FROM FAVOUR AFOLABI TO CHIEF FEMI FANI-KAYODE.
“I believe we can build the “PDP setting of the future,” today, the PDP remains the only truly represented party in every nook and cranny of Nigeria; we MUST build such a platform of like minded Nigerians to help in providing the kind of developmental leadership that we desire; yeah, I am aware that that the North has ruled the country for 48 years (plus the 8 year Obasanjo reign as you described it) in much the same way that the “Whities” have ruled the USA forever before Obama.So when would the Blacks/Hispanic/Asian-Americans/Jewish-Americans, et al have their own full cycles at the White House? Probably never; This presents us with the biggest lesson from the Obama victory, he didn’t run a “Black” but “American” Campaign; the Jesse Jackson & Co. before him who initially wrote him off apparently didn’t learn from History; they got stuck in History.
In propagating an agenda for Nigerian future; we must see above all those issues of the past, once we bring them in (again), we are “back to the past,” I am not “careless” about “History;” getting stuck in it without “learning” to manage it to produce newer results for the “future” is where the problem lies. Looking into the eyes of my 4 children, I’m wondering if this “48 years North in Leadership” is a story I wanna “sell” to them when I’m 50; which is like another 4 election years away. Truth be told, if we hold on so much to this “History” then we aren’t particularly different from the “other guys.” ” — Favour Afolabi, Facebook, June 2010.
MY RESPONSE TO FAVOUR AFOLABI
My dear brother Favour Afolabi, I have read the above and alI the other commnents that you have made and I only have the following to say. I am in the PDP and I am deeply involved in all that is going on. We must not play this issue down or treat it as a joke or take it lightly. People have lost their lives and liberty over this issue and these matters. This is not an academic or intellectual debate at a student’s union. It is real politics and though the truth is bitter it must be spoken. I mean every word that I have said here and if there is anything that I have said which is not factual or historically accurarte please point it out. Other than that we must not shy away from telling it as it is and speaking the bitter truth. Once you have identified your problem it is half solved. And we have identified the problem now. We are now fighting for our destiny and our future and the future of our nation and our people and you say we should not say ”this sort of thing”. No sir…we must say it and we must say it over and over again until justice is done and those that think that they own Nigeria and all that is in it realise that we will not take it anymore. Obafemi Awolowo said it and we ignored him. MKO Abiola said it and we ignored him. Bola Ige said it and we ignored him. Ken Saro-Wiwa said it and we ignored him. Alfred Rewane said it and we ignored him. Abraham Adesanya said it and we ignored him. The list goes on and on. And fifity years later now look where we are….back to square one where some people are saying that power MUST be given back to them even though they controlled it for thirty-eight of those fifity years and have done nothing to show for it. We must get real and understand the nature of the challenge here. We either have a democratic Nigeria where all men are equal and all are entitled to have a crack at holding power through the process of an election or we will have NO more Nigeria at all. It is as simple as that.
And please I am not trying to ”sell” anything here. I am only speaking the bitter truth…..an inconvenient truth that very few people are prepared to speak out and attest to for reasons best known to themselves. At my age and with all my knowledge and experience in this game of politics for over twenty years, if I cannot come out boldly and speak the truth about such matters then I am nothing. Even if the heavens fall, let the truth be told…..that is my philosophy in life. And of course after that we can then leave everything and everyone for posterity to judge. What I will not or can never be however be is a Nevill Chamberlain who believes in peace at ANY cost and who is ready to appease the enemy and the aggressor even at the expense and to the detriment of his own people and their collective interest. We must be ready to acknowledge the fact that what is evil is evil and what is wrong is wrong and we must NEVER shy away from saying so. To say that the sons and daughters of the Niger-Delta are not qualified or are not entitlled to even attempt to vie for an election and try to rule this country next year, even though they had NEVER ruled it before Goodluck Jonathan came along , and to say that those that have had it for thirty-eight years out of our fifty as a nation MUST have it back again next year for whatever reason is simply evil, inequitable, unjust and indefensible. How would you feel if you were from there. Would you not feel a sense of shame and outrage? I owe myself, my children, future generations of Nigerians, my aburos like you and my compatriots from both north and south that much. It is left to them to now accept it and do something about it or ignore at to their own detriment.
