Former US Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, has warned the Nigerian government not to stop the planned rallies by the opposition to protest against the recent general elections, described by local and international monitors as a sham.
Speaking during a special retreat for newly-elected members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Friday, Young said any effort to suppress the opposition could lead to a violent revolution in the country.
Young, who was a special guest speaker at the retreat, said the right to protest and the culture of opposition were part and parcel of democracy. "Democracy allows for peaceful protests; where such protests are hindered, it gives rise to violent protests. I do not want to prophesy, because that was what happened in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda and so on and so on," he said.
The former Mayor of Atlanta in Georgia also warned against profligacy among elected office holders, saying: "If you have a democracy where a few have all the money, pretty soon, everyone will go to the streets."
"We have to be very careful. If you win elections, it does not mean you throw the whole economy into a mess, it rather means you have the right opportunity and right to capital and right to money which is an integral aspect of development," he added.
The Nigerian opposition has called a two-day strike for 28-29 May to protest the elections, which were swept by the PDP. But the Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, has vowed to stop any illegal protest. 19