Pro-democracy activist and current Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor, Comrade Taiwo Akerele, has warned miscreants and selfish politicians to desist from activities that threaten democracy in the state.
He specifically cautioned all those who never fought for the return of Nigeria’s democracy in 1999 to cease from actions that portray a hijack democracy from the people.
Comrade Akerele, a former National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone B Public Relations Officer (PRO), said he will not keep quiet and allow those who never fought against military rule, either openly or secretly, to appropriate the dividends democracy to themselves, their pockets or their cronies.
According to him, “Following resurgence of thuggery and hooliganism in Edo State in recent times and after three years of concerted efforts by the Government of His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to stamp this anti-development vices out of the state, while creating employment opportunities for young people in a productive manner, I am forced to cry out as a democracy activist, who joined forces with others across Nigeria as a 17 year old boy in 1993 after the annulment of June 12 election, to say democracy is under threat in Edo state.”
The Chief of Staff said he is fighting against hooliganism alongside other statesmen including, the present Deputy Governor of Edo State, Rt Comrade Philip Shaibu, Comrade Paul (Equity) Ohonbanmu, Dr. Osagie Obayuwanna, Ephraim Ubaini, Festus Ukejie, Sylvester Odion Akhaine, Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti, Friday Ughoriakhi, among others, noting that he never “imagined that one day after 20 years of successfully wrestling Nigeria from the stranglehold of the military, some miscreants hiding under thuggery and hooliganism will attempt to hijack democracy from the people.”
Stating that he was issuing a final warning to the miscreants and their sponsors who are fanning the embers of democratic dictatorship, he said, “This is a warning to those who believe they have the machinery of violence with them, aided by some people who think they presently occupy high offices to shield criminals from the long arm of the law that the military did not exit politics to pave way for another form of dictatorship under the guise of democratic dictatorship.
“This is a final warning to these set of people that those who genuinely fought for democracy are still alive, hale, healthy and capable of defending democracy all over again till all pseudo, anti-people renegades are defeated.”
Akerele continued, “The scenario that is building up in Edo state if not tamed is capable of derailing Nigeria’s democracy, where an elected Governor who has been adjudged as civil, well trained, educated and working hard to make Edo state an industrial hub, eliminate youth unemployment, eliminate multiple taxation, streamline land ownership to encourage private investment, promote citizen engagement and popular participation of the people in governance, making Edo safe for all, building institutions and providing conducive atmosphere for civil servants and building a state where merit, excellence and social values are held high will be attempted to be intimidated by those who claim they brought him to office.”
He stressed that the action of these actors is against the spirit of June 12 that we celebrate every year, noting “The will of one man must not be manipulated to mean the will of the people, I stand by the principles of farewell to poverty. I stand by the principle of no to dictatorship in all guise.”
He said several channels of communication had been opened with those who are genuinely aggrieved within and outside of the party to come for dialogue and a peaceful settlement of the issues, if really they exist, adding, “But some of them who do not mean well for the people of the state have remained recalcitrant and hell-bent on causing disharmony due to selfish interest.”