The Peoples Democratic Party National Youths Frontier, Comrade Austin Usman Okai, has condemned the threats issued by the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, to citizens who plan to stage a protest on Saturday.
Okai, in a statement on Friday, said such a comment is not fitting for a democratically elected government but rather characteristic of totalitarian states.
He described protest as the vehicle through which Nigeria’s democracy was made possible hence it must not be stopped for any reason.
Okai called on men of ‘good consciousness and reason’ to prevail on the governor to allow protesters to continue with their protests.
It read, “The statement attributed to the special adviser to Governor Yahaya Bello, threatening law-abiding Kogites with repercussion if they dare protest against insecurity, worsening economy and maladministration on June 12 democracy day is not fitting for a democratically elected government – such a statement is the defining characteristic of totalitarian states like North Korea and China.
“Governor Yahaya Bello cannot deny the empirical truth that, contrary to the claim by his special adviser that Kogi State is the safest state in Nigeria, the state has been experiencing security challenges for some time now. Was it not in the same Kogi state that Senator Odia escaped an attack on his convoy by criminals? Was it not in the same state that a local government chairman was kidnapped? Gov Bello can fool some people sometimes but can’t fool all the people all the time.
“Nigeria is a democracy and in a democracy, the freedom of expression and association is enshrined in our constitution. Governor Yahaya Bello cannot sacrifice the democratic gains Nigeria has made on the altar of his personal ego and eye-service- all in a bid to please the president.
“The same protest and protesters the governor is threatening to deal with ironically is the vehicle through which our democracy was made possible. Even President Buhari protested and was given full state security under ex-president Goodluck Jonathan. Governor Yahaya Bello must avoid the temptation of breaking the ladder he rose to power on.
“It is high time men of good consciousness and reason cautioned him. To date, under a kangaroo arrangement, two young Nigerians are still languishing in detention for months now because they exercised their constitutional right to peaceful protest. Our democracy should not be defined by people like Governor Yahaya Bello. Before Bello, there was a democracy and after Bello, there will be a democracy.”