Charles Oputa, a.k.a “Charlyboy”, convener of ‘OurMumuDonDo Movement’, on Friday said street protest by Nigerians over national issues cannot change political leaders at all levels.
Charlyboy made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. Charlyboy also known as ‘Areafada’, lamented that for almost six decades of Nigeria’s independence, its citizens were yet to experience ‘freedom from bad leadership’.
He said that successive Nigerian political leaders had remained insensitive to the plights of ordinary Nigerians over the years and were not moved by such protests to hold them accountable. He explained that he was, therefore, boycotting street protests over national issues, and urged advocates of good governance and patriotic Nigerians to resort to engaging the leaders through other non-violence avenues.
The 68-years-old activist, self-acclaimed “President of frustrated Nigerians’, recounted how he spent most of his years fighting for the rights of ordinary Nigerians. He said that in some cases, he went to the streets to champion the fights for the rights of those he never knew.
“I have spent over 40 years of my life leading protest for a better society, and I can tell you that street protest will not change our leaders. My father always told me back then that whenever I see injustice, I should fight it because it may come to affect me someday too, and that is my motivation for fighting injustice over these years” he said.
“On several occasions, I have been tortured by the Nigerian police and the military for standing up to authorities to ask questions”.
“However, on some occasions, I have been regarded as their friends, depending on the sensibility of those in power. I am not a professional protester, so now I have decided to use other means to hold leaders accountable,’’ he added.
The former president of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) said that he decided to use music as a tool to inspire ordinary Nigerians, especially youths toward holding leaders accountable.
He explained that he was leading an advocacy and enlightenment campaign ‘Na We Be Government” and decided to go back to music, his age-long passion to call citizens to participate in nation-building.
“All over the world, the Arts, especially music have been used to inspire people and change narratives towards a better society. I did not go into music for money, but for the passion of it, and this time I am using it to awake the consciousness of all Nigerians toward building the country they desire.
“A lot of Nigerians have given up on their country because of bad leadership over the years, and do not believe they have a say in the affairs of their country.
“It is time they are reminded that power truly belongs to them and there is a social contract between them and elected political leaders. Citizens will do their part and political leaders should also fulfil their obligations as promised in their manifesto, and as required by the constitution,” he said.
Charlyboy is the second son of former Supreme Court justice Chukwudifu Oputa, who had set out to become a Catholic Priest but left seminary school after a year. An avid supporter of Okada riders in Nigeria, he is known to have championed many protests, especially when it affects the down-trodden in society.
In the mid-nineties, Charlyboy fought for the rights of military pensioners during the Abacha-led military administration by marching to the Ministry of Defence Headquarters in Abuja to demand payment of their pension arrears.
He had also spearheaded campaigns for Nigerian widows and was the founder of the “Save Nigeria from Nigeria’’ campaign, and he was arrested alongside other activists for civil disobedience during the fuel subsidy protest in 2012.
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