Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
AGENTS of ANNULLISTS in 1993 as ANNULLISTS in 2003
A review of the anti-democratic behavior of BUHARI/OJUKWU/OKADIGBO
Professor Omo Omoruyi, mni
RAISING THE SCEPTER OF JUNE 12: OMINOUS OR TRAGIC IRONY?
“June 12” is an issue that would not go away partly because the matter was not adequately resolved, partly because Nigerians are not united on what went wrong with the denial of the democratic rights of the winner of that election in particular and of Nigerians in general and partly because Nigerians do not want to face the past with truth. This was why from an unknown quarter the matter had to be raised. I am referring to General Muhammadu, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and Dim Ojukwu out of desperation found solace in the process that led to the June 12 even though they are still unable to reconcile themselves with the product of that free and fair election. One does not know if the Director General, ANPP Presidential Campaign Organization (Sule Y. Hamma) was speaking for General Buhari or for the ANPP or for the leader of the arm of the clique in the stalemate strategy, Dim Ojukwu when he made the following statement:
We propose in the interest of our democracy,
that the future elections use the simple
and tested electoral process known
as OPTION A4 in Nigeria…...
The method was used in the June 12, 1993 Election
which Chief MKO Abiola emerged as winner.
That election was widely acclaimed to be
the most transparent, free and fair election
ever held in Nigeria. (Underlined for emphasis)
One is surprised that Alhaji Sule Hamma, the Special Adviser on Political Matters to the late Dictator General Sani Abacha should now be the adviser to General Buhari.
Did Nigerians forget that Alhaji Hamma was the author of the two-prong policy of killing anything about June 12 under General Abacha and of the “home-grown democracy” under General Abacha?
Did Nigerians still recall Alhaji Hamma policy led to the setting up of five political parties that were to jointly to make General Abacha the President?
One is struck by the irony, a tragic one at that, that it is the same Alhaji Hamma that did everything to sustain the annulment and who coordinated Ahacha’s political handlers in the country to campaign that June 12 never took place. It is the same Alhaji Hamma that is today paying tribute to the process (even though erroneously) that delivered what he labored so hard to kill and bury during the time of General Abacha!
Alhaji Hamma should stop confusing the Nigerian people. Did General Buhari know the antecedents of Alhaji Hamma? Did the Nigerian people know that he was the one who came up with all the anti-democratic policies of General Abacha? I agree with Alhaji Shehu Shagari that hypocrites in politics would be found out in due course by the people, for after all, one could NOT fool the Nigerian people for too long.
It is a common knowledge that General Buhari and Dim Ojukwu were the representatives of those forces that annulled that election under General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB). They contributed in many ways to the sustenance of that annulment under General Abacha by their act of silence, complicity and omission.
Did they forget that it was that act and act alone that inflicted on the Nigerian people the most horrendous human rights violations in the nation’s history?
Did they forget that that included the arrest and detention unto death of the winner of the election that they are trying to eulogize, (MKO Abiola)?
Did they know that the annulment created the environment that supported the extra-judicial execution of the minority right advocate, Ken Saro Wiwa? Yes, as Diokpa (Professor) Chinua Achebe put it, “Saro died the day annulment took place”. What does the playwright mean? Democracy does not engage in extra-judicial execution of citizens. But a dictatorial regime of the kind that existed under General Abacha would.
Did they know that the annulment created the political environment that supported the false imprisonment of the only institution, the Nigerian military could boast of then, General Olusegun Obasanjo with his former Deputy, General Shehu Yar’Adua?
Did they forget that the annulment plunged the country into darkness for over 6 years until Chief Olusegun Obasanjo came to the scene? Could Buhari and Ojukwu and their aides dispute this fact of Nigerian history? Sometimes we forget that it was Obasanjo’s emergence that brought Nigeria out of darkness in 1999.
One could ask, where were the Buhari and the Ojukwu of this world between 1993 and 1999? Buhari was an employee of General Abacha as the Executive Chairman of PTF; Dim Ojukwu was an envoy of Abacha engaging in disinformation abroad among the Ndigbo about the June 12.
“JUNE 12” SURFACED THROUGH OJUKWU/BUHARI/OKADIGBO TODAY
On April 23, 2003 in a crowded press conference, Dim Ojukwu made fun of what MKO Abiola did in 1994 to demand his democratic rights. This was clearly a mischaracterization of what Chief MKO Abiola did in 1994. What Dim Ojukwu did on April 23 was as a loser of an election when he was trying to lay claim to an election won by Obasanjo. MKO Abiola was laying claim to an election that he won. Isn’t the difference clear?
