Nigeria’s Minister of State for Information and Communication has called Tuesday’s planned demonstration against what organizers describe as a power vacuum “a desperate act.”
Aliyu Bilbis said the protest, which will reportedly be addressed by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, is irrelevant.
“It is just a pity people like Soyinka will involve themselves with this kind of desperado politicians who do not have a base, who do not have any basis. If you remember, these are the people who are basing the reason or their excuse on a constitutional provision of section 142 and 125, when they tried (and) they could not penetrate,” he said.
He expressed confidence that Nigerians will not heed to calls by some politicians who demand the resignation of recovering President Umaru Yar’Adua.
According to Nigeria’s media, the protest march is aimed at putting pressure on the government to disclose more information on President Yar'Adua's medical condition.
But minister Bilbis denied the protest will put pressure on the government.
“They won’t make any meaningful insight… These are people who are not able to deliver their wards (win elections). You will be surprised to know that today there are a number of students who will also be in the streets praying, calling for Nigerians to pray for Mr. President for a quick recovery. You can see how irrelevant their so-called protest will make,” Bilbis said.
The opposition Action Congress Party is demanding proof of the health status of the president.
But Bilbis rejected the opposition party’s demand.
“One thing they should understand is that we will continue to tell the whole world, not only Nigerians that Mr. President is recovering. He is in the hospital. He is resting… I want to assure you very soon, Mr. President will come back to this country and continue the good work he started in this country. These are people seeking relevance at any given time. They always want to raise dust where there is no dust,” Bilbis said.
Nigerian lawmakers are reportedly scheduled to debate the political vacuum created by President Yar’Adua’s seven-week absence and lack of information about his condition.
But minister Bilbis denies there is a power vacuum.