….Urge politician to eschew ethnicity, violence
By Dickson Omobola
Human Rights Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, yesterday, berated politicians inciting ethnic and religious violence in Nigeria, saying it is against all that late Yinka Odumakin stood for.
“Falana, who spoke in Lagos at the second anniversary of ‘Yinka Odumakin Lecture and Book Presentation’, noted that it was not right that Nigerians were denied their voting rights, due to their ethnic background.
He explained that the future belongs to young Nigerians, saying “twice in the last three years, our young people have shown that if properly organised and coordinated, they can alter the development of the country for the best.
“When the Abacha junta killed over 200 people in Lagos, Yinka and others decided to not send people to the street, but to embark on civil disobedience.
“The first day, the entire Lagos streets were empty. Chief Fawehinmi asked if it was Lagos. At the time, people decided to take their destinies into their own hands. This story is important for people who believe that in Lagos and elsewhere that unless you are from a certain part of the country, you cannot exercise your democratic rights.
“Rights that Yinka and others fought for. We are here to honour Yinka, his dedication to the institutionalisation of democracy in our country, even when he veered off and joined Pa Adebanjo in Afenifere. Many of us here had ideological disagreements with him but we loved his commitment. When he went to Afenifere, they could be sure that there was a member who was completely dedicated to the struggle for a just Nigeria.
“I think it was Martin Luther King, who said, ‘a man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”