And yes there are always collaborators that sell out their own people and many of them have done so simply because they chose to put Nigeria first before any ethnic or regional sentiment. However every single one that has ever done so has ended up regretting it in the end. Finally you will appreciate the fact that when u are dealing with a feudal structure, which is really what the core north is, the views of 99 per cent of the population do not really matter and does not count for much. It is what the tiny cabal of traditional Fulani rulers and the tiny caucus of military-political leaders say that matters and once they have taken a decision the 99 per cent follow. That is the problem that we have here. The only time in our history when everyone was allowed to vote whichever way they wanted in the core north without any directives or interferance from the emirs and the kaduna mafia leadership that they have there was in 1993 and they voted massively for MKO Abiola, a southerner. The core northern leadership never expected that their people would or could do such a thing so what did they do? They told their son General Ibrahim Babangida to simply annul the election and of course he complied and the rest is history. And in order to add insult upon injury Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki, as he then was, made that famous statement that ”the understanding that we in the north had with the British when they left us and gave us independence was that we would rule Nigeria forever. They gave us the leadership of this country and we will not let it go just like that”. Can you imagine that level of arrogance? If you do not believe it please get copies of The News magazine,the 1993 edition, where Dasuki gave his famous interview. Of course they had their way and the election was annuled though they now brought in Chief Ernest Shonekan just for a few months to appease the Yorubas. It is the same group that was behind all this that then encouraged General Sani Abacha to do a coup, remove Shonekan and ”deal ruthlessly with” the yorubas, NADECO and all those that opposed him and them which of course he did with relish for five bitter long years. After the death of General Sani Abacha and Abiola and after the tenure of General Abdulsalaami Abubakar it is the same group that brought General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999, took him out of jail and made him President against all odds. It is the same group that insisted on imposing ”corpsocracy” on us when President Umaru Yar’adua was still alive and who tried to stop President Goodluck Jonathan from even becoming Acting President. It is the same group that is now saying that Goodluck Jonathan must not run next year and that the power must come back to them. Do you really think there can be any changes in Nigeria or any fairness as long as these people keep running the show and calling the shots?
The only reason why Obasanjo could stand against them effectively and that they couldn’t control him easily was because the first thing he did when he came to power was to take the control of the military away from them and retire most of those from that part of the country from key and sensitive positions in the army. But of course when Umaru Yar’Adua came in and since that time the army has been back in their control again. Another interesting fact is this…… every notable person, from both north and south, that has ever resisted this cabal or stood up against them since 1960 in this country has either been destroyed, killed, jailed, discredited or frustrated by them at the end of the day, including those that were their closest friends like MKO Abiola and those that were their sworn enemies like Obafemi Awolowo. Even people from the Middle Belt like General. T.Y.Danjuma who did so much for them in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s has been fighting them since the 90’s not to mention men like J.S. Tarka who fought them all his life. This is the tiny group of invisible and faceless people that are holding us all down. That is the problem that we are facing and it is this tiny cabal of feudal leaders who honestly believe that the core north must hold on to or control power in perpetuity that are creating problems for this country and the 150 million Nigerians that live in it today. Sadly at the end of the day their own ordinary people and masses seem to always line up behind them and follow their dictates and directives. That is the mindset and the system that we are up against and I assure you that all the goodwill, friendly gestures, appeasement, positive thoughts, kind words and patriotism in the world cannot solve that problem or cure that craving and affliction that this small clique of old and ultra-conservative men have which constantly and relentlessly lusts for control and power. Even the younger and new generation of reformers, intellectuals and leaders that are now silently emerging in the north are fed up with them but they are essentially powerless against them. I look forward to reading ur write up my aburo. I know that you have all the best intentions in the world and that you want the best for Nigeria and ALL it’s people but these are some of the hard facts and realities that we just have to accept and that we have to try to deal with. We cannot wish them away or pretend that they are not there and that there is no problem. That is the mistake that many have made in the past and they are now regretting it. By the way I am very impressed with and proud of your write-ups and your efforts even if we do not always agree. Thanks for your time. Shalom.