Hundreds of policemen barricaded The Shrine at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, in a deft move to prevent the launch of the Movement of the People (MOP), a socialist political movement by Seun Kuti, a scion of the late Afro Beat Legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and several other activists.
Following a lock-up of The Shrine by its management on the order of the police, Seun Kuti and the other activists regrouped and held a press conference at the Kalakuta Museum, also in Ikeja, to announce the emergence of the new political movement.
Announcing the emergence of the movement, Seun Kuti displayed and read out a copy of a letter from the police authorities in Lagos stopping what was termed a town hall meeting at The Shrine, saying that the activists did not see the police action as a defeat, as it added more fuel to the struggle for the emancipation of the masses.
It would be recalled the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in 1979 formed the Movement of the People (MOP) as a political party during the return to civilian administration, but due to his numerous face-offs with the Federal Government, the organisation was not registered by the electoral agency then.
Some of the groups that were expected at the event before the police onslaught at The Shrine on Tuesday morning included the Nigerian Resistance Movement (NRM), Socialist Vanguard Tendency ISVT), Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Movement for Socialist Alternative (MSA), Joint Action Front (JAF), Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) and the National Conscience Party (NCP).
Others are Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Pan-Afrikan, Consciousness Renaissance (PACOR), Socialist Labour (SL), Alliance for the Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, (ASCAB), Radical Agenda Movement in the Nigerian Bar Association (RAMINBA), Campaign for Workers’ Alternative (CWA), #EndSARS Base and African Action Congress (AAC).
Describing the MOP as an amalgam of social democrats in the country, Seun Kuti, the Convener of the Nigerian Resistance Movement, said: “We are all Pan-African socialists. The movement will bring about the launching of the emancipation of the Nigerian people. Police action cannot stop the meeting of the people. The movement is an alliance. We will continue to meet and see how we will take it forward.
“If the Government does not give chance for a peaceful change, it will be the cause of a violent change that will consume them. It is our duty to align with the organisations of the people to show that we will not allow things to continue the way they are.”
“The MOP is the political statement of Fela and they refused to register the party. This is a rebirth of that movement. It cannot survive without the support of the middle class.
“This is the beginning of a democratic process. We have several groups, including two political parties. We are bringing together all pro-masses organisations. It is an independent movement to bring about real people’s party. We have been deliberating with several other youth groups.
“The first thing is to be registered in the mind and conscience of the people. The ruling elites have corrupted the whole political process in the nation.
“It is important that we realise that the president and the governors cannot save Nigeria. Only the people can save Nigeria. Any party that will bring about the true potential of the people will have to dialogue with the people.
“The MOP is not yet a political party. It is part of a political process that will lead to the emergence of the pro-masses political party. When the party emerges, we will vie for every political position. National development starts from dialoguing with the people.
“What is emerging is driven by the yearnings of the people. It is revolutionary. People do not want to hear the word ‘revolution’. But, we are bringing about a total change. We want to do the bidding of the Nigerian people.