Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
“I SECOND THE MOTION” OF DIOKPA MCK AJULUCHUKWU:
VOTE FOR OBASANJO:
REACTION TO THOSE WHO QUESTIONED MY RIGHT TO ENDORSE OBASANJO AND REJECT BUHARI AND OJUKWU
Professor Omo Omoruyi, mni.
CLASSIFICATION WAS A TECHNICAL EXERCISE
I touched raw nerves when I used technical and constitutional factors to classify the Presidential candidates published in the Guardian of February 24, 2003. In that classification, based on the “geographical spread” provision in the Constitution I argued that only Obasanjo and Buhari are the two credible national candidates in the 2003 election and that Dim Ojukwu has no chance and is at best out for stalemate and maybe working for Buhari.
In that essay I promised to perform my democratic obligation of endorsing one of the candidates since I would not be in Nigeria to vote and since there is no provision under the electoral law for absentee ballot. Performing my democratic right is one obligation I take very seriously that I had been performing as a citizen a young adult and a schoolteacher since 1959. The only time I did not vote when I was present in Nigeria was when I was the Director General, Centre for Democratic Studies for obvious reasons, being one of the umpires, I did not want to display my sympathy.
ENDORSEMENT OF OBASANJO BELONGS TO MY RIGHT TO VOTE
I found the arguments and reasoning of those Nigerians from the southeast who had questioned my right to endorse Obasanjo and reject Buhari and Ojukwu so far as questioning my right to vote and be voted for. I had since called their attention to the fact that this right is guaranteed to all Nigerians including me under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I could understand their ignorance. I was not surprised that even Abacha in his quest for absolute power to rule Nigeria forever did not know that President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) set a booby trap for him, his successor after the annulment. This was what he when he ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in July 1993, just a month after the annulment of the June 12 and few days before he left office.
I hope Nigerians would recall when the Nigerian junta was arraigned before the Human Rights Committee in Geneva in 1996, especially after the extra-judicial execution of Ken Saro Wiwa. This was as a result of Nigeria obligation under the ICCPR, a Treaty that IBB ratified before he left office.
The ignorance of Abacha’s lawyers as to the implication of Nigeria’s commitment under the ICCPR led them to advise Abacha that denial of democratic rights to the Nigerian people was within the domestic jurisdiction of Nigeria. I was not surprised that these were the same lawyers who advised IBB that the Nigerian military could oust the jurisdiction of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, the only human rights protocol in Africa. These same lawyers produced anti-Abiola anti-Yoruba decrees for General Babangida to sign that ousted the jurisdiction of the court and the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights. If these same lawyers faced with the arraignment before the Human Rights Committee of the UN would have wished they had advised Abacha to oust the jurisdiction of the ICCPR. Even if they succeeded in doing that, could they oust the jurisdiction of God? Allah said enough is enough and asked Abacha to give Nigeria democratic space and brought in Obasanjo to commence the process. In this context, I used the concept of “bridge” to describe his emergence and today.
I recall IBB’s speech to Nigeria on June 26, 1993 drafted for him by the same lawyers when he was counseled to argue that annulment was within the power of the Nigerian military junta. The same lawyers told IBB that the Nigerian military junta had no obligation to deliver democracy to the Nigerian people. This was why they crafted for him that highly disgraceful speech that ever came out of his mouth that the June 12 1993 Presidential election was not an obligation forced on Nigeria by the UN or by the global policemen of democracy. Whenever I recall the takeover of IBB by these politically naïve anti-Yoruba lawyers from the southeast, I wept for the legal profession. This is not an opportunity to mention their names. If you read my book, The Tale of June 12, one would get some of their names.
For my Ndigbo friends, who are very bitter with the way I treated Dim Ojukwu in the essay, I apologize. But they should understand that my right to endorse Obasanjo and reject Buhari and Ojukwu is part of my right to vote. This right is an enforceable right under the ICCPR. Those from the southeast of Nigeria who took exception to my classification that rejected all the Ndigbo candidates should please allow me to exercise my right to vote in the way I thought fir since I would not be in Nigeria to personally cast the vote in Nigeria or through the absentee ballot.
