I am strong believer in the Nigerian project, and like the title of this piece I believe posterity will be the ultimate judge of all our actions and omissions.
I have never met with the subject of this write-up i.e. IBB, but I strongly believe that IBB has not been given fair hearings in all that has transpired in this last 17years that he has been out of office.
All am about to say in this write-up are available in the public domain, and I make bold to publicly challenge anybody that has a contrary view to come up with them and contradict me.
The main issues people has been raising against an IBB presidency, if I understood them correctly are as follows,
1. Assassination of Chief Dele Giwa, former Editor –in - Chief of Newswatch magazine
2. $12Billion Dollars 1991 gulf war oil windfall.
3. Annulment of 1993 June 12 general elections
I will take time to bring into public discourse the above mentioned contentious issues.
Fact: Chief Dele Giwa was killed by parcel bomb in his residence, and it was reported in all the news media of that time.
Fact: Chief Tony Momoh (a respected gentleman of the press, and information minister at that time) on national television promised the nation that all government machinery will be set in motion to unravel and brought the perpetrators to book.
But, in the weeks that follow, emotions took over reasoning, and based on circumstantial evidence that late Chief Gani Fawehinmi of blessed memory said he has at his disposal, the late Chief hastily concluded that the perpetrators were acting on the orders of the presidency, which incidentally was headed by IBB at that time.
At this junction we need to ask ourselves this question, why would the presidency want to kill a private citizen of his country? Well I have searched through all the information that is available in the public domain, I just could not find (come up with) any plausible explanation. In law, for every crime there must be a motive, but in this case none existed that we could hold on to, and what this means is that all this while people are being misled to believe the worst about the true position of things during the last IBB regime.
Also there is a law maxim that says, and I believe this equally applies in Nigeria; an accused is innocent until proven guilty in a law court of competent jurisdiction.
My heart goes out to the Dele Giwa’s family for the loss of their loved one [no doubt] but then, each time the issue of Dele Giwa’s death is racked up, they are inadvertently traumatizing the family he left behind.
On a closing note I will like to raise this poser pertaining to Dele Giwa for all and sundry to reflect upon.
FACT: We have had 4 different regimes in Lagos state since the exit of IBB in1993.
Agreed that when the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi pursued the case of locus- standi up till the Supreme court, he was granted the relief he sought, that is, he was allowed to privately prosecute the case,( be you brothers keeper).
Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi did this because he felt the Lagos state government then, being a military one, and subject to orders from the presidency is not interested in prosecuting the case.
FACT: For reason best known to the Lagos State government then headed by Col. Raji Rasaki as he then was, promulgated, an edict disallowing private prosecution in matters relating to capital offence of any kind in the state.
At this point in time, we need to ask ourselves the following question;
It has been 17 years since IBB left the government and we have had 12 years of unbroken democratic rule in Lagos state, (1999 till date) the state with jurisdiction over the issue pertaining to Dele Giwa’s death, why is it that despite the goodwill the civil society groups enjoys with the past and present civilian governments in Lagos state they have not deemed it fit to lobby the state assembly into passing laws that will allow private prosecution in matter relating to capital offences, if they truly believed IBB committed the crime he is being harassed for, and are really desirous of bringing IBB to book?
My own candid opinion is that they know the case against IBB was a non-starter right from the onset so it pays them to keep the falsehood alive and make themselves relevant regardless of the traumas they put Dele Giwa’s family through each time the issue is raked up.
1991 Gulf war oil wind fall.
Nigeria was said to have made over $12 Billion dollars during the gulf war of 1991, and this was said to have been squandered by IBB.
Hogwash, yes hogwash I say it loud and clear, and I challenge anybody to a public debate on this issue.
FACT: when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 2, 1990 and there were threat of war in the Persian gulf, oil price started inching up till it climax at $40/barrel in the build-up to the war, but when it became actual shooting war in January 16, 1991, oil prices came crashing down, because IEA [International energy Agency] released their strategic stock reserve thereby causing glut in the market, and crashing oil prices down to as low as $10.56/barrel and stayed under pre-Kuwaiti invasion of $20/per barrel for so long, all these information are available in the public domain, but because, either due to laziness, lack of attention to details, or outright mischief they choose to peddle falsehood and distorted facts.
