The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has deepened its probe into All Progressives Congress stalwart, Bola Tinubu, The PUNCH has learnt.
To this end, the EFCC has written a letter to the Code of Conduct Bureau, requesting copies of Tinubu’s asset declaration form.
A copy of the letter which was published by online news medium, The Peoples Gazette, revealed that the investigation into Tinubu began last year after the removal of erstwhile Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
The letter marked CR/3000/EFCC/LS/Vol4/322, dated November 6, 2020 was signed by the then Lagos zonal head, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who is now the Chairman of the EFCC.
The letter read in part, “In view of the above, you are kindly requested to furnish the commission with the outstanding requested information of Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu.
“This request is made pursuant to Section 38(1) and (2) of the EFCC Act 2004.”
Attempts to speak with the EFCC Spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls.
However, a senior EFCC official confirmed the authenticity of the letter, adding that it was part of a wider probe.
The official, who wished to remain anonymous, said the probe was sequel to some petitions written against Tinubu since 2018 which Magu had failed to act on.
The source said, “The letter is authentic. The EFCC is in receipt of several petitions against Tinubu, including one involving alleged fraud in Alpha Beta Consulting.”
A former Managing Director of Alpha Beta Consulting, Mr. Dapo Apara, had written petitions to the EFCC, accusing the firm of tax evasion and being run by Tinubu albeit by proxy.
Apara had also instituted a lawsuit against Tinubu.
In his statement of claim, he stated that Tinubu controlled the company which was receiving 10 per cent of the taxes collected on behalf of the state.
The former MD said as the head of the company, he began looking into its finances and he made many startling discoveries such as mysterious transfers of over N20bn to various companies.
He stated, “N550m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd vide payment instruction dated the 15/5/18, N850m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd vide payment instruction dated the 14/3/15.”
The claimant said N960m was spent on purchasing HITV’s 300,000,000 shares.
However, Alpha Beta Tax consultancy firm, Alpha Beta LLP, denied allegations levelled against it by Apara, adding that he had diverted about $5m during his time as managing director by inflating a contract which was worth about $300,000 and then diverted a separate N6bn to personal use. (Punch)
On 28th October 2019, Pastor Tunde Bakare said the following,
“Tinubu will give account for all his deeds. He should not be seen as a generous man, he is an integral part of the rot in Nigeria”.
This is a robust condemnation of a man that has been variously described as the ‘Lion of Bourdillon’, the ‘Jagaban of Borgu’ and the ‘Asiwaju of Iragbiji’ and the words reflect the utter contempt that Bakare has for him.
Curiously, just one year and two months later, on 20th December 2020, the same Tunde Bakare changed the music and said the following about the same man. He said,
“People should see Tinubu as a Yoruba hero, he shouldn’t be vilified. Like Jephthah the Gileadite, he has fought many battles on behalf of the Yoruba people and won despite his rough beginning and God does not need anybody’s permission to put such in his hall of fame despite their past deeds and ancestry. Despite his growing up challenges, the dents and the detours of his life, he like Jephthah delivered Lagos State and nearly all the southwest states from the onslaught of the PDP from 1999 to 2007. Truth be told, without his cooperation and political dexterity, the APC victory at the polls in 2015 and 2019 would have been impossible. I have a word for some Yoruba people whose stock in trade is nothing but a rancorous noise characterised by bitterness and resentment about the ancestry of the former two-term governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Carry your stone. I have a word for those Yoruba rancorous elements, noisemakers who have not achieved as much as Asiwaju Tinubu has achieved, but are always querying and worrying themselves about his ancestry. Those who are envious of Mr. Tinubu and those who desire to take his power slot should stop their useless talk about him, and busy themselves with what can add value to society”.
I listened to Bakare’s words, spoken from the sanctity of his pulpit, three times and I was astounded. I asked myself what could have possibly made him flip in such an unceremonious, undignified and inglorious manner?
I regarded his new-found and newly-cultivated grovelling and sycophantic assertions about Tinubu as being not only self-serving, arrogant, pitiful and condescending but also, to borrow Mr. Phil Smart’s words, a “celebration of criminality and a desecration of the pulpit”.
I asked myself over and over again whether this was the same man saying one thing at the end of 2019 and saying the opposite at the end of 2020?
I had no choice but to borrow an old expression of shock and a profound exclamation of disbelief from Pastor Femi Adesina, the spokesman to President Buhari, who first used it in one of his most brilliant essays about fifteen years ago and I shouted “jumping Jehoshaphat!”.
I asked myself, what on earth could have happened to my old friend and brother and someone who, in my view, is undoubtedly one of the most reverred clerics of our time?
I have always had so much respect and affection for him. I have always loved him and the truth is that regardless of all this I still do because, like yours truly, he is deeply courageous and utterly fearless.
He has always had the courage of his convictions and he is a formidable fighter who has done much for the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God.
However on this Tinubu matter he has not done justice to himself and he has indulged in an inexcusable faux pas!
I am constrained to ask, why this sudden u-turn on Jagaban? Is there something he knows today that he did not know one year ago? If so can he possibly share it with us so that we can possibly consider doing a volte face too? Or is that they have something on him?
Is he being blackmailed? Are his balls being squeezed by a hidden hand? Why has he suddenly lost what my friend and brother, Comrade Yinka Odumakin, often describes as “testicular fortitude?”.
Is his chain being pulled by someone? Do they have something on him? Is there a deep dark secret somewhere that we know nothing about and that they are dangling over his head like the sword of Damocles?
Could this volte face have been motivated by the fact that an unsavoury event which allegedly took place in 1990 in the life of the Pastor was about to be exposed by the Tinubu camp? I am not making any allegations here: I am only asking a question.
Again could it have anything to do with an allegedly ugly situation with a Bank whose ownership recently changed hands?
Once again let me be clear: I have not made any allegations here but I am simply asking whether this is true or false.
Whatever the case let me say this: Bola Tinubu may be loved and adored in the APC but he is no Jeptha.
To say that he is is not only deeply insulting to the memory of one of the greatest, most reverred, most courageous and most noble Old Testament figures in the Holy Bible but it also smacks of chicanery, recklessness and opportunism.
Bakare can love and admire Tinubu as much as he likes. That is his right and prerogative.
What he cannot do is tell those of us that have strong reservations about Jagaban and what he stands for to love and admire him as well.
More importantly he cannot insult us for refusing to do so. Respect and affection are earned and cannot be imposed by threat or compulsion.
For the sons of Oduduwa and every right-thinking southerner and Middle Belter that has not had his mind twisted and his head brainwashed by the fake news media over the last five years, the Buhari administration is the worse Federal Government in the history of Nigeria. And it is a Government that Tinubu had a major hand in putting in place.
Quite apart from being a conglomeration and alliance of ill-bred touts and ill-mannered idiots, it is also a Government that can best be described as an unadulterated aberration and a cancerous affliction.
It is a cruel, inept, bumbling, abrasive, vicious, obnoxious, chaotic, toxic, sociopathic and paranoid Government which is undergirded by ineptitude and incompetence, which has divided and destroyed our country and which he and a handful of others (many of whom have since recanted, apologised and repented) helped to bring to power.
Quite apart from being anti-the Nigerian people, it is also the most anti-Christian Government that our country has ever known. It is a Government that has nothing but contempt for Christians and that does not shy away from displaying it.
It is a Government that has impoverished it’s people, terrorised them, humiliated them, tormented them, insulted them and turned them into second class citizens, grovelling slaves, beggardly field-hands and pitiful serfs.
It is a Government with a hideous and hateful ethnic and religious agenda which seeks to disempower, discredit and destroy all but its own.
It is a Government that has pampered terrorists and rewarded them with massive ransom payments and it is a Government of desolation and destruction that thrives on wickedness and injustice.
It is a Government that has turned a blind eye to the activities of the herdsmen and bandits and that has fought Boko Haram and ISWA with kid gloves.
It is a Government of hate, double standards and deceit that has murdered its own citizens and that seeks to intimidate and silence contrary and dissenting voices.
It is a Government that has cowered the civil society groups, members of the opposition and the entire political class into silence because it is so vindictive, brutal, barbaric, relentless and ruthless.
It is a Government that has turned its back on humanity, that despises the Living God and that has nothing but contempt for His counsel and His purpose.
