Category Archives: Politics

​Okun Leaders Agree to Replace Melaye, Already Shopping For Replacement

Okun Leaders Agree to Replace Melaye

Dino Melaye

• Senator: They have monetised their conscience

By Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja

The people of Kogi West senatorial district have agreed to replace Senator Dino Melaye in the 2019 election just as Melaye alleged that the group has monetised their conscience.

Already, a group under the umbrella of Okun Leaders Forum (OLF) has begun shopping for his replacement ahead of the 2019 senatorial elections in Kogi State.

The group made their stand known at a meeting held in Isanlu, Yagba East Local Government Area of the state at the weekend.

The leaders penciled down the member representing Kabba/Bunu-Ijumu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, to contest for the seat of the Senate.

Speaking with journalists in Isanlu, the Patron of OLF, Chief Arowosafe Jemigbon, noted that Kogi West people could not afford to continue with the leadership style of Melaye.

He said the embattled lawmaker has turned legislative business to “show of assets,” urging the political stakeholders of the zone to “kick-start the process of wooing Yusuf to replace him in 2019.

“Yusuf would defeat Melaye in 2019 and it won’t be a surprise to us because he did that in the 2011 House of Representatives when Melaye’s second term bid could not materialise.”

The group leader described Melaye’s two years so far in the Senate as “a total failure and poor representation to the people of Kogi West.

“As it stands today in Kogi West, it has become the more you look, nothing you see. There is no important project going on in our dear district, yet some people go around making questionable endorsements.”

Earlier, the President of the group, Dr. Omolade Ojo, pleaded with Yusuf not to disappoint the Okun leaders by answering their call without delay.

However, Melaye in his reaction, said: “The group members have monetised their consciences, and I know the Yusuf in question is wise enough to know that the group has no loco standing to make such claims.”

The senator who reacted through his legislative aides, Mr. Gideon Ayodele, said the “impostors” who came under the platform OLF are not in anyway or at any time known in Okun land, either as elite or politicians, not even in any Okun communities.

 “The said group has monetised its consciences. If really they are not masquerades, let them show their real identities. “It is simply clear that the said individuals have not been able to enjoy selfish financial gains from Melaye.

“For anybody to say that there is no meaningful project going on in Kogi West shows they are far from the truth as the district has enjoyed great input from his representative.”

