Opinion

#PoliticalObservation: Fall of #iStandWith2Baba: Security reasons or intimidation?

The social media account @official2baba has extraordinarily been active for some weeks now with the hashtags #iStandWith2Baba, #iStandWithNigeria, and #OneVoiceNigeria.

The aim was to garner supports and adequately publicize a planned protest against unfavorable policies by Nigerian government.

Opeyemi Quadri looks at what could have made one of the heavyweight campaigners TuFace Idibia to cancel his involvement in the planed protest.

As February 6 draws nearer, young Nigerians, unemployed youths gathered momentum to join 2Baba as he planned to lead them on a nationwide protest tagged One Voice Nigeria while the hashtags #iStandWithNigeria, #OneVoiceNigeria, and #iStandWith2Baba were among the top twitter trends for days.

But Tuface on Saturday, February 4, took to his Instagram page to post a short video clip to announce his decision to cancel the proposed protest citing security reasons.

“Dear Nigerian!!! Due to security concerns and public safety consideration, I hereby announce the cancellation of the planned march.”

He could only cancel his participation in the protest, not the entire protest.

Fans and admirers of the African music icon believed that something had gone wrong. We’re all worried about the cancellation.

Tuface’s announcement coincides with the arrival of Oghara king of politics, James Ibori, who returned from UK jail.

As prospective protestors were warming up, mostly unemployed Nigerian youth, the same set of youth Tuface was planning to lead in a protest lined the street of Oghara to ignorantly embrace one of Nigeria’s hardened corrupt politicians who arrived from UK jail. He was sentenced in UK for corrupt charges.

But that might be unconnected to one of the reasons Tuface cancelled his participation in the #iStandWithNigeria protest. Something definitely went behind the scene no one saw.

Pre-protest stage witnessed million of vows from the Lagos Police Command and TuFace.

While Lagos State Police Commissioner Fatai Oweseni vowed to stop any protest that didn’t receive the approval of the police authority, TuFace vowed to continue with his mission #OneVoiceNigeria.

“Information reaching us revealed that some hoodlums are planning to hijack the peaceful protest. And as such, we won’t allow it to hold in Lagos. We know that Tuface doesn’t  have the capacity to contain such a crowd and we will not fold our hands and watch while things go out of hand,” Fatai Owoseni said.

Owoseni rescinded his military toga when Media Aid to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr. Laolu Akande spoke on 24/7 news tv Channels that peaceful protest is part of a democratic government.

Later that night 2Baba announced the cancellation of his involvement in the protest in a short video clip.

Those who watched the video said, “Something is definitely wrong, I saw a traumatized 2Baba,” one of his followers tweeted.

While TuFace said he cancelled it for security reasons, more than 70% of his followers said he was intimidated by Nigeria’s secret police, the allegation he denied.

The question now is: Was TuFace arrested and intimidated by the Nigerian Police?

No one can reliably say since 2Babe denies his arrest.

Whether he’s arrested and intimidated for him to have pulled out of the protest, notable Nigerians have vowed to continue with the struggle without TuFace.

After all, Tuface wasn’t the only organizer of the protest. His name rang bell because he’s a famous celebrity, and his involvement would give the protest more coverage and seriousness by the government.

We look ahead to February 6 to witness a true democratic protest devoid of police bullets and brutality.

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