It is a Government of calamity and sorrows that loves darkness and that hates light. It is Government of hardship and oppression and one that has ushered in more corruption, more recession, more suffering, more injustice, more calamities and more plagues than ALL the previous Governments in our entire history put together.
It is a Government that has done more damage, poured more venom and unleashed more vitriol and scorn on the elders of the South West in Afenifere, the elders of the South East in Ohaeneze, the elders of the Middle Belt in the Middle Belt Forum and the elders of the South South in PANDEM, than ANY other.
It is a Government that has demonised the various self-determination groups like IPOB, MASSOB, OPC, IYC, MEND and others in our country and has sought to intimidate and destroy them more than any other.
It is a Government that hates and despises anything or anyone that is wholesome, honorable, pristine, erudite, learned and clean more than any other.
It is a Government that has shamelessly indulged in such a high degree of nepotism, religious bigotry and ethnic chauvinism and that has so “northernised” the country that even level-headed, rational, reasonable, respected and responsible voices like that of the courageous, insightful and irrepressible Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, has had cause to assert that had Buhari been from the South there would have been a military coup d’etat by now.
Permit me to share the Bishop’s exact words. In a Christmas day sermon titled ‘A Nation In Search Of Vindication’ he said,
“Every honest Nigerian knows that there is no way any non-northern Muslim President could have done a fraction of what President Buhari has done by his nepotism and got away with it. There would have been a military coup a long time ago or we would have been at war. The President may have concluded that Christians will do nothing and will live with these actions! Pastor Adesina was right to call us wailers. On the sad situation in Nigeria, the United Nations has wailed. The Pope has wailed. Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Pastors have wailed. Emirs have wailed. Politicians have wailed. The Sultan has wailed. The north that the President sought to privilege has become a cauldron of pain and a valley of dry bones”.
Kukah hit the nail on the head. It is no wonder that the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum have risen up in his defence and publicly commended him for his insight and courage. I am also glad that the Catholic Church has backed him too.
It is a Government that has consistently ignored the admonitions and warnings and closed its ears to the counsel of moderate voices in the core Muslim North led by His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and the likes of forward-thinking, bridge-building and progressive northern leaders like Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto state, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state and many others who do not share the supremacist mindset or hegemonist disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Finally it is a Government that has been rejected by God and that will ultimately face His judgement.
Bakare should consider all this when he tells us to love Tinubu: a man who is essentially the backbone and source of strength of this failed and evil Government that has brought us close to the brink.
When he tells us that had it not been for Jagaban Buhari would not have come to power he is exposing the reason for and source of our misery and pain and he is demanding that we should love that source.
He does not have the right or the mandate to tell us who to follow and neither does he speak for anyone but himself. His authority begins and ends in his Church.
He can stand with Tinubu and praise him as much as he likes but he would do well to desist from lecturing and talking down to those of us that do not share his views about him.
Jagaban may be Bakare’s hero and messiah but he remains a culturally depraved, power-obsessed, morally bankrupt reprobate villain and the proverbial “enemy within” to millions.
Quite apart from that he is also an intellectual lilliputian, a spiritual vampire and a political pimp who has been outplayed and outmanouvered by the very forces that he has nurtured and served over the last five years.
All the fiery and self-righteous sermons in the world cannot change that.
Permit me to end this contribution with the words of Comrade Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman for Afenifere. After listening to Bakare’s sermon on Tinubu he wrote,
“It is the very height of the abuse of the rostrum for a Pastor to say to us no matter how God-forsaken the country has become that if somebody is accused of being a thief, the rest of us should go and become thieves as well. That is some weird Sunday school of demonic dimension bordering on arrogance and total disdain for your congregation whom you no longer see as children of God but political instruments that can be abused for any purpose and desire.”
I could not agree with Yinka more.
On his part, my brother, Mr. Kayode Samuel, a well-respected columnist with enormous influence and one of the most brilliant minds in Nigeria wrote,
“The people who take Tunde Bakare as a Pastor may be disappointed by his recent verbal effusions. But those who know him to be no more than an opportunistic politician will just rest easy and sigh!”
Kayode was as eloquent and insightful as ever.
Yet the person that takes the first prize in terms of his understanding and analysis of Bakare is Mr. Wale Lanre Ojo, the Senior Special Assistant on Tourism to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state. He said,
“Pastor Tunde Bakare’s mouth is smelling! He is so filthy and dirty. I am ashamed of that kind of fellow being a prophet of God. He is telling us that noble ancestry, decent livelihood, the honesty of purpose, good and refined education, integrity and hard work are not necessary ingredients for future reference. The sakabular pastor is encouraging the young ones to loot, steal, engage in fraudulent acts, sell drugs, do passport racketeering in their youth as these will not count against them in the future. Rubbish from the pulpit. Shame on him”.
The godfather of Lagos politics, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2015, led the Southwest into an alliance with the north to birth the All Progressive Alliance (APC). His decision, evidently, was informed by the expectation that the two geopolitical regions will share power, invariably to the exclusion of the Eastern bloc. And ultimately that he, or the Southwest will take power by the time the north completes two terms in 2023. But it has proved to be a miscalculation.
Certainly, power play is about conspiracies and alliances. Tinubu is well within his right to do what he thought would best advance his political interest and that of his region. However, in backing President Muhammadu Buhari, he cut his nose to spite his face.
It may not have seemed obvious to many, but once Buhari took power in 2015, Tinubu’s political career was in jeopardy.
To navigate the president without bruises, the best Tinubu could have done was retire from active politics and assume the role of an elder statesman. He did not, he stayed on, wanting to be president and pushing hard to remain at the centre of political discourse. But power is jealous and if there is any holder of the highest office in the land who would tolerate a co-president, it is not Buhari. Things are beginning to unravel, fast.
Without Tinubu and by extension, the Southwest, Buhari could not have been president today. This is one fact that president’s men who now dominate the political space and brook no opposition will hate to admit, but it remains true, regardless.
But being essentially Buhari’s kingmaker, it was political naivety to decide to hang around in the expectation that he would share power. The old Machiavellian advice is that the prince must first destroy the one who made him king. Reason? Because he could decide tomorrow to make another king.
Writing in ‘The Prince’, the legendary Niccolo Machiavelli noted “… he who is the cause of another becoming powerful is ruined; because that predominancy has been brought about by astuteness or else by force, and both are distrusted by him who has been raised to power.”
Of course, it should have been obvious that, in helping to make Buhari president, Tinubu wasjeopardizing his political career and plunging the Southwest and by extension, southern Nigeria into political slavery whose only parallel in the country’s political history, is the late Emeka Ojukwu leading the Igbo to war in 1967.
With respect to the Biafra war, blaming Ojukwu for embarking on it could earn one exile in the Igbo country. But if truth be told, the war was avoidable and could have been avoided if Ojukwu had not been too stiff to listen to the likes of Zik and other intellectuals who understood better, international politics and diplomacy. This is not to say, nonetheless, that Ojukwu was not sufficiently provoked by the killings of the Igbo in the north in the aftermath of the July 1966 revenge coup that threw up Yakubu Gowon as head of state, and indeed the actions – or lack of it – of the Gowon-led federal side. Regardless, it was still in his hands to accept to fight or toe the path of diplomacy which, given the circumstances, was the best option and the only way to win international support for his secession quest. In the event, he went to war and only succeeded in sacrificing more Igbo lives and weakening the Igbo politically.
The consequence of that weakening is that it provided fertile ground for the emergence of hegemonic northern power. The imbalance so created is largely responsible for the crisis of Nigeria’s national identity. One mistake many Nigerians, particularly in the south, make is the assumption that the country is already formed and settled as a circular state. It’s not the case. There is the ever present quest to define the country, right of course, from the 1804 jihad.
Colonial rule put a stop to it, then in the post war years, the middle belt soldiers who dominated the army acted as a wedge. Tinubu’s alliance with Buhari has served to reenact that quest. Buhari is now, apparently, out to define the country. The Jagaban’s political miscalculation could yet prove too costly.
The old generals who I reckon, understand this are already raising alarm. But of course, the horde of naive, ignorant online crowd of crumb eaters are blurring the resistance line.
As it concerns the 2023 presidency, it should be clear to anyone with a functioning brain that President Buhari’s north has no intention of relinquishing power to the southwest or any zone for that matter. What many may not have realised, however, is that for the next three decades at least, if ever, and should Nigeria remain one, power will not leave the north. But in projecting, one must always leave space for the law of unintended consequences and the God factor.
