Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Thursday, got involved in a heated television interview with Tope Akinyode, National President of Revolutionary Lawyers Forum, over the #RevolutionNow protests held across the country.
The movement, founded by Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters, had organised protests across different parts of the country on Wednesday, but was disrupted by security operatives.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Akinyode, who took part in the protests, explained that the demonstrations were aimed at demand good governance, poverty eradication, a stop to the insecurity and many other issues from the country’s leaders.
Adesina, however, dismissed the reason, describing the protests as gatherings of young people trying to be funny.
The presidential spokesperson said the protests were irritating, adding that the demonstrations were not deserving enough to attract the majority of Nigerians to participate.
He said: “Well, was it really a protest? By my estimation, it just seemed like a child’s play because protests by their very nature are spontaneous things, mass things. These are just a sprinkle of people trying to be funny. As far as I am concerned, it is nothing to worry about.
“A revolution is always a mass thing, not a sprinkle of young boys and girls you saw yesterday (Wednesday) in different parts of the country. I think it was just a funny thing to call it a revolution protest.
“Revolution is something that turns the normal order. What happened yesterday, would you call it a revolution?
“It was just an irritation, just an irritation and some people want to cause irritation in the country and what I will say is when things boil over, they boil over because you continue to heat them.”
Akinyode, however, ridiculed Adesina for portraying a narrow definition of revolution, saying that the presidential spokesperson should have a better understanding of the English language as a veteran journalist.
He said: “I am disappointed by the myopic definition that Mr. Adesina gave the word revolution, especially being a journalist who should have fundamental knowledge of the English Language. Revolution has many meanings to it. You cannot attach a single meaning to the word.
“For those who have a deficiency in the use of English, revolution can also mean an improvement, an advancement in a system which has a positive long-lasting impact. The demands of the protester are well articulated. They are engaging the government in its failings – unemployment, insecurity, non-payment of minimum wage N30,000 and many other things.
“And if the protesters are demanding the removal of the present government that is constituted, it is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The law allows for impeachment of any validly elected government and for a government that has woefully failed, is it not right for it to resign?”
But Adesina was visibly upset by Akinyode’s remarks and faulted the television station for pairing him with an “irrational” lawyer.
Let me make this point. Channels TV should have been ethical and professional enough to tell me that I was appearing with somebody and then I could decide whether to appear or not to appear.
“The way this young man is talking, if I had a chance, I wouldn’t want to share a platform with him because he is irascible, he is irrational and he doesn’t understand and I could have decided whether to appear with him or not,” he said.
Akinyode, however, retorted, saying he is a lawyer who understands the law.
“It is not just the way Mr. Adesina sees it, that I am a young guy. I am a lawyer and I have an understanding of the law. It is a constitutionally guaranteed right of Nigerians to protest. It is the law,” he replied.