CHIEF MCK AJUKUCHUKWU TO MY AID
When I read the interview granted by Diokpa MCK Ajuluchukwu, I thought I found an answer to the following Nigerians from the southeast that called me all names because (a) I dared to endorse Obasanjo and (b) I dare to reject Dim Ojukwu.
I cannot remember all of them but the following are good representatives.
1. Chidi Peter Eze “Mr. Omo Omoruyi and His Obasanjo’s Endorsement” in gamji.com
2. Mazi KO. Ani “Omo Omoruyi Versus Ndigbo” in gamji.com
3. Olisa Adigwe “Professor Omo Omoruyi’s Game” in Nigeriaworld.com;
4. Okezie Chukwumerije “The Mythography of Omoruyi” in Nigeriaworld.com
5. Mike Chinedu Anekwe, Professor Omoruyi, Ndigbo and the Rest of us” in gamji.com
Some of these papers appeared in all the websites such as the Nigerdeltacongress.com and the Lagos Forum. com. The only way I can respond to them is to call their attention of these distinguished Nigerians from the southeast to what the Ndigbo Chief and a nationalist said. It is also an opportunity to assure them that that would have been the way the founding fathers of this country would have said at this juncture in Nigerian history.
I hope the foregoing Ndigbo commentators would rethink their position after reading the interview granted Wale Akinola of the Sunday Vanguard of April 6, 2003 by Diokpa MCK Ajuluchukwu.
For those who are wondering who is Chief Ajuluchukwu, let me refresh their memory. He is from Nnewi, the same place as Dim Ojukwu. In fact, he is an uncle of Dim Emeka Ojukwu.
I knew him as a fearless journalist and a loyal Zikist during the First Republic.
I was in active partisan politics with him when he was an Awoist and I a Zikist during the Second Republic. Our paths converged during the progressive movement during the Second Republic, he in company of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and I with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe in different parts of Nigeria when and where the Summit of the progressive parties met.
I can vouch for his sincerity in the belief that once people vote, their wishes should be respected. He displayed this when he broke away from establishment Igbo elite to support the June 12. I am glad he still demonstrates this in his interview that no party should plan any rigging with a plea to the INEC to do the right thing as the panacea against violence. I like his appeal to all political parties and candidates to accept the verdict of the people.
MCK’s ENDORSEMENT OF OBASANJO AND REJECTION OF OJUKWU
Of course, no one can question his Ndigboism and no one can call him an Ndigbo hater, if he is reputed to have said as follows:
Obasanjo was democratic enough to have handed
over as a military head of state.
That is a “historic achievement” that nobody
can take away from him.
Whereas Buhari seized power from the civilian
president that Obasanjo put in place,
overthrew him and set up another
For the interest of those who raised question with my notion of “feat”, especially my good friend Okezie Chukwumerije, what Chief Ajuluchukwu is saying is another way of calling feats in my endorsement essay of Obasanjo. MCK knows what he was referring to during this period when he paid tribute to Obasanjo. I was a major actor in the process leading to the handing over by the military in 1979. When I said that what took place under him is a feat, Okezie should have credited me with the ability to know what we passed through under Obasanjo. We should not trivialize the wonderful achievement.
Will the Ndigbo commentators who raised question with my notion of feat call Chief Ajuluchukwu names for dare to call what Obasanjo did in 1979 as a “historic achievement” that “nobody can take from him”? This is how history is made. Ask anybody in the US and get what he or she would say? They would call Obasano the only General in Africa who voluntarily handed over power to an elected President. What shall we say of Buhari? I still have records of his days in power to demonstrate that the General had no faith then in the idea of one-person one vote. What about Dim Ojukwu? I have nothing to go about him except to gamble with the future of Nigeria with a man who had never participated in a democratic process.
Chief Ajuluchukwu further made the distinction between Obasanjo and Buhari. According to him,
So, Buhari is direct opposite to Obasanjo.
As far I am concerned, as an elder statesman,
I ask my people and all those who listen to me
to vote for Obasanjo.
How is Chief Ajuluchukwu’s language of endorsement of Obasanjo and of rejection of Buhari and others different from Omo Omoruyi? The only difference is that Diokpa MCK is an Igbo and Omo Omoruyi is an Edo man. I am waiting to read about the endorsement of Obasanjo by MCK Ajuluchukwu.