If those clamoring for IBB’s head will care to know, oil like most major commodities are traded in futures, that is, you agreed [today] now to buy at certain price in the future, that is in one month’s time depending on market volatility and future out look.
Oil only sold for $40/barrel for January 1991 delivery, but when hostility actually commenced it came crashing down to below $10.56/barrel and rebounded to the pre Iraqi invasion of Kuwait price of under $20/barrel for months thereafter.
But mind you, we have a government to run and also meet up with our international obligation as a respected member of the international community, and IBB did this with dexterity and forthrightness, and a high sense of responsibility, me think he should be commended and not castigated.
But then we have passed this road before, remember the anti SAP riots saga of 1989 led by the late Tai Solarin of blessed memory. With due respect to the memory of the old man and without taking anything away from him, the late Tai Solarin was a true patriot , yes more patriotic than all those charlatans, and opportunist strutting the landscape, trying to defame IBB in other to be relevant.
Sorry for the digression, in 1989 millions of school children from primary to tertiary institutions were mobilized in a destructive frenzy against IBB regime based on a non existence article in United States based magazine (Ebony). Ebony magazine was purported to have written about IBB’s stupendous wealth cache in France.
By the time the dust settled, thousands have been injured and traumatized, businesses ruined [some actually have not recovered till this date] and homes destroyed.
That incident will forever be a blot in the perfect public service record of late Tai Solarin.
You want to know my opinion about all this, certain interest were at work then and they still are, and I will want to believe that, they hated IBB for his policy of empowering the people, thereby making them masters of their own destinies..
You might want to ask me why, if IBB is actually empowering people how come these people were being mobilized against him.
Let us go back 11 years and search for information in the public domain pertaining to IMF & World Bank’s report on Nigeria’s economic prospect and outlook.
It was these 2 institutional report that some telecom operators relied upon to back out from the licensing bid prior to the advent on G.S.M and it was this same report that informed the initial extortionist pricing policy of M.T.N and Econet wireless, prior to the emergency of Globacom.
But less than 2 years down the line M.T.N announced to the whole world that it has not only recouped all its investment in Nigeria, despite infrastructural challenges, but has also turn in a huge profit. This was made possible because when IBB was president he rolled out policies that actually empowers the informal sector, and the accurate data on the informal sector was not up-dated by successive governments, so it was a sort of quiet revolution which his distracters foresaw and vehemently opposed, even though they dare not come out openly to say this.
America is a great country today because it empowers it’s citizens and the citizens in turn empowers America. Chief Mike Adenuga is a case in point, according to professor Jubril Aminu, when others got oil block and sold it off to foreign interest, Chief Mike Adenuga went ahead and developed his own oil block, thereafter he went downstream and took up a major interest in national oil company when government was relinquishing its interest in the oil marketing company, he did not stop at that, he still went ahead and plunged into the telecom business (which hitherto was perceived as the exclusive preserve of Europeans & Americans interest) and because of Chief Mike Adenuga, today Nigerians can now hold their heads high that finally we now have a proudly Nigerians company with a global reach by the name of Globalcom Telecoms.
Aliko Dangote is another entrepreneur spawned by IBB policy of backward integration, 17 years after IBB left government, the Dangote group is still growing from strength to strength.
Coming back to the issue of the very masses that IBB wanted to help being mobilized against him, this happened because over the years and due to ignorance people have come to rely on the opinion of these faceless and the unproductive rent seekers, and people due to their ignorance are still trying to adjust themselves to the limitless opportunities that abound in those policies.
Take a look at the entertainment and fashion industries prior to the emergence of IBB on the scene and look at where they were during IBB period and where they are today. You will agree with me that things are really on the upward swing in those industries.
Since the demise of the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo, no other Nigerian has ignited so much passion like IBB.
Today IBB is the issue in Nigerian politics, you are either for him or against him (to quote IBB while visiting late Chief Obafemi Awolowo at his Ikenne country home)
Today, IBB is the only candidate that can bring purposeful leadership to bear on the nation.
His economic policies of privatization, deregulation, commercialization and liberation are irreversible as we can see from the activities of successive governments after he left, but then with due respect, these governments do not understand the intricacies involved in the execution of those policies hence they are running from pillars to post.
IBB started deregulation of the oil, telecoms and banking sectors of the economy and today, Globacom telecoms, Oando Plc and G.T. Bank has turned out to be a global players.
