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Soyinka: Harassment of APC chiefs reprehensible

Soyinka: Harassment of APC chiefs reprehensible
February 14
18:27 2015
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Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to use the military to oppress leaders of the opposition party.

Some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been alleging that the military has laid siege on their homes.

Bola Tinubu, APC national leader, accused the president of deploying “combat-ready soldiers” to his Ikoyi residence, while Garba Sheu, director of media and publicity, APC presidential campaign organisation, also said his residence in Abuja was recently surrounded by armed military personnel.

The highly-revered scholar condemned the act, cautioning the military to avoid being used by politicians.

He also urged Nigerians to shun violence.

“We preach non-violence, but preach this across the board,” he said in a statement issued on Saturday.

“The electorate must refrain from violence, so must the state and its agencies. Electoral rights have to do with freedom to associate, freedom to express, and freedom to move.

“Unjustifiable, and reprehensible. But what we must learn to insist upon, and defend with our last breath if need be is that the same freedom of movement must be accessible – and protected – to all, as basic right.

“When a soldier denies an elected official freedom of movement to travel and lend strategic, mobilizing, or simply moral support to contestants of his own party, and is STOPPED, and compelled to turn back – is this some new form of pacific rule that bears no relationship whatsoever to violence? For those with short memories, I am speaking of the travesty of democratic order that took place in Ekiti where a sitting governor and his convoy were stopped, threatened with guns and prevented from exercising their civil rights.

“The same military are now menacing the residences of prominent political figures who happen to be in opposition to the government. Neither ever asked for police protection. One, a governor, has made no complaint of a breakdown of law and order, the other has not let out an SOS for rescue at the hands of miscreants.”

Soyinka further condemned the attack on Jonathan’s convoy in some parts of the north, maintaining that every candidate, irrespective of the office that they might be vying for, should be able to campaign freely in any part of the country.

“For the avoidance of all doubt, let it be clearly stated that I am against political violence from any direction and for whatever reason,” he said.

“I deplore the stoning of President Jonathan’s campaign convoy. I go even further: I caution those who were responsible that if the assigned protection corps for this nation’s president overreact and respond with bullets, no one should scream violation of their fundamental human rights.

“Stoning a president is violation of his human rights and, in a time of national tension such as the present, extremely dangerous. The same goes for every level of campaign convoy, visitation, or gathering – be they at governorship, local government, senatorial or whatever level.”

“We insist that the presidential convoy must pass unmolested. We must also insist that a procession of the meanest citizens in this nation be allowed freedom of movement. President Jonathan, it is not too late: LIFT THE SIEGE!”

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2 Comments

  1. Andy
    Andy February 14, 22:32

    It is funny that Prof Soyinka is only ‘cautioning’ the APC stone throwing supporters on the President weeks after the events. Is it because the heat is now being turned on the sponsors?

    Reply to this comment
    • Sincerity
      Sincerity February 15, 12:20

      It is strange that you have not been following news. It was published, and I stand to be corrected, that the stoning of Mr President was carried out by dissatisfied members of PDP and not APC as you alleged. Consequently, Prof is correct by criticizing the actions as being bad since Prof is not partisan in any way. You, on the other hand, look at everything through the eye of sentiment consequently your views are always lopsided

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