By Eric Teniola
IN January 1990, the Federal Military Government amended Decree Two, shortening the time a person may be detained without charge from six months to six weeks; it named the Chief of the General Staff, Admiral Augustus Akhabue Aikhomu (1939-2011) as the only authorised signatory of detention orders and created a review panel to make recommendations for the release or continued detention of detainees. Ministry of Justice officials stated that Decree 24, issued in late 1990, transferred those authorizing powers to the civilian Vice Presidency, the office that replaced the CGS in August.
The Decree had not been made public at year’s end, causing some civil rights attorneys to criticize its issuance as an effort to sidetrack wrongful detention suits pending against the Federal Military Government. Modifications notwithstanding, many Nigerians considered Decree Two a threat to their basic freedoms because the Decree’s judicial ouster clause encourages arbitrary detention, with impunity for the arresting officers.
Additionally, there were widespread credible reports that the provisions of Decree Two were not always followed by police and security officers. Police and security officials routinely forged detention orders. In the aftermath of the April 22 coup attempt, the Federal Military Government detained more than 100 civilians for statements critical of the Government or possible association with suspected coup plotters. Some were detained under Decree Two, others without being charged. Among the prominent detainees were former Presidential candidate, Tunji Braithwaite, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, vice president Jolly Tanko Yusuf, former Minister of Mines, Power and Steel Paul Unongo, and several university professors and student leaders. Their periods of detention ranged from a few days to over three months for Professor Obaro Ikime.
On May 19, 1990 General Ibrahim Babangida lifted the three months ban on political campaign and May 26, 1990, ward elections were held in the 5,575wards in the country.
On June 8, 1990, THE PUNCH newspaper was closed down for three weeks by the Federal Government and thereafter the publisher of NEWBREED magazine was detained.
On July 25, 1991, the National Conventions of the two political parties were held in Abuja. Chief Tom Ikimi (74) defeated Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu to emerge as the chairman of the National Republican Convention. Chief Tom Ikimi is from Igueben in the present Edo state. He was born in Kumba-Southern, British Cameroons (modern-day Cameroon) to John Onile Ikimi and Victoria Isiemoa Ikimi, both from Igueben. In the Social Democratic Party, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingigbe defeated Mohammed Arzika. Ambassador Kingibe (73) from Maiduguri, was former head, current affairs and features department, Northern Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation(now Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria), 1970-1972, external affairs officer, Ministry of External Affairs, Lagos, Nigeria, 1972-1975, senior counselor, Nigeria High Commission, London, Nigeria Ambassador to Greece with accreditation to Cyprus, 1981-1984, Nigerian ambassador to Pakistan , 1984-1987, secretary, Constituent Assembly, Abuja, Nigeria, 1988-1989.
In later years, Tom Ikimi and Baba Gana Kingibe became Ministers under General Sani Abacha while under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Arzika became Minister for Communications and Ibrahim Mantu became deputy Senate President.
On December 8, 1990, elections were held into local government councils with voters’ turn out estimated roughly as under 20% nationwide. The SDP won 53% of the local government chairmanships and local counselors positions.
On March 27, 1991, the Armed Forces Ruling Council opted for open ballot for all future elections. And on June 15, 1991, delegates elections into local government and state congresses were held throughout the nation. On August 27, 1991, General Babangida created nine new states. They were— Abia, Anambra, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Osun, Yobe and Taraba states as well as 47 new local governments. On September 23, 1991, General Babangida created 89 local governments while on October 19, 1991, governorship primaries were held in all the states. On October 6, 1991, SDP held elections in 10 states while the NRC held its on November 9, 1991.
On November 15, 1991, NRC presented governorship candidates to the NEC meeting. On November 25, 1991, the government disqualified 12 governorship aspirants including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Bala Takaya, from nine states and ordered fresh elections in those states. On December 2, 1991, General Babangida disqualified prominent politicians and detained them. They were Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Alhaji Maitama Yusuf, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Chief C.C. Onoh, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Arthur Nzeribe, Chief Olusola Saraki, Mr. Solomon Lar and Major General (rtd.) Musa Shehu Yar’adua. On December 18, 1991, General Babangida released the detained politicians and threw open the presidential race.
On January 2, 1992, all the elected governors of the 30 states were sworn-in and the entire federal cabinet was dissolved. The governors and their deputies were Abia-Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu-Clement Nwankwo, Adamawa- Alhaji Sale Michika-Mr. Lynn Nathan, Akwa Ibom-Obong Akpan Isemin-Etim Okpoyo, Anambra- Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife-Dr Chidi Mwike, Bauchi-Alhaji Dahiru Mohammed-Alhaji Umaru Ahmed, Benue-Reverend Father Moses Adasu-Yakubu Agda, Borno-Alhaji Maiji Lawan-Alhaji Hassan, Cross River-Clement Ebri-Cecilia Ekpeyong, Delta-Felix Ibru-Samson Ebonka, Edo-John Oyegun-Reverend Peter Obada, Enugu- Okwesilieze Nwodo-Dr. Icha Ituma, Imo- Evan Enwerem-Dr. Douglas Acholonu, Jigawa-Alhaji A.S. Birmikudi-Alhaji Shehu Kwafalo, Kaduna-Alhaji Mohammed Lere-James Mugaji, Kano-Alhaji Kabiru Gaya-Alhaji Ahmed Usman, Katsina-Alhaji Saidu Barda-Alhaji Abdullahi Amidu, Kwara- Alhaji Shaaba Lafiagi-Prince Ojo Fadumila, Kebbi-Alhaji Abubakar Musa-Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed, Kogi-Alhaji Abubakar Audu-S. Ola Akande, Lagos- Michael Otedola-Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu, Niger- Dr. Musa Inuwa-Alhaji Jibo Garba, Ogun-Olusegun Osoba-Alhaji Rafiu Ogunleye, Ondo-Bamidele Olumilua-Dr. Olusegun Agagu, Osun-Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke-Clement Adesuyi Haastrup, Oyo-Kolapo Ishola-Alhaji Ahmed Gbadamosi, Plateau-Fidelis Tapgun- Alhaji Bala Usman, Rivers-Rufus Ada-George-Dr. Peter Odili, Sokoto-Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkarim-Alhaji Ahmed Gusau, Taraba-Reverend Jolly Nyame- Alhaji S.D. Gani and Yobe-Alhaji Abba Ibrahim-Alhaji Goni Bura.
The following served as Ministers under General Babangida. They were—General Sani Abacha, Lt-Colonel Ahmed Aboki Abdullahi, Air Commodore Hamza Abdullahi, Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar, Prince Bola Ajibola, Lt-General (rtd) Julius Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, Alex Akinyele,Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Clement Akpamgbo, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, Professor Jubril Aminu, Alhaji Mamman Ankah, Lt-Colonel Abubakar Tanko Ayuba, Major –General Domkat Yah Bali, Professor Gordian Ezekwe, Professor Emmanuel Emovon, Eyoma Ita Eyoma, Professor Babatunde Fafunwa, Olu Falae, T.O. Graham-Douglas, Air Commodore Lamba Deng Gwom,Alhaji Abubakar Hashidu, Zakari Ibrahim, Olawale Ige, Air Commodore Anthony Ikhazobor, Air Vice-Marshall Nuradeen Mohammed Imam, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, Major-General Mamman Tsofo Kontagora, Rear Admiral Sebo Patrick Koshoni, Major-General Yohanna Yerima Kure, Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, Air Commodore Adebayo Hammed Lawal, Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman, Brigadier David Bonaventure Mark, Alhaji Lawal Mala, Major-General Abdullahi Bagudu Mamman, Alhaji Ismaila Mamman, Prince Tony Momoh, Alhaji Bunu Sheriff Musa, Dr. Shetima Mustapha, Major-General Muhammadu Gado Nasko, Major-General Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu, Dr. Chu Okongwu, Air Vice-Marshal Anthony Okpere, Dr. Tunji Olagunju, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, Air Vice-Marshal Ishaya Aboi Shekari, Senas Ukpanah, Lt-Colonel Anthony Ukpo, Alhaji Abubakar Umar, Brigadier Jeremiah Timbut Useni, Major-General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, Professor Tam David-West and Alhaji Ibrahim Zakaw.
ERIC TENIOLA, A FORMER DIRECTOR AT THE PRESIDENCY STAYS IN LAGOS