Nigerians would recall that Dim Ojukwu wanted the Presidential election to be conducted in the manner in which the June 12 was conducted. He erroneously referred to OPTION A4 as the mechanism that made the June 12 free, fair and credible. But Dim Ojukwu ought to have told his audience his role in the denial of the democratic rights of Nigerians in the past.
Recently there was another use of June 12 to argue their case by the losers of the April 19 election. This time it was by General Buhari. He again mischaracterized the system adopted for the election in June 1993 as OPTION A4.
I was surprised that Buhari and his organization also called on INEC to adopt the OPTION A4 few days to the April 19 election as if INEC could simply come up with laws on the election. They ought to have known but wanted to mislead the people of Nigeria, the voters that the laws governing the election are what the National Assembly passed and signed into law by the President. ANPP and other parties ought to know but wants to mislead the Nigerian people that the running mate of Buhari, Dr. Okadigbo was a member of the National Assembly that passed the Electoral Bill that was signed into the Electoral Act by the President. This is the origin of the Electoral Act that INEC used for the election.
Ojukwu and Buhari were misleading the Nigerian people to give the impression that INEC does make laws about the election. Nigerians know that the Constitution and the Electoral Act guide INEC.
Dr. Chuba Okadigbo in his message to the National Assembly wants his colleagues in the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act and institutionalize OPTION A4 as the method to be used in future election. Of course, what he did not say which one could infer from his statement was that the April 19 exercise should be annulled. Chuba is a Catholic; he knows what annulment means as it applies to marriage. It means that that exercise never happened.
WHY OPTION A4 AND JUNE 12IS BORNE OUT OF MISCHIEF
Nigerians must be wondering why “June 12” or “Option A4” should have acquired such a scepter of legitimacy in the context of the April 2003 election? I wish MKO Abiola would rise from his grave! This is why I kept reminding General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) that contrary to what he wished, the June 12 would not go away just because of the factor of time. My view is that IBB should formally apologize to the country for the harm done to those who worked on it and for the country for the harm done to it and above all for the harm done to the winner of that election.
It is my view that after this apology, IBB should claim honor for what he did to produce the OPTION A4 that governed the nomination process that produced the two candidates for the June 12, 1993 Presidential election. IBB would then be in a position to correct Buhari and others that OPTION A4 had nothing to do with the election procedure on June 12.
It is now part of Nigerian history. One would not have the time and space to deal in detail with the ingredients of the process of election that made the June 12 free, fair and credible. General Buhari and Ojukwu did not know what made the June 12 what it was then. They should not therefore be reminding the Nigerian people of what they knew nothing about. They should have told the Nigerian people that they contributed the June 12 and the winner in various ways in the past.
THE RELEVANCE OF JUNE 12 TODAY: DANGER OF ANNULMENT
The context in which we should be discussing June 12 has to do with the danger posed to the democratic order of the heat generated by Buhari and Ojukwu over the April election. Nigerians should be reminded of the import in the demand of Buhari and Ojukwu that the election results in most states in Nigerian should be canceled and another election in these places held. This is the language of annulment. What they are saying in so many words is that election in over half of the country did not take place in those states in April 2003. Consequently, there was no winner as a result of the election in April 2003.
When reminded of the provision of the tribunal for the aggrieved candidates, Buhari’s language is clear on that that he would only go to the tribunal to challenge the verdict, if he were convinced that election did take place. He said for now, he is convinced that election did not take place in over 19 states in the south and in some parts of the north.
Both Buhari and Ojukwu in their press conferences of April 23 at Abuja and Enugu respectively, claimed that they did not lose the April 19 election but that they were robbed of victory by the combined effort of the President in his official capacity and as the candidate of the PDP, the security agencies and the INEC officials.
I have been warning Nigerians that Nigeria swoops in danger with the kind of candidates that ANPP and APGA produced for the April election. Here we are again those who are not satisfied with the outcome of an election are calling on heavens to fall.
It is troubling that various proposals are being floated as a response to the complaints of certain politicians about the recent elections by the ANPP and APGA precisely from General Muhammadu Buhari and Chief Emeka Ojukwu. Are they different from the run of the mill Nigerian politician?
