Hold Obasanjo responsible for any military coup, activists say

The civil society leaders celebrated successful investigative journalists.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo should be held responsible for any military takeover of the Nigerian government, Ayodele Akele, a civil society activist has said.

At a civil society-media interaction event in recognition of the 2013 Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism awardees organized by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CISNAC, in Lagos, Monday, Mr. Akele said that the country is “more fertile for a coup.”

“If there is a coup in this country, Obasanjo should be held responsible. We don’t want a military intervention. Those of us here are going to be the victims of military coup. I foresee a danger that there could be, and I’m saying it with all emphasis,” said Mr. Akele, National Secretary of the National Conscience Party, NCP.

“How can you write a letter to the president of a nation and you are copying your fellow coupists? These are all professional coupists from their records, Obasanjo, Babangida, Abdulsalami. You did not even copy the civil society that went through all the rigours… these are dangerous signals.

“What is his intention? Of course I also have reservations about the messenger and his message. I won’t take a message from a devil messenger. You ring my door and I see you are a devil, go to hell with your message.

“How can elements like Obasanjo be setting agenda in this nation?

“I want to appeal to our conscience that we should be prepared for the worst. These people are driving us to a dangerous precipice. We should not allow Obasanjo and cohorts to set agenda for us in this country,” he added.

The event, which also doubled as a civil society-media agenda setting for 2014, also witnessed the distribution of gifts to all the awardees of this year’s Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalists award.

In his goodwill message, Lanre Suraj, CISNAC’s Executive Director, called for a more fruitful collaboration between the media and the civil society.

“The media can conclusively investigate and also report issues that are bordering on good governance, accountability and transparency in the country,” said Mr. Suraj.

“We appreciate you and your works. Without you, it becomes difficult for even our own efforts to get the anticipated impact in the lives of our people and those they govern,” he added.

The interactive event also had in attendance Debo Adeniran, Executive Director of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL; Tunde Akanni, Communication Specialist; Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP; and Jiti Ogunye, renowned Lagos-based lawyer.

Mr. Akanni said that the civil society are willing to support journalists with story ideas and even do the required leg work involved in an investigative story.

”On behalf of this coalition, I want to assure you that you will always find us supportive. You will equally find us availing you with whatever kind of material resources that you may need. They may not be enough but we will there for you all the time,” Mr. Akanni added.

According to Mr. Ogunye, media organizations play the most important role in the activities of journalists.

“Sometimes when we talk to our friends in the media and we ask them to do more, it is not because we do not recognize the challenges they face in their various stables,” Mr. Ogunye said.

“A journalist can be very hardworking, diligent, industrious, creative, imaginative, and he is doing his best coming out with good stories, but if his stable does not provide an enabling environment, there is nothing he can do.”

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