Despite the controversy around his planned anti-government rally, Nigerian musician, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2face, has insisted on going ahead with the rally and provided reasons for it.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, the singer said the protest would kick off on Monday from the National Stadium, Surulere in Lagos at 8 a.m. and terminate at the National Theatre in Iganmu area of the city.
Defending his choice of venues, the multiple-award winning artiste said “The National Theatre and National Stadium are the two national icons that epitomise our decline as a nation.”
2face also called on Nigerians to henceforth speak out about the issues affecting them and also share them via videos, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and SMS to 0902-355-5335.
“What are your daily struggles? How is it doing you? No matter what part of the world you are, I encourage you to share your stories. And join me on Monday in Surulere or online.
“Use any of the hashtags #IStandWith2Baba #IStandWithNigeria #OneVoiceNigeria on social media.
“We will take all the reports and send them to our elected representatives as ONE VOICE of Nigerians across party, ethnic and religious lines – as they hear real people talk about real issues,” 2face said.
He also put to rest viral reports that Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Apkabio, was sponsoring the protest.
“It is not a platform for politicians of any party to manipulate. I know you will still spin it but for one second leave your battles aside and just listen to people without trying to score cheap political points against one another. It is not a point scoring exercise. It is certainly not personal. It is not an organised labour platform. With all due respect to our comrades who have done much for Nigeria, this march is for the unrepresented.
“It is not a ‘my religion or tribe is better than yours’ matter. All our blood is red. I, Innocent Idibia, am a living example of a Nigerian who owe their success to Nigerians of every tribe and religion. None ask what religion or tribe I am before supporting me. I am grateful,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Blackface, a former bandmate of 2face, has called on Nigerians to boycott the protest in an Instagram post.
He wrote, “Instead of anyone staging a protest, we all should put our hands on deck to rebuild our country with everyone being committed to serving the country so there can be peace in the land once more.”
Also, the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, has said the command was aware of the proposed demonstration.
Mr. Owoseni stated this on Monday to journalists in Lagos while parading the publisher of Biafra Times and nine others for allegedly publishing and circulating seditious and malicious publications.
The police chief said although his command was yet to be officially notified, the police would not allow unscrupulous elements to hijack the protest.
Read 2face’s statement below:
Since the idea of a nationwide march was first mentioned, the need for urgent solutions to the challenges facing Nigerians has become very clear. The people have hoped for a better Nigeria since 1999 but things are not getting any better for the majority. We are still where we are – poor and desperate. I will no longer be quiet.
I want to thank EiE, The 2face Foundation, numerous colleagues and countless fellow Nigerians for stepping up to partner with me. I am just a musician with a point of view and the ear of my fans.
I have dedicated my time and resources to peace building, voter education towards peaceful elections and youth engagement in governance in Nigeria. This time around, my partners, colleagues and I have come together to present a platform for real Nigerians to communicate their real pains to government at all levels in a peaceful and articulate manner with a view to getting lasting solutions to our problems.
This march is about demanding that all saboteurs of good government policies should hands off.
This march is about encouraging positive minded Nigerians to continue to work without intimidation.
We have a system that is clearly designed not to work for the majority.
What is this match not about?
Therefore, it is with every sense of humility that I say that with this march, I want:
All Nigerian lives MUST matter. My religion, ethnicity or what part of the country I live shouldn’t determine the type of protection I get from my government.
According to the Constitution, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.”
To develop beyond oil, we have to invest in our human capital. Every child must have access to quality education. If our teachers are not paid, how will we raise the next generation to lead the country and run our businesses?
Health is wealth. People die daily from lack of basic, affordable health care. We can definitely do better.
Government needs to make it easier to generate power at the state and local government levels so everything is not tied to the centre. We need electricity to be productive. The cost of generating our own power is crippling.
Poor education plus a struggling economy means a lot of people are unemployed. Unemployed people are hungry and angry.
6) High cost of living
Food, transportation, medicine, everything is 3 times, 4 times more expensive but our salaries haven’t increased. What do we do???
7) Social Justice
According to the Constitution, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.”
There cannot be one set of rules for the poor and another set for the rich.
The best way to kill corruption is to increase transparency. Government finances and contracts must be open and available to all. Who got the money, to do what and by when?
9) Cost of government
Our governance is TOO expensive – federal, state, local – cars, housing, allowances. We must reduce the cost of maintaining our public officials
I stand with Nigeria. There is enough in Nigeria for all of us to “chop belleful”. Enough is enough. We must put Nigeria first and keep all the greedy & selfish people away from leadership.