Source: ThisDay

As We Begin the Journey to 2019

As We Begin the Journey to 2019



Pendulum
By Dele Momodu; dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com
Fellow Nigerians, unbeknown to many of our people, the battle for who becomes our next President has already started in earnest. Never mind the fact that the incumbent President is still firmly in power even if he’s spent more time outside than inside in recent times. Despite his absence, President Muhammadu Buhari continues to exert almost total control on the affairs of state through regular phone chats with the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is deeply loyal and committed to their joint cause, and emissaries who criss-cross the two continents to transmit messages to him and relevant officials. Nonetheless, you can’t blame the gladiators for shaping up this early for the big contest that is looming. It is big because it is unlikely that the current incumbent President will run again because of the fragile state of his health. Like joke, like joke, the Buhari/Osinbajo government is in its third year. By this time next year, the general elections would just be about six months away. That’s just too close for comfort.
The Presidential race is always the biggest deal in most countries, Nigeria in particular. The reason is simple. The President of Nigeria is probably the most powerful black President in the world. This is why you find so many perpetual contestants who never get tired of seeking power. Let me just go straight to the meat of my message without wasting your precious time on any long preamble.
Some aspirants have actually started making subterranean moves, here and there, to prepare the grounds for their eventual launch. The most obvious ones include former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano. The boldest and most vocal visible aspirant is the current Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Fayose who has even announced a date for the official declaration of his bid for the Presidency. Fayose seems to have mastered the art and science of politics. He has warned that no one should underrate him. I won’t because nothing is impossible in our clime.
Anyway. Let’s move on. The main cause of the early moves is the general belief in political circles that President Buhari is not likely to contest in 2019. His poor health has virtually eliminated him from the race no matter how much and how well he recovers from his present ailment. I think so too. Baba himself had declared in one of his rare interviews that he’s never been this sick in his life. Only the cruellest human being would advise President Buhari to continue to subject himself to the rigours of the Presidential office when he returns. To add the vagaries of rough and tumble of a Presidential race to his recuperation would be inhuman indeed. God has been very kind to him and there is nothing more to prove or to achieve. Others must carry on the fight as his able Vice President, now Acting President has been doing.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had shown interest in becoming Nigeria’s President since 1993 when he contested the Presidential primaries of the then Social Democratic Party alongside Chief Moshood Abiola and Baba Ghana Kingibe. He was persuaded to withdraw from the contest and throw his weight behind Chief Abiola on the basis of his relative youth amongst other things. Age, it was said, was on his side, and he had many years to seek the Presidency. Since then, he has never stopped dreaming and aspiring. Unfortunately, he has always just fallen short! He had made his next move in 2003, after he served as Vice President to President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999. The “abortive coup” (as it was described), to force Obasanjo out and bring Atiku in, by the all-powerful Governors of the time failed spectacularly. The cold war between Atiku and his boss exploded into full view and became a smouldering inferno. Atiku instantly became a marked man. He himself would be forced out of the party he helped to found and had to join others to form another party. But before too long Atiku was compelled by circumstances to scamper back to PDP. Not many felt that was a smart move. He was viewed as being too desperate and unprincipled. This flip-flop has been his major albatross. And he was not yet done! Atiku again jumped ship from the floundering PDP when some five Governors defected and joined the fulcrum of APC. There are already indications that he may be compelled to abandon ship again but where to, we don’t know. Some say that he is grooming PDM for this purpose and has already caused a crisis in his former movement.
There is no doubt that Atiku would make a good leader. He is a seasoned politician who is known to have the ability to unite Nigerians because of his extensive networks across the nation. He also has the penchant for recruiting the best brains to work with. If he becomes the President, he would be bringing in his wealth of experience in public service and private business that is almost second to none. But there are major setbacks against him. One is how to find the detergent to cleanse or unglue himself from the sticky mud his former boss President Obasanjo had generously splashed on him. He’s largely portrayed as a very corrupt and corruptible leader who may lead Nigerians into temptation and perdition with his acolytes. Whether this is a fair assessment or wicked blackmail is his business to deal with but it won’t be so easy to wish or wash away.
Atiku will find it difficult to clinch the APC ticket. There are obvious signs that he has already positioned some of his close associates in PDP, in case of emergency but he may be scammed at the end of the day if he takes the risk of pulling out of his present party. He needs to worry about his age. He has already crossed 70 and it is doubtful if most Nigerians want to be saddled with another old man who may collapse under the brutal weight of presidential stress and pressure. He would require more of a clean bill of health to persuade young Nigerians that he’s not carrying some health liabilities like others in the past. In summary, we have a reasonable bridge-builder and veteran administrator who may be too old and too late in seeking political office.
Next is the former Governor of Kano State, Senator Mohammed Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a man with very vast political and administrative pedigree. He has gone through the whole gamut of governance at both executive and legislative levels. His performance as Governor of the massive state of Kano is an eloquent testimony to the fact that he may be the one to ignite the infrastructural revolution in Nigeria. He cuts the image of a frugal Aminu Kano with his simple mien. His grassroots non-governmental movement known as Kwankwasiyya Pillars of the Nation is well mobilised and may give him an edge over most aspirants. He also has in his favour the fact that Kano State has the highest number of registered voters and may be able to count on garnering a significant number of these. He is also expected to draw strength from his former colleagues in the Governors’ Forum across the nation but no one is sure how relevant they still are. Kwankwaso is 60 years old and falls the under the age of 65 that many want as the upper limit for contestants. On the negative side, he is not likely to have the formidable war chest of an Atiku Abubakar though this did not stop him from beating Atiku to third place in their last APC Primaries.
Say what you will, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, must be factored into the equation by all means. The reason is that he seems to enjoy a special rapport with his ailing boss who may prefer to hand over fully to someone he knows well than risk certainty for uncertainty. Osinbajo has been a very loyal and dependable ally, the sort that are not common in this clime. This is no surprise because his vocation as a lawyer, his service as a teacher and his calling as a Pastor makes him imbued with integrity and dignity. Osinbajo has also succeeded in bringing Nigerians together and calming frayed nerves. His handling of the economy, security and national awareness is quite commendable and many Nigeria’s applaud his brilliance and performance in steering the affairs of state to its present comfortable position. His only worry would come from ethnic jingoists who do not care about merit but prefer only members of their tribe no matter how useless or incompetent they may be.
Osinbajo is likely to be vehemently opposed by such powerful forces who think only about themselves, although it seems to me that the people of the North are not with them on this occasion. There is no question that Osinbajo has restored hope and promise to Nigeria and should ordinarily be allowed to stabilise the polity and lead us out of the doldrums. The fact that he lacks his own political platforms may be a great disadvantage because he would need to lean on his political godfather and kingmaker, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who seems tired of fixing others into positions of power without being the ultimate King of Kings himself. However, Asiwaju is canny and wise and would prefer to be in the hallowed corridors of power with his protégé in charge than be outside it particularly given that he is himself ageing and would be over a couple of years over 65 by the time of the next elections.
There has always been speculation that the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is interested in being President. He is eminently qualified to do so. The way he has managed the Senate and worked assiduously on churning out unprecedented number of very efficacious bills is a pointer to his effectiveness as a modern and cosmopolitan leader who understands what the people want and how to give it to them. His biggest migraine apart from allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Societe Generale Bank which has seemingly not gone away, is that he comes from Kwara State. The State is geographically Northern but culturally Southern. His father was Olusola. He is Bukola. His wife is Toyin. His sister is Gbemisola. His Brother is Olaolu. His son is Olaseni. No one could be more Yoruba than Saraki. However, surprisingly, despite this great Yoruba credentials, the Yorubas do not also apparently view him as a Yoruba man but as a Northerner. I do not know how he plans to overcome that challenge of being neither cat nor rat.
The Governor of Sokoto State, Waziri Aminu Tambuwal, attempted very briefly to run the Presidential race in 2015 but seemed to have chickened out and pulled back to settle for the gubernatorial race, where he eventually emerged successful. It is being mentioned in informed circles that he may still want to try his luck. As a former Speaker of the House of representatives and now Governor, he comes with some intimidating arsenal as e is still clearly well loved by his old constituency, the Federal legislators. It is not certain if he would abandon his almost guaranteed second term as Governor for a not so certain Presidential bid. His antecedents in this regard would persuade me not to expect too much of a change in Tambuwal’s circumstances this time around.
The same goes for one of my favourite leaders, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, one of the most cerebral, experienced and visionary leaders in Nigeria today. He is silently revolutionising Kaduna State although people see more of the controversial stuff coming out of that State because of its highly volatile religious mix of Muslims and Christians. Though he is yet to declare his interest openly, he is someone to watch…


