Apparently a young officer of the Nigerian Army at the time Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was the Nigerian Prime Minister from 1957-1966, it goes without saying that President Muhammadu Buhari must know of Balewa, even if he didn’t know him. Conversely however, if his official birthday of April 17, 1967 is indeed real, Abubakar Malami probably encountered Balewa as a historical piece. For both however, the life of Balewa and his disposition to Western Nigeria, especially during the crisis that seized the region from 1962 to 1966, should be a reference point if both men do not want the fate that befell Nigeria as a result of Balewa’s self-imposed deafness to the turmoil that began like a minor crisis in the West, to take another shuttle back to Nigeria.
Western Nigeria, aftermath the fiasco of the 1963 national census and the 1964 Federal Elections, was literally a bedlam. The census provoked a narrative of divisionism as results claimed that the whole of Southern Nigeria was less than the North. Commentators were riled by what was perceived as fictitious figures “concocted from harem curtains.”
The allegation was that the North hid behind the purdah system of ba siga, gidan aore ne (no entrance, it’s a house of married women) to stuff figures in the headcount under the conspiratorial goggles of Balewa. In the same vein came allegation that foreigners were being imported into Northern Nigeria. Commentators after commentators pilloried the idea of women in purdah not being physically counted by the census inspectors, relying on verbal figures handed them by family heads. They warned that if a doctored figure was imposed on the people, Nigeria was a few meters from Golgotha. As Buhari does today, 56 years after, Balewa’s silence to this tinder that was primed to burn Nigeria was palpably bothersome.
Balewa advertised this silence when the Federal Elections of 1964 became an orgy of killings in the Western Region. Acrimonious and vengeful campaigns, preparatory to the elections, especially in the West, became the order of the day. Deputy Premier, Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunboh Fani-Kayode, Richard Akinjide and Bayo Olowofoyeku formed the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), comprising Akintola’s United Peoples Party (UPP), the rump of fragmented National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) leaders and the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), to form the Nigerian National Alliance (NNA). The rump of the Action Group (AG) that was left also went into an alliance with the NCNC, Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) and United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), to form an alliance it called the United Progressive Ground Alliance (UPGA). At the end of the day, the election was so farcical that it brimmed with violence. UPGA then announced a boycott. In the 1965 regional election, there was It was a repeat of this gangsterism with both Akintola’s NNA and UPGA’s Dauda Soroye Adegbenro laying claim to having won the election. Sworn in for another term, the Akintola government met serious resistance by the populace, including decisions of the people not to pay tax, which forced government to review cocoa price from £110 per ton to £60. This eventually led to the Weti e upheaval.
While on a tour of Benin in June, 1964, still feigning ignorance of the crisis, Balewa was quoted to have said that he could not judge the intensity of lawlessness in the West on account of newspaper report of the brigandage. Balewa, who projected the image of an “unworried” and “unconcerned” Prime Minister with his “ominous silence,” was pummeled by the Western Region media. He still advertised a façade of insulation from the worsening fate of the West and someone who didn’t read newspapers. Worse still, as Balewa departed Nigeria for Accra to attend an OAU meeting in October, 1965, he was quoted to have alleged that the violence in the region was contrived. While at the Ikeja Airport, he was asked by journalists what he was going to do about the fire raging in Western Nigeria. Successfully tucking his bother inside his flowing babanriga, Tafawa Balewa reportedly looked round and cynically declared; “Ikeja is part of the West and I cannot see any fire burning.” That same fire consumed him on January 15, 1966. It was a case of a disease that would kill one which is always pampered and treated with kid gloves. The pillory of Balewa that resulted from this peremptory treatment of the western crisis was accentuated by his perceived shield of his party man and “fast drowning political friend” – a la the Nigerian press – Premier S. L. Akintola and Balewa’s refusal to invoke the Emergency powers as he did in 1962. This led to an editorial comment by the Nigerian Tribune saying that: “Whether Abubakar (Balewa) intervenes or not, (we are) convinced that this is a war the people are bound to win.” This was the situation on the morning of January 15, 1966 when the fire that Balewa ignored successfully gave birth to the first military coup in Nigeria which effectively ended the lives of Balewa, Akintola and others.
