*‘Why Jonathan must support Oshiomhole’
*Says amalgamation was a terrible mistake
OMO OMORUYI’S ANTECEDENTS
I was involved in the three stages in the election process that produced what we call today ‘June 12’ Those of us who worked on the three stages never, never planned for its cancellation or annulment. For the reader, the three stages of an election process according to the standard text in election planning are the pre election day activities, the election day activities and the post-election day activities. In 1993, we passed the first and the second and the problem arose as we approached the third stage.
The cancellation or annulment, which occurred after the second stage was alien to the plan and so could not have been thought of at all. It is over simplification of a complex issue for Chief Obasanjo to say that the cancellation arose from bad belle. What is bad belle? May be he should have said the cancellation and annulment was caused by drug barons!
The military president also knew that the action taken then by the military, not by him as a personal decision, was not provided for in the decrees governing the transition programme. We must accept that Nigeria was under a military government. Did General Babangida stop the political class from fighting for what they believed in? This is critical to the issue of docility that would be addressed later in this piece.
PRONOUNCING JUNE 12 ELECTION FREE AND FAIR
One will recall that I was the only one in the government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida that ever, at that time, pronounced, “the presidential election was free, fair and credible”. I still recall the interview I granted to my good friend Segun Adeniyi, who was then the Abuja reporter for African Concord. See African Concord June 26, 1993. This interview was granted on June 16, 1993, a week before the cancellation of the election that occurred on June 23. Thank you Segun for making me make that profound statement, that the June 12 presidential election was free, fair and credible. I still treasure that interview.
WHY IBB DID NOT INSIST ON A RETRACTION
To many people in government at that time, I should have been made by General Babangida to retract that statement. General Babangida knew me well that I speak from my heart. He knew that I came out of the university in 1989 to tell him the truth. He could not make me retract what he genuinely knew to be true. I still pay tribute to him for allowing me to be myself as a political scientist assisting him to promote democracy. This is why we are still friends. He knew that my statement was truthful and that that statement arose from what he asked me to do. One would recall that I granted that interview on June 16, 1993, few hours after the Chairman of NEC stopped displaying the election results on the board.
From the machinery developed at the Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS) under the auspices of the National Election Monitoring Group (NEMG), and, in strict application of the guideline governing the presidential election, which we called then the Modified Open Ballot System (MOBS), my office knew and had all the results including the winners and the losers as at June 15, 1993. Nigerians and the international community had all the results; the Presidency had all the results too. As at June 15, the winner of that election was known as Chief M.K.O.Abiola. What was left was for NEC to officially say so and for Chief Abiola to be sworn-in on August 27, 1993.
One would recall that displaying the results on the board or announcing the final result officially was not what the decree said any way as constituting the result from the Modified Open Ballot System (MOBS).
The former President, Chief Obasanjo, belatedly, confessed, in the church, on June3, 2007 at Abeokuta, that his fellow Ogun/Egba indigene was prevented from being sworn-in as an elected president because of ‘bad belle’. This is hogwash; I said earlier that it was an over simplification of a complex issue that he too recognized at the Baptist Church in his sermon on June 20, 1998.
Applying the secret and open elements (MOBS) to the process was what would have saved the 2007 election. It should be noted that MOBS was part of the 2007 Electoral Act; it was only for decoration as the application was a different issue.
TWO BETRAYALS OF MKO BY OBASANJO
I was elated when Chief Obasanjo in 1998, after his release from Abacha gulag, publicly announced at Owu Baptist Church what God told him about June 12 while he was meditating in prison. I wrote two essays on this matter after 1999 when he was forgetting his prophesy after he became president.
Here is a man from the same place as Abiola; he openly rejected MKO that Chief Abiola was not the messiah Nigerians were waiting for. I was elated when he was publicly confessing after his release from the Abacha gulag that God spoke to him about June 12. When I read his sermon, my joy knew no bound. I said to myself in my lonely place in the US that the truth about June 12 and MKO would soon come to light. That he did not make do his prophesy through out his reign as President of Nigeria must have been one aspect of what the Anglican Bishop was referring to. Even in death, MKO Abiola was one case where Chief Obasanjo needs to seek God’s forgiveness.
(These essays can be accessed from the www titled: OBJ; Go Back to Your Sermon on Olumo Rock 1 and 2”).
Why Obasanjo did not refer to his prophecy after he became president was one of the greatest betrayals in Nigerian history.