Culled from ThisDay 

PDP extends Makarfi’s tenure, dissolves executive in Lagos, six other states 

PDP extends Makarfi’s tenure, dissolves executive in Lagos, six other states 


The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Caretaker Committee has extended, by four months, the tenure of Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the Caretaker Committee Chairman.



The extension is in order to allow time to, reorganize, strengthen and prepare the party to conduct an elective National Convention to elect new officers for PDP.

Party members voted overwhelmingly for extension of the tenure of the Caretaker Committee at the convention, which held at the Eagles Square with over 5000 members in attendance.


This is the first national gathering of the party members since the Supreme Court judgement that reaffirmed Senator Ahmed Makarfi as the Caretaker Committee Chairman after ousting the former chairman, Ali Sheriff.

The party equally dissolved its executive committees in 7 states of Adamawa, Borno, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun and Osun States.

The dissolution of executives, according to party leaders, was the fall out of the crises bedeviling the party in the affected state in which case, parallel and conflicting organs had arisen.

The National Convention in addition, mandated the Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee to set up caretaker Committees which in turn would conduct states and local government congresses in the 7 states by the party’s mandate.

Also, the PDP ratified the results of the Congresses which successfully held across the states of the federation between May and March in 2016.

Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senate Caucus, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, assured that the party will not support any separatist agenda in the country.
Governor Akpabio assured of the PDP’s support to policies of the present administration, which were aimed at taking the country out of recession but, however, said that the party would not support any policy that would plunge the country into depression.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, his former Deputy Namadi Sambo, Chairman of the 2017 Special Non-Elective National Convention Planning Committee, Sen. Arthur I. Okowa, former Governor of Akwa Ibom state and Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio and Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT), Sen. Walid Jubril were in attendance.

Also in attendance were Governors Ekiti, Ayodele Fayose, River state, Chief Nyesom Wike, Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udum, Taraba state, Arc. Darius Ishaku, Gombe state, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwanbo, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa state, Rear Admiral, John Jonah, Deputy Governor of Cross River state, Professor Ivara Esu, Deputy Governor of Ebonyi state, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, National Vice Chairmen, State Chairmen, Party stalwarts and other leaders of the PDP nationwide.

