Buhari Inaugurates Rice Factory In Calabar, Says FG Making ‘Giant Agricultural Strides’

President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government is committed to boosting Nigeria’s economy through Agricultural revolution and is already recording progress.

The President made this statement on Tuesday while commissioning the automated rice seed and seedling factory in Cross Rivers State capital, Calabar.

He applauded the Cross Rivers state Governor, Ben Ayade, over his contribution to Federal Government’s Agricultural revolution.

“When we assumed the reins of leadership of our dear country, this administration launched a zero oil economic roadmap as a way of making our country less dependent on oil while encouraging investment in other sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture.

“Indeed this factory speaks loudly about the giant strides we are making in agriculture as a country. This monumental project for which we are gathered here today is a marvel to behold.”

 

The automated seed and seedling factory is believed to be the first in Africa and the President is confident that the seedlings from the factory will improve rice production and sufficiency nationwide.

“The factory which is said to be the first in Africa is an automated plant with a capacity to produce high yielding vitaminised and disease resisting rice seedling.

“What we expect is that the seedlings from this factory will improve rice yield from current nation three to four tonnes to about nine to 10 tonnes per hectare to ensure rice sufficiency in the country,” he said.

President Buhari said further Governor Ayade is establishing various people-oriented projects because he has keyed into the Federal Government’s revolutionary vision.

“I must say that visiting the state (Cross Rivers) for the second time within three years in connection with people oriented and the flagship project of Governor Ayade is very welcomed and very satisfying to me.”

Buhari meets Urhobo Nation Over Military Land

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday has pledged to look into the reported cases of illegal sale of land donated to the Nigeria Army by communities across the country.

President Buhari stated that the alleged sale of the donated land meant for the military authorities across the country would not be tolerated, saying that anyone caught or implicated in the deal would be prosecuted accordingly.

“I have taken note of the representation that the land the community gave to the military is being sold. You are not the first set of people to make this kind of representation, other parts of the country made similar representation.

“So, by this representation, I’m constrained to call on the relevant ministries to check the Ministries of Defence and Internal Affairs to find out those responsible for abusing the generosity you extended to the military will be brought to book.

“I assure you of that.”

The President made the pledge when he received traditional rulers and opinion leaders drawn from the Urhobo Progress Union who paid him a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

On calls for restructuring the country, the President frowned at the way and manner some individuals or groups were carrying on with such calls, saying many were with parochial rather than national interest.

According to him, some views being expressed for restructuring the country are uncoordinated adding that such clamours may not also be backed constitutionally.

“You mentioned something which is being topical these days, the question of restructuring Nigeria, and every person or every group asking for restructuring they have got their own agenda.

“I hope it can be accommodated by the constitution we are currently operating,’’ he said.

On the demand for boundary adjustment between Delta and Edo states as well as the request for a ministerial slot for the Urhobo, the President described their requests as a constitutional matter.

He said: “If you look at the result of the election that brought this administration in, you will see that this administration has a lot of restraint in the sense that the constitution made a provision that there would be a representation in the executive council of each state.

“It is not possible to make each tribal group ( a minister) because I suspect they are around 250.

“Two hundred and fifty “ ministers will be too cumbersome to handle, so it is limited to the constitution. So the only thing we can do is to pick one person per state and that is one thing we have to accept.’’

President Buhari thanked the Urhobo nation for ensuring peaceful coexistence between the law enforcement agencies and the people in the oil-producing areas.

He called on leaders in the Niger Delta to continue to cooperate and support the federal government in its efforts to transform the nation to a greater height.

“I appeal to you to keep restraining your subjects to please think more of being Nigerians than any particular part of Nigeria.

“This is necessary so that the resources that God blessed us with can be fully exploited, utilized for the benefits of the whole country.

“Unfortunately for me, I have gone through all the happenings in the country including the civil war, like you have mentioned I was petroleum minister for three or four years and so I have some experience and have a stake in the country,’’ he added.

President Buhari also urged the leaders to talk to militants to please give peace a chance and stop sabotaging installations because like I said if we pollute the waters it will affect more of your people including those who depend on fishing.