The second betrayal was his decision to ignore the fact of June 12 and Chief MKO Abiola until after leaving office when he openly said in his church that only bad belle made some people deny MKO his mandate.
JUNE 12 WAS CRITICAL TO DEMOCRACY
What was critical about the Olumo Rock Sermon was the profound statement of Chief Obasanjo “that without the resolution of the events of June 12, 1993, we may not have a firm and solid foundation to erect the structure of democracy on a lasting basis”. He was right then; is he not still right today? The issues in the annulment are still with us today. One would have thought that the issues in the annulment would have been addressed by Chief Obasanjo as part of his political program as soon as God made it possible for him to be the man to succeed the military.
What is the contribution of Chief Abiola to democracy? From June 12, Nigerians and the world knew that he fought for the sanctity of the ballot box and died in its defense if we compare this with Chief Obasanjo’s contribution today, do we leave to history? But I can say from the election of April 2007 that Chief Obasanjo did not believe in multi-partism and paid lip service to the vote and voters as the basis of installing a government.
Chief Obasanjo merely declaring May 29 every year “Democracy Day” is histrionics and not history. It cannot promote democracy. He did not need any one to preach to him that Chief Abiola should have been immortalized. He would have been implementing the sermon he preached at Owu on June 20, 1998. That is why I wrote him a two-part essays that he should go back to his Sermon on Olumo Rock. He too should read the sermon today after leaving office. Fortunately these essays were published in some Nigeria newspapers. People read it and commended me for reminding him.
My father was a school master who trained many people in Benin. My mother did not go to school but she appreciates the efficacy of education. I am blessed. School master I was, university teacher I was, a committed democrat I was, politician I was. I grew up as a good Christian. In fact, there are three names I ever had in life, one, Monday because I was born on a Monday. Secondly, my father gave a name called Christian, but I abandoned that name in the 50s and kept a name called Omorionwan.
That is the name I have today, very few people know that that is my name. Many people know Omo Omoruyi, they don’t know the meaning of Omo, it is Omorionwan which is adapted from Omonhionwan. This is my original name but it is always too long to call. And for you journalists, I leave it as Omo-Omoruyi. But officially I am Omonhionwan Omoruyi.
Why the abandonment of Christian name?
I did not think I should carry this European name. Besides, it was one day, my father and I were talking and he said God bless you, Ovbionwahionwan. I now said ‘Papa, I will keep that name’, that is, one’s child can never abandon one. But because it will be difficult for people to pronounce it, I decided to change it to Omorhionwan. And all my schools in America, it is Omorhionwan Omoruyi. And Omoruyi is the name of my mother. My grand father was Chief Obamoyi of Benin at Sakpoba Road .
I had cancer in 2008. I did not know I had cancer. I knew I was having the problem of walking. I just gave out my daughter in marriage in Benin in September 2007. And I managed to crawl out of Benin and went to Abuja . I went to the National Hospital, from January-February 2008, they kept giving me pain killers and finally I broke down.
Then, through the support of my lawyer, Barr. Omonuwa, they took me to the US, and flew me to Boston Medical Center. That day was a miracle day, it was a day God intervened in my favour. If I had stayed a day longer in Nigeria, I would have been dead. Life stopped from coming gradually, from my two legs up to my navel, no life. And then they rushed me to the theater, a neuro-surgeon opened me up and then they discovered what is called spinal cord compression which was gradually invading my spinal cord. And they discovered eight or nine cancerous tumor.
And further analysis discovered that the cancer had spread to my lungs, to my bone, you name it. They call it megastatic prostrate cancer. I had to undergo radiation, rehabilitation to bring about life back to my two legs. Today I give thanks to God. I am still alive today because of God.
By, May 31, this year, I became 74 years old. I spent it to further reflect on what God has done for me. How do I spend my time as a cancer survivor? I believe in the efficacy of prayers and God has been answering my prayers and sustaining me. God has also used several people to assist me: late President Yar’Adua, Gen.Danjuma and his wife, Governor Oshiomhole, former Governor Osunbor.
If Osunbor was given the ticket of the PDP, I would have had difficulty on who to support because Osunbor is a good man. Osunbor is a very good man but, unfortunately, the PDP does not appreciate any good thing. I told Osunbor that those people will not nominate you and it happened.
Fears of a cancer survivor
The fears are usually two: The fear of reoccurrence, it can come back. Nobody can tell you I am hundred per cent sure. When you say survivor it means abated. It is not that all the cancer cells are dead. It can give you more years too. The other fear is the fear of sudden death. To me, I no longer, as a Christian, have the fear of that. If it comes today, oh, God has been kind to me. One cannot achieve all he wants in life, but I have tried,
I have paid my dues in this country as a professor, as a partisan politician, as public policy man, as a promoter of democracy, therefore to begin to worry that I have not achieved enough is not normal. I am a contented man, I don’t need too much. I have four children, two boys and two girls, and I am satisfied with what they are doing in life. I am not afraid of death and have told people I don’t want state tribute. If you want to help me, give me today what to eat because I don’t want a flamboyant burial. Having gone for test two months ago, it has not come back and I can go about. I no longer use walking stick, I could eat and also sleep well. It is one thing which is difficult to tell people how one will survive, how one will end. I pray it does not come back but I thank God.
On Gen.Owoye Azazi’s statement on PDP and insurgency?
Azazi is the National Security Adviser and he was right on what he said. I am not sure he made a statement different from what he told the president. As NSA, he is the closest man to the President on matters of national security.
When I said he made a guided statement, he tried not to say too much out side and he must have said so much to his Oga. So any one who tries to persecute him does not know what he is talking about. He is a four-star General; so he is not a baby.
He was only trying to advise the PDP to put its home in order. What are we even talking about, is it not obvious that there is a group in PDP that does not want Jonathan? That group from the North even predicted that they were going to make governance uncomfortable for him if he wins the election.
Are we not seeing it now? Gen.Danjuma made a statement recently also talking about the same issue, about Nigeria being on fire.
And Danjuma does not speak too often, so when he says some things, go and weigh it very seriously. Another military man, Shuwa, in one of the papers, tried to challenge Gen.Danjuma. But let me tell you, Prof. Ango Abdulahi, former VC Ahmadu Bello University, in repeating what Ahmadu Bello said, in response to Chief Enahoro’s motion of 1953, that 1914 amalgamation was an error.
Whether you believe him or not, it is the amalgamation which says the North will continue to rule this country and that the South will continue to be follow-follow. That is the basis of the annulment of June 12. I have said it so many times, it is in my book, The Tale of June 12. Sir James Robertson even said it in his book that putting Nigeria together was an error. That they did not address the ethnic issue, and that ethnic issue made the North the permanent ruler and the South the permanent servant. And we call it a conjugal power structure.
And you don’t use one person one vote to reverse the conjugal power structure to make the husband the wife and vice versa. So what happened in June 12 was that the wife, by virtue of the votes, was now making Abiola the husband. But the Oga said no way, it can’t happen.
And I wrote a note to President Jonathan, I said, Sir, the reason Abiola could not be President in 1993 are the reason why they are objecting to you today.
The same reason why Azikiwe could not be Executive President, the same reason why Awolowo could not be, the same reason why Ekwueme could not be. But the same reason why OBJ could be because he is somebody they could use. If you are not a southerner they can use, then you are in trouble’. That is what Azazi was trying to explain that the zoning formula of the PDP clearly does not provide for the southerner to be a presidential candidate. He did not say any thing unusual. That is why I suggested a solution, the fundamental restructuring of Nigeria .
It is the answer to our problem. We should sit down and discuss. There are two problems we should resolve: one, how to live together, we have not resolve it.
How to govern Nigeria, we have not resolved it, it is in my book. So, to me, these are the two fundamental questions that should be resolved. Jonathan should not discard that problem, it is the fact. I love what EK Clark said recently too on the issue. If oil were discovered in Kaduna , if oil was discovered in Ibadan or Enugu, who owns the oil would not be an issue.
Since oil is now found in an area which was neglected in Nigeria, that is why everybody is talking the way they are talking today. This was why EK Clark talked about 13 per cent derivation. I am working on a draft on a paper I submitted to the South-South governors in 1999, what I call the politics of oil. I believe that we must address that question, who owns oil. If it were found in the North or Enugu or Ibadan, it would have been another story.
Jonathan and 2015
Why should that be an issue? The constitution provides for a second term for him if he wants. But it will be unfair for him to start talking about it now that they want to disorganize him. OBJ came to power on the same principle of one term based on the agreement he signed with the North. But he came for a second term. Nobody should disturb Jonathan in the interest of the nation. But those blowing bombs to destabilize Jonathan should know that others have the capacity to respond; so everybody should be careful.