Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, has broken his silence on the call for revolution which led to the arrest of Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) during the elections, was on Saturday arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) for spearheading a nationwide protest which the authorities have described as treasonable.
Speaking with journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, Oshiomhole said he is a believer in the rights to protest but not a revolution to overthrow an elected government.
He said Sowore should not have participated in the 2019 elections if he wanted a revolution.
“What was the reason for protest? Let’s be honest. I have led series of protests, even to this villa. Whoever wants to protest should articulate the particulars of his grievances and make specific demands about the solutions that he wants,” he said.
“So what exactly as far as you know as members of the fourth estate of the realm, that Sowore, the publisher of Sahara reporters, a presidential candidate, cleared by INEC to bid for power, who had the opportunity to ask Nigerians to vote for him. Now Nigerians have voted, the votes have been counted and he was not a favoured candidate, what does he want now? That Nigerians must make him the president?
“Because we all have to be careful, nobody should talk as if we have another country. We have challenges but somehow we have all resolved as a people that the way and route to power in the ballot box. Our task as a people is to continue to work to clean up the system so that only Nigerians alone shall determine who governs them at all levels. That I believe is a legitimate thing to fight for. But if you want to overthrow, you want a revolution then he should have spared us the INEC putting him on the ballot paper.
“I don’t want to talk about this but I believe Nigerians have a right to protest, I believe people have a right to contest issues, people have the right to disagree. I have often said government doesn’t have the right to dictate to people how to protest, but you must state exactly what you want. I ask you to name any country in the world where somebody stands up and say after the election that I contested and lost, now, therefore, I want revolution.”
The chairman of the ruling party said as a former leader of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), he was also involved in organising protests against the government, and their purpose was to defeat a set of anti-people policies and not to remove the president from office.
He said there is a difference between the type of protest he partook in and the one planned by Sowore.
“So you can go and contest election and when you lose you say you want to do revolution. It is not about this president, it is not about APC, it is recognising that we have challenges. Are we prepared to allow non-democratic means to effect a change?” he added.
On Tuesday, the DSS sought a court order to detain Sowore for 90 days “in order to carry out an investigation” on him.