By Kola Animashaun
I could not believe it is six years ago that we met at your office at Centre for Constitutional Governance at Ilupeju on the eve of a ‘town meeting’ taking place at the Airport Hotel Ikeja. There I sought your permission to be allowed to speak after your invited speakers might have aired their views against or in support of the Constitutional Conference of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo planned early for 2006.
As we were discussing, you received two faxed messages from your invited speakers from the north, expressing their inability to make the events scheduled for the next day. In effect you and the organisers were all left with an all southern Nigerian speakers to shoot down the conference as a third term bid by then president.
It was in the course of our animated discussion that I advised you see your physician, which you responded in the affirmative that you were due for a health check-up immediately after the town meeting. You indeed left for the check-up, came back to ‘recuperate’ for the ‘assignment’.
Alas, the information I had was a phone call from a friend a couple of weeks later that “Dotun, your egbon, Beko has passed away”, on the 10th of Feb, 2006 which made me change my course that morning: to your Imaria Close residence to commiserate and signed the condolence register.
Doctor, I once asked, when did you take to activism and abandon patient-doctor relationship, having intimated you of watching your live discussion program anchored by Danladi Bako on NTA 2 Channel 5, involving your good self, Alao Aka-Bashorun, Prof Alaba Ogunsanwo and two others.
The idea of a NATIONAL CONFERENCE OR DIALOGUE was muted in early 1990. Your retort was that efforts to discuss the National Question having been scuttled by then military administration, the annulment of 1993 election won ‘freely and squarely by Bashorun Moshood Abiola in the words of Mallam Adamu Ciroma. Ciroma later described the South West as crying ‘like rain beaten chicken’. You are being roped into a coup plot, and sentenced to jail by the Abacha administration.
Now in Feb, 2006, the drum of National Dialogue/Conference or its variant National Sovereign Conference was now drumming louder than hitherto; the drum is about bursting with dire consequence for our dear nation.
With a structure inherited from the colonialist, like in the rest of Africa, rather than create a welfare society we have only succeed in creating a warfare society. Is the present structure of governance serving us optimally? Are the supporting institutions working and present political systems working to bringing out the best in us to engender socio- economic growth and development?
We are only called Federal in name only, ‘federalising heinous acts’ like robberies, political corruptions, criminalization of politics for the sole aims of ‘naked accumulation of power’.
You were born like your other sibling into activism, your parents fought injustices and inequality in the land. In the latter course of your life you committed the energy imbued you by God to the cause of fighting human rights abuses; you went to jails and passed on to eternity in activism without letting up.
The Lagos State government have erected a park with a life statue of the quintessential Beko’s poise; with a hand in the pocket ruminating over the next move as a memorial. Alas, a heart rending event in form of a protest ostensibly against fuel price hike took place in the land at Ojota, Lagos.
Gani Fawehinmi Memorial Park in Lagos where elements of civil societies, labour and other decided to ‘occupy Nigeria’ – an allusion to the current fad in the west where discontented youths are protesting. A fad that we need to de-link from, and embrace the essence of our beings by looking inwards to our culture.
You will be so amused by the various reactions that the protests elicited across the lands; that the South West are now in cahoot with the North West to protest again the regime of a South-Southerners, while South -East seem unconcerned as it looks like they have lost interest in protecting Nigeria as presently constituted.
Instead of supporting the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, a ‘shoeless boy’ in his own words, who strings good-lucks, have ‘catapulted’ to the presidency from Otuoke in Bayelsa and whose mantra is TRANSFORMATION. Could this be a case of Nigeria National Dialogue by other means?
That your comrades who were so enamoured of SELF DETERMNINATION agenda a couple of years back whose mantra was then encapsulated in ‘osa ti o ba le gbemi ko fi mi sile bo ti bami , are now seeking A REGIME CHANGE or POWER, to continue status quo by other mean.
Your Campaign for Democracy ably led by erstwhile Secretary Joe was at the fore front supported by the hubby who has a transformed experience in recent times. He was spokesperson of Afenifere and moved to that of the pretender group, Afenifere Renewal Group and ending up as a spokesperson for a conservative political party Congress Party for Change with Rtd Gen Mohammed Buhari.
There was’ prophetic’ pastor Tunde Bakare founder of Save Nigeria Group as vice-presidential candidate, with your indefatigable and irrepressible Femi Falana not founding wanting.
(To be continued)
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