Culled from Vanguard 

​Not too young to run? That’s only half the problem

Not too young to run? That’s only half the problem

By Yemisi Adegoke, Contributor  



In certain schools of political thought, from time to time, the elite classes drop crumbs of hope to pacify the masses. These crumbs are dropped to propagate the belief that a shift is underway that will eventually lead to real political change. The passing of the Not Too Young to Run Bill, is one of those crumbs.

Passed by the Senate last month, the Bill will lower the age of qualification for political aspirants running for presidency, governorship and other political offices. For the office of the Presidency, the age of qualification has been reduced from 40 to 30, Governorship from 35 to 30, Senate from 35 to 30, House of Representatives from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly from 30 to 25. The Bill will also allow for independent candidates to run for office, sidestepping the need for political parties.


Though the Bill still has some hoops to go through before taking effect, the move by the Senate has been lauded by many as a sign of change, even a positive ‘call to arms’ for the youth, showing that the upper echelons seek to promote equality and level the playing field by encouraging young people to take a more active role in society.  

Following in the footsteps of Nigeria’s example, the UN’s Envoy on Youth has partnered with other agencies in a bid to take the Not Too Young To Run movement worldwide. And in theory it makes sense. According to the UN, there are more young people in the world now, than ever before, and approximately 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 . In Nigeria, over 60% of the population is under the age of 25. The median age of the country is 18, placing it in the top 20 youngest countries in the world. If population estimates are to be believed, this is a trend that is likely to continue.

But these numbers aren’t reflected in the country’s politics, with Nigeria’s leadership much older than the population. The current president is 74, the vice president is 60 and the senate president is 54. Of the 105 listed Senators on the NASS website, none are in their 30s, the youngest is 43. After a reportedly strong youth turnout in the 2015 election, it would seem obvious that the passing of this Bill, would only strengthen the youth, but will it?

Youth participation in politics on every level is important and should be encouraged, but just like old age is not necessarily an indicator of wisdom, youth alone is not an indicator of the potential for good governance.  There is a need for the country’s leadership to reflect its populace, but just as an older politician can be out of touch, corrupt and inept, so can a young one. Nevertheless, anything that will increase the impact of the youth in politics is surely worthwhile, unfortunately, the bill in and of itself will likely do very little to change the current order and politics will still remain very much in the grip of the elite.

A 2015 research paper into the cost of politics by Adebowale Olorunmola shows the exorbitant costs that come with wanting to serve the nation. To run for office, the current president paid a whopping N27.5 million (N2.5 million for expression of interest and N20 million for a nomination fee) the opposition candidate would have paid N22 million. In a country where the minimum wage is N18,000 a month and 70% of the population live below the poverty line, it’s difficult to see how the office of the president is a realistic ambition for the average citizen, talk less of a young person.

Governorship fees are just as outrageous, totalling N5,500, 500 for the APC and N11,000,000 for the opposition. The “cheapest” option is a run at the House of Representatives which under the APC costs N2, 200,000 and under the opposition N2,400,000. Calls to increase the minimum wage have fallen on deaf ears and the youth unemployment rate is at an abysmal high, so how can we honestly suggest that the playing field has shifted even remotely?

High fees aside, we cannot ignore the grip of corruption and godfatherism on virtually every level of Nigeria’s politics. “Godfathers are mostly instrumental to the emergence of virtually every successful candidate from whichever state they control,” reads Olorunmola’s report. “The godfathers are typically above the law and able to mobilize support, money and violence for candidates.”

With such a firm grip on power that shows no sign of diminishing, how then does lowering the voting age factor into making politics more fair, or political office any easier to attain?  It doesn’t.


If youth participation in politics was really important, then as well as reducing the age of qualification, why aren’t fees being drastically reduced to represent the wage structure of the country? Why aren’t there more avenues for young people to learn what good governance entails through internships and fellowships?

Reducing the age qualification without tackling any of these other major barriers to office is just another crumb from the elite to help uphold the belief that change is afoot, when it’s really just another smokescreen.