IT’S UN-NIGERIAN TO ACCEPT THAT ONE LOST AN ELECTION
The traditional Nigerian (in fact, African) politician exhibits one pathological trait that should be cured, if democracy is to survive in Nigeria. I like the way Mr. Kayode Samuel put it: “It seems to be a very un-Nigerian thing to quietly accept an election in which you lost”. (See Vanguard of May 9, 2003) From my experience with managing the Nigerian politicians, I came to one conclusion. No Nigerian ever loses an election, even he is the most unpopular person in the community. He is robbed of victory. By whom? Of course, the opponents or the managers of the election and the security agencies are the culprits. Hence one should not be too surprised with all the hue and cry from the losers of the election. President Shehu Shagari is right; it is a case of the “pot calling kettle black”, for after all, all politicians universally are out to maximize their advantage and cut their losses. In this sense, one would say that all politicians are “master riggers”. To this we are reminded that the recent Nigerian election was massively rigged hence the loser said that they would reject and actually rejected the result of the election and the winner.
If the opponent does reject the result and the winner of that election so what? This is the question that should bother Nigerians. What is Buhari planning to do in order to make do his various boastful expressions? I tried to do a content analysis of his boastful expressions including those of his aides including his running mate, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and his collaborator, Dim Ojukwu. Here are a few.
1. “We reject the results” of the elections including those of the National Assembly, Presidential/Gubernatorial election on April 12 and April 19 respectively in most states of the federation.
2. “We will call for mass action by the Nigerian voters”.
3. “We will call for the cancellation of the Presidential and Gubernatorial election”.
4. “We will NOT take any case to the tribunal”; that one could only go to a tribunal where an election was held and that in many states, the voters did not vote.
5. “We will oppose any attempt by the PDP winners of the election to be sworn in”.
6. “We will not recognize the government that grows out of the election”.
7. “We will call on the international community not to do business with the government that grows out of the election”.
What is remarkable in the foregoing is that no one knew whom Buhari was speaking for. In fact, he initially wanted his party along with some political under the auspices of the Conference of Nigerian Political parties (CNPP) to boycott the remaining election to the State Houses of Assembly. This was when his party officials, the governors and members of the National Assembly decided to stop his excesses. From the negative reactions that his statement generated, it became obvious that he was on his own pursuing his personal agenda. The party national officials and other leaders that had different ideas are bent on taking the matter to the tribunal, if they can amass sufficient evidence.
Those of us who live and are resident abroad are being asked some pertinent questions on the aftermath of the election. We are asked to confirm or speak to the veracity of the various proposals as a response to “We will not accept the result or “we totally reject the winner of the April 19 election” by Buhari and Ojukwu. We read of the different proposals that are being peddled but Buhari/Ojukwu camp in place of the winner of the April 19 election and in place of the Obasanjo administration that would come to an end on May 28, 2003. Let me name some of them.
1. “Interim National Government”,
2. “Government of National Unity”,
3. “Provisional Government”, and
4. All Party Government”.
All these proposals are associated with the Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Summit of Igbo Leaders of Thought, and various groups in the north under the auspices of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP).
What are the common demands of these groups having rejected the winner of the April 19 election?
1. They all want the April/May elections to be cancelled;
2. They all want the President to step aside on May 29. 2003;
3. They all want all those purported to be elected in April/May this year not to be sworn-in;
4. They all want the sacking of the Service Chiefs;
5. They all want an Inquiry into the activities of INEC and the Security agencies in the recent election;
6. They all want a new Electoral Body to be set up by the interim or provisional or national or all party Government;
7. They all want the new Government to convene a Sovereign National Conference (SNC);
8. They all want a new election to be organized on the basis of the new Constitution that would grow out of the SNC;
ALL OF THEM ARE ANNULLISTS
The purpose of this article is to call on the President and the Political class who are committed to democracy to join hands together to stop the annullists. They should condemn the above plans by the defeated candidates of the ANPP and APGA because their plans amount to the annulment of the 2003 election.
I associate myself with the statement of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida that Nigeria made progress with the April/May elections. I also associate myself with his plea to the losers in the election that they should stop overheating the polity with their statement such as “we reject the winner of the election” or “we will not allow the winner to be sworn-in in May 29, 2003”.
THOSE PREACHING ANNULMENT ARE ANARCHIST
May be IBB should remind General Buhari that Nigeria should not be faced with another annulment of a democratic election twice within ten years. Nigerians this time and the world would frustrate such an action on the part of anybody. Chuba Okadigbo’s analogy between what happened in 1983 and what happened in 2003 is misplaced.
Those who are calling for the cancellation of the election are anarchists of various strands. They are indirectly calling on the Nigerian people in a negative fashion to celebrate with them the tenth anniversary of the annulment of the 1993 election, if they do not know. Maybe they do not know, but I am sure they know that what they are planning about the 2003 election would constitute the tenth anniversary of the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election. This is a troubling coincidence and Nigerian political class itching for democracy should watch out for the anti-democratic language of Buhari/Ojukwu. I do not wish to repeat them in this essay. Examples of the kind of expression one would find are:
1. “No Dialogue with Obasanjo” says Buhari in Vanguard of April 29, 2003;
2. “Ohaneze tasks Obasanjo on National Government” in Vanguard of May 1, 2003;
3. “Shinkafi accuses FG of arrogance over April polls” in Vanguard May 2, 2003;
4. “ANPP , 15 others Against Swearing-in of President, Governors” in This Day of May 2, 2003;
5. “If we want peace, we must cancel the polls” by the former National Chairman of ANPP, Alhaji Yusuf Garba Ali in Vanguard of May 3, 2003;
6. “CNPP calls for fresh polls” in Vanguard of May 7, 2003;
7. “Okadigbo calls for 3-month Provisional Government” in Vanguard of May 6, 2003;
8. “Why we can’t Accept Poll Results” by Don Etiebet, in Guardian of May 3, 2003;
9. “Ojukwu and the need for a National Government” Ojukwu in Daily Trust .
MOBS MADE JUNE 12; IT WAS NOT OPTION A4.
Now let me come to the issue raised by Alhaji Hamma of the Buhari Campaign Organization quoted above. Why are the annullists of the 1993 suddenly venerating the process that led to the June 12? Why are they suddenly remembering that that election had a winner, in person of the late Chief MKO Abiola?
They thought that the process that led to the June 12 election that made the world and Nigerians acclaim it the best in the nation’s history was OPTION A4. This is an error that occurred in various statement s of Dim Ojukwu, Buhari, Okadigbo and other functionaries of Buhari such as in Alhaji Hamma statement. If they made this error out of ignorance, could they be excused for calling on INEC to adopt the Option A4 for the presidential election?
They thought that OPTION A4 meant the same thing as the Modified Open Ballot System (MOBS). It is not. OPTION A4 was the nomination system adopted in 1992 after the botched presidential primaries that allowed all states and ethnic nationalities to vie for the post of president in the two political parties. Let me repeat, this was well discussed in Chapter 3 of my book, The Tale of June 12.
The procedure for election that we called the MOBS is well spelt out in Decree 13 of 1993. It introduced the element of openness to the element of Secrecy in the exercise. This had to do with the conduct at the polling station, counting of ballots, announcing of the votes and announcing of the figures at the collation centers.
The kind of complaints in various statements would not have been possible if the National Assembly had taken a look at the Decree 13 of 1993. Would this be the fault of the PDP or of the President or of the INEC? Non-PDP politicians who are challenging the PDP president would have been more concerned with openness. Whose fault is this?
On the late acceptance that the June 12 had a winner, it is a pity and amazing to someone like me is the recognition of the June 12, 1993 as “the only free, fair and credible election in the nation’s history”. This was the stone that was rejected by the same forces, from the north and the southeast partly because the north would for the first time be defeated in a one-person one-vote election and partly because the winner was a southwesterner. June 12 and Option A4 devise for a different purpose are now the point of reference! They know that the law that was used is still in the archive but none ever thought it fit to consult it.
Those of us who worked on the plan that produced that election are still alive and no one ever had ever consulted us (certainly me) during the days leading to the election. How do they suddenly come to appreciate that there was a winner in that exercise?
Those who are talking of OPTION A4 should revisit all their anti-democratic days in the politics of denial. To them June 12 was not organized in accordance with the law, it was not concluded; it did not produce a winner. Even Tofa five years later said that he would have won the election if the election was concluded.
In recognizing the election, they Ojukwu and Buhari are telling the Nigerian people that they knowingly worked against the Nigerian voters in the past. They should have commenced their recall of the June 12 by first of all apologizing to the country of the role they played in the denial of the democratic rights of Nigerians in the past.
They knew that June 12 was a success. They are acknowledging it today when the system put in place did not favor them. But they forgot to tell the Nigerian people their role in sustaining the annulment of the election. This is a tragic irony! One hopes that the election and erroneously attributed the success of the June 12 to what they call the OPTION A4.
I say erroneously because what they are referring to is the Modified Open Ballot System (MOBS) that can be found in Decree 13 of 1993. What is an issue today in the 2003 election was the lack of openness in the polling station and the collation centers and in the announcement of the results. This should have been addressed during the time of framing the law to govern the election. You do not frame the law after the election.
May I use this medium to make the correction that what they refer to as OPTION A4 only applies to the nomination system devised in 1992 to address the so-called problems of rotation and zoning.
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