But given Buhari’s antecedents, was there any grounds for the southwest particularly to have given him benefit of the doubt in 2015? Absolutely none in my reckoning. However, it would appear that emotion rather than sound political calculation informed their support for Buhari in 2015. It was, perhaps, more of spite for the East than love for Buhari. I had been amazed when, in the heat of the moment in 2015, before the election, the news editor of my then media platform branded a fellow reporter who didn’t buy into the Buhari presidential project a “bloody b*stard who is following the Igbo people to betray Yoruba by supporting Jonathan.”
In the lead up to the 2019 polls, I had on several occasions engaged my landlord – a backer of Buhari’s second term project who loves to discuss politics with me – on who between Atiku Abubakar and the president would make a better leader. My insistence was, of course, that Atiku would. After we exhausted all manner of issues he raised against the former vice president, he said finally that he would still back Buhari because Atiku was an “Omo Igbo project” and that “after Buhari, Yoruba will take power and after Yoruba, Hausa will take power again.” According to him, “we will be rotating it like that, Igbo people will never smell that place.” I had more of pity for his ignorance.
When in 2003, Buhari joined presidential race, he did so, apparently to stop the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo. Not because Obasanjo had performed badly as president, having taken power with the return of democracy in 1999, but because Buhari and the section of the north he represented believed that power had to return to the region.
In settling for Obasanjo in 1998/99, the intention of the northern military class was for him to do four years as compensation for MKO Abiola – the Yoruba had become uncontrollably agitated – and hand power back to the north. But not long after Obasanjo took power, it became clear that he was never going to leave it for anybody. This realisation led to agitations, criticisms of Obasanjo government was swift in the north, the climax of which was the Sharia crisis of 2000. To take power however, the anti Obasanjo forces in the north knew that ultimately, it was about going to challenge him at the polls. Buhari emerged as the arrow head of that challenge. And through speeches and actions that appealed to regional sentiments, he built cult following that saw him win elections convincingly in the north right from 2003.
Until 2014/15, Buhari was a regional hero who believed he could become president by winning elections in the north and never thought seriously about campaigning in the south. However, in 2014/15, the Tinubu led southwest gave him an undeserved national platform, and through heavy media propaganda, dressed him in the robe of a born again democrat. But old habits die hard. Once in power, Buhari did not hesitate to take off the borrowed garb of a nationalist and democrat to put on his original robe of sectionalism. Right from his first set of appointments, he made clear his intentions. And as it stands, he has completely consolidated power in the hands of the north. Buhari is an idealogue, usually idealogues are very resolute and persistent people. Say what you will, he is doubling down on nepotism. Shout ‘Fulanisation’ or ‘Islamisation’ all you will, he will only look for a hate speech bill or social media bill to shut you up rather than re-examine his ‘hate’ policies.
Possibly, when Buhari is done with the country – if he has his way – no southerner will, on the basis of election, ever become president except at the behest of the north. By suppressing votes in the south and inflating figures in the north, the administration is only trying to establish a pattern, a dangerous pattern which supporters of his party in the south are evidently too blind to see.
It is clear to the discerning where the president is headed. But the question is whether he would succeed. I had pointed out elsewhere that the project would fail, ultimately, because Nigerians are too many to be subjugated.
It would seem, from the actions of those controlling the levers of power, that there is an attempt to precipitate a national crisis with a view to using force to take over the country. But of course, this is a country of 200 million people. The advantage those who have “legitimate” right to bear arms are enjoying at the moment would be lost if there a total breakdown of law and order. And the country would break into fractions controlled by warlords such that it would take a miracle to have it again as one, stable country for anyone to control.
THE DIRTY POLITICS OF THE YORUBAS! THEY WOULD SUPPORT THE DEMONS FOR CRUMBS OFF THEIR TABLES PURELY TO CURRY FAVOUR!
Lord Abiodun Ogunseitan Founder of the reform party of Nigeria
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” I am conversant with much of world history yet I have NEVER read or heard of a people that are more comfortable with tyranny and bondage and pleased with poverty and suffering than Nigerians.
Push a Nigerian to the wall and rather than fight back he will dig a hole into it to escape.
Consider Gen. T.Y. Danjuma. He still can’t find the balls to speak the truth and reveal all yet he is complaining about others! He more than any other helped put the north in power on July 29th 1966. He also supported Buhari in 2015.
Someone please tell him that Nigerians have already lost their sleep and that he should speak up NOW & free us from the bondage that he helped put us in.
Obasanjo, Danjuma, Babangida, Tinubu, Adeboye, Mbaka, Atiku and all the others that helped put Buhari in power in 2015 and destroy Nigeria will answer to God for what they did.
Due to their poor judgement hundreds of thousands have been killed in the last 4 years and so many lives and families have been decimated and destroyed. The blood of these innocent souls and victims screams from the earth and is crying to God in Heaven for vengeance.
We must be bold enough to speak the truth and the truth is that Buhari is not our only problem but all those who colluded with him and conspired to put him in power in 2015.
We warned them over and over again yet they refused to listen. Worse still they insulted us, ridiculed our concerns, laughed us to scorn, belittled our fears and stubbornly and blindly insisted on putting a beast in power. Now they are ALL complaining!
As a people Nigerians have nothing to lose anymore. We have lost it all already but we just don’t know it or we refuse to accept and admit it!
Our nation, our freedom, our pride, our dignity, our honor and our self-esteem: all gone! The only thing that we have left to fear is fear itself and death: yet, as the Bible says, “to die is Christ and to live is gain!”
I urge my people to shed their FEARS and to find the courage to stand up and speak truth to power! I urge them to be the men and women that they were destined to be and not to accept the tyranny of tyrants or choose to be part of a colony of slaves.
It is time to make a choice between freedom and servitude. It is time to choose between light and darkness. It is time to stand for good and the forces of light against evil and the forces of darkness.
I have made that choice and I urge you to join me: I would rather live free for a short period of time and make a difference than live a slave for one thousand years! ”
(Femi Fani-Kayode, Ex-minister for Aviation)
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Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council (OYC) Worldwide Sunday advised the Vice President, professor Yemi Osibanjo, to quit his 2023 presidential ambition and focus on his calling as a pastor or be ready to face humiliation.
President General of OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, in a statement said from the handwriting on the wall, Osibanjo’s fate may be worse than that of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen.
According to the statement, the outright sack of VP’s aides is a sign that he might face humiliation like Justice onneghen.
The statement reads I parts: “There is a sinister motive behind the sacking of VP Osibanjos political aides. This shows that VP Osibanjo might face humiliation like CJN Justice Walter Onneghen and he is likely on his way out of office. It is just a matter of time before he faces the worst treatment akin to what former CJN Onneghen witnessed.
“Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the National leader APC had likely seen this handwriting on the wall and carefully choose to support and side President Muhammadu Buhari instead of Osibanjo, his political godson.
“When Senator Ahmed Tinubu said that there is nothing wrong for the President to sign the offshore bills in London while observing his private visit without transmitting power to VP Osibanjo; it’s a clear testimony that VP Osibanjo is likely on his own and should mend his ways,” the statement reads.
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The Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode in this explosive interview with The Nigerian Express touched on very touchy past, present and future political issues in Nigeria.
He discussed about Buhari, Tinubu, Osinbajo, Awolowo, Obasanjo, Jonathan, IPOB, Biafra-Nigerian civil war, the North, The South and more.
Below is the interview.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister is a lawyer, essayist, poet and a political activist. He spoke to AKANI ALAKA on the contemporary political developments in Nigeria, relations among the ethnic groups in the country, the civil war, agitations for self-determination, the need to restructure the country, as well as the jostling for the 2023 presidency among politicians from the South, among other issues.
QUESTION: Just recently, Nigeria celebrated its 59 Independence anniversary. You also celebrated your 59th birthday some days ago. As an historian and somebody whose father also played a significant role in ensuring that Nigeria became an independent nation, would you say the country’s founding fathers will be proud of the position the country is in now 59 years after?
ANSWER: I think we ought to have gone much farther than we have gone. And if I am to be frank, I will tell you that those that fought for Independence of Nigeria, including my father and many generations before them, will not be too pleased with the situation we are in today.
