Gallery Of Soldiers Against Democracy.
Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, would be a prominent face in this section as military officer and leader of the January 15, 1966 coup, who decided to take power by force of arms and hand it over to Chief Obafemi Awolowo!
There is however no evidence of Awolowo (the face of democracy) meeting Nzeogwu, because he was convicted on September 11, 1963, shut out from reality, while the earliest evidence of the coup dates back to 1964, when Nzeogwu was in India.
Retired Major General Olufemi Olutoye, the traditional ruler with the title; Alani of Ido-Ani, in an interview with Peter Dada, published by the Punch on July 31, 2016, spoke about Nzeogwu and the coup this way.
“We were together in India. So, he informed me about it and I enquired more on how he hoped to carry out the plot…..he personally came to inform me about it in 1964 when we were in India and the coup was carried out in 1966. There are few other things that happened which we cannot say now until the time is ripe…..the coup was planned as far back as 1964. Maybe between 1964 and end of 1965”
(He went on to add.)
“what attracted me to Nzeogwu at the early stage when the coup was being planned was that I asked him if he was going to make himself the Head of State and he said no. He said he was going to bring a civilian who was more knowledgeable and who had what it took to make Nigeria great. I then asked him who that person was and he said the man was in Calabar prison. I said is it Chief Obafemi Awolowo? He said yes. That was why I gave him my support but when he told me it was going to involve killings, I said no I was not interested again.”
(The retired major General also said)
“The coup was led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. He was a Major in rank and of course, I was a Major then too but I was his senior. It later turned out to be so, although all the six majors who plotted it were Igbos except one — Major Adegboyega from Remo, Ogun State. I want to assure you that, that was not Nzeogwu’s intention. those that showed interest in the coup turned out to be Igbos. Even his utterances when the coup took place on January 15, 1966, showed that he didn’t mean it to be an Igbo affair but unfortunately, it turned out to be so that an Igbo man could also become the Head of State.” https://punchng.com/tags/olufemi-olutoye/
ANALYSIS: Five important things of historical value stand out from the evidence of General Olutoye.
1 Nzeogwu intended to hand over power to Awolowo.
2 There is no evidence of Awolowo (who was in jailed in Calabar in at the time of Olutoye and Nzeogwu’s interaction in 1964) meeting or agreeing with Nzeogwu.
3 Both army officers were in India in 1964, at the time Nzeogwu came up with the idea of the coup.
- Nzeogwu’s intention to hand power to Awolowo was a one sided expression of an opinion, and not an agreement between both men.
5 By the evidence of General Olutoye, it was not an Igbo coup.
Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi
By the evidence of Chief Richard Akinjide as reported by Eric Teniola, who captured history this way:
“In the Cabinet chamber were Major General Ironsi, Bukar Dipcharima and Ibrahim Tako Galadima. There were no officials present……When we reminded Major-General Ironsi if he needed to avail himself of the British privilege of assistance, he replied it was too late as the army was pressing him to assume power……Alhaji AGF Abdulrazaq, the Minister of State for the Railways (former NPC legal adviser), managed to secure a scrap paper on which he drafted a statement, which we endorsed. That was the so-called voluntary hand-over of power by the Balewa Government to Major General Ironsi! It was agreed that the statement would be typed and Dipcharima would sign it on our behalf…..In his own words, Chief Richard Akinjide said the Ministers did not hand over to Ironsi. In 2000, he said: “Under the law, that is, the interpretation Act, as acting President, Nwafor Orizu had all the powers of the President. The GOC said he wanted to see all the cabinet ministers. And so we assembled at the cabinet office. Well, I have read in many books saying that we handed over to the military. We did not hand over. Ironsi told us that ‘you either hand over as gentlemen or you hand-over by force’…..We wanted an Acting Prime Minister to be in place but Ironsi forced us, and I use the word advisedly, to hand over to him. He was controlling the soldiers. The acting President, Nwafor Orizu, who did not cooperate with us, cooperated with the GOC. Dr. Orizu and the GOC prepared speeches which Nwafor Orizu broadcast handing over the government of the country to the army. I here state again categorically as a member of that cabinet that we did not hand over voluntarily. It was a coup.” “https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/guardian.ng/opinion/was-1966-handover-or-takeover/amp
- J. M. Muffett, a one time research Fellow of the the Centre for International Affairs, Harvard, in his account by the evidence of Zanna Bukar Dipcharima, the Federal minister of Transport in Balewa’s cabinet, wrote on the 54th and 55th page of his Zaria based Hudahuda, publication, titled: “Let Truth Be Told The Coups d’ Êtat of 1966” the account of what transpired on Sunday the 16th of January 1966, this way:
“According to Zanna Bukar Dipcharima, there was a disagreement between Dr Nwafor Orizu the Acting President, whose substantative post was President of the Senate and others as to the constitutional acceptability of appointing an acting Prime Minister and the contention was further exacerbated by a secondary disagreement amongst the Ministers themselves as to who the nominee should be. The choice lay between Dr. K. O. Mbadiwe (Minister of Trade) and Dipcharima and the prolonged argument gave an opportunity to Ironsi to claim that it was necessary for him to take full powers in order to maintain order. At all events, on the morning of Sunday (16th January) a public announcement was made to the effect that ‘The Nigerian Cabinet. . . under Alhaji Zanna Bukar Dipcharima, the Transport Minister, had as a temporary move handed over administration of the country to the Army and the police under the control of General Ironsi’. On the Sunday evening, Ironsi broadcast to the nation over the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation network, and announced the suspension of the constitution until such time as’. . . a constitution was drawn up in accordance with the wishes of the people.”
