Don’t provoke Nigerian soldiers, Falana warns politicians


A rights lawyer, Femi Falana, on Sunday warned members of the political class not to provoke Nigerian soldiers.

Mr. Falana said this while speaking at the 50th birthday celebration of human rights lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, held in Ikeja, Lagos.

Mr. Falana was reacting to news of alleged coup plot by some Nigerian soldiers, in collaboration with a group of yet-to-be-known politicians.

The lawyer noted that a gang of potential dictators are planning to take over from the ruling class.

Commenting on threats by some politicians to resist military intervention, Mr. Falana warned that they (politicians) should not provoke the soldiers.

The lawyer specifically made reference to the ostentatious lifestyles of the politicians, citing the example of a wedding occasion in Minna, Niger State, which politicians reportedly attended with fleets of jets.

He said, “If somebody has to keep $9.7 million in a dump site, I am sure you all know that is provocative.

“Or somebody steals $43 million…a government official; I am sure these are all provocative actions that can even incite, you know, violence.

“But I think we are in a dangerous situation and we have to move fast; all those who believe in genuine change in our country,” he said.

“Right now, the young people are engaged in terrorist attacks, kidnapping, armed robbery and the rest and even now governors and legislators are being stoned by the ordinary people.

“So if we are in this mess, that the state has lost the monopoly of violence to all manners of criminal gangs, we need to speed up, and move fast,” he said.

On his part, foremost Nigerian poet and literary scholar, Niyi Osundare, called on Nigerian revolutionary fighters not to give up, saying revolution is not chronological.

“Revolution do come and they fail,” he explained, “and they lead to further revolution.”

Mr. Osundare noted that the nation is not doomed, but it only has ‘criminal’ rulers as leaders.

He urged the Nigerian revolutionary movement to soldier on, noting that revolutions contradict themselves and “sometimes, produce negative results.”

In his address, Omotoye Olorode, the guest lecturer, noted that revolutions are not tied to individual or group lifetimes, or the duration of a particular generation.

Speaking on the topic “Will the (Nigerian) Socialist Revolution elude us in our lifetime?”, he explained that a revolutionary process is a relay race – a race to be carried out by overlapping generations of revolutionaries.

“The trajectories of revolutions, revolutionary movements and activities is very rarely lineal; there will be ups and downs; the specific moments depend on commitment and faith, creativity, scientific analysis of, and responses to situations, organisational preparedness, flexibility, long views, appropriate synergies among allies.”

Warning that victory is not guaranteed for any generation in a revolutionary movement, Mr. Olorode, a professor, noted that the movement must nevertheless carry on with its struggle.

“Our task then is to carry on with our revolutionary duty for our country, with and for our peoples and the world,” he said.

“The essence of duty is not even about winning. Clearly the essence is not about seeking iron-clad , or any, guarantee as to when victory will come,” he added.

In his address, Mr. Ogunye, the celebrant, echoed the thoughts of the guest speaker, urging generations of Nigerian revolutionaries to move on in the struggle until the task is accomplished.

Among those present at the event were Dapo Olorunyomi, PREMIUM TIMES publisher; Omoyele Sowore, Sahara Reporters’ publisher; Richard Akinnola, veteran journalist and rights activist; Afolabi Oladimeji, Olu of Igbokoda; Malachy Ugummadu, former student leader; Debo Adeleke, among others.

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