Breaking: Sowore’s Group Gives New Date To Continue #RevolutionNow Protest

  • Claims Buhari is Reintroducing Military’s Decree 2 Order Through Back Door
  • Says Protest Not About Sowore

The Coalition For Revolution (CORE), better known  as Sowore’s group has vowed that the group will not back down on its nationwide protest to continue to demand for good governance in the country, notwithstanding the government’s harsh stance on the #RevolutionNow protest and the detention of the 2019 Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore who had mobilised Nigerians for the protest.

The Co-convener of the group, Mr. Olaseni Ajai, while addressing a press conference, Friday, announced Monday, 19th August, 2019 as the new date set by the group for the continuation of the protest across the country, urging Nigerians to come out enmasse.

According to him, the protest was not targeted at overthrowing the Buhari-led government, saying it is only being misconstrued by “the incumbent government, having failed to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, we hereby reiterate our five core demands: An economy that works for the masses; An effective and democratic end to insecurity; An end to systemic corruption and for total system change; The immediate implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage; including free and qualitative education for all,” he said.

Recall, on Thursday, the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, had granted the Department of State Services, (DSS) an approval to keep Sowore in detention for 45 days pending the outcome of its discreet investigations.

But while condemning the court order, Ajai said the “order described as being renewable, reminds one of nothing but the military days of tyranny.” He stated that by so doing, the government is trying to reintroduce Decree 2, an order that was used to unlawfully detain many Nigerians without trial during the past military administrations under maximum rulers.

“We vehemently condemn this Decree 2 in disguise that has found its way back into our democracy. We urge Nigerians and lovers of democracy to resist this.” Ajai added.

Responding to The New Diplomat’s question on why the group tagged the protest RevolutionNow — a slogan that has become a subject of debate and controversy among Nigerians — the co-covener of the movement insisted that the group will continue to use the word for its protest, saying the presidency is only trying to “blackmail us for the choice of word to suite the purpose. We have no apology for using the word Revolution now. The Revolution is the new order that Nigeria needs and we will continue to protest until we have a new Nigeria.”

“Some of us can still remember how Buhari governed this country over 30 years ago. Now he’s introducing the Decree 2 he used in 1983. The decree is being repackaged under this government. We have a military regime dressed in Babariga. They’re using legal technicalities to muscle the movement by ascribing terrorism to every criticism about this regime. Revolution means only one thing: a transformation, because Nigerians have been demobilized with hunger, illiteracy, poverty, ethnicity, religion to make us see ourselves as separate people,” Barrister (Mrs) Affiong L. Affiong told The New Diplomat at the briefing.

The group claimed contrary to a statement issued by the presidency that the August 5 protest was not successful, “the protest was successful in 21 cities, 17 states and 6 countries with over 30,000 people joining the conversation online in few hours of its commencement.

“Indices of growth are falling and the level of unemployment between 2018 and the first quarter of this year increased by 30%. Those with meaningful employment as of today are less than 40%. There’s acute poverty and insecurity everywhere,” says a member of the CORE movement, Mr. Lere Legacy.

Legacy stated that the protest is not about Omoyele Sowore, but about the Nigerian people. “He’s only calling for it and we’re standing by him and by Nigerians. Our generation should not continue to live to tell tales of a country with potential, but rather we must bring it to reality.”

While calling for the release of Sowore, the Deputy Director, Joint Action Front (JAF), Mr. Achike Chude said: “The groundswell of opinions is that there is no basis for detaining him. Government should release Sowore and do the needful. The needful is to provide for the people using the people’s resources.

“They have been given a mandate by the people; a mandate that must be directed towards the interest and the welfare of the people. If they undermine that themselves, then they put themselves in a situation where people begin to ask questions and power lies in the hands of the people.”

Meanwhile, the African Action Alliance (AAC) on Friday, expelled Sowore alongside 28 other members of the party at its ongoing National Convention in Owerri.

Sowore, who is the party’s National Chairman, contested as its presidential candidate in the last general elections.

The full statement released by the group reads:

The Struggle Continues and Our Stances against New Decree Two

August 9th, 2019.

