Omoniyi Salaudeen Nigeria is back again on its familiar terrain: election-induced violence. Like never before, there has been increasing apprehension among the stakeholders about the possible resurgence of violence that had always characterised the previous elections in the country. This is further heightened by the prevailing insecurity in some parts of the country. And lately…
Our discourse on protest as a constitutional right is today concluded. Then, the controversy, was it Ojukwu or Gowon who released Awo from Calabar Prison? Between University of Ife and UNN, Nsukka, which is the first indigenous university in Nigeria?
Protest is a constitutional right
We can protest because God gave us the freedom, liberties and fundamental rights, which are inalienable.
For the records, PMB himself as candidate, Chief Odigie Oyegun, Rotimi Amaechi, Ogbonnaya Onu and other chieftains of APC in December 2014, literally shut down Abuja, protesting against GEJ government. They carried the rally to Aso Villa, Eagle square, National Assembly and Abuja streets. Heavens did not fall. In January, 2012, stalwarts of APC (then ACN), Nigerians from all works of life, musicians, labour, “Occupy Nigeria” group and others shut down Abuja, Kano and Lagos, protesting removal of fuel subsidy. GEJ government was forced to reduce it to N87, and later N86.5 before leaving office. Diesel was N140 per litre. Today, the PMB government has jerked up the price to N145 per litre (actually over N180 in many places). Diesel now sells for between N240 and N300. Naira is between N500 – N520 to the dollar, as against N190 – N200, in GEJ’s time. PHCN is about N4000, from N3000 per month; without light. Congo of garri, N250 from N80; a bag of rice, N24000 from N8000; cement, N2, 300 from N1000; flour from N6000 to N12000; aluminum roofing sheet from N13,000 to N30,000; ordinary red palm oil from N20 to N420; a mudu of beans from N200 to N550 ; and popular spaghetti from N1,800 to N3200 per carton, etc.
Insecurity, cattle herdsmen, heightening corruption, especially in the corridors of power, dilapidated infrastructure; hunger, thirst, anger, melancholy, desperation, kidnapping, Shiites, Agatu, Southern Kaduna, IPOD, MASSOB, NDA, repression, breaches of human rights, rule of law, haplessness, abject penury, hunger, thirst, squalor, fear, hopelessness and helplessness! And you say Nigerians should not mass protest. In fact, the government itself should even lead the mass protest against its own visible failure, gross incompetence, non-performance, cluelessness and directionlessness.
For those who are not versed in the Law, Nigerian Courts have since upheld the people’s right to rally and protest, and also annulled Police’s alleged right to stop such rallies or issue Police permit. This is a government that climbed to power on the crest of public protest, rallies, acerbic criticism of GEJ government and promise of a change. Rather than positive change, Nigerians are experiencing the most excruciating negative change ever witnessed since the January 1, 1914 Lord Lugard’s amalgamation. And you are saying they should not protest? Haba!
I only pity Tuface. He missed a golden opportunity to be inducted into the hall of fame of iconic figures, those who spoke up when it mattered most. Unfortunately, he chickened out. That the rallies still held without him is a loud statement that he was over hyped and over estimated. I wish him good luck.
God bless Nigeria.
Between Gowon and Ojukwu: Who released Awolowo from Calabar prison?
In their report, titled: “Obafemi Awolowo: Hero of Yoruba, Killer of Biafra, Betrayed by the North”, Masterweb.com stated:
“…While Awolowo never trusted the Igbo, the North never trusted Awolowo and the Yoruba. The northern oligarchy instigated crisis in Western Nigeria in the same manner President Obasanjo used the Uba brothers to instigate crisis in Anambra State. This crisis led to the trumped up charges, leading to the trial and imprisonment of Awolowo. Reports had it that he was to be poisoned in prison before the military coup altered the state of affairs.
Awolowo was released from Calabar prison by Biafran leader, Odumegwu Ojukwu, and there was an agreement that while Ojukwu declared Biafra in the East, Awolowo would declare Oduduwa Republic in the West. The British establishment, sensing the dangers of Awolowo declaring Oduduwa Republic in the West, convinced Gowon and the North to checkmate Awolowo’s secessionist agenda by appointing him the Vice Chairman of Federal Executive Council. This strategy worked effectively and Awolowo was deceived that after Gowon’s tenure, he would be given the opportunity of ruling Nigeria. Awolowo thus had to checkmate the Biafran dream to clear any obstacle to his ruling Nigeria while the North was looking for the right opportunity to throw him into the dustbin. In frustration, Awo resigned from Gowon’s cabinet when he realised he had been politically duped.”