Source : The Guardian 

Anambra lawyers denounce Kanu, IPOB,  label them anarchists 

Election: Anambra lawyers declare war against IPOB, call Kanu anarchist

A group of Igbo lawyers under the platform of Anambra State Lawyers in Defence of Democracy has described the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra , Nnamdi Kanu as an anarchist .
It accused Kanu and his IPOB of trying to cause anarchy in the country , calling on security operatives to deal decisively with the organization before it would plunge the country untold conflict.
In a letter addressed to the Anambra State governor , Chief Willie Obiano and signed by its convener , Mr . Johnmary Jideobi, the lawyers said IPOB had introduced violence in the nation ’ s electoral process , with the threat to disrupt the November poll in Anambra state .
In the letter titled , ‘The 2017 Anambra State Governorship Election and the imperative of ending the impunity of anarchists before it is too late’, the lawyers said : “The leader of IPOB , Mazi Nnamdi Kanu , has taken a decision and consequently issued a directive to the effect that elections would no longer hold in Biafraland .
“No doubt , both your humble self and the members of ASLADD are all Biafrans . To this extent , it is therefore correct to state that no one man or group can lay claim to being more Biafran than the others.
“The fulcrum of this urgent letter is to express the way we feel by the strident opposition mounted by the IPOB to the conduct of the 2017 governorship election in Anambra state .
“We have chosen to write you on this , principally because we are involved . We are involved because democracy has come under imminent threat in our beloved state .
“We are involved because the future of every nation ’s democracy lies on the shoulders of lawyers .
“We are involved because lawyers are saddled with the sacred and abiding duties of enlightening the society, upholding the rule of law and defending our constitution , which is the most sacred document that holds our nation in balance and in being .
“We are involved because it is our incontestable right to contribute in defining and protecting the future in which we will live and raise our kids .”
The lawyers said further , “But IPOB did not stop at that. It has now gone physical. In Onitsha , video evidence abounds how IPOB members interrupted state activities where the governor went for a football tournament. On another occasion , the governorship candidate of Progressives Peoples ’ Alliance , PPA , Chief Godwin Ezeemo, was confronted at a rally by members of IPOB .
“Only recently , the IPOB members invaded and desecrated St . Joseph’s Catholic Church , Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, where Governor Obiano was to worship .
“From the account of the state Commissioner of Police , it took greater restraint and discipline on the part of the governor ’s security details to stave off what would have been a harvest of human casualties .
“Still recently , a coalition of militants issued a stern warning to Anambrarians , to stay away from the polls on the 18 th of November , 2017 or pay dearly for daring to defy the order of Maazi Nnamdi Kanu . All these are deliberate acts aimed at striking terror in the minds of ordinary citizens who have made up their minds to go out and discharge their civic duty .
“It is now clear that going further to disrupt electioneering processes like football tournaments, campaign rallies and invading and desecrating the sacred places of worship as witnessed in St . Joseph ’s Catholic Church , Ekwulobia, are acts clearly outside the meaning of the word “ boycott ”.
“Those are acts of outlawry. They are forerunners of anarchy. Anarchy is antithetical to democracy . Anarchists are anti- democratic forces that must be opposed, whether in Nigeria or Biafra land . Anambra State has values that distinguish it from the lots .
“It is important to point out that in every democracy , while the minority will always have their say , the majority will have their way . In every democracy , no one man has the monopoly of the knowledge of what is good for a people .
“For seeking to precipitate anarchy in the state of the iconic departed supreme leader of Biafra Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu , they are enemies of Biafraland . They have no respect for the cherished memories of our departed supreme leader who in his matchless wisdom established APGA as a political party in the Nigerian Federation . This is a party which IPOB leader , Nnamdi Kanu once headed its United Kingdom chapter and he has not told us what has changed between then and now .
“We wish to remind Your Excellency that as the Chief Security of Officer of this state , all the instruments and legitimate authority of the state are at your disposal . Your hand should be strengthened by this singular fact .
“May your Administration never go down in history as first democratic government that was put in abeyance owing to the declaration of state of emergency in Anambra State as a result of avoidable security breaches . ”

Source : The Punch

Police to pay US Muslim woman $85,000 for forcefully removing her hijab

Police to pay US Muslim woman $85,000 for forcefully removing her hijab



A California city has agreed to pay $85,000 (72,000 euros) to settle a lawsuit filed by a Muslim woman whose hijab was forcibly removed by the police.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR) which announced the settlement on Thursday, had sued the city of Long Beach on behalf of Kirsty Powell, an African-American Muslim, “after police officers forcibly removed her hijab in view of other male officers and dozens of inmates.”

Powell, who wears the head covering “as part of her religious beliefs,” was “forced to spend the entire night exposed in custody and described the experience as deeply traumatizing,” the rights group said.

Powell was arrested during a traffic stop in May 2015 on outstanding warrants that were since cleared.


Long Beach voted Tuesday to approve the settlement, CAIR said, adding that nearby communities have already adopted policies protecting religious headwear in detention following similar lawsuits.

