A Nigerian lawyer and human rights advocate, Abdul Mahmud, has stepped down as a trustee of the Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation (SIAF) over what he described as “the commercialism of activism”.
Mahmud said he had his reservations about the ‘personal politics that endangered the #EndSARS movement’ and had advised Segun Awosanya, also known as Segalink, to allow the SIAF speak and act as a group and not individually.
He said he was, however, shocked when Segalink called peaceful protesters insurrectionists. According to him, his claim and other unfolding events contributed to his departure.
On his Twitter page, Mahmud (@AbdulMahmud01) wrote, “It is no more news that I have stepped down as a trustee of the Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation, SIAF. As indicated in the early hours of this morning, here is my statement:
“A formal resignation was sent to Sega at the beginning of the third week of January. He replied that Distinguished you are going nowhere. Following my appearances at the #EndSARS judicial panels in the South-East and South-South, I did a quick review and thanked my colleagues who were central to our work.
“I told my colleagues that I would review my pro bono work and relationship with the #EndSARS movement, considering the mistakes that were made during the struggle and personal politics that was clearly endangering the movement.
“In October, at the height of the struggle, I did speak to Sega and expressed my reservations about his unnecesary antagonism of other groups and personages involved in the struggle. I advised that SIAF should as a group speak and act, not individuals. We had an understanding, so it appeared.
“A few days latter, he made a remark that endangered all when he called peaceful protesters insurrectionists. I spoke with him and asked him to withdraw that unfortunate label.
I then drew the line in the sand and moved on, while appealing to all to understand his politics. Then, the vote of over the reopening of #Lekkigate happened.
“I don’t want to go over our private exchanges on what transpired. I will let sleeping dogs lie. Finally, I thank him for inviting me to have a seat on his table. It is an honour I shall cherish for a long time. However, I refuse to be drawn into the commercialism of activism; and I find it more honourable to walk. Thanks.”
The SIAF, as described on its website “is an incorporated Trustee that focuses on bridging institutional gaps, which has plagued the development and progress of Nigeria for over five decades. It was birthed by the meeting of the minds of reputable thought leaders in the sociopolitical space, who felt the need to engage authorities via strategic advocacies rather than the old approach of partisan activism which causes more problems than it solves.”