In an interview with Ikemba Nnewi, titled: Ojukwu Released Awolowo From Calabar Jail, QED: “I released Awolowo from jail. Even that, some people are beginning to contest as well. Awo was in jail in Calabar. Gowon knows and the whole of the federal establishment knows that at no point was Gowon in charge of the East.”
“Why I released Awolowo from prison
– Gowon (Premium Times)
“A former Nigerian Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, said his administration released the late Obafemi Awolowo from prison to end the political unrest in the South-west and ensure peace across the country.
Mr. Gowon, who spoke to journalists after paying condolence visit to the Awolowos at Ikenne, upon Awo’s death, also noted that he was privileged to have been used by God to ensure release of the late sage from calabar prison to have peace.
Between University of Ife and University of Nigeria Nsukka, which came first?
Wikipedia.org states that UNN, founded by Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1955, and formally opened on 7th of October, 1960, was the first full-fledged indigenous and autonomous university in Nigeria, modeled upon the American educational system, with powers to grant its own degrees. Technically speaking, therefore, it became the first fully-fledged university in Nigeria, since Ibadan was still at that time a university college, granting London degrees. It also became the first university established by a Nigerian regional government. The University College Ibadan, the oldest university institution, cut its umbilical cord with London in October 1962, becoming the University of Ibadan.
Vox populi: Avid contributors speak
The controversies: Who released Awo? Which was Nigeria’s first University? Who described Awo, as the best President Nigeria never had? Hear Nigerians:
Sir, I’m a fan of your column, Hard Facts. In your article of Wednesday, 25th of January, 2017, you said that the then University of Ife, was the first Nigerian university. I thought University of Nigeria came before Ife, knowing you. I was a University College. Sir, please, confirm this. I’m having a serious argument with my friends at the hostel. James, 08122982109.
Is Ife truly the first Nigerian university? Please, recheck. Was Ife established before Nsukka? Your article in the Daily Sun of January 25, refers.
Sir, I am one of those who admire your style of writing and power of recall on historical and topical issues. But permit me to observe that UNN was founded in 1960. Please, establish this and confirm. Thank you. –Mark, 08096758002
Sir, try and get facts right before going to print. Ife is definitely not the first Nigerian university. Ibadan was a college of University of London, not an autonomous university. They were actually awarding London degrees (just like a satellite campus). UNN is the first full-fledged university in Nigeria. -Anonymous, 08033540536
SAN, I wish to congratulate you on your efforts to point to the right way for our leaders to follow. Do they read, I don’t know; I don’t think so. I have been reading every day, the actions and inactions of those in power continue to confound Nigerians and often fuel my belief that Lucifer sent them to us as punishment for all the wickedness going on. This atonement had to start from the pogrom in the North in 1966. Now, thousands are being slaughtered in Southern Kaduna and the Federal Government has not shown enough interest to arrest the perpetrators. Nigerians must come together to accept to live as one. Equity, fairness, justice and transparency must reflect in government… It was the Ikemba, Dim Ojukwu that did. Again, you have erred by saying that it was Gowon, who released Awolowo from Calabar prisons. I guess you still remember that Calabar was then in Biafra and only the Eastern Government could have released Awo. It was Ojukwu again, who did this good deed. These are some of the reasons History as a subject must be returned to our schools, so that facts can be properly taught and documented for future generations. May your pen never run dry in Jesus Name, Amen. -Ama, 08033228996
Sir, the original author of the statement ‘Awo was the best president Nigeria never had’ was Dan Agbese at that time the editor of Newswatch magazine. He wrote the memorable statement in the obituary register at Awo’s death. Ojukwu wrote his own different statement right below Agbese’s and the journalists lifted Agbese’s own and credited it to Ojukwu. -Chief Emeka, 08034702025
Sir, the statement on Awo as the best president Nigeria never had was originally made by Dan Agbese, but popularised by Phuket. -Fadola, 08056491130
Sir, the best President Nigeria never had was made neither by Ojukwu or Babangida, but by Ray Ekpu in Newswatch magazine. -Fabian, 08033127253.
Readers, fire on.
Thoughts for the week
“There are many people who feel it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people.” (Nelson Mandela)
“People are so docile right now. It is almost as if good government means when the politicians lie to us for our own good, for the public good and bad government is when politicians lie for their own selfish interests.” (James Bovard)
“Building sustainable cities – and a sustainable future – will need open dialogue among all branches of national, regional and local government. And it will need the engagement of all stakeholders – including the private sector and civil society, and especially the poor and marginalised.” (Ban Ki-moon)
“We have to be bold in our national ambitions. First, we must win the fight against poverty within the next decade. Second, we must improve moral standards in government and society to provide a strong foundation for good governance. Third, we must change the character of our politics to promote fertile ground for reforms.” (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo)