(Being Speech By Dr Frederick Fasehun, Founder/ President Of Oodua Peoples’s Congress (OPC) At Century Hotel, Okota, Lagos On April 22nd, 2011)
Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome.
For a long time, Nigeria has been agitating and struggling for democracy. Recently we seem to have seen democracy at the end of the tunnel and jubilated that sooner than later Nigerians would begin to enjoy the good fruits of a true democratic process. But lo and behold, like a frightened bird, democracy seems to be taking flight away from the land. And violence, chaos, confusion, killing and arson, all of which are anti-democratic symptoms, seem to be overtaking the land. Apparently, when we thought we were preparing for an election, we were inordinately preparing for war, a war that has now consumed the common man, to whom politics means nothing than merely going to the polling booth to exercise his civic right.
This body of patriotic Nigerians here gathered today feels worried about the tragedy that has struck our land. When we should be jubilating, embracing and congratulating one another with open arms over the success of the current elections, we are being made to weep for the loss of innocent young men and women, many of them electoral officers who helped to achieve this world-acclaimed feat. It is the shame of a nation.
Will Nigeria ever get it right?:
All well-meaning Nigerians must prevail on our politicians and political leaders to give Nigeria a chance to have democracy rooted in our national life. Without peaceful democracy, there cannot be progress, there cannot be growth, there cannot be development and there cannot be good things of life that our people have lacked for decades.
It is the duty of all Nigerians from Damaturu to Opokuma, from Hadejia to Epe to allow peace to reign. All classes of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora will like to see Abuja as the centre of political activities, a place where pervasive contentment flows from. We do not want war. We want peace to be able to rear our children from nursery to adulthood. We want peace to enable us enjoy employment in the public as well as in the private sector. We want Nigerian brains to stop migrating to foreign lands. We want Nigerians everywhere to feel happy and take pride in their standard of living, a standard of living devoid of hunger, poverty, illiteracy and superstition, a standard of living underscored by the rule of law, due process and social justice.
These are what Nigerians are yearning for in addition to the wish to live in any part of our country without acrimony and without molestation. In other words, Nigerians of any ethnic group, language or religion must be able to sing their native songs in any part of our country.
The youths are watching. Our children are watching. We do not want them to inherit our war mongering, mutual hostility, mutual suspicion and mutual distrust.
Although life is unquantifiable, we demand that apart from whatever insurance package the slain and injured NYSC participants will normally enjoy, the Federal Government, the relevant state governments and INEC should provide adequate compensation for these unfortunate youths and their families.
Nigerians are too good a people to be involved in self-destruction. We appeal to all and sundry that henceforth all fighting and any thought of fighting by any group or individuals should cease in order that democracy, peace and progress, happiness and contentment and good governance may flow in, in order that all will begin to enjoy what Nigeria can bestow on her citizens of whatever nationality or creed.
If on the other hand, we think war-mongering is the only alternative, let us realize that violence will only lead to the destruction of this beautiful country.
But we must, henceforth, task all indigenes, authorities and agencies in places boiling with violence that they must begin to act as buffers between their hostile kinsmen and the strangers in their midst. In the words of that famous quotation, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” The good indigene must begin to protect the weak guest against the misguided minority. Whenever this era of madness descends, good men everywhere must rise up as one to put a stop to the match of this minority mob.
Let us stop all hostilities now. A stitch in time will save lives.
Thank you for listening.
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