This writer went into this long-winding retelling of a long Nigerian history so as to situate Buhari’s Balewa-like ominous personal silence on the fire burning from the flanks of the Western part of Nigeria which is manifesting as a slide in its security affairs. Call it tribal arrogance or needless over-hype, history tells us that the Western Region is always where the Nigerian crisis snowballs from. Apart from the consequential crash of Nigerian first democratic practice of the First Republic, the seed of which was sown in the West, military rule also crumbled in Nigeria on account of the West’s united civil resistance against autocracy, with the martyrdom of its son, MKO Abiola, in 1998. With these, a charge of unnecessary revisionism cannot be sustained against my claim that there is another ominous fire that is burning in the country from the Western flank, as well as my projection that any Nigerian leader with a heady or natural laid-back disposition that manifests as resistance to peace in the West can be said to be peering at the grave of Balewa.
If you collate the anger of the people of Western Nigeria today against the Buhari government’s attempt to stop the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) called Operation Amotekun and their pleasantly strange unity of purpose on Amotekun, you would arrive at a juncture that makes the current situation a throwback to Nigeria’s Western region’s palpable animosity and brimming angst against the government of Balewa. These are the offshoot of a press release issued by the office of Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, offering legalistic arguments against the security outfit. In the release, Malami also made a Balewa-like statement, to wit that Southwest could not inform him of Amotekun from the pages of newspapers. Such arrogance!
If Buhari’s DSS would give him truthful report of current situation in the west today, he would find out that, for the first time in a very long while, Southwest Nigeria is throwing away her constant variables of politics and religion to damn the Federal Government on its apparently self-centered stand on Amotekun. It is worsened by Buhari’s baffling taciturnity to the crisis.
While Balewa at least showed his patent disregard for the escalating violence, Buhari’s embarrassing absence of a personal opinion on the matter, leading to the projection of his government’s voice by surrogates like Malami make the belief that Nigerians are being ruled by unelected triumvirates to gain notoriety.
Malami’s press release has been subjected to a forensic post-mortem by very knowledgeable Nigerians which makes a repeat of the damning verdict on him irrelevant here. The greatest way to put a lie to Malami’s legalistic argument is to scan it for abidance by the principle of natural justice. This resultant query will emanate from the scan: Is man made for law or laws are made for man?
When South-westerners were being killed, kidnapped and ransomed like pawned necklace by rampaging Fulani herdsmen from the North or wherever, with a Federal Government that was either too inept to counter them or too complicit in the plot to lift a finger, should the letter of the law or its spirit rescue the people from the bind that the Malamis conscripted them?
The frenetic pace with which Northern Nigeria demanded the surrender of Southwest’s desire to secure herself, against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s inability or incapability to ensure peace in Nigeria as a whole, is not only suspicious but smacks of an ulterior motive. Only a few days ago, Miyetti Allah, the umbrella body of a group said to be one of the most deadly terrorist groups in the world and whose reckless public utterances are festering by the day, audaciously asked Southwest to drop the idea of Amotekun if it wants the presidency in 2023. It was also reported to have asked that governors behind Amotekun should be arrested. What arrant nonsense and magisterial belief in entitlement to power!
All these seem to confirm earlier tissues of rumour that the banditry of the Fulani felons, the attempt by the Buhari government to get settlements for them in all parts of Nigeria, the defence of herdsmen’s bloodletting by no less a person than Buhari himself with all manner of ill-logics at his disposal, as well as by top officers of his government, the RUGA plot and other shenanigans by government that were largely targeted at getting the people’s tormentors-in-chief soft landing in all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, are all parts of a larger plot to Fulanize the rest of Nigeria. If you lay the premises like this: Fulnai herdsmen are tormenting Southwest Nigeria; Buhari and his government are defending Fulani herdsmen; Southwest Nigeria plans security outfit to combat Fulani herdsmen and other criminals; Buhari government wants to stop Southwest Nigeria, that conclusion will naturally flow from the premises. Amotekun and the resistance of its coming to life are a palpable indication that the satanic plot to inflict Fulani herdsmen on Southern Nigeria was real after all.
