Ex-National Vice Chairman, North-east of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Salihu Lukman has said that the protest by Nigerians against the harsh economic conditions are justifiable.
On Monday, Nigerians protested in Niger and Kano states against the increase in the cost of food and harsh economic conditions.
But the ruling party on Tuesday alleged that opposition parties have resorted to instigating unsuspecting young people to protests in the streets of some major cities as part of desperation to portray the ruling party as underperforming.
Against this background, Lukman urged President Bola Tinubu not to submit to the temptation of criminalising the legitimate grievances of Nigerians Protesting against harsh living and economic conditions.
The party chieftian in a statement issued on Wednesday titled, “Renewed Hope Exchanging for Renewed Anger”, said the protest called for urgent response by the government.
He noted that such a response must as a matter of necessity address existing reality whereby prices of goods and services, especially food items are astronomically going up, almost on hourly basis.
Lukman stated: How can we be talking of opposition sponsoring protests in the strongholds of the APC? Both Minna and Kano are strong holds of APC. In the case of Minna, Niger State, APC is the ruling party. Kano is the home state of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the APC National Chairman. To suggest that any opposition party could mobilise citizens to protests our government is already defeatist. The hard reality is that these protests are logical responses to the realities facing Nigerians. If these realities continue unattended to, these protests will spread like bush fire across every part of the country within a very short period.
He was of the opinion that no one should be deceived because the protest h LD in Minna and Kano are justifiable protests, saying Tinubu might wish to ignore them at their own peril.
Lukman added: “We must appeal to our leaders, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu not to submit to the temptation of criminalising the legitimate grievances of Nigerians.
“Under no circumstances must our leaders imagine that because they are today’s rulers, unacceptably harsh living conditions caused by clear policy choices of our government should be tolerated.
“These were the same issues we rose against under the military and during the tenure of PDP between 1999 and 2015. Perhaps, if the truth must be told, if it were during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari, many would rationalise it given his military background.
“But coming during the tenure of President Asiwaju Tinubu who was indisputably a committed democrat, makes it even more compelling for Nigerians to protest. Maybe it is only the loud protests of citizens that will compel President Asiwaju Tinubu to have more listening ears and opens his government for citizens to engage it and influence its policy directions.”
Lukman said as it is now, the renewed hope agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been floated like the Naira exchange rate.
He noted: “Renewed Hope is being exchanged for Renewed Anger. The value is becoming more and more provocative to citizens. At this rate, all appeals for patience may be a simple waste of time given the challenge of survival.
“Already complicated by worsening security situation in the country so much that Abuja, the Federal Capital has also become insecure, it is in our enlightened interest both as a party and as Nigerians to put pressure on President Asiwaju Tinubu to do the needful by putting in place immediately a clearly defined economic policy to resolve the situation.”