By: Valentine Adee,
The move to stop bad governance in the country has encourage the initiation of the RED CARD Movement by a group being led by Oby Ezekwasili (a former Minister for Education) and Aisha Yesufu (also of the popular Bring Back Our Girls (BBOGs) Movement).
The RED CARD group has launched its movement in Lagos, Abuja and Jos, the capital of Plateau State for the Middle-Belt zone.
This launching REALITY gathered is not without challenges and hurdles in Abuja and Jos.
Sources within the RED CARD Movement disclosed to REALITY that media coverage for the group during the launching in Abuja was a big challenge as some media houses and journalist could not carry their story because of influences from the “Top”.
He disclosed that the electorates in Abuja could not get the message, as even the journalists that promised to report same to their organizations were frustrated.
“the struggle to get a veneue in Abuja is another long story. But, it’s the citizens project and we shall get there.” They stated.
Concern the challenges and hurdles in Jos, for the launch of the movement for the Middle Belt, the same source said, their application to use the stadium in the state or the popular pool field in the city was frustrated and denied approval by authorities whom the failed to disclose.
They said the resorted to an open place opposite the Plateau state water board to prove a point that the movement must be launched for the masses.
In an interview with journalists present at the event, Oby Ezelwasili said, the movement is for the masses and wherever they are, the RED CARD Movement would reach them to awaken their awareness.
The former Minister in Part Said:
“This initiative is to get citizens to take their rightful place in our democracy. For too long, our citizens assumed that only those, who are in politics, have the right to determine the course of our nation.
“What they forgot is that, those in office will not want to govern without the role that citizens’ play, as electorates. That is those that vote for them!
“We have being voting the kind of people that produce the decimal result that we have seen. Especially, the kind of failures that we have continued to see around us, then we need to reassess ourselves and reevaluate ourselves and say, what is it that we are doing wrong as citizens?
“We must have being doing a lot of things wrong and one of the most important things that we are doing wrong is not questioning the quality of people that political parties are giving to us to vote for!
“So, citizens by this red card are saying, Enough of bad leadership, enough of bad politics, enough of failed governance.
“What we want is good governance because, without good governance, no society can grow and without a society growing, citizens cannot grow.
“We need to tackle poverty in this land. There is no reason why more than a Hundred and Twenty Million (120 Million) Nigerians should be in the category of poor people. There is no explanation for it!
“There is no reason why we should have more out of school children than the rest of the world.
“So, there is no reason why this level of degradation of our people should be the case. There is no reason why life should have no dignity or value anymore in our society.
“All of this is because there is a failure of governance.
“So, by citizens arising and saying we are going to determine the quality of our politics, the quality of leaders that would be sent to our National Assembly, Houses of Assembly, that would be sent to Government Houses as Governors, that we vote in as President, the colour of our politics will change!.
“We are going to do this until all our citizens realize how the office of the Citizen is so powerful than the other offices in the land and in our democracy.”
The office according to the former Minister is the right of every citizen.
You would recall that the 1999 Constitution holds and provides that “Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its powers and authority.”
According to Oby, “it is this sovereign right and authority that the office of the Citizen has that the Red Card Movement and ideology is trying to awaken in the masses.”
For the record, Sections 14 of the 1999 Constitution in part reads:
“The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice.
It is hereby accordingly declares that:
Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its powers and authority;
The security and the welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: and
The participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.”
Oby Ezekwaisli, backed by Aisha Yusufu, said the aim of launched the Citizen’s Office and the Red Card project is to remove bad governance and sack those in office who are currently increasing the poverty rate in the country.
According to Aisha Yesufu in an interview at the same event in Jos, she said, “This initiative has no relation with the BBOGs Movement though there are some members of BBOGs in the RED Card Movement. If you give your voice to a course does not mean you are tired to only one course. It is about coming out to stand for good governance.
“The RED CARD Movement is a citizens’ movement that has come up to stop bad governance.
“Rightly, what citizens are saying is that they are tired of bad governance and therefore are seeking for good governance in our dear country.
“So, every citizen must come out to occupy the office of the citizen. They must come out to make the necessary demand for good governance.
“This is RED CARD to bad governance and to the two political parties that have consistently given bad governance to the people.
“We want capable leaders across all levels from Councilors to the President.”