We were meant to have gone much further, become much stronger, much more united. We were meant to be the greatest asset of the Black man on planet Earth. But we have failed in all these respects. And consequently, I will have to say that I am rather disappointed.
We are like a giant that has shrunk into the position of a dwarf. We have been dwarfed in many ways – even by countries that are far smaller, with less potential than us, even in the African continent. And that’s not good enough. And I think it all boils down to one thing – the fact that we have had leadership that has not been the best for much of the past 59 years.
And of course, the other part of the problem is that we have not been able to answer the fundamental questions like, for example, the national question and the outstanding issues concerning the Nigerian civil war and so many other things.
And I think this is why our development has been stagnated and in many ways, has become retrogressive.
QUESTION: You talked about the national question – what is that national question and do you think there have been sincere efforts to address it?
ANSWER: I don’t even think most political leaders or politicians in Nigeria even know what the national question is. And that is really, really worrying because as long as you don’t answer that national question or address that issue, we will continue to go round in circles.
Of course, it starts with one fundamental question, which was asked in 1947 by the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo in his book, The Path To Nigerian Freedom. And the question was simply this – “Is Nigeria really a nation?” He (Awolowo) concluded by saying, No, that it’s a geographical expression.
He added that there is as much difference as between a German and a Turk as there is between a Fulani man and an Igbo man and everybody ought to be able to develop at his or her pace within his or her own region or zone. That was essentially Awolowo’s contention in 1947. And many decades later, I still think he was right.
We pretend to be one nation, we tell ourselves that we are one, but deep down, we know how much we resent one another for various reasons. We continue to act as if this is a marriage that is eternal, even though we don’t want it. That’s the reality of Nigeria’s situation today.
Most politicians will not say this to you because they are interested in getting votes from all over the country and so, they prostitute their principles and compromise on so many issues. But the new type of politicians that I think will deliver this country will not think like that. I don’t think like that.
I will rather tread the path of truth and justice than to say things that are politically correct in order to gain favour with Northerners or anybody from any other part of the country.
The path of truth is the path that will deliver this country into the light of God and the greatness that she deserves and we must not shy away from treading that path. We are not a nation; we are a union of ethnic nationalities that are yet to resolve our fundamental differences and fundamental issues.
The questions that were raised before the Nigerian civil war and in the course of that war are still being raised today. And my prayer is that it does not take another war or civil conflict in this country for us to resolve those issues.
We can resolve them in amicable and peaceful way, so that everybody will feel equal before God and everybody will feel they have equal opportunity to aspire and to excel in this country as citizens and not that we have some that are born to rule and some that are destined to serve.
QUESTION: How can we, as a country resolve this question – because some like the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, want every tribe in the country to go their separate ways as independent entities while others think restructuring of the polity will give every Nigerian a sense of belonging. On which side of the divide are you?
ANSWER: The battle for restructuring is dead and buried. Restructuring is not discussed in the National Assembly. It’s not discussed even in the main political parties. As long as they are concerned, restructuring is a dirty word.
To me, it is a way out of the mess that we have put ourselves in. But to most politically correct politicians, who are mostly insincere and cowardly, they won’t even talk about it. The leadership of the two main political parties – the PDP and APC – will not talk about it as a matter of policy and neither will most of the small political parties.
But this is something so obvious, that ought to have been done long ago, not now. And the problem now is that it may well be too late for that. The sentiment is so strong now for ethnic nationalism – it is happening all over the world. Look at what is happening in Germany, in the US with Trump, in the UK with Brexit, the right wing political parties in Europe like in Holland and Germany.
The rise of ethnic nationalism is going on all over the world and Nigeria cannot be isolated from that. In this country, we have major ethnic nationalities that see themselves as members of that nationality before seeing themselves as Nigerians.
There is nothing wrong with that. It’s the perfectly natural order of things and that is the conflict we have in Nigeria. This globalized hybrid state, that we must all become one, to my mind, is not natural. Yes, we can become one if we share common values, common vision, a common understanding about how life should be and common worldview.
But if we don’t have that, and if one believes that he is king and the others are slaves and must be slaves forever, then, on what basis can we continue to stay together? And why should we remain together, just because a rather misguided man in 1914 by the name of Lord Lugard, with his wife, decided that we should be together? I resent and reject that.
I am a proud Omo Kaaro o o jiire, I refused to use the word Yoruba. I am a proud son of Oduduwa and I believe proudly and passionately in the rights of the people of the South-west to self-determination, if that’s what they choose to do. I believe that the people of the East, the Igbo, have that right as well, if that’s what they choose to do.
And I believe in the power of referendum, self-determination and I think it is absolutely wrong for anybody to say I don’t have a right to exercise that right, provided I do it in a peaceful, logical and rational way.
QUESTION: Are you calling for the dissolution of Nigeria as a country then, because that is what this right to self-determination will amount to…
ANSWER: I’m calling for the self determination of any ethnic nationality that chooses to be self-determined based on referendum. This happens all over the world, international law backs it and it’s something that should be done, provided it’s what the people want and it is done peacefully. And that’s my view.
Even if I don’t believe in it, I don’t think it will be right for me to impose my will on others and deny them the right to believe in self-determination or the right to referendum to decide whether or not we should remain as one.
The UK that brought us together and declared our marriage one – between the poor husband of the North and the rich wife of the South – and said that we must remain one forever is doing that today.
They are brexit-ing, based on referendum, from Europe, and they are also doing it internally within the United Kingdom. Scotland had a referendum recently. They narrowly agreed to stay in the United Kingdom. If they hold another referendum in the next few years, definitely, Scotland is leaving United Kingdom.
All the polls suggest that, and they will be allowed to leave. It is on that basis of expression of freewill that you can say you will create and establish a nation. Now, if you don’t want that part to be taken by the people, the only way is to treat them with respect, love and apologise to them when you got it wrong. I will cite the case of the Igbo people and I have said it over and over again.
A situation where three million people -civilians- were killed during the civil war, the greatest act of genocide in the history of African continent -black on black, not white on black- because King Leopold ll killed 10 million Congolese.
But we killed three million Igbo -civilians, men, women and children- in a space of three years and we have not apologized for that. This is a crime against humanity. It is a war crime. And for that kind of thing, the Nigerian commanders in the field, the Nigerian Head of State at that time, all should be at ICC. But I haven’t called for that.
All I am saying is that, at least, we should have the decency to apologise and also apologise for the fact that between 30,000 and 100,000 of them were killed just before the civil war by mobs in the North. These are the fundamental issues.
Every country that has indulged in such barbarity in the past has apologised, including the Belgians. The only country that has refused to do so and has committed genocide is Turkey. And I don’t think we should be in the same bracket as Turkey.
They killed one million Christian Armenians and they haven’t acknowledged it. We don’t want to be in that category. Everybody else, including the Germans, what they did in the Second World War, 50 million people died, six million Jews gassed to death, they apologised.
Everybody at some time recognizes the power of apology, reconciliation and restitution but we haven’t done that. Instead, we are still killing Igbo people till today. Is that how a nation is built? And when they say they want to go because they are tired of being killed even now, we are still killing them.
It is unacceptable. Sadly, it is not just the Igbo now that are being killed; if you go to the Middle Belt, Niger Delta, the West, Mid-West you will find slaughter. All these slaughterings are being carried out by Fulani herdsmen and, of course, you have Boko Haram in the North-east. It is so bad that Fulani herdsmen are even killing the local Hausa in the North itself.
The ethnic group carrying out this havoc, seven per cent of the population, that’s what they are, and we will sit here and say we are one nation. We don’t have the right to retaliate, we don’t have the right to cry, we don’t have the right aspire to be leaders in this country because we are second class citizens, even, when we are the indigenous people of Nigeria.
And you are saying we must accept that? I will never do that. Unless they change and these things stop, Nigeria’s unity can never be something that will be accepted by all of us.
QUESTION: Some critics, especially from the North had always faulted the call for apology to the Igbo people over the civil war with the argument that the war was a reaction to the killings carried out in the first coup of 1966, led by officers who hailed mostly from the then Eastern region…
ANSWER: I am very conversant with the history; I am part of it. They came to my father’s house in January 1966; I was conversant with what they did. And my father was the only person that was taken away from home that night who was not killed. About 20 people -key leaders in the military and the government of that era- were killed.
