Some Nigerians staged a walkout during a lecture on electoral reforms delivered by the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Omo Omo-Agege at the 16th Convocation lecture of Benson Idahosa University (BIU) on Friday in Benin City, Edo State.
Recall that in April 2018, the Senate had accused Omo-Agege of purportedly leading armed men who stormed the red chamber and snatched the mace, which is the symbol of authority, while plenary was ongoing.
During the lecture titled “Nigeria’s democratic experience since 1999: The imperatives of reforming the electoral process”, parents, graduands, invited guests and participants, engaged one of the security personnel in a brawl for locking the main entrance door and restricting movement of persons at the ceremony.
Trouble started when a policeman shut the door to the main entrance at the University’s auditorium, thereby restricting movement in and out of the arena.
Barely 30 minutes after the lecture started, some parents and guest who laid siege to the door, began to raise alarm while others banged the door repeatedly, apparently, to get the attention of the institution’s management and the guest speaker.
The disagreement led to a shoving which later forced the door opened for the students and graduands who had beat retreat to abandon the crowded auditorium, take photographs and have dance to the rhythm of the music under the canopy on the field.
Investigations revealed that the lecture hall became scanty as most of the graduands after the presentation of awards of prizes to deserving graduands, did not return until the end of the lecture.
The protest, however did not disrupt the lecture that lasted for over three hours.
In a remark, the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central Senatorial district, said the ongoing constitutional and electoral reforms National Assembly would set the nation free of undue entanglements.
According to him, “While there are issues to be addressed in the long run, the urgency of reforming “our electoral process cannot be traded off for other considerations”.
“No doubt, the leadership of the 9th Assembly has a patriotic agenda on electoral reform in the Country.
“Significantly, the modality we worked out to achieve the reform agenda has benefitted from wide consultations with stakeholders.
“This is the main reason I sponsored the comprehensive electoral reform bill in the 8th Senate in 2016, and again in 2019 upon my re-election.
“I am confident that these bills will give this great Country a robust electoral legal framework and sanitize our electoral environment for the sake of posterity”, he said.