Good day ladies and gentlemen of the Press. We, the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) welcome you to this press briefing at this revolutionary period to intimate the Public of the events that have risen since the announcement of the nationwide mass protest of August 5, 2019, tagged “REVOLUTION NOW”, and our next line of actions.

You are all aware of the horrid event that depicts our return to days of state hostility, with the abduction of one of our members Comrade Omoyele Sowore by the State Security Service in the early hours of Saturday, August 3, 2019 by masked armed men of the DSS- an act that is not only condemnable, but gives room to evil perpetrators to further undermine the safety of innocent Nigerians; as they could also leverage on such in kidnapping people in their homes at dead hours of the night.

The terrible economic situation we all live in is no more news. An appalling state of infrastructure reflected in bad roads, poor state of health facilities; the dreadful state of insecurity, with daily kidnappings and killings of innocent citizens; the poor state of education which ensures that most of the children of poor working people cannot access quality education; and, systemic corruption that leaves the majority in penury; abuse of fundamental human rights – all these are the reasons for our embarking on days of rage, which started on August 5, 2019.

We need a new order and we are bold to say so! We urge the government to stop the attempt at diverting people’s opinion from the issues, we are non-violent and unarmed Nigerians. But we are equipped with words of truth and a conscience craving for justice, equity and fairness. We have rights as Nigerians, to freedom of speech, assembly and peaceful protest. We can no longer watch as; Nigerians are being roasted alive in foreign countries, our citizens are being raped, extorted and abused in foreign lands. Those at home can’t get good education, good health care and employment. The level of insecurity in the north, south, east and west is a source of worry to all.

Our rulers have no solution to all these, they see the country as a business center, with most of them having homes outside the shores of our land, and their families living on funds stolen from our collective patrimony.

The development, at the moment, with the Court order obtained on August 8, 2019 by the DSS to retain Omoyele Sowere in their custody without trial for 45 more days which is being described as being renewable, reminds one of nothing but the military days of tyranny!

We vehemently condemn this “Decree 2” in disguise that has found its way back into our democracy. We urge all Nigerians and lovers of democracy to resist this.

*Our 5 CORE Demands*

For the avoidance of any doubt, we hereby reiterate our five core demands:

*An economy that works for the masses*. No to an economy which throws 90 million people into poverty, while just five people own N11 trillion!

*An effective and democratic end to insecurity*. Poverty, discrimination, repression by government and manipulation of ethnic differences by the rich elite are the roots of perpetual insecurity – we must end all these!

*An end to systemic corruption and for total system change.* The bosses’ system is inherently corrupt. We must overthrow them and build a new society based on solidarity and democracy from below!

*The immediate implementation of the N30,000.00 minimum wage.* Workers deserve living wages. All salary arrears must be immediately paid. Politicians must be placed on civil service salary scale. Even the N30,000 is not adequate, negotiations for upward review by 2021 must start now!

*Free and qualitative education for all.* Education is a right and not a privilege. Massive investments must be made to develop public schools’ infrastructure. Curriculum must be reviewed to promote critical thinking. Independent student unionism must be respected!

*On our next line of action*

In pursuit of these demands, we shall continue with our days of rage with a mass protest on *Monday August 19, 2019*. On this note, we are calling on the people to rise up in defence of genuine democracy from below. Students, market women, artisans and unions represent the true and popular democracy that can bring to birth a better society. We will win the new Nigeria of our dream only by taking action. We thus call on all exploited and oppressed Nigerians, constituting the immense majority of the population, to peacefully occupy the streets.

We can only get the kind of Nigeria we want if we struggle for it! If we dare to struggle, we dare to win!!

Thank You.

Olaseni Ajai
Co-convener CORE, Baba Aye
Co-convener CORE

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'Dotun Akintomide's journalism works intersect business, environment, politics and developmental issues. Among a number of local and international publications, his work has appeared in the New York Times. He's a winner of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Award. Currently, the Online Editor at The New Diplomat, Akintomide has produced reports that uniquely spoke to Nigeria's experience on Climate Change issues. When Akintomide is not writing, volunteering or working on a media project, you can find him seeing beautiful sites like the sandy beaches that bedecked the Lagos coastline.

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