The coincidence of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Nigerian Civil War with this current governmental bigotry must have made the world realize that the about one million Nigerians killed in the war may have been martyred needlessly. This is because the Nigerian Hausa-Fulani leaders have not purged themselves of the rank, narrow-minded and selfish leadership that rankled Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu and which was the major impetus for the civil war. Yakubu Gowon was recently quoted to have said that he didn’t regret his actions in the war, which included the killings of multiple of thousands Igbo and thousands of soldiers on both sides. Except he is fascinated with untruth, Gowon should know that it is very glaring from the experiences of other ethnic groups in Nigeria under this government that going through the 30-month war only to have a Nigerian leadership consumed by this government’s kind of thinking makes the death of our heroes past a vainglorious exercise. It is obvious that resistance to Amotekun is fired by a narrow-minded protection of the President’s ethnicity while other ethnicities are left naked and at the mercy of violent murderers.
Just like Balewa, Buhari has turned a deaf ear to solicitations not to set Nigeria alight by this ominous silence on Amotekun. He is egged on to a destructive stiff-neckedness by his ostensible obsession with the defence of his Fulani kin. I cite a prophetic Nigerian Tribune editorial of November 18, 1965 where the newspaper had written, inter alia: “Whether Abubakar (Balewa) intervenes or not, (we are) convinced that this is a war the people are bound to win…with all (his) cunning of a fox and all the trickery of a monkey…”
Buhari should learn from Balewa’s fall and not take the silly silence of self-styled Yoruba leaders who Yakubu Danjuma called Fifth columnists, as approximating a bendable will of the Southwest people. Southwest Nigeria has always been the graveyards of the Balewas and their recalcitrant offspring in federal office.
Why Is Ajimobi’s Mausoleum A Subject Hypocritical Outrage? | By Maroof Asudemade
Nigerians derive a kind of unexplainable pleasure in brazen hypocrisy. The latest in their display of mischiefs coated in feigned outrage is about the grand Mausoleum constructed by the family of the deceased former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
This writer must confess that he held initially that the resting place was vainly flamboyant when the video of the Mausoleum was sent to him. But after making some enquiries as to the intent and purpose of the tomb, he’s convinced that there was nothing vain about it and that it’s the best way the Ajimobi family thinks it fit to honour and keep memories of their illustrious patriarch.
Mausoleum is a phenomenon that has been embraced in all continents of the world. It was invented by Phythius and named after King Mausolus, a Persian satrap of Caria in Harlicarnassus near the modern Turkey, whose grieving widow had the Mausoleum done to immortalise him. The large Mausoleum housing the remains of King Mausolus was reputed to be one of the Seven Wonders of the world! Since its invention, mausolea have been regular features of burial and internment arrangements, cutting across continents and religions, especially among royal, political, military and economic leaders around the world.
Mausolea are monuments. Monuments represent the histories and the heritages of peoples of the world. Without monuments, histories and heritages are lost to generations who need them to develop a sense of history and to recognise past glories in which they must exude pride. But when a people choose to sneer at a monument because of flimsy consideration of vanity, then, it’s no curse that such people already have courted extinction.
The ‘vanity’ that mausolea are tagged to be began and spread from ‘saner’ climes after which the insanity of adopting them in Nigeria afflicted us. Almost all known deceased leaders in politics, economy, royalty and military and professional endeavours had mausolea constructed over their remains in their sprawling premises. Mausolea came into the consciousness of Nigerians when the ever sagely Obafemi Awolowo died in 1987 and a mausoleum was constructed over his embalmed remains which visitors and tourists continued to troop to see even after many years before his corpses was decaying and he had to be buried appropriately. Since then, mausolea are being constructed by families of deceased eminent Nigerians as an indication of how immensely they cherish the lives and the memories of their departed loved ones.