Adewale Ademoyega the only non Igbo and Yoruba officer on the 162nd and 163rd page of his Evans published account of the coup, he titled: “Why We Struck The story of the First Nigerian Coup” held this position:
“Ironsi took over our hard-won power but did not take over our plans……who rose up fitfully one morning to suppress a coup, but by the end of the same day found himself made Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the nation and the Head of state…..Ironsi, on the other hand, surrounded himself with a particular tribe and chose the political policies of a particular party. That tribe was the Ibo and the party was the NCNC”. Ademoyega had noted earlier on the 157th page of the same book, the following:
“If the truth must be spoken, Ironsi had implicit faith in his own type of Nigerians: the non-revolutionary and the reactionary type of Eastern and Mid-West Ibos. Therefore, as soon as he had taken over the reins of power, he promoted more than a dozen and a half of them from Major to Lieutenant-Colonel, and gave them all the senior and sensitive positions in the Army and Air Force. Apart from these, only three others were promoted from Major to Lieutenant-Colonel; and those three were Northerners. Their promotion stepped from the guilt of Ironsi and his ill-conceived notion of placating the Northerners. But in so promoting the Northern officers, he jumped over the heads of five Yoruba officers whom he did not care for, thus giving people the impression that the coup was designed and executed to achieve and promote Ibo domination of Nigeria. Again by so doing, he alienated the relatively few senior Yoruba officers who also needed to be placated”
GALLERY OF THE FASCISTS IN UNIFORM AS ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY
Ironsi, Buhari, Babangida, and every officer who held political office as a result of the Coups d’ Êtat, that sacked democracy. This is the section for the military fascist enemies of democracy.
GALLERY OF SECURITY MEN IN A DEMOCRACY AGAINST DEMOCRACY
Daura and his infamous siege of the national assembly on Tuesday, the 7th of August 2018, that amounted to a coup along with AIG Ige, who abducted democratically elected governor Chris Ngige on July 10, 2003 , would be prominent names in this section, dedicated to agents of the state security system who were used by political interests, in their failed attempts to compromise democracy.
“Dr. Chris Ngige as the then Governor of Anambra State suffered abduction and when he regained freedom and attempted to castigate the powers that be at the federal level, his security details were withdrawn on January 2, 2005.”http://thenationonlineng.net/obasanjo-jonathan-used-police-governors-says-senate-panel/
GALLERY OF FROZEN STATE FUNDS OF BY THE EFCC
The freezing of funds belonging to states in the opposition, considering the strategic importance of federal allocation of revenue amounts to an attack on democracy. Two governors stand out here. Mr Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom; opposition (2015-date) and Samuel Ortom, Benue State; Opposition (2015-date)
“Benue and Akwa Ibom state governments confirmed the freezing of their accounts to Channels Television in separate interviews.”https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/www.channelstv.com/2018/08/09/freezing-of-benue-akwa-ibom-accounts-by-efcc-is-illegal-pdp/amp/
GALLERY OF WITHHELD STATE FUNDS LOCAL GOVERNMENT CREATION.
“PANDEMONIUM broke out yesterday at a meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) after the Federal Government made good its threat to withhold monthly allocation from the Federation Account to states where elections were held in newly created local governments. The affected states are: Ebonyi, Katsina, Lagos, Nasarawa and Niger.“https://allafrica.com/stories/200404210781.html
Background: Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of Lagos State was the pain in the neck opposition, to President Obasanjo.
Probing questions: Was he the main target and the other states included to mask the real intent, just the way Trump’s initial travel ban on mostly Islamic nations was extended to non Islamic nations, of Venezuela and North Korea, perhaps to downplay the religious tilt?
“The new proclamation, which will come into effect on 18 October, will continue to target travellers from Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Iran, but also adds North Korea, Chad and Venezuela to the list of targeted countries. Sudan has been dropped“https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/25/trump-travel-ban-extended-to-blocks-on-north-korea-and-venezuela
GALLERY OF DEFIANT FEDERAL LAWMAKERS IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY
They are in two groups, the 2014 set, that included , Femi Gbajabiamila; Minority Leader, his deputy from Kano, Suleiman Kawu, Aman Pategi, Mohammed Bago, Bimbo Daramola, Babatunde Adejare, Samuel Adejare and others, who defied the gates of fascism. The second group has Boma Goodhead for her confrontational courage in defense of democracy, when she took on the masked coward from DSS.