“You don’t need money from Central Bank what you need is secured coastlines that will enable the people earn a decent living through fishing.’’

In his remarks, President, Urhobo Peoples Union, Chief Olorogun Tiaga, lauded the efforts of the Buhari administration in the fight against corruption, and for ensuring peace in all parts of the country.

He said: “We acknowledge the giant strides of the Buhari administration in a space of three years across almost every sector of our national life.

“There has been key improvement in our way of doing things, due to the bold approach of our President to governance; from the fight against corruption, to infrastructural development, to the massive improvement in agriculture, investment in human capital development and the creation of social safety nets for the vulnerable among us.’’

Killings: President Buhari To Visit Jos On Tuesday

President Muhammadu Buhari is expected in Jos Tuesday to assess the level of security following the recent killings in parts of Plateau State.

A Presidency source said the president is expected in Jos by 12 noon.

His coming follows a town hall meeting of critical stakeholders with Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo in Jos Monday night. It is however not known what Osinbajo discussed with Buhari that will necessitate the president’s impromptu visit.

Buhari was in Jos on March 8, 2018 to commission some projects, when several killings were recorded in Bassa and Bokkos Local Government Areas of the state during the visit.

Buhari’s coming this time around is expected to provide answers to critical questions on his care for the Christian minority tribes in the Northern region and his inability to call his kinsmen, the Fulani herdsmen, to order.

During the visit, he is expected to direct the installation of a special military operation base in Mahanga, Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, one of the suspected strongholds of the Fulani militia in the state.

Buhari might also be faced with the question of the legality of violent retaliation over the killing of cows as recently claimed by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, as against following judicial procedure in the face of crime.

He might also be challenged on the possession of illegal arms by the Fulani herdsmen as well as the recently reported excesses by the military against the native communities in the state.

If Buhari’s coming does not result in a permanent end to the attacks, it might be hard to stop the already popular insinuations that he was on a mission to deliver Nigeria especially the Middle Belt region to Islamic jihadists.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Dorowa Babuje in Mangu Local Government Area, where the herdsmen attacked on Monday afternoon while the vice-president was on his visit in Jos has risen to 15 on Tuesday morning.

Residents said more bodies of victims were recovered from the bush in the early hours of Tuesday.

In the same vein, Plateau women are planning a peaceful demonstration to express displeasure over the gruesome killings.

Politicians Taking Advantage Of Plateau Killings, Says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja lamented that human lives have increasingly become cheap in Nigeria, saying desperate politicians are pushing the country towards instability and chaos because they think it will give them an advantage in the forthcoming 2019 elections.

In a statement, Malam Garba Shehu, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said Buhari made the statement while reacting to recent clashes in Plateau State which left scores dead.

The president was quoted thus: “We know that a number of geographical and economic factors are contributing to the longstanding herdsmen/farmers clashes. But we also know that politicians are taking advantage of the situation. This is incredibly unfortunate.

“Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/farmer clashes must always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands.”

The statement said information available to the Presidency showed that about 100 cattle had been rustled by a community in Plateau State, leading to the killings of some herdsmen.

It said the state governor, Simon Lalong, had invited the aggrieved groups and pleaded against further action while the law enforcement agents was looking into the matter but less than 24 hours later, violence broke out.

The statement added: “Some local thugs then took advantage of the situation, turning it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties.

“There were reports of vehicles being stopped along the roads in the state, with people being dragged out of their cars and attacked if they stated that they supported certain politicians or political party.

“On his way back to Jos after attending the All Progressives Congress (APC) Convention in Abuja, the state governor had to dismantle a number of illegal road blocks set up by these thugs. There were also a number of dead bodies thugs had killed, lying along the road.”

Buhari Dissolves NABTEB Governing Board

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the dissolution of the Governing Board of National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB).

The decision was contained in a three paragraph statement issued by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, on Monday in Abuja.

The decision is with immediate effect.

The President also rescinded the suspension of NABTEB Registrar, Prof. Ifeoma Abanihe and four (4) other Directors of the agency.

The statement said their suspension did not conform to due process especially in the case of the registrar.

