Since the protest of 1152 BC, the first ever recorded in human history occurred in Dair El-madina, Egypt against the famous king Ramses III, man has chosen the option as a way of ventilating displeasure over certain developments in his environment. This could be violent or non-violent,depending on the clime and circumstances. Protests are not new in this part of the world. Nigeria as a country has had a good dose of these. She has witnessed series of protests as a post and pre independent nation.
Fifty five years after independence protests have not abated in the socio-political life of the people. Rather, it’s waxing stronger and getting more sophisticated in terms of organization and execution as a tool used by the ruled to get the rulers to meet certain demands. Unfortunately, politicians of today see protest as a means of achieving their selfish interests without taking the country into consideration. They are ready to kill, they are ready to destroy public utilities/property using the children of the poor and the dregs of the society. Sad enough, their own children are kept far away in the comfort zone of the whiteman. It was one of the major positive tools used by our nationalists to chase away the colonial masters from our shores.International bodies like the United Nations and other democratic institutions recognize protests as ingredients of democratic governance. Liberal rulers who have respect for democratic norms readily embrace and recognize the rights of the people to protest while maximum rulers and leaders with autocratic tendencies resent and resist protests, they see it as an affront and a challenge to their authority. In Edo State, the Heart Beat of the Nation, protest is a way of life made popular by the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole. As a liberal leader coupled with his labour background, Oshiomhole encourages protests by the people.
Like Mahatma Gandhi, the great father of Indian nationalism, Oshiomhole is an apostle of non-violent civil disobedience to constituted authorities as a form of protest. Aside his liberal disposition as a democrat and authentic comrade, Oshiomhole is a product of popular protests as a state governor. One will readily recall that when the power that be robbed him of victory in the year 2007 governorship election, Oshiomhole chose the option of mobilizing the people to protest the daylight electoral robbery. He did not resort to violence where government properties are targeted for destruction. He embarked on a long and tortouse peaceful protests for close to two years. So far, it has remained the best in terms of organization, coordination and execution in the political annals of this country.
The master labour strategist successfully managed people of little or no education. These people of diverse socio-economic background successfully turned the table against the electoral robbers by retrieving the stolen mandate. These foot soldiers included market women, bike riders, artisans, drivers, streets urchins etc. Their combined efforts made the state ungovernable for the usurpers and made their Abuja collaborators restless. Like a thief caught in the act, they had no option than to abandoned their loot and flee in different directions. To some extent, these non -violent protests influenced the decision of the courts when they both gave verdicts at different times in favor of the unbending master negotiator cum mobilizer.
The Comrade Governor has never made pretenses about his dislikes for violent protests where human lives and private/ government properties are targeted for destruction. Sometime in May, 2013, the Comrade Governor came hard on the unruly pupils of Idogbo Secondary School in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of the state who destroyed school property in the name of protest. When he paid an unscheduled visit to the school to see things for himself, a visibly enraged Oshiomhole sent a strong message to would-be protesters who have the tendency of destroying public property. Hear him: “Let me advise you very strongly that on no account should you vandalize your own school. It is like if you are annoyed over one thing or the other you tear your own shirt, will that make sense?” He subsequently directed the school authorities to cost the damaged windows, doors, chairs and tables and the bills sent to their parents for payment, giving a specific time frame.
By his action, the governor has also sent a strong message to parents to train and bring up their children/wards on the right part of discipline. I believe the home should be the starting point for a child’s good upbringing, the school will only build on the good foundation layed by the parents. §o, I totally agreed with the Comrade that the parents must pay for the action of these bunch of undisciplined juveniles. As an apostle of non -violent protest, Oshiomhole had also sent a clear message that violent protests in whatever form is not condoned in Edo State.
Hardly any day without people carrying placards to government house in Benin City , protesting one thing or the other. Despite his busy schedule, the governor makes out time to talk to the protesters. Where he is not available, a senior government official stands in for him. All the security agencies in the state, especially those attached to the government house treat such protesters with the utmost respect and decency. Brutalisation of protesters has no place in Edo State, let alone a security official pulling the trigger under whatever provocation.I hear it’s an unwritten code in Edo imbibed by all security personnel serving in the state. This is Edo State where protest is a way of life.

…………..When APC, SDP supporters clash in Imhiegba
Campaign of hate and violence which have characterised the 2015 general elections reared the ugly head on Monday, March 23 at Imhiegba, Etsako East Local Government of our dear Edo State. Since the campaigns started there have been no major incidence of violence leading to the shedding of blood anywhere in the state. Eye witness accounts said that the campaign train of the APC candidate for the House of Representatives in Etsako,Hon Phillip Shaibu and that of the SDP candidate for the Senate in Edo North, Hon Abubakar Momoh clashed at Imhiegba, the home town of Abubakar Momoh at about 6pm on that fateful Monday. At the end of the madness, four persons ended up in the hospitals with two in critical conditions.
According to the eye witness, supporters of Momoh where alleged to have confronted those of Shaibu for having the temerity to come to their home on campaign.Soldiers and police were said to have been mobilised to the scene where guns and machete were freely used. There have been claims and counter claims as to who did what and who provoked the other.Some probing questions may suffice at this juncture. One, will supporters of Shaibu want to go to an opponents stronghold and start a fight? Will Shaibu want to spend his hard earned money to pay hospital bills for his opponent’s supporters who were casualties? Would he have provided an ambulance to take those in critical conditions to Irrua Specialist Hospital on referral?Would he have mobilised policemen to rescue the NTA crew caught in the crossfire? If his supporters where that violent, would they not have attacked the campaign train of candidates of other parties including that of Momoh when they came to campaign in Jattu, the home town of Shaibu? These are questions begging for answers from fair minded and unbiased Edolites and the security agencies. One of the military men in muffty who raced to the hospital where the injured where first taken to was said to have observed that the ammunition used were conventional ones. Another lead for the security agencies.
I thought that the peace accord signed by candidates of all the political would have checked this kind of barbaric behaviour on the part of their followers. Unfortunately, it was only on paper, in reality, they never believed in it. However, in the next 56 hours or so, the die would have been cast and we would have put behind us bitterness that has characterised this year’s campaign.