Don’t bring #RevolutionNow protest to Rivers, Governor Wike warns

Gov Wike
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike addressing journalists

The mass protest against the Nigerian government would not be accepted in Rivers State, the state governor, Nyesom Wike, has said.

The planned protest tagged #RevolutionNow is scheduled to take place this Monday.

The man behind the #RevolutionNow, a renowned activist and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, was arrested on Saturday by Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service (SSS).

Nigerians have continued to condemn the arrest of Mr Sowore.

A Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, while condemning the arrest, said President Muhammadu Buhari was behaving like the late Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha.

The police have described the call for a mass protest as “treasonable felony and terrorism”.

It warned Nigerians against participating in it.

Rivers not subscribed to #RevolutionNow

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The Rivers governor, Mr Wike, issued a statement on Sunday night disassociating the state from the planned protest.

“Rivers State does not subscribe to what the RevolutionNow protest represents and Rivers State is not part of the protest,” said the statement signed by the governor’s media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu.

Mr Wike, a known critic of Mr Buhari’s administration, said #RevolutionNow is illegal.

The governor said he has directed security agencies to arrest anybody who would be involved in the protest.

He said he has also directed local authorities in the state to be on alert and report any “illegal gathering” to security agencies.

Reaction from presidency

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The presidency has also reacted to the planned protest, saying elections, and not “revolution” was more appropriate for change of government.

“The President of Nigeria and his administration respect and uphold the right of every Nigerian to peaceful protest and civil campaign– whether to raise awareness on issues, and even oppose the government. It is the inalienable right of all citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to do so.

“There is, however, a difference between (a) peaceful call to protest and incitement for a revolution,” a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said in a statement issued Sunday night.

“Less than six months ago, Nigeria held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections. Both contests were won resoundingly by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All-Progressives Congress party. The campaign was observed, and results were confirmed by international election monitoring groups and observers. The result was even contested by the losing presidential candidate and his party in Court.

“The ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government and a president in Nigeria. The days of coups and revolutions are over.

“Those making the “revolution’’ call hide behind the veil of social media modernity. But without revealing the identity of their sponsors this shadowy campaign is no better, and no more democratic, than the days of old,” the statement said.

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