When Mike Adenuga lost his mother, he spent several millions of naira to construct a mausoleum to house his mother’s remain. In Nigeria today, deceased eminent Nigerians who had mausolea built over their remains included Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi, Sani Abacha in Kano, Olusola Saraki in Ilorin, Oba Okunade Sijuwade in Ile-Ife, Tayo Aderinokun in Lagos and a host of others. Even Dino Melaye built a world class Mausoleum for his mother’s remains! We can all see how vanity drives our eminent men and women to have mausolea that hold no pleasure to them built on them! Don’t Yoruba elders say ‘he who isn’t entitled to a bonus calls it unlawful’? Only a poverty of acute proportion will make one attach vanity to every luxury in life.
If all these eminent men and women mentioned above embraced vanity for having mausolea built on their remains, let me regale you with a burial story of a sincerely altruistic and the only truly radical and activist lawyer Nigeria has ever produced, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi. No one can associate an atom of corruption to the late fiery lawyer! He lived a good life despite that he was an excessively incorruptible man. Yet, he planned his burial immediately he was told of his terminal lung cancer. He instructed that he wanted to be buried in gold casket! And, yes, Gani Fawehinmi was buried in gleaming gold casket! So, Gani too was vain! If Gani did not elevate vanity while alive, why would he elevate vanity in death?
No one is justified at all to wail about the vanity of life to the families of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. What could be more vain than having to lose a man larger than his existence, an illustrious colossus for that matter? If losing Ajimobi to the inevitable death does not define life as vanity, one wonders what else will? Senator Ajimobi lived a good life, worthy of emulation in all ramifications. Yoruba elders say, ‘a dowry paid on a bride depends on how cherished the bribe is’. Therefore, it’s also apt to conclude that ‘Ajimobi was befittingly buried based on how so much he was cherished, loved and adored by his families’.
Is the word bankrolling derogatory? | By Onike Rahaman
Given the harsh reactions and ill-mannered responses of Femi Fani Kayode to the question asked by The Daily Trust Correspondent during the interactive session held with the journalists in the Cross River State yesterday, the action of FFK which has been largely condemned, considered as social misconduct and irrational forced me to carry out further search of the extensive meanings of the word ‘bankroll’ .
Up till now, I have not got any hints, tips or information on the derogatory meaning of the word bankroll to have prompted FFK outbursts of anger.Even my dictionary of insulting words didn’t include such entry.
Chief Femi Fani Kayode in the past few days had been touring some states meeting the governors in those states.
He was in Calabar the capital of Cross Rivers state when he was asked by Eyo Charles the Daily Trust Correspondent in the state that who is bankrolling his tour.
Fani Kayode became livid with anger and said, ” What type of stupid question is that?
Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything?
Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher… Don’t insult me here… I could see from your face before you got here how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you are talking to?”
While some people have blamed the reporter for asking a denigrating question, others insist Fani Kayode displayed pride as it is the duty of journalists to promote accountability. Who do we blame?
A. Eyo Charles the reporter.
B. Chief Femi Fani Kayode.
Semantics of the word that ignited the anger of Femi Fani Kayode:
1.Cambridge English Dictionary: verb. informal.
‘To support a person or activity financially’
‘To bankroll a person, organization, or project means to provide the financial resources that they need’.
[mainly US, informal]
The company has bankrolled a couple of local movies.
3. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:
bankroll:Informal-to provide the money that someone needs for a business,a plan etc.
4. Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
bankrolled; bankrolling; bankrolls
Definition of bankroll (Entry 2 of 2)
: to supply money for (a business, project, or person.
5.Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners:
bankroll:to provide the money for something.
What then could have infuriated the former Minister and Lawyer with the question asked by the timid journalist for him to have acted oddly and reacted annoyingly in a way that has exposed him to public ridicule?
