Ini Billie, Uyo
Nigerians have been urged to rise in protest against continued corruption, poverty, unemployment, marginalization and insecurity.
University Don and Economist, Prof Emmanuel Onwioduokit said criminality and few criminal elements would continue to thrive unless Nigerians arise in protests to fight the system.
Speaking in Uyo during the 5th annual birthday lecture in honour of Prof. Akpan Hogan Ekpo, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo on the theme, “Protest Matters: The Effect of Protest on Economic Redistribution”, Prof. Onwioduokit stated that only protests can bring about economic redistribution in Nigeria.
Onwioduokit explained that Nigeria’s history and that of other nations have shown that protests are the remaining channels to influence policies and agendas in countries with high corruption rates.
He stated that the Nigerian system is programmed for corruption to thrive, noting that anti-corruption is not a galvanising point for protest, as such, corruption will continue.
“On the face value, protest in Nigeria is propelled by several factors including, poverty, unemployment, marginalization, insecurity, and police brutality.
“Protest is a universal language and not limited to only Nigeria in Sub-Saharan Africa. The UN reported that ten of the world’s 19 most unequal countries measured on income distribution were found in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2017 and that Concerns about income inequality and its drivers, as well as economic marginalization, have proved highly contentious issues.
“Public protests have contributed to a change in national leaders in countries such as South Africa, Angola, Ethiopia, the DRC and Sudan over the past few years. Political inertia and concentrated political power and influence remain major sources of public discontent and social unrest.
“Where institutions are non-responsive, strong civil society and protests are the remaining channels to influence policies and agendas in countries with high corruption rates.
“There will be no change in the status quo if individuals and civil society fail to utilize the instrumentality of protest to advance the course of humanity.
“However, the docility of the society is the fertilizer that feeds corruption and maladministration. Corruption is both an enabler of protest and a fight for resource redistribution and also the cause of why most people are docile.
“The indisputable fact is that Nigeria and indeed humanity will be dominated by a few criminals at all spheres of life and resources appropriated by the criminally minded few unless the righteous majority take action,” he stated.
While speaking, Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudoh Ndaeyo said the protest was both negative and positive, adding that the lecture was advocating for positive protests.
Ndaeyo explained that the protests advocated were not to incite the public against the government or destabilise the nation but to ensure that the government responds positively to the economic issues bedevilling the nation.