My father only escaped by divine providence because the federal troops saved him at Dodan Barracks and I appreciate that. And I appreciate the pains that were caused that night because I felt the pains too. I will never forget it. I witnessed it. I saw it. And I suffered the consequences of that for many, many years because it traumatized me.
The killing of all those people was barbaric and unacceptable. I have said so. Definitely, the majority of the participants were Igbo, I am not disputing that. But the question that you have to first answer is did those Igbo officers conduct a referendum in the East before embarking on the coup? Did they do it on behalf of the Igbo people?
Because if you say you want to punish a whole ethnic nationality because of the action of a few people -barbaric action in terms of the slaughter. They killed 20 people. You now say you want to wipe out entire nationality, I think that’s an unacceptable behavior. The reaction is even more barbaric and quite unacceptable in my view.
QUESTION; The argument was that the killings took place during a war situation…
ANSWER: It was not a war, because there was a coup in January 1966, 20 leaders were killed from all over the country and only one leader was killed in the South-east. It was a tragedy. It was a wicked act. I accept that. But there was no war at the time, there was a coup, an attempted coup. The coup failed.
And what happened next? The Northerners now decided to do a counter coup. Again, there was no war. It was what they called a Northern revenge coup to avenge those that were killed in the first coup. And what did they do? Here is what they did.
They killed 300 Igbo officers in one night. They killed an Igbo Head of State – Ironsi. They killed a Yoruba Governor of the Western Region, Fajuyi and they killed a number of other people – all in one night. Now, look at it in numbers – 20 of yours were killed, you killed 300 of theirs, plus the Head of State and Yoruba Army officers six months later.
And there was no war declared. You didn’t stop there, but went a step further few months later and you slaughtered in the North -the official figure is 30,000, the real figure is close to 100,000- Igbo civilians who knew nothing about coup plotting, who did not participate in it, who are equally victims and were still mourning that their people were killed.
Those killings took place in few pogroms in a space of two months and again, no war had been declared at that time. But you didn’t stop there. When the Igbos said it’s enough, let’s go back to the East, as they were going back, you were killing them at train stations, firing bows and arrows at them.
And when they got to the East, they now said ‘look, if you want to wipe us all out, it is perfectly natural for us to say we want to leave’ and they now said they want to go. First, you agreed that they will go based on terms agreed to at Aburi, then, you now change your mind that even Aburi, which you have signed and agree on, you are not going to accept.
They must stay by force and the war started. And what did you do during the civil war? You killed three million Igbo civilians. The number of Biafran soldiers that were killed was not more than between 30,000 and 40,000. But you killed three million Biafran civilians. One million of them were starved to death with the policy of starvation that you put in place.
And you justified that policy before the world when you, Nigeria, said starvation is a legitimate weapon of war. Have you ever heard anything as inhuman as that? I know who said that. I don’t want to mention the man’s name.
Another government official, a minister in Gowon’s government, went to America and when Americans were crying that we were committing genocides against the Igbo people, he said ‘no, we are simply defending ourselves, we will starve them to death.’ The people that said these were politicians, civilian leaders, but military commanders executed that policy.
Then, at the end of the war, you said ‘no victor, no vanquished,’ but that was the biggest lie from the pit of hell. You gave them 20 pounds and then, you took all their properties.
It is only in the South-west that their properties were not taken and you turned them into not second, but third class citizens. And today, one of those who participated in that war and all those atrocities is now our President.
Now, we have killed many in the last four years. You killed many IPOB people. And now, they are saying they want to go and you are saying they have no right to go. Is that just or right?
QUESTION: The civil war was followed by a succession of military regimes and in 1999, Nigeria returned to democracy. How well would you say we have done as a democratic nation since 1999?
ANSWER: I don’t think we have a real democracy and I will tell you why. In a real democracy, political parties can be formed based on whatever criteria you choose. Anybody can literally get up and say, this is my party, register it, I’m going to run as an independent, as whatever in my local government area.
But here, INEC, which is essentially a tool for government of the day controls everything in terms of elections. And if you have a man who is the chairman of INEC working against you as the president, which is what happened in 2015. (Attahiru) Jega worked against Jonathan at that time.
I’m accusing him of that right in this interview. And I’m also saying that there was time he was asked to resign and the evidence was clear on why he has to …. but, in my view, very naively, (former President Goodluck) Jonathan decided to keep him there. If you can control the INEC and the chairman of INEC as an opposition party or if you can put your man there to run INEC as this government has done since 2015, then, you know you have no democracy.
Yes, they can let you win some states as they did in 2019, but they can rig you out wherever they like. If you control the courts and you can remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria just like that or you can raid the houses of judges at night with the DSS and you have, more or less, captured the judiciary and intimidated the judges, you don’t have a democracy and neither do you have rule of law.
If you can send DSS officers to the National Assembly to go and raid the place and lock out legislators because you cannot control the place as happened some months ago, then you don’t have a democracy. Today, the APC, by design, controls the National Assembly.
They control it because they control virtually all the elections and so, they returned as many people as possible through INEC – mostly unfairly. They control the elections tribunals, in my view.
They control the courts, in my view, and they control the media, in my view, because this kind of interview, I will be surprised if you publish what I am saying. You may publish it online, but if you publish it in your paper, you may get into trouble.
They control the television. If you go there and you say anything against them that is strong, factual, the NBC will come down on the television station. And you called that democracy? It is tyranny. It’s a dictatorship. And everything that I, FFK, said in 2015 during the course of the election that would happen if Buhari became the President has happened.
And everybody that insulted me then, laughed at me then, and said I was talking rubbish, even from within the PDP itself, are now being prosecuted. All of them are now calling to say I was right.
And everybody that stood with them (APC) then, including Atiku, Obasanjo, Kwankwaso, Tambuwal, Dino Melaye, Saraki has come back now. And now, they are all victims of this monster that they helped to create in 2015.
Now, we fought them in 2015 and we are still fighting them up till today. And until the end of time, we will continue to fight them, not as individuals, because I have nothing against anybody personally. If anything, I have more friends in APC than in PDP.
That’s the truth. But in terms of ideology, politics and what I think is best for my country, I see them as immortal enemies; I see them as nothing but darkness. And I see those that seek to liberate this country from their shackles as the light and the vessels and the tools of God to fight that darkness. That’s my position.
So, if you asked me that do I believe that we have a democracy? My answer is, no. They have corrupted it, they have abused it and I knew this was going to happen. And let me tell you that it is going to get worse.
QUESTION: What has APC done to our democracy since they took power in 2015 that made you to arrive at this conclusion?
Since 2015, what have they done? First, they introduced religion and ethnicity into government. Every security agency in this country – whether the military, the one that have to do with external or internal security – 17 agencies in all – they are all in the hands of Northern Muslims, except for one, which is the Navy.
And that’s unacceptable in a multi-religious, multi-cultural society. A situation where the whole of the judiciary from the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court has just changed now – but the three tiers of the judiciary were being headed by Northern Muslims.
It is just now that we have only one being headed by Northern Christian, that’s the Federal High Court. A situation whereby in the National Assembly, the Senate is headed by a Northern Muslim, House of Representatives headed by a Southern Muslim – Femi Gbajabiamila, he is a good friend of mine, I have known him for over 40 years – but he is a Muslim as well. So, you have Muslims heading both wings of the National Assembly.
And you know what they have done with Femi Gbajabiamila? They have surrounded him with Muslims – his deputy is also a Muslim and the four principal officers around him are also Muslims. So, what is there for us in that place?
In the executive, apart from the security agencies, look at all the key appointments – nine times out of 10, they go Northern Muslims. Go to the Villa today – the official language is Hausa, 90 per cent of the people that are working in the Villa are Northern Muslims.
Look at the appointment of chief executives for the key agencies – they were Northern Muslims, look at the ministerial appointments in terms of substance – the North-west where the President comes from, the Hausa-Fulani catchment area, you have 10 substantive ministries, those are full ministries, not Ministers of state, 10 in the North-west.
Next is the South-west where I come from, we have five substantive Ministers and everywhere else – the South-east, the North-central and North-east have three substantive ministers each.
