A new pro-democracy coalition, Nigeria Demand Movement (NDM), in collaboration with several reputable organizations, has called on the federal and state governments of Nigeria to immediately put in place what the coalition identified as eight urgent measures to save Nigeria from mass revolt and uprising resulting from widespread hunger, devastating economic hardship and inflation trends sweeping across Nigeria.
The call was made in Abuja by the national convener of NDM, Evang. Comrade Tony Akeni Le Moin, who is also the founder of Nigeria Cannot Continue Like This (NCC-LIT), a good governance advocacy body of civil right activists, professionals and faith leaders which came into operation in 2018.
In correspondences the movement presented to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, His Lordship Kayode Ariwoola, President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, and which our media sighted, NDM appealed to the apex leadership of the country’s three arms of government to take stock of the anger, frustration and general distress pervading Nigeria from crippling economic hardship, insecurity and general despondency.
NDM also lodged similar correspondences bearing the same entreaty to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) through their presidents, Comrade Joe Ajaero and Comrade Festus Osifo respectively. According to NDM convener Evang Tony Akeni, the objective of the NLC and TUC missives was to put the leadership of the nation’s foremost workers unions on notice as wedge witnesses of the movement’s apprehensions and the solutions it proffered. All the above correspondences, which were sighted by reporters, were received and acknowledged on Monday February 5, 2024.
Chief among organizations which collaborated with NDM to prepare the plea on the state of the nation to the authorities are Country First Movement headed by renowned lawyer, PR doyen and ace rights activist Prof. Chris Nwaokobia Jr, Open Nigeria (ON) whose worldwide convener is United States based nurse Rasta Smart Ajaja, I-March-for-My-Children (IMMC) headed by Chief Magistrate (Rtd) Hon. Joyce Ejale Oduaki, and Journalists Without Borders (JWB), a body of Netherlands based Nigerian journalists whose executive director is media entrepreneur and and film producer Haruna Adams.
Part of the missive conveyed to the government, NLC and TUC read:
“We members of the above body, having observed the depth of social-economic pains and anger spreading among the majority of Nigerians and the dangers of anarchy such portend if not strategically and speedily attended to, solemnly register our plea with your august office.
“As our own contribution to nation building, we propose the following exigent and urgent solutions to save our country from the cliff edge of mass poverty and pandemic insecurity which our dear country is being plunged.
“End corruption. It is killing Nigerians. End insecurity. It is destroying Nigeria. End widening mass hunger. Hunger induced deaths and suicide are soaring. Exit, through sincere and diligent economic recovery efforts, all foreign debts. They are stealing our future.”
Other pleas made for the eminent state actors to convey to the Presidency on behalf of Nigerians were “Pay police and military forces #250,000 minimum wage to heighten their morale” in the fight against insecurity. The movement also implored the Tinubu administration to “Cut all government universities/higher institutions school fees by half,” stating, “Students and Parents are choking. Pay local government allocations directly to LGA councils for grassroots development,” and, finally, “Amend Nigeria Constitution:
INEC, State Electoral Commission Board appointments should be by non-partisan integrity certified eminent personalities,” not Mr. President.
According to NDM, the sought amendment to the appointment of INEC chairman and officialdom throughout the country would make the commission truly independent and produce a new generation of transparently elected, development committed political class who would understand that they truly owe their offices to the electorate and therefore strive to perform impressively. “We propose that these measures should be carried out without delay,” Nigeria Demand Movement emphasized.
The body had prophetically concluded, “With the anger sweeping across Nigeria of today, only the above measures will stem devastating public disaffection of unimaginable proportions.”
It is noteworthy that only one day after the NDM lodged its SOS to the Nigerian government on behalf of the Nigerian public, on Tuesday February 6 mass protests against hunger and distressing high cost of living broke out in Minna, the capital of Niger state, followed by similar protests spreading to Kano, Ogun and Lokoja, Kogi State.