Breaking: 2face backs out, cancels planned protest 24hrs to Buhari’s resumption
By Anthony Ogbonna
Popular music star, Innocent Idibia a.k.a 2face, has backed out of the planned nationwide protest, announcing its cancellation 24 hours to the return and resumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The African Queen crooner announced the cancellation of the protest via his Instagram page, Official2baba on Saturday evening.
In the video clip, 2face said, “Dear Nigerians, after due consultations, it has become clear that the #OneVoice Nigerian protest scheduled to hold in Lagos and Abuja on Monday the 6th of February is under serious threat of hijack by interests not aligned with our ideals. The point and intent am making is not worth the life of any Nigerian.”
“It is a fact motivated by the need to demand a better deal for the ordinary Nigerian.”
“I therefore announce the cancellation of the planned protest. We will share further information in due course… I appreciate the massive support and I am convinced that our voices have been heard.
“May God bless you all and may God bless Nigeria,” 2face concluded.
Recall that 2face had, a few weeks ago, called on Nigerians to join him in a nationwide protest against what he described as the unfavourable policies implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration which have brought the Nigerian economy to its knees. The protest which was initially slated to hold on the 5th of February 2017 was later shifted to Tomorrow 6th so that it would coincide with the resumption day of President Buhari who has been on a 10-day working leave in London.
However, in what seemed like giving in to pressures from the APC-led Federal Government, 2face succumbed to shelving the planned protest after the Presidency and the Lagos state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni had pleaded and even “threatened to arrest him” should he continue with the planned protest.
Specifically, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina had, while playing host in an interview with Lagos Talk 91.3fm, described the planned protest as coming from disgruntled people still living under the defeat mode of the 2015 election.
He had said thus:“This is a country of about 180 million people. It is impossible for 180 million people to think the same way. Yoruba has a saying that if you all sleep and put your head in the same direction, then you are all foolish because you would be breathing in one another’s mouth and lungs.”
“Don’t forget the last election and how it went. Somebody scored 12.5 million votes, another scored about 15 million votes. There are some people who are still in that election mode. They have not gotten out of it and till today, they are still living and ‘rheumatisizing’ about the past.”
“What they don’t know is that that past is gone and gone forever. Majority of those calling for the protest are still in election mode. Majority of them are people that have resolved not to see anything good in this administration simply because the man they wanted lost at the polls.”
Similarly, Buhari’s spokesperson on electronic media, Mrs. Lauretta Onochie had also called the African Queen crooner to come to a national TV and explain his “beef” with Buhari instead of going on national newspapers.
According to her, “Nigerians would like 2Baba to explain the policies that he’s not happy with on National LIVE TV, as well as proffer alternative economic policies that would better serve all Nigerians. Not on newspapers that could have been written by anyone.”
“That way, Nigerians will know it’s entirely his idea, that he understands what he’s doing, and acting in the interest of all Nigerians. Otherwise, we might assume that the protest is for those who miss the heist that happened under You know who. Nigerians are waiting. Thank you Sir,” she had said.
In support of the two above, the Lagos state police commissioner, Owoseni had threatened to stop or even arrest the crooner on the pretext that the force had gotten an intelligence report that some hoodlums equally planned on hijacking the protest to cause mayhem.”
He had said: “Information reaching us revealed that some hoodlums are planning to hijack the peaceful protest and at such, we won’t allow it to hold in Lagos.” He said: “Information reaching us revealed that some hoodlums are planning to hijack the peaceful protest and at such, we won’t allow it to hold in Lagos.”
“We know that Tuface does not have the capacity to contain such a crowd and we will not fold our hands and watch while things go out of hand,” Owoseni said.
According to him, “no matter how good an intention is, hoodlums would always find a way to harass, rob and attack innocent members of the public who may wish to go about their lawful duties.”
However, despite the threat, the pop artiste had vowed to go ahead with the peaceful protest especially as many stakeholders had equally voiced support for the protest.
Fayose, Adegboruwa, Ex-millitants react Reacting to
Voicing his support for the protest and condemning the Lagos state Commissioner’s threat, the Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose had reminded Mr. Owoseni that “the duty of the police to secure Nigerians is mandatory, not optional. Therefore, if there is any intelligence report suggesting the possibility of criminals hijacking the process, it is the duty of the police to provide security cover for the protesters.”
Fayos had voiced his support for the planned protest by saying, “Like I said before, I support the protest.” “Nigerians are hungry and angry, our currency is now above N500 to $1. If Nigerians want to show their anger, no one should prevent them. Nepotism, extra judicial killings, disobedience to court order and human rights abuses must stop.”
“The conscience is an open wound and the guilty is afraid. If the APC-led Federal Government is now acting as if the protest is against it, it means the federal government has accepted to be guilty as charged.”
“Most importantly, the protest is said to be for and about good governance. So who is afraid of the protest? Who does the police represent or is representing in this issue?”
Reacting also, a lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa had equally voiced support for the protest saying, “this is not a rally by miscreants or thugs as to warrant the fears being expressed by the police commissioner. The statutory duty of the police is to offer us protection on Monday and help to maintain orderliness, throughout the period of the rally. So come rain or shine, we shall hold the rally on Monday.”
Similarly, the Niger Delta ex militants had also vowed to participate in the protest saying, “we the Niger Delta ex-agitators are fully in support of the 2face Idibia-led nationwide mass protest against economic hardship and severe hunger in the country. The federal government seemed to have no immediate measures to cushion plights of the suffering masses and we are ready for the protest.”
But Saturday’s volte face by the pop star was a thunderbolt to many, especially those who had been warming up to partake in the planned protest. While some saw an angle of inducement from the APC-led federal government, others saw a case of outright “chickening-out.”
Some, who have commented their dissappointments in 2face’s u-turn in the comment section of the published video, despite his reasons for cancelling the protest, said he would never be regarded highly again in Nigeria for agitating their minds only to back out just hours before the show.
For instance, a commenter, WisdomWisdom1 said thus: ”how much were you paid to cancel? I know this is just game and drama to some back door round table discussions to name your price, get paid and come out with this fairy tale excuses of security…o boy!! you cant fool me.. I know the game and you played it well, using the masses. so when are you jetting out to Dubai or uk to offload the account?”
Another, @Jyde1305 said, “WTF!?! You get people fired up to protest and then you chicken out!!!” “This must be d stunt of ds millennium The guy knew, ab initio. He just put to test, d level of gullibility of Nigerians.”
GANI said, “How did we take an Agatu man seriously in the first place? A “social crusader” shelves rally against hunger and failure of government in the “interests of masses.” The danger of hunger, herdsmen, inflation confronting the common man on a daily, hourly and real-time basis does not comparable to the danger of rally for liberation. I think I should just apologize to Blackface.”
And yet another person, Uchebravo said, “Na wa is terrible or is there anything discussed at the back. Why will u start what u know u can’t finish. God is watching. One day God will surely raise somebody that will champion the course of the lowly. No thanks.”
But the comments are not all against 2face as others saw reasons with him.
For instance, SylvesterDaniel wrote, “I know he made the announcement under duress. We will keep protesting here online until the world hear our voice. shame on Nigerian police. I am disappointed in Nigerian police. they are simply tools of mass suppression in the hand of cabal politicians.”
And more Nigerians are still stating their views on the cancellation of the protest by 2face.
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