Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says the days of revolutions and coups are over .
Reacting to the planned “Revolution Now” that led to the arrest of Omoyele Sowore, an activist, Shehu said there is a difference between “peaceful protest and incitement to revolution”.
He said the organisation championing the planned protest is not backed by any” serious public face”, challenging them to make their identity known so that Nigerians can know who the beneficiaries of the action may be.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari won the election “resoundingly”, adding that the “ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government”.
“Following calls circulating on social and digital media, an organisation that calls itself the ‘Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria’ plans a ‘revolution’ march tomorrow, Monday 5th August, with the aim of bringing ‘regime change’ in Nigeria without recourse to a nationwide vote, ” the statement read.
“The President of Nigeria and his administration respect and uphold the right of every Nigerian to peaceful protest and civil campaign– whether to raise awareness on issues, and even oppose the government. The organisation championing this planned action is not fronted by any serious public faces.
“We call on the sponsors and organisers to have the decency to come forward and make their identity known – out of respect to all Nigerians – so that Nigerians can be fully aware in whose name this ‘revolution’ is being proposed and who the beneficiaries may be.
“Less than six months ago, Nigeria held simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections. Both contests were won resoundingly by President Muhammadu Buhari and his All-Progressives Congress party. The campaign was observed, and results were confirmed by international election monitoring groups and observers. The result was even contested by the losing presidential candidate and his party in court.
“The ballot box is the only constitutional means of changing government and a president in Nigeria. The days of coups and revolutions are over.”
He asked those “who use and hide behind citizens to attain power through undemocratic and violent means, which has been alluded, to come out clearly and be identified.”
“Those making the ‘revolution’ call hide behind the veil of social media modernity. But without revealing the identity of their sponsors this shadowy campaign is no better, and no more democratic, than the days of old,” he said.
“They should lead their march in person. Only then will they begin to have the right to call themselves leaders before the people of Nigeria.”
On Saturday, Sowore, who was presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 elections, was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) ahead of nationwide protests he was organising “against bad governance”.
Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police, had described the planned protest as an act of treason, saying it was meant to “force a regime change in the country”.