The whole scenario is a pointer to the fact that the man lacks emotional intelligence, maturity, decency and capacity to handle stressful situations.
Need for discipline in PMB’s cabinet to fight real corruption | By Abba Dukawa
With three cardinal programs of PMB’s campaigned promises, i. e Insecurity, Corruption and Economy, Nigerians expected effective and rebut fighting of Insecurity, Corruption and improved Economy in the country. It will be recalled that following the intense presidential campaign and the victory in the March 28 presidential poll in 2015 election. Let me start with corruption war. For long PMB had been pontificating about his desired to fight Corruption made Nigerians believed that he is capable to beat the previous administrations ‘efforts in anti-corruption war in the country and improved security and economy of the country.
To the extent that even the war waged by the administration against corruption proved to be toughest and it’s fighting back each passing day because there are several alleged corruptions within the administration.
The most disturbing point of war against corruption is becoming a subject of public scorn. There are several examples I can cite as proof of evidence but I will limit myself to a few. Nigerians may recalled less than two years of PMB’s administration , face its first litmus test in fighting corruption when a court fined MTN to pay billions of dollars to the government.
The most shocking of the administration error was the given approval of $25 billion contract awarded by NNPC without the input of the acting president at the time of the said approval PMB was lying in a sick bed in faraway London. This cast’s serious doubt in the mind of Nigerians.
In spite of highly celebrated profiled corrupt cases like ex petroleum minister, Diezeini Allison, Defencegate and PDP campaign funds, five years into the administration, there were no convictions of the alleged looters in this highly profiled corruption cases. The most worrying development is that the anti-graft war, which used to be his major feat, is now all over the place. Magu, the anti-graft Czar, has himself been accused of various infractions — some of them contained in reports submitted to PMB.
Did PMB heard Prof Pondei, NDDC acting MD, when he told a senate panel that he spent N1.5 billion as COVID-19 relief on the staff? Did you heard him brazenly told the committee that “we took care of ourselves”, he is still in office. That any of your appointees could make such a reckless statement on record shows how low they rate your anti-graft war.
There is extraordinary chaos going on between President’s power-drunk ministers and chief executive officers of the respective departments and agencies under their watch.
Did PMB knows that as a result of these infighting among the administration’s appointees are becoming a subject of public ridicule. Minister of labour who suspended the management of NSITF said he had PMB’s approval. Former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission vs. Minster of Niger Delta, Dr Isa Ali Pantami Vs Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Minister of Power Vs MD of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Minster of power Vs MD of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA)
Another episode of indiscipline was when police officers were deployed to the house of Mrs Joi Nunieh, former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to intimidate her on a day she was supposed to testify about the massive corruption in the agency. Latest episode of indiscipline was when the minister of labour, Dr Chris Ngige Vs James Falaki on the screen of a national TV when he called him Mushin boy and that he is VI Guy.
It is seem the government is indisposed to instill discipline within the ranks of the administration. Many Nigerians are asking whether President Buhari is the man of dependability Nigerians saw in him some years back. This is not the same person Nigerians ostensible brought into office in 2015, Buhari’s fear factor has gone which the corrupt people and other had on him disappeared, the fright notion of If Buhari catches you, one would bear the consequence also gone and no longer scares anybody, as we all can see even there is apparent lack of coordination and infighting among different agencies of government as well as key functionaries serving in the administration came to the front in the wake of the confirmation of the suspended EFCC chairman DSS, wrote to the senate to counter your choice.
If indeed those allegations are true, it should be a major indictment on Mr President, that right under his nose, all these things were happening and you did not act swiftly but the way the whole thing has been handled is damaging to the anti-graft war, and infighting among the appointees are hurtful to the administration integrity. Nigerians never expected negative things to happen under PMB’s stewardship and voters never thought he would head a government bedeviled with boggling financial recklessness of public funds, chaos, in fighting among the administration appointees and endless things which are discrediting his administration’s goodwill and the nation at large.
Dukawa can be reached at[email protected]
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