Nigerians from all corners of the United Kingdom gathered in solidarity to participate in ‘Enough is Enough’ rally in London on Friday January 15th, 2010 despite the freezing weather conditions. The turnout was impressive as Nigerians from several organisations marched through Central London demanding for good governance and whereabout of President Umar Musa Yar Adua.
As early as 10.30am,Nigerians peacefully assembled in front of United Kingdom Parliament Square with flags,banners and distributing leaflets to tell the whole world the gospel truth about Nigerian leaders and suffering in the midst of abundant resources of Nigeria.
They were chanting slogans to attract attentions of Londoners such as:’President Yar Adua of Nigeria,where are you?, BBC-stop the lie,Nigerians are not terrorists,We deserve good governance in Nigeria,Enough is Enough of corrupt leaders,USA must de-list Nigeria from Terrorist list and many more catchphrases to send the signals round the globe.
Mr Kayode Ogundamisi,Convener of Nigeria Liberty Forum and one of the organisers of the protest affirmed that the Nigerians in diaspora do not need approval of the Nigeria High Commision to give credibility to the peaceful rally to reclaim Nigeria from the looters and corrupt leaders and that history has recorded it for all participants.
‘We are here today for both present and unborn generations of Nigeria,we are tired of corrupt leaders since independence.We might be living abroad but we must not forget our roots and I am also using this rally to advise parents to allow their children to know original history of Africa and Nigeria,they must also learn the languages not just speaking English language because that would amount to mental and psychological slavery.’
Mr Ogundamisi however saluted the courage of two patriotic Nigerians that demonstrated in front of Nigeria Embassy in Kiev,Ukraine without looking for large turnout of fellow Nigerians to join them and further declared that Professor Bolaji Akinyemi(Ex-Foreign Affairs Minister) and few Nigerians are planning to stand in front of White House in Washington DC anytime from now in order to persuade the President Barack Obama administration to remove NIGERIA from the list of terrorist countries.
Hon Wale Oshun, pro-democracy activist expressed satisfaction in the turnout of Nigerians at the event and advised all Nigerians to demand for a transparent democratic system in Nigeria.
Mr Akintokunbo Adejumo,Global Co-ordinator of Champions for Nigeria in his submission called for Change, respect and abeyance for the Constitution of Nigeria, good governance, and urged Nigerians all over the world to demand change that will make Nigeria relevant in the comity of nations.
Mr Chuma Nwokolo,Uk-based Nigerian writer and political activist in his own remark stated that since 50years of Nigeria’s independence from the British government that Nigeria has been mis-governed and looted dry by one single tribe of ‘chronic thieves’ not just Hausa/Fulani,Yoruba,Ibo or Ijaw thieves and this is the right time to reclaim our country in order to take our leadership role in the comity of respected nations around the world.
Comrade Shina Oyedeji,London-based political activist encouraged Nigerians to participate well in the next elections so as to prevent looters and corrupt leaders from getting back to power.Mr Oyedeji further lamented lack of basic amenities and infrastructural decay in Nigeria despite the abundant resources and manpower.
‘Our government officials continue to fail to provide basic essentials for the people,reason why our leaders will always go to both Europe/America and now oil-rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to seek medical care with our money,we need to stop this trend and liberate our people’.
Comrade Abdul Mahmud,veteran Student leader and political activist appealed to all Nigerians to unite in order to move the country forward regardless of religion,political affiliations and ethnicity since all Nigerians face one common enemy of bad leadership.while asserting that Nigerians are not terrorists despite past ethno-religious riots that left many people dead and properties destroyed,he blamed the government for doing too little to nip such problems in the bud before manifestations.
Zaynab Galadima,Youth activist/blogger asserted that the ruling People Democratic Party(Pdp) has successfully transformed Nigeria to be a ‘Federal Republic of Criminals’, government of liars and dishonest people and it is up to Nigerians to either accept or revolt against that system as move towards election2011.She also advocated for Nigerian legislators to uphold and respect the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Comedian Obonjo,talented Nigerian humour merchant also added glamour to the rally with his political satire rib-cracking joke and launched his YES WE FIT campaign.
Mr.Dayo Israel,a Nigerian youth activist/Preacher also took reference from the Bible where Prophet Moses challenged dictatorial Pharaoh to ‘let his people go’.He stated:
‘We are not against President Umar Yar Adua as a person but we are against his principles of governing Nigeria from his sickbed using his Blackberry phone-he must respect the constitution and hand-over to his Vice President Jonathan Goodluck as urgent as possible so that his sickness will not hold over 150 million Nigerians to captivity.’
Ms Abby Ojo,Co-ordinator of United and Positive Change in Nigeria(UPCINN) in her speech stated that to move Nigeria forward now depends on a united front of all Nigerians and the need to tell those in the corridor of power that ‘enough is enough’ since for too long,Nigerians have been taken for a long rough ride.
Mr Bob Olukoya,a legal practitioner and member of Action Congress UK also canvassed for the passage of electoral reforms which will stop any electoral manipulations come Election2011 and beyond and the urgent need for all Nigerians to unite against our internal colonialists.
Comrade Olamide Ayodeji of Ekiti Patriotic Front also called on President Yar Adua to resign from office since his chronic sickness could not allow him to govern Nigeria well.
‘We cannot continue like this in Nigeria,enough is enough,Nigerians deserve credible and healthy leaders and this is the right time to demand for that for sake of majority of Nigerians’.
A mild drama that nearly turned uncontrollable manifested in front of the Nigeria High Commision when protesters were demanding that any high-ranking official of the High Commision must address the people about the true health conditions of President Umar Yar Adua,if the Nigerian Ambassador to the United Kingdom,Dr Dalhatu Tafida was not available as claimed, opinions were divided on whether to give undue publicity to the government official to address the crowd or to just carry-on with peaceful demonstration across the road opposite the Nigeria High Commision.There was on-going facelift renovation of the Nigeria High Commision,the reason why a space was created across the road directly opposite the High Commision.The selected representatives of the major organisations submitted protest letters and petitions to be passed across to Nigeria Federal government of Nigeria in Abuja.As soon as the London Metropolitan Police(just 2 police officers)noticed argument between the protesters and Mr Zakari,they quickly moved over to control the situation and all went well without any rough-handling of Mr Zakari(staff of the Nigeria High Commision that collected the petition letters).
It is not surprising that only two British police officers were assigned to control a large number of Nigerians that took part in the ‘Operation Save Nigeria rally’,this just indicated that majority of Nigerians in diaspora are law-abiding,peace-loving and hard-working people as bad eggs are among all nations of the world not just among Nigerians.
Majority of Nigerians that attended the well-organised rally said they took a day-off work and travelled long distance to be part of history in London.Such Nigerians came as far as Scotland,Wales,Ireland and France to witness the historical event under the freezing weather.
Among the notable organisations that attended the rally were Nigeria Liberty Forum,Action Congress UK,Ekiti Patriotic Front Uk,Niger Delta groups,Citizens for Change,UPCINN,Save Nigeria Group UK,Nigerian Writers Association UK,Association of Nigerian Youths UK ,Champions for Nigeria and many more.
Comrade Abdul Mahmud gave vote of thanks at about 530pm to round up the peaceful demonstration that started at 11.45am,expressing gratitude to all Nigerians that contributed to the success of the rally and hope to see them again for further protests to demand for credible,democratic and transparent leadership in Nigeria.