEXT EDITION on Monday that meetings and consultations had been going on between them and several leading activists and civil society groups on how to join forces to make the August 19 march more successful than that of Monday August 5, which was hampered by the security clampdown.
Some of these activists and CSOs, it was also gathered, included civil rights groups, professional bodies and workers’ groups, which had been calling for the release of Comrade Omoyele Sowore, the convener of the #RevolutionNow protests who had been clamped in detention by the Department of State Service (DSS) since he was arrested on Saturday, August 3 two days to the take off of the march.
Also involved in the consultations included the original members of CORE group, who had been part of the struggle, but who had been disillusioned by Sowore’s arrest and those who were intimidated by the brute force reportedly unleashed on them by the combined forces of the nation’s security as well as those who had continued to be ruffled by the police and DSS since after the first march.
The Next Edition gathered that the aim of this wider consultations before the next protests was to bring every interest groups and organsations together for proper preparation of the next march since it had become obvious that the next action would attract massive turn-out.
Confirming the development, Comrade Olaseni Ajai, Co-convener of CORE and spokesperson of the #RevolutionNow protests told NEXT EDITION that indeed several CSOs and rights groups as well as majority of Nigerians had come to realise the reasons behind the march and had agreed on the need to give it full support as the situation in the country had continued to deteriorate under the current administration.
He, however, refused to name the groups as he said that consultations were at a critical stage and would not want to jeopardise the move by making public the names of the CSOs that would be involved in the August 19 protest, adding that what was more important was that the agitation had received a popular acceptance among Nigerians.
Ajai said: “Since it is obvious that more groups will join us in the August 19 nationwide protest, our strategy is to consult widely for a well coordinated mass action.
“Everyone, including workers’ groups and the unemployed agree with us on the need to push the government to implement the N30,000 minimum wage. There is also the urgent need to unite to kick against the increase of tariff for electricity and pump price for fuel.
“We are working with Labour, but we are not under their control. One of the problems of workers in this country is that Labour leaders do not represent the workers well. Several years of pension and gratuities are owed retirees, while in many states, workers go without their salaries for several months , and Labour leaders failed to speak out vocally on the workers’ plight.
“The rate of unemployment is very high. Labour is not doing enough to make the federal and state governments reverse the trend, even as they failed to speak against anti-people and anti-workers’ policies.”
Ajai informed that efforts were being made to ensure that the protests would be peaceful across the nation and would not be hijacked by hoodlums. Those the police took to court, we will pursue their cases to logical conclusion.
“We are working on the release of Omoyele Sowore. Our Legal team is on it and putting papers together for a legal battle with the Federal Government and DSS at the Appeal Court.
“Thousands of lawyers have volunteered to provide their services for us pro-bono. So, we have nothing to worry about. We are fighting for the interest of the masses for a better Nigeria. We are not working to take over any government. Our protests are peaceful and people-oriented.
“The government and the security agencies know that we are not involved in any illegal moves. They thought they can intimidate us to backing out with the arrest of Sowore and the brute force they used against unarmed peaceful protesters on August 5.
“But, we have the support of Nigerians and our action is constitutional. We have the right to embark on peaceful protests. They pretend that they do not understand what we mean by ‘Revolution. It only means ‘Change’, a slogan used by the All Progressives Congress and President Muhammadu Buhari to campaign for the 2015 elections campaign, which they failed to implement.
“We are free Nigerians. The Federal Government and security agencies cannot intimidate us to silence. Our action is protected by the Constitution. The protests will go on as planned. They cannot blackmail us with the continued illegal detention of Sowore, our leader,” he stressed.