By Yinka Odumakin
FOR the first time, I am sharing the story of why I served as the spokesman of General Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 elections. But for the historic meeting of the North and South at Nicon Luxury in Abuja last Wednesday ,I had planned to write about it in my memoirs .
The year 2011 was the one a lot of my friends became my enemies on account of agreeing to work with Buhari .Ironically, by the time I parted ways with him in 2015 nearly everyone of them became a Buharideen and I had the last laugh as the joke was on them.
The decision to work with Buhari in 2011 was not mine. ? It was as a result of a vision Pastor Tunde Bakare shared with us a year earlier how he saw conjoined twins screaming “do not separate us, lest we die.” He subsequently gained understanding that the twins represented north and south of Nigeria and that we needed the best of the two to come together to save the country.?
When the moment came and Gen. Buhari approached Pastor Bakare to be his running mate and I should be his spokesman, one thought the vision was about to be fulfilled. I was asked to meet the Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Mr. Sam Ndah Isaiah when I got to Abuja. He talked about his brief to arrange a car and work out some financial package. I didn’t returned there for that discussion as I saw the assignment more of a cause than anything else. I remember taking a car to Abuja from Lagos for my use. I worked pro bono. In fairness to Buhari, he gave me a gift when I was traveling abroad at a time and that was all.
We lost the election and I moved on with my life for reasons I would state in future. And when the APC merger process started in 2013, I was nominated into the CPC merger committee but I told Pastor Bakare that I was not interested in serving. He insisted I should meet other members in Abuja and explain to them. I went to Abuja and met Nasir El-Rufai,Hadiza Bala Usman and others to tell them I was not going to participate in the process because I was not a member of CPC besides other strong reasons why I would not be comfortable in the arrangement.
That opened another phase of enmity. I recall traveling on a British Airways flight to London in 2015 and met El-Rufai who got introduced to Pastor Bakare through me at the lounge. I greeted him and he ignored me. As it turned out,our seats were assigned next to each other but we did not exchange a word from Abuja to London. I shook my head at how petty it could get!
The 2010 vision of Pastor Bakare had such hold on me as it was rooted also in a forecast by the immortal Awo in 1983.
It was at the congress of the UPN in Abeokuta on Thursday, 15 December, ’83, that Awo declared as follows: ‘The goal of dialectic process is perfection. It aims at the perfect attainment of all the virtues embodied in it. Whether we like it or not, all human beings are inescapably involved in the binary compounds of thesis and antithesis of the dialectical procession. In other words, all of us in the UPN and those of them in the NPN and other parties are already in the thesis-antithesis war. When the war is over, only the best of us will be accommodated in the synthesis, with the best in the antithesis in complete dominance’. Going forward, Papa said: ‘I do not hesitate to aver, in all sincerity and solemnity, that the NPN, together with its political regime and all that it stands for, symbolises the thesis, and that the UPN together with all those who are conscientiously and honestly opposed to the NPN, symbolizes the antithesis. The war between the two is already being waged with vehemence and inflexible resolve. Sooner or later, I believe much sooner than later -the figurative ‘explosion’ will occur in which the forces of the thesis and the antithesis, in their original forms, will disappear. Then the synthesis will appear which will embody the best in the NPN (thesis) and the best in the UPN (antithesis). But the dominant feature of the synthesis will be the best in the UPN’.
The vision being for an appointed time would seem to have come to pass as the best of the North and South gathered at the Nicon Luxury to ruminate over the spate of killings in Nigeria and official unwillingness to end it. At no time in recent history has such forces exchanging views over the fence in the years gathered at the table of brotherhood apart from the 2014 National conference where the convener of the conference brought them together.This was their own making.
The North paraded Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Amb. Yahaya Kwande, Dr. Junaid Mohammed , Hon. Ghali Naaba, Alhaji Isa Yuguda, Capt. Idris Wada, Dr.Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Sheik Gumi, Senator Saidu Dansadau, Yunus Usman(SAN), Senator Ilah Gada, Mr. John Dara, Gen. Saleh Maina, Rev. Bitrus Dangiwa, Hon. Aminu Adam among many others .
The South paraded Chief Edwin Clark,Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief John Nwodo, AVM Ikanga Idongesit, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Chief Olusegun obasanjo Rep), Prof. Banji Akintoye, Senator Adolphous Wabara, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Chief Ozekwesili Nwodo , Col. Tony Nyiam, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Gen. CRU Ihekire among others.
Apart from all these leaders declaring that Nigeria is in dire need of a dynamic and visionary leadership that can guarantee the security of lives of Nigerians, they are committed to a key resolution that will shape the future of Nigeria when they vowed “to reach a consensus on the positions of the various communities and arrive at an agreed template on the issue of federalism and restructuring in Nigeria, among others .”
The history of Nigeria will not be the same ever again if the community of leaders remain faithful to this declaration.
That the beneficiaries of the current iniquity in Nigeria are scared stiff of the dawn of a new day came out with vitriol against this gathering of nobles heaping insults and vertisols. But they got it back in full measure from Arewa Youth Consultative Forum in a statement signed by Shettima Yerima which said:
“Our attention has been drawn to the intemperate and highly immature response by the Presidency to the historic summit of the Nothern Elders Forum, Afenifere,Ohanaeze and PANDEF on the spate of killings in Nigeria under the incompetent Goverment of President Muhammadu Buhari.
It is sad that instead of facing the honest assessment of the killing fields Nigeria has become under this government by elders and leaders who have nothing at stake but the best interest of Nigeria, the Presidency resorted to crude attacks and motor park insults.
To say that elders who have no material needs in their very old years are shedding “crocodile tears” because a government that has been rated the most corrupt in our history has blocked their access to public funds is laughable as a ridiculous claim but sad because it reflects how petty and shallow the minds in charge of our affairs are.
The response has confirmed the take of the leaders that Nigeria needs a dynamic and visionary leadership to take over from the current incompetent,insensitive and visionless bunch running the country to the edge of the precipice.
We understand that the coming together of patriots from every corner of Nigeria to take a common stand against the misgovernance called government in our country has robbed this presidency of its desperate card of divide and rule of playing sections of the country against themselves .
It is now clear that this government represents no section of Nigeria except the cabal of evil doers.
This achievement of oneness that now drives the administration to extreme desperation is a good reason for the very senior citizens across Nigeria to ignore the virtuperations of a sinking administration.”
That takes care of it. Remain focused the best of South and North.
Ekiti polls:Poverty as a weapon of engineering
THANKS for the above subject.It seems that our oppressors will only agree that there is stark poverty in Nigeria when all afflicted by this malise kick the bucket. The evidences of high levels of poverty in Nigeria are full on ground and a minister is picking holes in the report a reputable organization wrote on the level of poverty in Nigeria. What you can tell a blind man is that there is no oil in the soup, not there is no salt in the soup.
Why will poverty not devour Nigerians when in a state in the South east markets are destroyed, pensioners are owed arrears of their monthly pension? When they are even paid,forty percent is given to them.
Why will poverty not hunt us when civil servants are owed salaries for months on end? Today, many Nigerians are victims of untimely death because of poverty. The show of shame of money for votes did not start with Ekiti polls. After all, the same governor of the state where markets are demolished told the citizens in 2015 that his money not their vote reelected him.
I am not surprised at what happened during the July 2018 Ekiti polls. Like you, I believe that the era of money for the votes of the down trodden will soon be over. The dry bones will rise again. The Redemption Song of Bob Marley will always stand. Not even the inhuman and self centred Nigerian politicians will prevent us to free our minds and emancipated ourselves from mental slavery when the time comes. That time is Now.
-Tony O. Ekwe.