UNLIKE other parts of Osun State, where the 49th years anniversary of Nigeriaâ€™s independence was celebrated with low turnout, civil societies, students, youths and market women thronged major streets in Ilesa, in a protest rally to mark the Independence Day on Thursday.
The protesters described the countryâ€™s independence as â€œa ruse and false claim by Nigerian leaders.â€
The protest, which was organized by Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Ilesa Unit, temporarily disturbed free-flow of traffic, as commuters found it difficult to break the protesters, who were walking bare-footed to the palace of Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran.
According to the Coordinator of the CDHR, Ilesa Unit, Comrade Olorunfemi Tunji, the protest was organized to express the massesâ€™ dissatisfaction on what he called abysmal condition of the country and the current crisis rocking the education sector.
Tunji, while addressing the public at Ereja Square, Ilesa, lamented that the country has not witnessed any development since the country became independent in 1960.
While calling for true independence and genuine democracy, the CDHR coordinator berated Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola-led administration for the arbitrary increase in tuition fees of the state-owned tertiary institutions, which has made education unaffordable for poor students.
Condemning the lackadaisical attitude of the Federal and state governments to education, the National President, Campaign for Genuine Democracy (CGD), Comrade Akin Asifat popularly called â€˜governorâ€™, said the 49th anniversary of the countryâ€™s independence called for no celebration but mourning.
According to Asifat, the independence of the country has not survived as â€œthere is no genuine democracy and good electoral systems in the countryâ€.
Asifat asserted that an independent country would ensure good system of genuine democracy, which would pave way for good electoral system that would afford the people to elect the leaders of their choice.
He chided the Federal Government on yet-to-be resolved crisis between Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government.
The protest, which started at the CDHRâ€™s office, 1, Kobinu Junction, opposite Obokun High School, Ilesa, at 10:am, was ended at the palace of traditional ruler, where a â€˜Letter of Protestsâ€™ was sent to President Umar Yarâ€™Adua via the traditional ruler.
In the letter, CDHR called for immediate signing of agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU, including other education workers.
The human rights group called for the implementation of Justice Mohammed Uwais-led electoral reform panel, saying that it would, at least, effect a change in the electoral system.
While receiving the protesters on behalf of Aromolaran, the Orimogba of Igbara, Oba Adesoji Adebowale, appealed to the aggrieved youths to be peaceful and law-abiding.
By ISMAIL USMAN