According to the statement, the Governing Board went beyond its powers and in contravention of Section 5 and Section 6 of NABTEB Act.

Buhari therefore directed Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu to take immediate measures to reposition and refocus the agency for greater efficiency.

The statement reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the dissolution of the Governing Board of National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) with immediate effect. Mr. President has also directed the Honourabe Minister of Education to take immediate measures to reposition and refocus NABTEB for greater efficiency and to render its performance more responsive to the expectations of the present administration.

“The purported suspension of the Registrar, Prof. Ifeoma Abanihe and four (4) other Directors of NABTEB has been nullified as it did not conform with due process especially in the case of the Registrar, because the Board went beyond its powers and in contravention of Section 5 and Section 6 of NABTEB Act.”

Buhari Battles Saraki In Offa Pool Of Blood By Tunde Odesola

(Published In THE PUNCH Newspapers of Monday 25th June, 2018)

 

A thin white smoke swirled through the muzzle of the gun and the pregnant woman crashed face down, curling up like a beheaded giant millipede. One of the masked killers rushed into the banking hall and commotion preceded the ensuing graveyard silence as spines shivered, teeth gnashed, hearts skipped, sweat broke out on terrified faces tucked in trashcans and drawers…, the maniacal robber pulled the trigger and the automatic rifle began to sing another round of staccato dirge in Offa. Welcome to Kwara State, the land of blood.

 

Offa is an Ibolo-speaking Yoruba town of Kwara State steeped in the art of wrestling. If Ede had the great archer, Timi Agbale Olofa Ina, as its progenitor, Offa’s illustrious cognomen also affirms the proud archery exploits of its forefather, Olalomi Olofa gan-gan. It equally highlights the combative nature of its people in these words, ‘Ijakadi loro Offa,’ meaning – ‘wrestling is Offa’s tradition’. Were Olalomi a white man, his surname would have been Archer. Were Offa an English town, Arrow would’ve been its name. Offa is a Yoruba word for archery. That was the Ofa of 1000 AD.

Today’s Offa is an adulteration, its spelling, O-f-f-a, is corrupt and very wrong. Linguistically, the existence of two consonants in succession i.e ‘ff’ or ‘tt’ or ‘dd’ or ‘rr’ in some words is an aberration to Yoruba morphology. Thus, Offa, Ebute Metta, Iddo, garri, etc, are modern-day wrong influences in the Yoruba Language. The correct and orthographic spelling of the land of peacocks in Kwara State is ‘Ofa’ and not Offa.

Similarly, the railway terminus on sand-filled Lagos Island is at ‘Ido’ and not Iddo. Ebute Meta is the place of three shores linking mainland Lagos to the three main islands of Victoria, Ikoyi and Lagos – hence the name Ebute Meta, and not Ebute Metta. Yoruba’s staple food, gari, doesn’t need another letter ‘r’ on its journey to the stomach. Ewedu, gbegiri, eja, bokoto, ponmo, panla and saki would make good enough company. So, it’s not only rain and electricity that cannot exist simultaneously in Nigeria, double consonants such as ‘ff’, ‘tt’, ‘dd’ and ‘rr’ cannot exist simultaneously in the Yoruba Language, too.

Corruption, violence and impunity shouldn’t coexist in Nigerian politics. The unexampled Ofa bank robbery, which witnessed the killing of over 40 innocent Nigerians in broad daylight, was a spinoff of years of rudderless, corrupt and insensitive leadership in the country. I’ve read a thousand and one stories and reactions on the early morning madness in Ofa and grief enveloped my heart over the soullessness of our politics. In a country with a soul, a national mourning would have followed.

 

On October 1, last year, a 64-year-old American, Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of a hotel in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, killing 59 people in a crowd attending a country music festival. There was an instant national mourning and the attention of America shifted to the scene for several weeks to come. A blow-by-blow account of how Paddock hatched his killing was televised live daily. The police gave an accurate figure of the dead and the injured 515 persons in the most fatal mass killing in the history of the US. According to media reports, one of the Ofa suspects confessed that he killed over 20 victims. Another suspect said he killed nine, while a number of others confessed to killing over 15 people. How all these add up to 30 in the arithmetic of the police is inexplicable. While, the spurting blood of innocent lives meandered from Ofa to Abuja crying for justice, our leaders dip their paintbrushes in the blood, writing “Vote for me in 2019!”

