Over 20 Civil Society Groups defied the comfort of the Valentine to demonstrate the shift in the general elections and to educate the people on the need to be vigilant to avert similar mistakes that caused the annulment of the June 1993 election.
Speaking at the rally, a civil rights activist and former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja branch Mr. Monday Ubani warned government not to manipulate the judiciary by prompting it to enter judgement that will endanger the democratic process.
Ubani while speaking during the ‘Nigerians United For Democracy-Pro-Democracy Valentine Sit Out’ in Lagos on saturday observed that the political class in attempt to sway justice to their favour is planning to use the judiciary to do such bidding.
He expressed fears that such move may be in the offing and that there are several politically motivated cases in many courts and in the event of any form of manipulation, the hard earned democracy may be eroded.
Ubani explained that the essence of the rally was to refresh the mind of Nigerians that the shift in the date for the general elections was reminiscent of process that eventually led to the annulment of the June 1993 presidential election.
He said it is better to avoid crises that managing when it occurs.
According to him, the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) went to sleep and abandoned the struggle leading to military to take advantage of the situation to further perpetuate its stay in power.
“We have defied the comfort and the joy of the Valentine celebration to gather here and demonstrate shift of the election and to make our demand known to government that a further shift will not be tolerated’ Ubani warned.
Also speaking at the rally which took place at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, executive secretary of the Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) Mr. Wale Adeoye warned on the consequences of shifting the poll any further.
Adeoye urged the masses to reject any such attempt and that Nigerians must insist on the March and April dates announced by INEC.
He also called on the people to participate and exercise their franchise during the elections and appealed to them not to involve in any form of violence that will give room to anti democratic forces to destroy the legacies and gains of democracy.
In his goodwill message, former vice chairman Lagos state taxi drivers/cab operators Gbagada park, Otunba Adekunle Arogundade said the association identified with the “Sit Out” initiative because they believe in free and fair elections.
Arogundade regretted the shift on the date of the elections adding that the political class has created much tension and there has been lull in business.
He said the cab operators have decided to abide by the electoral guidelines for voters adding that the CSOs have been active in sensitizing their members on the need to be civil during and after the elections.