That means the North-west where Buhari comes from, which is the Fulani heartland has over three times the number of substantive ministers that all the other zones have, except for the South-west. And south-west has only half the number the North-west have. Is that fair? (Nigeria Express)
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Former Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources in Lagos State, Mr. Olawale Oluwo, has stated categorically that government in Lagos State starts and ends in the house of the leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Oluwo, who spoke at Afang Summit, organised by a Lagos-based investment banker, Mr. Joseph Edgar, also gave insight into the power play that denied former Lagos State Akinwumi Ambode his second term bid.
In his words, “Part of the things we were doing before they stopped our government was building terminals and bus depots all over the state. If completed, the project will take out completely those garages that have been there for decades. It’s those garages that are producing touts. There is no need for National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).
“The NURTW makes N82 billion every year from Lagos, which is almost 10 per cent of our budget. So, these things would have eliminated the commercial danfo, the molue, tricycle, and okada and the same guys will be the ones running the new transport system. We never used to ride okada. So, why would okada be normal? this is one of the things we were trying to eliminate. The okada and agbero we see today were not in that future.
“I think the Lagos of three to four years may not be the Lagos of the last three to four years. Lagos will change; the change will be tough, rough, and I believe it will be bloody. It will be delusional to think you want to go and do a struggle and you are thinking of coming back. Until you are able to make coming back home a probability, you are not qualified to lead the struggle. You might be qualified to be a supporter or sympathizer of a struggle but you can’t be at the forefront, because nothing good comes easy. Do you think they will leave power and move on?”
On why the powers that-be moved against Ambode, Oluwo said, “Don’t judge a man you don’t know and you have never met before. People manipulate people to destroy people and they succeeded in doing that to Ambode.
“Ambode deliberately decided not to talk. So, it’s not balanced. One side was busy feeding the public with a negative story. I was not only a government official, I was also close to him and I was a member of his kitchen cabinet. I know the time he will talk will come. Ambode has made his own determination not to talk for now.”
On how Ambode became Lagos State governor, Oluwo recounted his meeting with Delta State-born businessman, Mr. Albert Okumagba who “told me that Ambode would be governor of Lagos in 2012 and I laughed. I told him then that even if I don’t know who would be governor of Lagos, I know those who would not be governor, that if they were sharing it for free Ambode was one of those who cannot rule Lagos. And I did not work for Ambode during the primary. I worked for the former Speaker Lagos Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, because he is my maternal cousin and I gave him my commitment in 2007 that I would support him in anything.
“I never knew Ambode until Okumagba introduced me to him in 2011 when I took a proposal to his house, and I think at that period, Asiwaju Tinubu had told Ambode that he would be governor of the state. So, Ambode is not the kind of guy they woke up from sleep to be the state governor. I didn’t believe it when I was told. I didn’t work for him during the primary because I did not believe Tinubu was behind him.”
Oluwo also spoke about the battle Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola fought before securing his second term.
According to him, “I don’t want to believe that Tinubu has the intention of making anybody a governor and then give him a second term. Fashola was not meant to go for the second term. There was a plan to stop Fashola; I was in Ikuforiji’s camp at that time and Asiwaju told him to start preparing. Whatever that meant, I don’t know, and Ikuforiji was the only one that came to contest against Fashola during the primary. So, people say probably it was because of Fashola’s popularity that earned him a second term. The answer is, ‘no!’ It had nothing to do with that. It’s just that that thing (federal might), Asiwaju did not have it in 2011. That was what made him succumb to Fashola going for the second term; he had it (federal might) in 2015. If the party had been in power in 2011, Fashola would never have gone back, because these guys (Fashola and Ambode) are technocrats. They don’t have any party of their own; they don’t have structure. PDP was ready to give Fashola the ticket before Asiwaju ran back.”
Oluwo also spoke on the Afang Summit’s theme, ‘The Economy: What Hope?’, saying, “Anybody can build a structure but a man that has access to state’s money to build a structure is different. If Ambode had known a year earlier that he won’t come back, it would have been a different thing, because they sold a dummy to him and to all of us but I didn’t believe them and I told my people that they were being deceived. Ambode did not fight because of Buhari. One, Ambode didn’t know that Buhari would be aloof and will not get himself involved. Two, he had too much respect for Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“They sold Ambode a dummy, that the ticket will be given to him, but they just wanted to shake him and they were sending people to tell him, ‘don’t worry, you are too popular to be stopped.’”
Oluwo also spoke about the relationship between Ambode and Lagosians, noting, “There are things Lagosians didn’t like. Refuse became a disaster; they didn’t like the Land Use Charge, but that doesn’t affect the ticket of a political party. The refuse problem is not as serious as killings under Buhari. As long as you are on the right platform of a political party and they have money they can share, some Nigerians will sell their votes and look the other way and let you write the result. That is the level of our development at this time.
“Yes, mistakes were made on Visionscape, but in every reform, you are displacing vested interests. They would fight back and take you down or destroy the programme. Visionscape has its own problem, but they escalated it. But one thing is sure, Lagos will go back to Vissionscape reform; they may repackage it, do the naming ceremony for it but they will surely go back because that is the only way to manage waste and the transportation programme we put together.”
On what Ambode would have done differently if he had realised early that he would not get the ticket of the party, Oluwo said, “Forget about the party leaders; they don’t count. That thing they call Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) is a toothless bulldog; they don’t have one per cent relevance in the scale of hundred. Ambode was too popular for them. So, what Abode should have done was to have gone to his principal to say, oga, anything you do, we are going into this second term together, give me my second term and I will give you everything you want’. The truth is that Ambode never had any issue with Tinubu; it was people that came in between them.
“Nobody has power in Lagos outside Bourdillon. If Ambode had given the impression that he was ready to fight, they would sit him down. It is about power and resources; power does not belong to these people. The lesson learned is that you can be given something on a platter of gold, but you may not sustain it on a platter of gold.”
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This is, undoubtedly, a difficult time for Afenifere leader, Baba Reuben Fasoranti. He has suffered a grievous loss of his daughter, Funke Olakunrin, in untoward circumstances. The loss of one’s child is a painful and traumatic experience. My prayer for him and his family is to find strength at this trying time.
Now, the death of Mrs Olakunrin is bad enough; the politicisation of the grief is grossly unfair to the family of the deceased. We have always known that some of our leaders have bad manners, but this incident has further exposed them as lacking the ethic of charity. When the news of the death was first announced, the President’s media aide, Femi Adesina, hastily jumped on Twitter to say her killers were “those described as armed robbers by Ondo State Police Command.” Adesina cared little about the deceased; his obsession about roughening up the narrative was to preempt people’s angst that would be directed at his paymasters. If he cared about the poor woman and he respected the Fasoranti family, he would have hesitated and not tried to stuff words in the mouth of the police. The bereaved family not only have to contend with their pain, they also have to deal with the irritation of their daughter’s name being evoked each time we bring up the petty politics of shameless politicians who are using the sad incident to burnish their credentials as bona fide national leaders.
One of these Job’s comforters is the All Progressives Congress leader and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, who answered some journalists’ questions during his visit to the Fasoranti family. First, he downplayed the circumstances of Olakunrin’s death by suggesting that she could have died in a road accident if it was duly fated. This line of reasoning is about one of the most uncharitable things one can say to the hearing of a bereaved family and, frankly, unbecoming of someone who wears the label of an elder. Such misspeaks bolster my conviction that the withdrawal of the permanent pass that some folk have awarded themselves as Yoruba leaders is long overdue for withdrawal. However manner Olakunrin might have died, the fact remains that she was killed and allegedly by herdsmen. To even overlook the circumstances of her death, sidestep the tense reactions by the exasperated populace, and begin to meander logic through bush paths is moral cowardice.
For a while now, Nigeria has been in a difficult situation because of the activities of killer herdsmen. Mind you, these herdsmen have been labelled as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index. They have carried out massacres in rural and agrarian communities, and have been emboldened enough by the slackness of state security forces to move into urban settings. Tinubu only needs to go to rural areas in southwestern Nigeria, and his ears will be filled with stories of assault, kidnapping, and vicious murder. People are no longer at ease. They have lost their lives and entire investments in farming to the herdsmen menace. Those that have survived deadly encounters live in fear of the herdsmen. The fact that death is cheap in Nigeria does not mean we should refuse to label an issue for what it is. There is a context to the suspicion that Olakunrin might have been killed by herdsmen; why try to obfuscate matters by pointing out other ways she could have died? Why not just tell the bereaved you are sorry and go home?