Were Nigeria a sane country, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, wouldn’t have twice failed to parade Kayode, the arrested son of Chief Ayo Opadokun, an Afenifere chieftain, along with other suspects. Also, Idris wouldn’t have failed to parade the arrested armourer and gang leader, Michael Adikwu, a dismissed policeman, whose confessions had allegedly been embarrassing to the force.

It’s not enough for the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Aminu Saleh, to say that many people died in the robbery because of “intelligence breakdown”; Nigerians reserve the right to know the nature of the intelligence breakdown because effective policing in this age is neither achieved by alienating the public nor by churning out half-truths and falsehood. In a report published by The Punch on April 28, 2018, Saleh, who said the police had no foreknowledge of the attack, contradictorily added, “We had little information on the attack before it happened.” He woefully failed to disclose what the police did with the little information they got.

The shoddy police investigation into the robbery has left many questions unanswered. The questions include what the Ofa police did when it received ‘little’ information that some suspicious people were lodging at the Xontex Hotel along Igosun Road, Ofa, a night before the bloodletting. In a sane clime, police authorities would’ve made public the amount of money collected by the policemen, who stormed the hotel on investigation, the night before the genocide. As if those who died only went to the market and would return shortly, the police commissioner said, “What essentially went wrong is our response capacity. We’re going to correct all those anomalies and get our men to be more responsive.” In an ultimate verdict that exposes government’s utmost irresponsibility, Saleh said, “It’s true that we have a deficit of APCs in the state!”

But it’s by conducting a thorough investigation that the police will be seen as unbiased and not acting a nail-Saraki-at-all-cost plot. The trial shouldn’t be an extension of the power struggle between Buhari and Saraki for the Presidency in 2019.

In a sane country, Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Kwara State Governor, Ahmed Abdulfatah; his Chief of Staff, Abdulwahab Babatunde, would’ve resigned in ignominy for the fact that one of the leaders of the gang, Ayo Akinnibosun, openly established a connection between his group, Liberation Youths Movement in Kwara-South, and them. Akinnibosun, who stated that Saraki, Abdulfatah and Babatunde had no hand in the robbery, however, maintained that his group got two guns from Babatunde. He stressed that they got emboldened to participate in the robbery because some of them were political thugs to Saraki.

Akinnibosun said, “We’ve been working for him (since) when we were in the PDP, it has been long – when he was Governor of Kwara State. Where we can’t win, we scatter the election, the connection between me and the Senate President is that he’s the one that’s arranging everything for us. For example, this car was given to me by His Excellency (Abdulfatah) through the Chief of Staff as a gift from the leader, (Saraki).”

If a five-point resolution of the Saraki-led Senate could hold President Muhammadu Buhari accountable for the actions of his (Buhari’s) appointees, the Senate President, Abdulfatah and Babatunde, by the same token, should be held responsible for the killings of the Ofa robbery if it is proved that the arms or the ammunition they allegedly provided were used in the killing.

It is easy for some people to see the trial of Saraki as political victimisation because it wasn’t their relatives that were killed on Thursday, April 5, 2018. If it would take Saraki’s trial and imprisonment to stop this type of killings, so be it. With the recent jailing of two-term ex-governors and members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Jolly Nyame (Taraba) and Joshua Dariye (Plateau), more members of the APC, including Abdulfatah and Babatunde, should be jailed appropriately if found guilty. Some argue that all notable politicians across the country maintain political thugs, and that Saraki and Abdulfatah shouldn’t be singled out. I ask, were Dariye and Nyame the only thieving ex-governors in Nigeria? Let’s begin from somewhere, please.

“The dead cannot cry out for justice. It’s the duty of the living to do so for them,” says American speculative writer, Lois Bujold. I agree with her, absolutely.

