Nigerians in United States of America in their hundreds from all the nooks and crannies of Washington DC gathered at about noon in a freezing weather to call on the government of Nigeria as well as the international communities at the recent peaceful demonstration held at the premises Nigeria Embassy, along 3519 International Ct. NW, Washington, DC 20008.
Less than an hour into the rally, two police officers approached the organiser: The Executive Director of HOPe Africa of the rally to ask if they were approved, possessed a permit, duration, how long the rally was going to last and if it was going to be peaceful. This was because the colossal turnout superseded the approved number expected at the rally.
It was also noticed that Nigerians who were at the embassy for consular services joined the demonstration. Among them was a young lady identified as Adeze who accepted to be interviewed among others.
Miss Adeze talked on various burning issues and acknowledged the need for immediate change because the call from families and relations in Nigeria, asking for money had increased by 1000 per cent owing to lack of enabling environment and corrupt governance.
Naomi and Gangully Abashe became notable at the event, as they volunteered throughout the entire assembly in collaboration with the law enforcement agents. Gangully took photographs and video while Naomi conducted a couple of interviews.
A letter was delivered at the gate of the embassy for the Nigerian government to immediately consider: grant free, fair and transparent election on February 16. Contained in the letter were slogans that were boldly highlighted on their respective hand-held signs; more signs were strategically displayed on the ground. The letter was signed by Prof Isa Odidi
In attendance at the rally were quite several reputable organisations and individuals, among which was CISLAC Global HOPe Africa.
The spokesman of the event, Mr. Francis John, was very pleased with the turnout of print and electronic media at short notice; this signified the importance of our presence here and the messages we possessed, serving as an early-warning sign not to disintegrate Nigeria again, thereby causing serious immigration catastrophic upsurge to the Africa continent.
According to him, “the gathering is there present today to join teeming Nigerians, US, UK, EU in reiterating:
• Free and Fair Elections
• Nigeria at a Crossroad
• Stop Hate Speeches
• Fight Corruption Transparently
• Grant Election Monitors Full Access & Security
• Stop the Killings
• International Agencies StepUp
• Nigeria is Critical to America and the World
• This is Africa’s Most Important Election
• No Voters Intimidation by the Police
• Sign the Electoral Act into Law
“Regardless of the government’s positions and suspicious movements, the entire exercise must be based on the following global practices:
• Respect for the Rule of Law and the doctrine of Separation of Powers, as enshrined in the Constitution.
• Guaranteed independence of all institutions that protect Nigeria’s Constitutional Democracy (e.g. the National Assembly and the Judiciary, as well as INEC, Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, the police and other law enforcement and security institutions etc.
• Supported by the observance and practice of the tenets of good governance: Responsibility, Accountability, Transparency, and fairness, as well as independence, discipline, and social responsibility.
“All of these life-threatening, manipulations and hodgepodge conditions to the detriment of rights of Nigerians are not acceptable. Regardless, this must encompass Nigeria’s long-term growth, sustainability, and competitiveness, as well as the success of the forthcoming elections in Nigeria.
“Invariably, INEC should act independently and be well resourced with the necessary financial, human and material capacity to deliver on its mandate effectively. INEC must specifically consider the lessons from Osun and Ekiti states to ensure the avoidance of similar controversies and not to be seen of taking sides.
“We also wish to specifically highlight the importance of guarding the independence of our judiciary. All assertions of impropriety should be handled in observance of our laws.
“Today’s convergence supports all efforts to combat corruption in Nigeria. We, however, believe that corruption should be combated without fear or favour. We condemn statements attributed to the leadership of the All Progressive Party (APC) that: “join the party and your sins would be forgiven.” This assembly is expected to continue in Diaspora at all embassy locations and we encourage others to do the same peaceful rallies. Our next locations are the Nigeria Consulate in New York and Atlanta.”
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