The herdsmen nuisance got to the point that Adesina told Benue people to yield their land to their killers or continue to lose their lives. How can anyone look at all of these stories – including the “your land or your life” propositions to the poor hapless and undefended Nigerians – and merely shrug and say death could have come by a road accident anyway? We all know death is inevitable, but nobody throws their life outside the window for the fun of it. Otherwise, why does Tinubu himself travel with an armed escort and in a bulletproof vehicle too? Why can he not test his fate by stripping himself of the paraphernalia of defence and let’s see what happens?
While responding to the press, Tinbu tried to deflect, engaged in a rhetorical strategy called ‘whataboutism’ for no other discernable reason than not wanting to address the hippopotamus on his laps. The question at hand was the issue of insecurity – the kidnappings and killings by herdsmen – but somehow, he managed to drag in another issue entirely when he alluded to the alleged kidnapper, Evans, who was arrested a while ago. What has Evans’ kidnapping career got to do with herdsmen who did not even start their crimes with kidnapping but massacres and displacement of poor villagers whose farms they raided? Why stop at Evans when he could equally have raised other issues such as Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s pending lawsuit and even climate change? He even threatened to give us a history of kidnapping to show us that what we are presently dealing with is an imitation of the criminal proclivity of southerners.
All of the above bring me to the point that baffled me most and which summarises all of the rhetorical acrobatics he did at the Fasoranti’s house: the needless defence of the Fulani by Tinubu. By now, everyone would have noticed that the most strident defence of the Fulani over the herdsmen issue has come from southerners, particularly the Yoruba. On the question of whether the Fulani deserve the stereotype of cold-blooded killers or not, the Yoruba people have wept louder than the bereaved. The Fulani themselves are an ethnic group with enough power to take over the media in their own defence, but they do not do so. Today, the Fulani are resented, and not just because of the herdsmen issue but also because of the clannishness and tribalism of President Muhammadu Buhari who has more or less driven collective benefits in the direction of a selected class. Why have they not refuted the narrative about them, considering that they have the necessary clout to challenge the demonising of their ethnic identity? They can use the airwaves and other media forms to vehemently denounce the herdsmen who attack undefended populations. They can rebuke Miyetti Allah group over their inflammatory statements, and also condemn the actions of reprobate groups such as the Coalition of Northern Groups who gave governors a 30-day ultimatum to enforce RUGA and students of Usman Dan Fodio University who insisted that RUGA must be established in all the 36 states of Nigeria.
They are so many crisis-management strategies the Fulani ethnic group can deploy to manage their image being battered all over Nigeria because of the spate of herdsmen attacks. If the Fulani themselves are not engaged in activities to refurbish their image, it is because they are too self-secure in their political power and privileges to be bothered about the long-term implications of ethnic stigmatisation. They probably also do not concern themselves so much with pushing back against stereotypes because their lackeys in the South run those errands on their behalf.
Tinubu, in rounding off the interview, made a rather curious statement cum question, “I don’t want to be political, but I will ask, where are the cows?” If by that he means that the crime of murder could not have been committed by herdsmen because there were no cows at the crime scene, it means he has reached the end of reasoning. I do not want to be political either, but the question of where the cows have already been answered by none other than Tinubu himself. The cows are everywhere. If some people look into their mirror, they will find those cows staring back at them in all their bovine glory.
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FormerDeputy National Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George has insisted that the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu lobbied to be appointed Deputy Administrator or a Commissioner in Lagos State when late General Sani Abacha sacked the Interim National Government, ING, headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan in 1993.
George who was reacting to denials by some associates of Tinubu that the APC stalwart never romanced nor lobbied the late dictator for appointments as claimed by Mr Kola Abiola, son of the late M.K.O Abiola in a recent interview, insisted that Kola Abiola’s claims against Tinubu were true. “Tinubu can never deny it. He lobbied Abacha for appointment and I was a witness to it. Those defending Tinubu are his apologists who are not familiar with the story of June 12. I challenge Tinubu to an open public debate on any popular TV station in Nigeria and across the world on this,” he declared. In this interview with TUNDE THOMAS, George also spoke on other national issues.
What is your reaction to the nationwide controversy trailing Federal Government’s decision to set up Ruga settlements for Fulani herdsmen in states across the country?
The Federal Government should tread softly. It should be very careful about the whole thing. This is not the first time that Fulani herdsmen or the Fulani cattle rearers have been traversing the length and breadth of this country, and we’ve never heard of anything of such before. No past government in the country has ever contemplated anything of such – so why would federal government now come up with this idea capable of precipitating crisis?
Already the uproar that is being generated by this Ruga policy conceived by the present federal government is enough to tell any leader that there is need for caution. We should tread carefully. Why is this idea of Ruga settlements now being conceived? Is it because we now have a Fulani man as President that this Ruga tendency is now manifesting in Nigeria?
Let’s cast our mind back to the past, when we had an Ijaw man as Nigeria’s president, did he go round or make an announcement that they should set up fish ponds all over Nigeria? When Baba Obasanjo was Nigeria’s president, did he make it an official policy that they should plant cocoa in all hamlets all over Nigeria?
Developmental purposes should be seen as negotiation between parties. This Ruga project should not have any coloration of the federal government being involved. The impression that the Ruga project gives is that federal government wants to create a colonization army.
I want to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari that the federal government should tread softly. President Buhari was my commander-in-chief in the military, and I served as a staff officer to him, so I’m therefore appealing to him as my Oga that he should tread softly.
If this Ruga project is something that will boost the economy and will benefit Nigerians, all these opposition against it would not have arisen. Naturally Nigerians would have gravitated towards it, and embrace it. Every state governor is the chief security officer of that state; power and control over the land within the state rest squarely with the governor. So federal government doesn’t have the constitutional power to impose the Ruga project over any state.
In the first place, the federal government has no business getting involved in the Ruga project, it should be a private initiative between parties who will discuss and come to terms of agreements among themselves. It is very wrong now that Nigeria is on the cliff. I want to see Nigeria as an indivisible entity where all the tribes would first and foremost see themselves as Nigerians. I also expect this nationalism to drive us to greater heights. What I see today all over Nigeria frightens me, and I cry for my beloved country, Nigeria.
What I’m saying here has nothing to do with politics. I’m speaking as a patriot who loves my country. This Ruga project by the federal government, which they are desperately promoting, can it be sustained? Is it in the common interest of all Nigerians? And if there is cacophony of voices opposing it, should federal government not listen? I believe federal government should listen to those voices of reason opposing the Ruga project.
What is your reaction to the present state of insecurity, and the way out?
The situation is not only unfortunate, but it has also become alarming. But for me I believe that creation or setting up of state police is part of the way out. We should establish state police to have effective control over issues relating to insecurity. The Nigeria Police as it presently stands is overwhelmed. The number of officers and men in Nigeria police is grossly inadequate to effectively police over 200 million Nigerians.
Although some are talking about state police being abused, but there is no system that is perfect. Then we should even start it first. We should not expect that if we start state police today, then we will have perfection immediately. It will take time before we attain perfection.
In the United States of America which is our role model, they have what we call county police or what we call local government police. They also have state police – then they also have the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The other day, the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu was lamenting that he has only 334,000 men and officers in the Nigeria police, and Nigeria’s population has been put at 200 million people. Then how can 334,000 police force man the internal security of this country? Even if you add the personnel of the Civil Defence Corps men, LASTMA and whatever you call them and join them with the Police, it still amounts to nothing.
How can it be that the Inspector-General of Police is based in Abuja and he control all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, then how can he be effective? We are not serious.
All these things happening are issues that require urgency to tackle because we are talking about the internal security of the country. Then when people like us are talking, we are not talking politics, we are talking about national interest. So whatever I’m saying should not be misconstrued. I’m talking as a patriot who loves his nation and dear country.
Sadly on this issue of insecurity, we are losing the battle. Something has to be done very fast to bring the situation under control because Nigerians are no longer secure. We should be able to tell ourselves the home truth. Nobody prays that Nigeria should be turned into Somalia where banditry, kidnappings and other forms of crimes are prevalent but sadly we are now travelling on that road to Somalia. Our prayer is that this should not be so, but those in authority have to do all the needful now.
How would you describe the approaches being adopted by the federal government to tackle the menace of insecurity so far?