Tunde Odesola is a former Journalist with the PUNCH and writes from the United States. He can be reached on [email protected]

Ethnicity Is An Ugly Monster That Must Be Killed If Nigeria’s Democracy Most Grow- Gani Adams

The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba Land, Gani Adams while speaking at the 25th anniversary of June 12. 1993, Presidential Election organised by the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) in Lagos revealed that if the country will grow, ethnicity must be killed first.

Adams, also OPC National Coordinator, praised President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts towards honouring the martyr of democracy, the late MKO Abiola saying Buhari did the unthinkable.

OPC organised the event in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council.

The anniversary had the theme: “Nigerian Politics and Democratic Process: MKO Abiola and the June 12, 1993, Crisis and Beyond”.

“Where we least expected the truth about June 12 to come from, there is where it came.

“ I salute you all for persevering in the last 25 years.
“Whether the Federal Government’s decision is more political than legal, as argued by some people, for me, it is crystal clear that the journey to make June 12 our Democracy Day started years back.

“I feel relieved to witness this day being recognised as our Democracy Day. Today, we have defeated the evil voices that killed the dream of the late MKO Abiola.

“I will like to express my appreciation to President Buhari for taking the bold initiative of honouring the late Abiola and the late Gani Fewehinmi,’’ he said.

Adams said that posterity would be kind to Buhari for putting Nigeria’s democratic history in the right perspective.

According to him, Abiola, as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba Land, was committed to the cause of the masses and good governance.
He expressed delight that the reward for Abiola‘s struggle had come.

Adams, the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo, said: “The way we clamoured and struggled to have this day as our Democracy Day, we also need to make the needed sacrifices, struggles and make a case for restructuring. We need to stand firm and raise our voices in support of restructuring.”

In his remarks, Sen. Shehu Sani, the Chairman of the occasion, said that Buhari wrote his name in gold by honouring Abiola, but advised that the honour should not be politicised.

“With the annulment of June 12, we (Nigerians) missed an opportunity for unity, progress and prosperity as a nation,” Sani said.

He said that the greatest honour to Abiola would be upholding democracy ideals, good governance and justice, and ensuring end to poverty, killings and political vendetta.

Dr Qasim Akinreti, Chairman of NUJ, Lagos Council, said: “Today we salute President Buhari for his courage to allow justice on June 12 to prevail. Hope has finally come for Nigerians. We welcome this.’’

Akinret noted that many journalists suffered in the June 12 struggle, saying NUJ desired announcement of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election result.

The guest speaker, Associate Prof. Derin Ologbenla of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, said that `monetisation’ of political process negatively affected Nigeria’s democracy.

Ologbenla added that political manipulations through `godfatherism’ adversely affected the democracy.

“We are subject to godfathers and money in our body politics. We have divisive instruments of ethnicity and religion.

“Ethnicity is an ugly monster that must be killed if Nigeria’s democracy most grow and develop. We have not come together to bury this monster,’’ the don said.

Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, Coordinator, Women Arise Initiative, said that the best honour to Abiola would be organisation of free and fair elections as well as end to poverty and injustice.

Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, a former Governor of Abia, said that he sent a bill to the state House of Assembly in 2000 to declare June 12 a public holiday because of his belief in it.
Buhari on June 6 announced that June 12 would replace May 29 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

The president also announced posthumous award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) to Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential Election.

He also announced award of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger to Abiola’s running mate Babagana Kingibe, and the late social critic and human rights campaigner, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.

The beneficiaries received the awards on Tuesday in Abuja.

Buhari Pictured Assisting Ganiat Fawehinmi Wear Her Shoes

President Muhammadu Buhari who came under a lot of criticism after he had joked about his wife belonging to the other room has been seen from a totally different  light after he was pictured assisting Ganiat, the wife of late lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi who was honoured today with the GCON award in recognition of his contributions to the June 12 struggle.

This picture has quickly circulated on social media, with many users praising the President for his act of kindness. This should be our picture of the Week.

 

MKO Abiola: Between OBJ And PMB By Tunde Badru

Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola is a man who surmounted my struggles; right from birth. MKO lived up to Ola Rotimi’s famous quote of life struggles beginning at birth as the name Kashimawo means “let’s keep observing”; a name given to a child who is expected to be a still-birth (fetal death, natal death or death between birth to about 28 weeks after delivery), after the mother must encountered a few previous still-births.