As for Dim Ojukwu he has this to say:
I am an Igbo man;
my nephew Emeka Ojukwu is contesting
on APGA platform.
I don’t know what chances he has.
I concede to him the right to go after the
office of president
On the effect of Dim Ojukwu running on the body politic he has this to say:
But I think in the overall interest of Nigeria,
we (south) should not split our votes.
We should give all the votes to Obasanjo
as that remains the only solution
to Nigeria’s continued unity, although he
has not been a good president
My interpretation of this is that Dim Ojukwu has no interest of south in particular and of Nigeria in general at heart. Certainly he does not see the crisis of leadership facing the south in Nigerian politics since 1960.
When I said that Dim Ojukwu is a “Stalematist” some people took offence with my expression and cited all the qualifications of Dim Ojukwu and ignored the larger picture.
Still on why he still has to support Obasanjo despite the noted failures of Obasanjo during his first term as the elected President, MCK has this to say:
Is this NOT what Omo Omoruyi said in his endorsement essay of Obasanjo?
Chief Ajuluchukwu did not mention his nephew for comparative purpose as there is no basis for putting Dim Ojukwu with these two candidates. The impression one could make out from his interview is that the choice before the Nigerian people on April 19, 2003 is between Obasanjo of PDP and Buhari of ANPP.
Consequently he is asking his people in the southeast and those who listen to him (progressives in Nigeria) to vote for Obasanjo. Is this not what Omo Omoruyi said in his endorsement essay of Obasanjo by calling on his people of Edo and Delta States to massively vote for Obasanjo on April 19, 2003?
I am sure if Dr. Azikiwe, Chief Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Mallam Aminu Kano, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, Chief MKO Abiola and General Shehu Musa Yar’dua were alive, they would reach the same decision that MCK reached in that interview, support Obasanjo.
THREE FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES RESOLVED BY OBASANJO
What should be the simple answer to the question what did Obasanjo do since 1999? In addition to the highly philosophical answer, Nigerians should focus on three fundamental issues.
ONE. He without making a noise about it, dealt with the bane of Nigerian politics since 1966. I am referring to how he with one announcement took the military off the back of Nigerian politicians. He retired those officers who had held political appointments since 1966. This is what we call the fundamental restructuring of the armed forces. That was what I recommended as the solution to the crisis of democratization in Nigeria after the annulment of the June 12. You will find this in my book, The Tale of June 12.
The fundamental restructuring of the armed forces takes two forms: the fundamental depoliticization and fundamental deethnicization of the armed forces. Today Nigeria has accountable military and representative armed forces.
One hopes that Nigerians would recall that General Buhari criticized this policy in the immediate past. It is his plan and that of those who asked him to run as their presidential candidate to reverse all these laudable feats, if he is voted to power.
May I remind General Buhari that the era of the armed forces becoming the alternative political party is over? But it could come back, if Buhari becomes the President. He should therefore be stopped.
TWO. The emergence of Chief Obasanjo moved Nigeria from political cynicism to political optimism. This is the explanation of why so many political parties and presidential candidates are vying for the control of this country from 2003.
Buhari, a non-believer in democracy masquerading, as a born-again democrat should be stopped. Ojukwu is a product of those who have all sorts of grouse against others except themselves.
THREE: Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s commitment to one Nigeria can only equal Chief Obasanjo’s belief in one Nigeria. At a time when everyone in the southwest in the name of ODUA Republic was saying let us secede after the annulment, Obasanjo kept his cool, put himself between the forces of evil that dealt with him mercilessly and the forces of good on the firm belief that Good will triumph. That is where we are today. The Good triumphed. The dominant forces in Yorubaland can now embrace him. Is it sad that at a time when other ethnic or religion are getting back into the political mainstream of Nigeria, General Buhari and Dim Ojukwu are embarking on the “Politics of Vote for Your Kind”. They are in effect, taking their followers out of Nigeria. Their followers are wiser than they are and would reject them in April 2003.
I agree with Chief MCK Ajuluchukwu, the second term will see him as a problem solver. Hr should gear for that.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.