The federal government has to buckle up. The security situation across the country is pathetic and alarming. But unfortunately look at the way federal government is taking the issue as if it is not a serious matter. Look at the way the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was trying to downplay the seriousness of the issue when he recently travelled to the United States of America where he met the US Vice President, Mike Pence.
Haba! Prof. Osinbajo, how can you be lying or not saying the truth about the situation of things in your country? Unfortunately for Osinbajo, the world is now a global village. Although Osinbajo tried to hide the truth about Nigeria from Pence, but those people in America and other countries of the world know that bandits, kidnappers and abductors are having a field day in Nigeria, and this is why some of those countries including the United States issued warning alerts to their citizens coming to Nigeria and those resident in Nigeria. My advice to Osinbajo is that he should be careful. The job he is holding on to will end one day, and there will be a day after his job, and when that period comes what will he tell Nigerians? Will he be able to look Nigerians in the face?
What is happening in Nigeria today is not a joking matter. People now live in fear in Nigeria. People go around in Nigeria. The first job of any government is to provide security for lives and properties but on these the present federal government has not lived up to expectations. Security first, then others follow. All over Nigeria, people are crying.
My advice as a Nigerian to President Buhari is that the federal government should organize a national discourse on insecurity. We should have a national discourse on the issue with a view of proffering solution. Democracy is government of the people by the people and for the people. We are not in a military era, this is a civilian government so President Buhari must let Nigerians make an input into how the scourge of insecurity can be tackled. This has nothing to do with politics. It is in our diversities that our strength lies.
On the raging internal crisis rocking Yoruba Council of Elders, some eminent Yoruba have expressed concern about it, what’s your own reaction to the crisis?
I’m very disturbed. I’m not happy at all about what is happening in YCE. What those elders are doing amounts to washing their dirty linens in the public. I’m going to beg all the parties involved. I will appeal to both the Secretary-General, Kunle Olajide, and the YCE President, Colonel Ade Agbede to sheath their swords. I will speak to both of them personally.
YCE has always been one united family, and that’s the way it should remain. The founding fathers of YCE like late Justice Adewale Thompson and Baba Archdeacon Alayande would not be happy in their graves with the present unfortunate development in YCE.
Disagreement is part of life, but then you only disagree to agree. The moment members of the same family go to the market place to expose one another, then that means the situation is degenerating out of control. It is even a taboo in Yoruba land for elders to fight in the public. These elders should cool down. As the Atona Oodua of the Source, I’m speaking to all parties to give peace a chance. They should be able to resolve their crisis within the YCE fold.
It is just like what is happening in Afenifere. Imagine, the emperor of Bourdillon, Bola Tinubu is leading a faction. This is perfidious and treacherous. How can Tinubu lead Afenifere, and imagine also taking the same group to Aso Rock to meet President Buhari. A divided house is a defeated house. What does some of these Yoruba want history to remember them for? When I saw those that headed to Abuja parading themselves as Afenifere leaders, I shuddered.
On this issue of claims by Kola Abiola that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu lobbied to be made an Administrator, or a Commissioner when General Sani Abacha sacked the ING led by Chief Ernest Shonekan, you came on it to say that Kola’s claims were right, but some supporters of Tinubu have claimed that you said so because you are not on the same political page with Tinubu, how do you respond to that?
I have nothing personal against Tinubu. I don’t hate him. We may not be in the same political party and there is no big deal about that. Nigeria’s constitution guarantees freedom of association. On this issue of Kola’s claims, I’m saying nothing but the truth. Kola Abiola was right. Tinubu begged Abacha to make him an administrator or a state commissioner. I was in the military that time, and I was in Aso Rock with Gen. Abacha and Gen. Oladipo Diya who was then Chief of General Staff to Abacha. I was the Principal Staff Officer I to Gen. Diya. I was then a Commodore in the Nigerian Navy. The equivalent of that rank in the Army is a Brigadier-General.
Unfortunately, many Nigerians don’t know this. Most Nigerians only know Bode George as a politician. Back to what transpired then between Abacha and Tinubu.
Tinubu came to Aso Rock to lobby for these positions but already the military had taken decisions that Abacha’s regime was going to be purely a military regime unlike that of Babangida who appointed civilians as deputy governors to military governors then.
On the day, the Abacha’s government took that decision, it was taken in Lagos at Air Force Mess at Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island. Military officers present were from the rank of Lt.-Colonel and above. When the question was put to the military gathering as to whether civilians should be accommodated or given some roles in the new military government, all the officers present in unison and overwhelmingly rejected the idea. I was part of the military gathering that day.
Tinubu actually came to lobby to be made a commissioner but when he was told about the military decision, he became sad. He wasn’t happy and that was when he went to join NADECO and other pro-democracy activists. If Abacha had given him the positions he lobbied for, Tinubu would have been part of Abacha’s government.
Unfortunately some of these people defending Tinubu and now attacking both myself and Kola Abiola don’t know all these that I’m revealing. I’m saying it again categorically that it was when Tinubu didn’t get appointment from the Abacha’s government that he, out of frustration and anger went to join NADECO.
I challenge Tinubu to a public debate on this. I challenge Tinubu to a public debate on any national television station either here in Nigeria or abroad. I’m even ready to face him on CNN or BBC on this issue. I’m calling out Tinubu, he should take up my challenge. Even if he said we should go to a graveyard to face one another on this issue, I’m ready to face him. For those defending Tinubu, have they seen Tinubu coming out to speak personally or issue a personal statement on Kola Abiola’s claims and my support for Kola Abiola? I’m talking about people like former Lagos State APC chairman, Chief Henry Ajomale, former NUPENG President, Joseph Akinlaja and others who have become Tinubu’s defenders on this issue. If these people don’t know about what transpired during the June 12 crisis, they should keep quiet instead of defending what is not defensible, I say once again, Tinubu should come and face me in a public debate on this issue if he believes I’m not saying the truth. General Diya, and Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola who later became Lagos State Military Governor were some of the witnesses to what I’m saying. If Abacha had agreed with Tinubu, Tinubu would have become Deputy Governor to Oyinlola. Both Oyinlola and Tinubu are brothers. They are both from Osun State. Tinubu is from Iragbiji while Oyinlola is from Okuku. Nigerians should ask Oyinlola if I’m lying. Facts are facts, Tinubu can’t deny that he lobbied Abacha to be made a commissioner or deputy governor to Oyinlola. I’m putting all these together in my memoirs, which will be out very soon.
How would you describe the defection of former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, your former ally in PDP to APC?
Like I said in an earlier interview, Ogunlewe has gone back to where he comes from. He has gone back to his vomit. Nobody is missing him in PDP. I don’t want to waste my saliva talking about him. His defection is like a good riddance to bad rubbish. Talking about him or his defection to APC is a waste of time.
Chief Henry Ajomale in an interview said that with Senator Ogunlewe’s defection, you are the next big fish from PDP that will defect to APC. What is your reaction to that?
Ajomale is daydreaming. I can’t and will never join APC. APC is not a political party. It is a congregation of strange bedfellows. I’m not a political prostitute that jumps from party to another. Since 1999, I have been in PDP and up till now, I’m still in PDP. I can never leave PDP. If Ajomale is waiting for me to join APC, he is not only wasting his time, but he will wait till only God knows when.
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Shortly after news broke that men of the Nigerian Police Force have sealed the Corporate headquarters of Oando Plc on Ozumba Mbadiwe street in Victoria Island, ex presidential aide, Reno Omokri took to Twitter to react.
According to the reports, the police sealed off the building following the directives of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the constitution of an Interim Management Team, headed by Mr. Mutiu Olaniyi Adio Sunmonu
Omokri said Bola Tinubu, a National Leader of the All Progressives Congress(APC) was going through this because he had insulted former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
He urged the former Lagos state governor to go and apologise to the ex-president — As that marked the beginning of his crisis.
What he wrote via Twitter thus:
When you opened that your smelly yellow teeth mouth to openly insult Olusegun Obasanjo, a man old enough to be your father, a man who fought for Nigeria in war and led her in peace, I told you God will reward you. Tinubu, go and apologise to Obasanjo.
See how they are disgracing him anyhow with Oando. When you sold your people so cheaply, how will they respect you? In their eyes, a used sanitary pad has more value than you. When will you learn? Jagaban? By the time they finish with you, you will turn to jagajaga!
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