MKO was born to Salahudeen and Suliyat Abiola, who are victims of real poverty; absolute not relative. Right from childhood, he had to fetch wood to afford education. The tale of MKO’s first encounter with fried eggs has been told countless times to described the level of poverty MKO passed through. When MKO got to his girlfriend, Simbiat Shoaga’s house, he was offered a meal and he asked what the meal is. MKO was told that it is fried eggs. He infamously asked, “Do they fry eggs”?

Philantropy

Within a relatively short time after then, MKO grew to become the richest man in Africa, surmounting another challenge, and fulfilling the prophecy of a good woman being behind every successful man. Of course, Africa has a long history of having great men who have amassed greater wealth than what MKO could garner; after all, Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali is reputed to be the wealthiest man to grace the surface of the earth. What Africa never had is a man with the generosity of MKO’s heart and hands. There was just no one near that.

MKO financed everything and everyone and left a golden mark on whatever he touched. Before the days of Globacom, MKO was the biggest financier of sports in Africa and Nigeria which famously earned him the moniker “Pillar of Sports in Africa”. MKO had a large and encompassing scholarship scheme and was a contributor to the erection of many mosques and churches in Nigeria. There is another tale about MKO, the like of which I have never heard again. One day, MKO was going on a trip and on his way he observed a gathering of Muslims. He stopped to observe what was going on and he was told that a fund-raising is being held for the construction of a mosque. The total fund needed was N5million. MKO donated N4.8million and went on his way. Those soliciting for funds did not know whether to continue with the programme or just put an immediate end to it.

As the Baba Adini of Nigeria, MKO had a Quranic Printing Press and hardly would anyone have to pay to get a Quran in Nigeria as all MKO’s Quran are printed and distributed freelyen masse. MKO facilitated the translation of the Quran into Yoruba language. He was a pioneer for Islamic philanthropy in Nigeria.

Politics

MKO’s public achievements and track record of altruism and volunteerism made him an easy choice for the number one position in the country during the June 12 elections 25 year ago. Even though SDP’s MKO won in all 5 SW states; that was the only election ever held in Nigeria where all manners of Nigerians discarded all manners of ethnic and religious garbs to vote for a candidate on the sole basis of merit, despite never previously holding a political office. I say this because as young as I was then, I knew that the NRC was also an equal rival in the SW then. This is evident in the loss of Lagos State to Michael Otedola. Because MKO was an easy choice to make, the election was an easy one to conduct and adjudged till this day as the only free and fair election ever held in this country. I could vividly remember some of the political activities that happened then.

Sadly, the evil genius living up to reputation will annul that election without uttering a valid reason till this day.

MKO had 2 choices, to stand up for the people and his mandate and suffer whatever consequence it would attract or to resign to fate and accept a lucrative contract from the demonic Abacha government. After one year of Abacha’s reign, MKO declared the inauguration of a parallel government and decided to fight for his mandate. His deputy, Babagana Kingibe would rather accept to become a minister under MKO’s tormentor. My heart bled hearing the same Kingibe speak on a day as glorious as this earlier today before being conferred with one of the highest honours in the land.

MKO would then be incarcerated for the next 4 years and lost his wife, his businesses and his freedom in the process in another struggle he surmounted till Abacha’s death on 08 June 1998. But a month later on 07 July 1998, MKO would pay for his tormentor’s death with his own life in a trademark revenge pattern employed by the Northern political class. Needless to remind us that Aguiyi Ironsi’s and many other Igbo people’s lives were cut short by this same class as an aftermath of the 15 January 1966 coup d’etat 6 months later, a coup which Ironsi never participated in.

Without disrespect to the Northern folks, the ability of the Yoruba race to pick itself up and move forward in the best interest of the country while embodying the greatest spirit of pardon is what distinguishes us from the rest of the country; and which makes me chin-up proud as a Yoruba man. What if Abiola had not averted another civil war in 1993? What if the Yoruba had been completely irritated by Abiola’s needless death in 1998 despite the fact that Abacha had died earlier? What if we had reacted to the murder of Ladoke Akintola and Ademulegun during the Jan 1966 coup? The forgiving and progressive spirits of the Yoruba race have kept this country going and when those spirits are finally extinguished, there would be no Nigeria again.

