The 2nd Anniversary of 'One Voice Nigeria' Nationwide Protest: Matters Arising! –Ishola Adebayo

February 11, 2019

On February 6, 2017, citizens took to the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Uyo, Port-Harcourt, Enugu, Benin and London to protest the failings of the Buhari administration around 10 key areas of concern: security, education, health, power, unemployment, high cost of living, social justice, transparency, cost of government and patriotism. Demands were made on 5 of these 10 issues, namely: Transparency in all tiers of government, Security, Cost of Government, Social Justice & Corruption, Power.

The change that Nigerians were promised has not been delivered and a road map to the desired destination are yet to be communicated. Agreed, looted funds were partly refunded and ‘some’ politicians have been facing the wrath of law, but how has that brought food to the table of the common man?

It is highly uncalled for to have elected legislatives, who are concerned with how they can continue to siphon their constituency allowances, display regular showoffs with continual changing of exotic cars. Many atimes, crucial questions on pertinent issues are left unanswered especially as it concerns constant review of their allowances. The issue of the budgetary process is also there; padding has become a norm and these law-makers are actually making laws to enrich their private pockets. Quite alright, it is normal for people to go broke, not excluding states too. The pathetic thing is how these state governments misappropriate the bailout funds. Where is the case of the governor who appeared in a video clip allegedly receiving bribe amounting to about $5million from contractors in his state? Swept under the carpet as usual. Inhumanity at its peak! Proper monitoring should be maintained on how states spend their bailout funds; a governor should never receive these funds and continue to pay his workers half salaries.

Speaking with One Voice, Nigerians are totally against the irregularities that are being perpetuated by those in power. The government must be as transparent and accountable as possible. We can’t continue to preach anti-corruption when some people are diverting the foods meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The February 6, 2018 first anniversary of the protest was marked by a street march from the National Stadium Surulere to INEC’s Sabo office led by 2Baba and BankyW which also happened at various venues in different states around Nigeria.. The walk was to raise awareness on the then on-going continuous voter registration process.

One cannot engage political parties on candidate selection or participate in the electoral process if one does not have a voter’s card. Therefore, citizens were educated on the process of registering to select credible candidates, voting on Election Day and protecting their votes. In short, a vital observation we got from the protest is that once Nigerians speak with one voice, it will go a long way in making the government act responsibly.

Instead of protesting against the government as usual for the second year, on February 6, 2019, Enough is Enough Nigeria in collaboration with afro-pop music legend, 2Baba, NDI and YDI marked the 2nd anniversary of the One Voice Nigeria protest with a nationwide PVC collection drive tied to simultaneous “Power of 1” cinema hangouts at selected cinemas across the country.

To encourage Nigerians to obtain their PVC, registered voters with permanent voters’ cards (PVC) did not only get free access to the cinemas but also got the chance to watch the film in the company of star cast and celebrity project ambassadors such as Annie Idibia, Prince Jide Kosoko, Padita Agu, Michelle Dede, I Go Dye, Mr. Jollof, MC Amana, Yibo Koko, MI2 and others at the selected cinemas across Nigeria. ‘Power of 1’ movie was largely inspired by events surrounding the ‘One Voice Nigeria’ protest, which took place in Lagos and Abuja on the 6th of February 2017.

So, as the 2019 general elections approach, Nigerians should do well to speak in "One Voice", the time has come to remain as unified as ever. When we speak with one voice, we will go far in making our grievances known without any form of hindrance. Indeed, the excesses of these politicians must be checked regularly. They are there to serve us, not themselves. A house divided against itself will surely not stand. As Nigerians who love the country, we will continue to demand for transparency, accountability and good governance.