GALLERY OF DEFIANT STATE LAW MAKERS IN DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY
One name would stand out here, that name is Saheed Popoola, the courageous representative of Ojomu-Balogun Constituency in Offa Local Government Area, who remained behind as the face of democracy when the entire house moved over from APC to PDP. He would have a special place of recognition, in a political.
GALLERY OF DEFIANT DEMOCRATS CONSISTENT BY PRINCIPLES AS THE OPPOSITION FACE OF DEMOCRACY
Those in this group are not the dominant names like Abiola. But are consistent democrats with a sense of principles, a rear trait in Nigerian politics. Mr. Iyiola Oyedepo, the immediate past PDP chairman in Kwara State, is a good example. When Saraki returned to the PDP, with his massive sphere of influence that completely took out the essence of the APC in the state, Iyiola Oyedepo went the way of principles, preferring to stand by his convictions!
Success Nwogu in his article titled: “Kwara PDP chairman, Oyedepo, leads members in defection to APC”, published in the Punch on August 1, 2018, captured the account this way:
“Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara, led by the state chairman, Mr. Iyiola Oyedepo, on Wednesday announced their defection to the All Progressives Congress.”https://www.google.com.ng/amp/s/punchng.com/kwara-pdp-chairman-oyedepo-leads-members-in-defection-to-apc/amp/
GALLERY OF THE SOCRATIC GADFLIES OF DEMOCRACY
The late Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana, Junaid Mohammed, the Kuti Brothers (Fela and Beko) would have a place as Socratic gadflies of democracy.
GALLERY OF PRISONERS OF DEMOCRACY
This would be the gallery for those held prisoner for their work of democratic advocacy.
GALLERY OF THE MUSICAL ADVOCATES OF DEMOCRACY
THE NADECO GALLERY OF DEMOCRACY
National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) “NADECO, a pan-Nigeria political movement, formed the nucleus of the sustained tough struggle against the cancellation of the 1993 election and the exit of military from political power in 1999.”https://www.tribuneonlineng.com/149959/
The gallery would also include Nigeria Intervention Movement, (NIM)
GALLERY OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONTROVERSIES
This gallery has one focal point which is, betrayal of democracy by those entrusted to protect it. The latitude of the gallery spans from Dr Nwafor Orizu, Zanna Bukar Dipcharima and Justice Sowemimo actors from the second republic, to the questionable actions of Babagana Kingibe with respect to June 12.
“Kingibe said Falana and his cohorts hijacked the struggle of June 12 from those considered by Kingibe to be the real heroes of the struggle. Falana, who is known for standing on his opinion vehemently, did not take kindly to Kingibe’s joke. He jibed Kingibe as the one who had the opportunity to become the country’s Vice President but abandoned his principal in the struggle to become a Minister under the General Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s military Head of State at a time.Kingibe was Nigeria’s Minister of Internal Affairs between 1993 and 1995 when Abacha was the Head of State.”http://saharareporters.com/2018/06/16/revealed-falana-kingibe-clashed-mkos-gcfr-investiture-over-hijack-june-12-struggle
GALLERY OF ELECTORAL UMPIRES
Professor Humphrey Nwosu will have a pride of place as the chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria who organised the freeiest and the best elections so far, followed by Antahiru Jega.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the 54 year old current INEC chairman, will have a location as the man under whom elections were marred with votter buy out.
LOCATION OF THE MUSEUM AND THE INSTITUTION
The museum shall be located in Lagos but spread across three sites, namely.
- The old state house on the Marina
- The old National Assembly complex
- The old cabinet office Lagos.
- The administrative offices of the museum and institution would be located in the old National Assembly complex.
FUNCTION OF THE MUSEUM.
-The Coordination of the historical and tangible aspects of the museum
-The restoration of all historical sites that include:
- The cabinet office should be restored to what it was when Balewa used it.
- The council chambers reconstructed to the exact specification it was under Balewa and sculptural replicas made of each member of the cabinet seated in their favorite setting position.
- Restoration of the official residence of the Prime Minister as it was in the 60s.
- Restoration of the state house on the marina, to the specification it was when Nnamdi Azikiwe used it. It would be the main museum of democracy.
- Reassembling of instruments of office used by all democratically elected leaders.
- Possession of the regalia of the various Senate Presidents and speakers of the Federal House of reps.
- Collection and custody of national assets of democracy like the exact clothes those reps wore in 2014, when they scale the fence of fascism.
- The exact dress Boma Goodhead wore to confront fascism, to be displayed on a lifesize statue of the woman.
The truck associated with Brigadier Bako at the time of his death, in the course of the coup against President Sagari.
The committee rooms in the old National Assembly complex would be converted into the the above mentioned galleries.
THE DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE
- This is would be the academic, research and training section.
- It will be responsible for the Coordination of training for newly elected legislators. In practice, recourse people would travel to where they are needed, to save cost.
POSITIONING OF THE MUSEUM AND INSTITUTION
- As a tourist attraction
- A revenue earner
- A self funded federal parastatal to be headed by a Director General.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not of ALEDEH.