OlusegunObasanjo

When the military finally agree to cede the leadership of the country to civilians, all political actors in the country decided to concede the Presidency to the South-West, as a compensation for MKO’s loss. Of the 3 political parties in the country then, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) largely accepted in the East and South-South presented Obasanjo (OBJ), Alliance for Democracy (AD) which was more favoured in the SW presented Olu Falae while the All People’s Party (chiefly a northern party) was sympathetic to AD’s Falae. OBJ won.

Throughout the 8 years of OBJ’s reign, nothing symbolic could be attributed to have been done by OBJ to honour the person whose name paved the way for his presidency. The height of the insult came when N1,000 notes were introduced in 2005. Everyone’s expectation was dashed when the notes were seen to bear the first 2 indigenous governors of the CBN, Mai-Borno and Isong, rather than the much favoured MKO Abiola. Where in the world would anyone place CBN governors on currency notes, no matter how bereft of heroes their country could be?

There would be fewer OBJections than support to the position that OBJ neglected the development of the SW in favour of the north throughout his 8 years. Self-serving to a fault, the height of his mischief was displayed with his stubborn commitment to a failed unconstitutional third-term bid. In every way possible, he failed the Abiola family, the Yoruba people and all those connected to the June 12 struggle.

Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari was a man who became president not mainly by his own merit by largely by the demerits of the excessively corrupt and impune preceding administration. As a president who enjoyed goodwill larger than any of his predecessors, Buhari was expected to right every wrong of the past administration, especially in the maintenance of fairness among all groups in the region; where the past administration failed. However, the last 3 years have shown the brazen display of the highest level of nepotism by a sitting Nigerian President.

However, since a fortnight ago when the administration clocked 3 years, a different kind of Buhari is emerging. The #NotTooYoungToRunBill was signed and another bill which separates the fund for the executive, the legislative and the judiciary at the state level was signed. The height of it was the recognition of MKO Abiola as the winner of 12 June 1993 election, which signals the beginning of the end of a 25-year old injustice. MKO was also honoured with the highest title in the land and will now be proudly addressed as Late Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola, Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Gani Fawehinmi, a late activist-lawyer and frontier of the June 12 struggle was also honoured with the title of Grand Commander on the Order of the Niger. It is however saddening to see the treacherous Babagana Kingibe giving a speech on this glorious day and being conferred upon with the title of GCON as well.

OBJ vs PMB

OBJ’s exemplar constantly reminds me of the need to right my wrongs in my youthful years, rather than when I am out of vogue. OBJ, since out of office, has always been on the forefront in causes that are of immense benefits to the country. His letters to failing political leaders have been sincere, well timed and have helped raised political consciousness in the country. Recently, he has sponsored the emergence of a third force to help wrestle power from the two major political parties (which he helped raised anyway) which have been holding the country to ransom.

Despite the fact these efforts can be seen as brilliant, they are hardly accepted by the majority because of Obasanjo’s antecedents and disposition when he was in power. He is seen now as trying to be the opposite of what he was then and so he is easily dismissed as being mischievous. Buhari has capitalised on this fault and is righting OBJ’s wrongs one by one starting from the power sector. I associate with OBJ’s third force because I believe that the time is ripe for it. However, it would not be a surprise to see it fail as a result of people’s distrust in OBJ while opting for a man of Buhari’s remarkable personal discipline, despite being a woeful performer as a president.

Watching today’s investiture of award on the late MKO brought me so much emotions and the personal feeling that a wound is being stitched in my heart. And Buhari giving a highly inspiring speech, the like of which he has never made before, nearly made me forget about everything that I felt he did wrong. Listening to Kola and Hafsat Abiola explain what this means to their family and how MKO would have reacted to it had he been alive nearly brought tears to my eyes. If by chance, I ever get to vote for Buhari in 2019, it would probably start from this reason.

SHAME ON YOU, OBASANJO.

Tunde Afrika Badru (Dat Iwo-Boi) writes from Iwo in Osun State.

Buhari Officially Confers GCFR Title On MKO Abiola

President Muhammadu Buhari has formally made the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.

The conferment of the honour on the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola comes 25 years after the election, which is recognised as the freest in the country’s history.

It comes almost 20 years after Abiola died in detention after being jailed by military dictator General Sani Abacha for trying to claim his mandate.

President Buhari also apologised to the family of the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, Abiola, for his travails after the election.

The president gave the apology in Abuja on Tuesday after conferring the title, Grand Commander Of the Federal Republic on Abiola.

“On behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation’s apology to the family of late MKO Abiola, who got the highest vote [in the election], and to those that lost their loved ones in the course of the June 12 struggle,” President Buhari said before getting guests to observe a minute’s silence in honour of those who died.

The decision to honour MKO Abiola and to declare June 12 Democracy Day followed years of clamour by the activists, statesmen, groups as well as the family, associates, and friends of the late businessman and politician.

And President Buhari believes it is important for Nigerians to accept the decision “in good faith” and help the nation move forward.

“We cannot rewind the past but we can at least assuage our feelings, recognise that a wrong has been committed and resolve to stand firm now and ease the future for the sanctity of free elections,” he said.

“Nigerians will no longer tolerate such perversion of justice. This retrospective and posthumous recognition is only a symbolic token of redress and recompense for the grievous injury done to the peace and unity of our country.”

 

According to the President by moving past the negatives of the struggle, Nigerians would be able to fully benefit from June 12.

“Our action today is to bury the negative side of June 12 – side of ill-feelings, hate, frustration, and agony. What we are doing today is celebrating the positive side of June 12,” he said.

On June 6, 2018, President Buhari declared June 12 Nigeria’s new Democracy Day and announced that Abiola, and his running mate Babagana Kingibe, as well as human rights activist Gani Fawehinmi, would be honoured along with other heroes of democracy.

Although some have questioned the motive behind the move, the President rejected the claim.

“The decision at this event is not mean to be, and is not, an attempt to open old wounds but to put right a national wrong,” he said.

Nigerians, of their own free will, voted for Chief MKO Abiola, and Babagana Kingibe – the presidential flag bearer and running mate of the Social Democratic Party in the 1993 elections.”

He accused the government of the day of cancelling the elections when it was clear who was going to be the winners.

Although the 1993 general elections received widespread acclaim and have been adjudged as the freest and fairest elections in Nigeria’s history, military Head of State at the time, General Ibrahim Babangida annulled it.

But Chief Abiola who contested under the Social Democratic Party and held a massive lead at the polls before the annulment insisted on his mandate and that the outcome of the election be upheld.

As a result of his fight for justice, military President General Sani Abacha jailed him in 1994 after he declared himself the lawful president of Nigeria.

Despite calls in Nigeria and abroad for his release he was not released from prison and died incarcerated on July 7, 1998.

Buhari Corrected Grave Inujustice With June 12 Declaration – Saka-Layonu

Following the declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day, a leading governorship aspirant under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming election in the State of Osun, Dr Abiodun Saka-Layonu, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari has corrected a grave injustice of over 25 years.

Abiodun Saka-Layonu (SAN) made the revelation on Monday morning during a radio interview in Osogbo, the state capital, stating that President Buhari’s recent honour to the late MKO Abiola and the changing of Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12 also stated that, the 1993 presidential election has shown president Buhari as a true democrat.

The senior lawyer described the conferment of the GCFR honour on the late MKO, GCON on his running mate in that election, Babagana Kingibe, and other key stakeholders in the struggle as the golden chance of rewriting history thrown away by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which ruled the country for sixteen years with three different presidents.

When asked on the basis for the award of Abiola’s running mate who was alledged to have abandoned his principal, Dr Saka-Layonu stated the fact that he ran with the late MKO qualified him for the honour, adding that other controversies surrounding it should be left to posterity to judge.

 

However, he expressed his belief in the country’s judiciary, stating that the state has the prerogative to determine if any law has been broken in the cause of the annulment, adding that the law would surely takes it place.