Over the weekend, legendary Nigerian singer, Innocent Idibia popularly called 2Face, announce his withdrawal from the proposed #IStandWithNigeria protests, citing security concerns.
In order to douse the tension which arose from his new stance on the protest, the Tuface Foundation released a statement which explained the singer’s decision. Read below:
‘ONE VOICE’ – AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE TUFACE FOUNDATION
On behalf of Innocent “2Baba” Idibia, we would like to apologize to the fans, colleagues and everyday Nigerians who feel let down by the cancellation of this protest.
2Baba’s aim was to lend his voice to make the government aware of the growing discontent due to the wildly escalating cost of living for Nigerians in Nigeria among other issues.
Arguably one of the country’s most influential musicians, he saw it fit to use his considerable platform; at the core of which are Nigerians, to amplify their voice. This is why he chose to march for the cause, and why he was so honoured when his industry colleagues pledged their support.
In line with the commitment of One Voice Nigeria to ensure a peaceful and impactful protest, The 2face Foundation and partners engaged with the security agencies to resolve all major security concerns but treacherous gaps remain that we are unwilling to ignore.
The risk of hijack by various political and sundry interests intent on using the platform to drive agendas that we as The 2face Foundation are not aligned with and therefore exposing protesters to high levels of danger is the main reason why 2baba regretfully had to withdraw himself from the march. He has refused to inadvertently present a platform for mischief makers to exploit.
2baba would like to express his great regret over these circumstances to everyone who feels disappointed. However, he hopes they will agree that as he said in the video announcing the development; ‘no protest is worthy he blood of any Nigerian’. He would also like to thank everyone; both individuals, and bodies like EiE which offered their support to him, and applaud their devotion to the nation.
The primary objective of the planned protest as stated from the very beginning was to aggregate the voices of the people and present to leadership at all levels who may be unclear about the reality of the hardship faced by Nigerians.
We have no doubt that we have articulated our demands and have been heard LOUD and CLEAR. We urge a quick and positive response from government and encourage Nigerians to take a cue from this experience and never hesitate to stand up to the leadership on any and every situation that requires action.
2baba will continue channel his passion for these issues using a range of effective channels in the future. He promises to continue working on avenues to help the Nigerian people be heard, he feels that is the least they deserve.”
Despite the statement above, sections of the Nigerian populace still feel disappointed by the hip hop star’s decision, saying he obviously didn’t understand the gravity of what he was getting into when he decided to lead the protests.
They are not wrong for feeling so. After all, nobody forced 2face to call on Nigerians to come out on the streets against the government. The explanation that ‘external forces’ made him to rethink his decision does not hold water. The security forces mobilized for a protest of this magnitude are enough to mitigate against any ‘external force’ that seeks to ferment trouble.
In the history of activism, most of the great minds who have led the struggle for survival or determination of their people have always adopted a strategy to achieve their goals even in the face of intense oppression. With his withdrawal, it is clear 2face did not have a strategy to lead the protest but rather banked on his huge popularity among Nigerians.
It will be recalled that during the Occupy Nigeria protests in 2011, there were also the same fears that political and extraneous forces will hijack the process but all these fears came to naught as the protest was peaceful all through.
As much as 2face reserves the right as a citizen to protest against perceived social injustice, he should also realize that he ought not to have asked the people to protest if he was only going to bail at the first sight of an obstacle.
One other thing one has to look at is 2face’s credibility in all of this. What does his decision to step down from the protest mean to his fan base, many of whom are already feeling like they have been taken for a ride? The decision has given more ammunition to the many people who questioned his personal integrity. Can 2face champion any other cause in future and expect people to take him serious?
He should take a cue from the fall from grace of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). There was a time in this country when the NLC called for people to protest against the government and they get massive support from citizens. Nowadays, that is no longer the case because the NLC has since lost its credibility in the eyes of the people.
It will have made sense if 2face had damned the naysayers and gone ahead with the protest and thus seal his name in the annals of Nigerian history alongside the likes of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti as one of the country’s entertainers who were not scared to take on the government on behalf of the people.
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