Now female officers are required to remove the headscarves of female inmates “when necessary for officer safety,” and away from male officers and inmates, Long Beach assistant city attorney Monte Machit told the Los Angeles Times.

During the arrest officers told Powell that she had to remove her hijab.

Powell was denied requests for a female officer to search her, and was denied requests to wear her hijab in custody.

“I would never want anyone to go through what I felt from this experience,” Powell said when the suit was filed last year, according to CAIR.

AFP

How I put an end to military coup in Nigeria – Obasanjo

Why Nigeria has not experienced military coup since 1999 – Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Oladeinde Olawoyin


A former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has explained why Nigeria has not experienced military intervention in its democratic journey since 1999.
Mr. Obasanjo gave the insight in a book titled “Making Africa Work”, launched recently in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The book was co-authored by the former president and three others – Greg Mills, Director of Brenthurst Foundation; Jeffrey Herbst, President of NEWSEUM and Dickie Davis, a retired major general.
Mr. Obasanjo, who first ruled Nigeria as a military head of state between 1976 and 1979, later governed the nation as a democratically elected leader between 1999 and 2007.
While giving insights into how nations of the world can put an end to military interventions, the former president explained that no matter the excuse, military interventions had major negative impact on democracy, governance and unity of Nigeria.
He, however, argued that the often prescribed solution of specifically putting a ban on coups in the constitution was not the answer.
“A coup is a treason punishable by death only if it fails, and yet it puts the plotter in the State House if it succeeds. It was a destructive and destabilising practice, wasteful for the military itself, and undermining in terms of discipline, good order and military conduct,” Mr. Obasanjo wrote.
“A junior officer takes a gun and looks at his political boss and senior officers through its sights, bumps them off and puts himself in the State House.


“He instantly becomes superior and senior to all political and military officers. Such was the situation existing in Nigeria between 1966 and 1999.”
Giving specific insight into how he handled the challenge when he was in office, Mr. Obasanjo revealed how he cleverly placed senior military officers on compulsory retirement.
“On assuming office as president, I decided to put an end to these incessant coups. I asked the military to submit the list of all officers who had either participated in coups in the past or benefited in the dividends of coups by being appointed to political office as governors or ministers,” the former president wrote.
“Not knowing what the list was meant for, the military faithfully compiled it and submitted to me as the commander-in-chief and chairman of council of each of the arms of service. Ninety-three officers in all were given six hours’ notice of retirement on a Friday, and ordered not to spend the Friday night in uniform or in barracks to prevent adverse reaction.
“The following Monday, the service council met to ratify the retirement of all the officers. From my vantage position and background as a battle-tested and war-victorious general, I knew that an officer out of uniform and barracks is like a fish out of water, and their power and influence would be greatly diminished.
“The retirement of these 93 officers all in one day was salutary. It meant that taking part in a coup ot benefitting from one could catch up with you, no matter how long it would takes, and for as long as you are alive,” he explained.
Mr. Obasanjo, however, noted that the officers’ retirement did not stand in the way of any of them entering public life or making progress in it.
“Some of them later entered politics and became elected governors; some went into parliament; others got appointed as ministers and ambassadors,” he wrote.
“The idea was not to punish them for life but to exclude them from positions in the military where they could be coup planners, coup plotters, coup executors or coup beneficiaries.
“And once an officer has tasted the trappings of a political life, of living in a government house, with free food and so on, he would easily look for excuses to want more if he is in a position to make it happen.”
Explaining why the nation hasn’t experienced such incidence of coup d’etat, the former president said the measure was quite effective even if it wasn’t perfect.


“The fact that since 1999, there has not been a coup or an attempted coup in Nigeria speaks to the effectiveness of the measures taken to put an end to the destabilizing influence of coups on the political life and dispensation of Nigeria.
“Before 1999, and since independence, the longest that a democratic dispensation had lasted was six years –from 1960 to 1966.
“It has neither been easy nor perfect, but there are improvements and evidence of learning among the political class. Any bad signs and misconduct would have to be carefully monitored,” he argued.
He also urged countries with similar experiences to find an effective and relatively painless way of curbing the incidence of coups and corruption by the military.
Until 1999, Nigeria had experienced several military interventions in its politics, beginning from 1966.
Recently, there were reports of rumoured coup plots in the Nigerian army but the military authorities said such alleged plots had been nipped in the bud.

Source: Premium Times