You can then imagine how far Nigeria would have gone, had successive government follow up altruistically on those policies and programs.
Maybe like I said earlier, they either do not care for what will benefit the generality of Nigerians in the long run or they just don’t understand.
Leadership and responsibility goes hand in gloves, they are mutually inclusive, i.e. synonymous, but what do we have in Nigeria, with the exception of IBB every other Nigeria leader has always given one excuse or another for their short –comings, instead of taking full responsibility for their actions and omissions.
Annulment of June 12, 1993 general elections
And this brings us to the issue of June 12, 1993 general election purported to have been won by late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola of blessed memory.
The facts of the issues surrounding the election as available in the public domain are as follows;
Fact:- Late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola and IBB are bosom friends, and their friendship pre-dates IBB’s presidency
Fact;- MKO started publicly that he asked IBB if he was actually going to hand over governance to democratically elected persons, which IBB was said to have answered in the affirmative.
Fact:- Late General Shehu Musa Yar’adua was alleged to have dragged IBB before his father (i.e. Mallam Musa Yar’adua) on his sick bed to extract a definite statement from IBB that he, IBB will conclude the transition program and quit the stage, to this, IBB was also reported to have answered in the affirmative.
At this stage we need to categorically affirm as follows, Nigeria is greater than any individual or group, and transcends tribal, friendship and family ties.
The decision to annual June 12, 1993 general election was a collective one, and this statement came from no other person than Professor Omo Omoruyi.
Professor Omoruyi said to the effect that all the principal actors of that era were actively involved and consented to annulment of that election. (Members of the AFRC and Armed Forces Consultative Assembly)
Now is the dilemma, IBB has said it over and over again that he will quit the stage for elected political actors to take over, but now we have a situation whereby members of his primary constituency i.e. the armed forces creating a crisis situation the would have elongated his stay in office, but instead of pandering to this self interest and to show good faith he came up with an exit strategy that will extricate him and the Nigerian nation from this crisis by constituting the (Interim Nation government) ING to be headed by a civilian in the person of Chief Ernest A. Shonekan [another fine gentle man and committed patriot to the core] with clear mandate within a time frame, to re-organise an all inclusive general election and hand over to an elected civilian president, of course late Chief MKO Abiola is free to contest if he so desires.
The acceptance speech of Chief Ernest Shonekan on that day of August 27, 1993 is still available in the public domain, if anybody cares to crosscheck. But what do we see, people that we thought should see beyond the immediate started behaving like felons, they started making inciting statements publicly, as if we have another country other than Nigeria, calling on the military to commit treason.
The press and the civil society groups openly called for a coup de tat against the ING headed by Chief Ernest A. Shonekan, these treasonable calls, and myopic actions paved way for the emergency of late Gen. Sanni Abacha 5years dictatorship.
I challenge anybody that is still in doubt to review the 5years of Abacha’s rule and honestly and with good sense of responsibility judge whether it wouldn’t have been better for the generality of Nigerians, if Chief Ernest A. Shonekan’s ING had been allowed to conclude the final phase of the transition program.
One beautiful thing that I admire about IBB and which makes him towers high above other candidates in the race for the presidency is his high sense of responsibility. Despite available information in the public domain that clearly and without ambiguity states that annulment of June 12, 1993 general election was a collective decision, IBB has never at any point in time shied away from taking full responsibility for that collective action [we know of presidents that were giving excuses of the Niger delta crisis and non availability of gas as reasons why they could not provide electricity for Nigerians]
IBB is a very bold, resolute, and visionary leader, he is one leader that has never and can never shy away from responsibility.
IBB can be compared to the likes of President Barrack Obama of the USA, who took full responsibility for the BP oil spill in the gulf of Mexico despite public knowledge that it was a private company that he has no interest in whatever form that is at fault, and also that the technology to combat the spill is owned and managed by private companies, he didn’t give excuses, he accepted full responsibility for the spill.
The declining US economy is another case in point, it’s known worldwide, that George Bush Jnr. ran aground the US economy after the surplus of the Clinton years, but Obama did not give excuses, he is taking responsibility for revamping the economy, despite the Herculean task and the political risks it entails.
Let us all be objective and put reasons before emotions, by massively supporting a bold, resolute, visionary and responsible leader like IBB to lead Nigerian unto greater heights.
Ade Shobanjo from Ibadan