In a historical allusion to the words of the late sage; Chief Obafemi Awolowo when his party UPN lost in the 1983 General Election as a result of a grand rigging by the ruling party NPN , he said: “I will not go to any Election Tribunal this time; I leave all judgments to God. For those who conspired to stop the progressives in this country from access to power at the centre, shall all die in their quest for power or trapped in the wheel of power if any eventually gets it”.
This curse borne out of latent anger burning in the heart of a man adjudged as the best president that Nigeria never had was effective in circumstances around the lives of the three conspirators against his destiny. It is no longer news that after the coup of January 1966 led by some overzealous young army officers, the Nigerian military elites made bold incursion into politics. They came in their messianic misadventure, saw and conquered the country for as long as they wanted.
Two times, they have relinquished power to civilians but on their own terms. The second time was however, fought for by collective forces of progressive elements and the labour activists on ground. Each time in their reluctant hand over, they set the stage for control and manipulation from behind the scene.
It is in this organized power game that UPN was preferred by the military Juntas in the early preparation for the Second Republic Transition to democracy. They gave financial support to their preferred party and presidential candidate. In a dramatic turn of event when late Moshood Abiola failed to chinch the presidential ticket of NPN, the army top brass made a 360-degree turn and ditched UPN and its presidential flag bearer.
They spontaneously pitched their tent with NPN and its presidential hopeful. After the first term and some months into the second, the army perhaps, its disgruntled officers sacked the NPN government on numerous allegations. The military establishment, with its long history of complex power base in Nigeria since the first coup has tested power and became intoxicated like the proverbial crocodile, it started eating its own eggs and the flesh of civilians was no longer safe.
Another clique in the army toppled those who sacked the civilian government and the game started again. According to Punch Newspaper of January 4th 2015, page 40; “as time passed, the country‘s military rulers and the military as an institution by and large lost their sense of direction.
The greed of the juntas dragged the nation further and further away from the project of nationhood. The result is that, by the end of almost thirty years of military rule; Nigeria was far more fragmented than it was in January 1966 when the military first seized power”.
Ironically, the same Punch Newspaper in its July 9th 2017 edition has on its Polity page the revelation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo about how the late dictator General Sani Abacha wanted himself, the late Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua and the June 12 Hero, the late Moshood Abiola dead in prison.
This historical account points to the significance of the late sage Papa Awo’s curse referred above in this castigation. It also brings to the fore the relevance of late Bola Ige’s proverb that; “he who rides on the back of a hungry tiger will eventually end up in its belly”.
Revelations like this are psychological therapy to cleansed one’s conscience for what one was responsible for by commission or omission.
We are lucky and happy to add it to our body of history as a people who had collectively endure and overstretched under the Jack Boot for too long. We must always learn from history as a repository of knowledge and this why history as a subject is sacrosanct in our schools.
- Comrade Alex Ameh Ogbu is an Abuja based Media Practitioner and a prolific writer that writes mostly from Akatekwe Kingdom. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org
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