Friday, December 20, 2019 2:52 pm
Within a week, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and Aremo Segun Osoba, one time Ogun State Governor, expressed their anger over the attempt introduce hate speech legislation in the country.
The Alaafin spoke at a book presentation which is part of the activities to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan on Thursday, 19 December, while Osoba expressed his opinion at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos where he chaired the public presentation of two books, The Gatekeepers (Volume 2) and Nigerian Journalism: 160 Years of Advancing Accountability.., authored by O’Femi Kolawole.
According to the Alaafin: ”If I have not killed anyone; and I give an opinion that is contrary to the government’s, will it be a sufficient reason for me to be charged for the death penalty? Where are the lawyers in Nigeria? Constitutional lawyers in Nigeria, where are they? Can’t they speak up?”
Premium Times reported that the Alaafin of Oyo also went down the memory lane to back up his claim on the need to defend free speech and right to education.
He said “My friend, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe has a peculiar character and I wish he could continue to learn about the constitutional lesson from Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his reply to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. We have a quotation and quotations from this literate man.
“During the Constitutional conferences held in the 50s at Lancaster House, three giants from the country postulated different approaches to the Nigerian Independence. Sir Ahmadu Bello said North is for Northerners; East for Easterners and West for the Westerners. Azikiwe said, there should be one Constitution, one Country, one destiny.
“Awolowo rose up and said No!. We are not talking about the Constitution that will be suitable for Nigeria. But what is suitable for Nigeria is when you have a multilingual, multinational and multi-religious country with diverse races. That before independence the whole school we had on the ground was 123 for the whole of the North while the South had 5,000 schools. There is no way. That illiterate will continue to govern the literate people. It cannot work and it will not work.
“Awolowo projected what will be the question of North-east, North-central. That of you don’t educate the people, the Almanjiri will become bandits. Today, in Zamfara and Yobe, the governments are now subjected to banditry. And they are exchanging these bandits, giving them money. How can the government give bandits money? That is a collapse of governance and government.”
Also, Osoba, at the Lagos book presentation, called on Nigerian journalists to challenge the Bill on Hate Speech now that it has passed second reading. In his words: “I read in the papers that the Senate president said the bill would not sail through. But, it has now passed through second reading, and passing second reading means that it will go before a committee, and the committee will call for public presentation and contributions.
“Now, the challenge before all of us is to write not just columns and editorials why the hate bill must not be passed, we must make presentations before the committee.
“The next stage is now for the Committee and this is stage of public hearing. This is where you can play a big role to shoot it down. I too will be there at the public hearing.”