Lest we forget, the soul whose form of incarnation we used to address as Major Akinloye Akinyemi has risen. This needs to be remembered particularly by souls like ours, which are still subject to the physio-and psycho-logical laws of the physical bodies of our embodiments in particular, and to the time and place we find ourselves in general.
For those still in doubt that the soul which used to be caged in the person of Akinloye has, like a caged bird, been set free, I suggest we pray. We pray fervently that he is enabled soon to attain perfection in Christ Consciousness. So that, like Apostle Paul, Akinloye is able to declare: “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God…I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:19-20).
In existential life and during his body's dying experience, the Major was fearless. This is a quality that marked him out from the crowd. It is most likely that the dare-good paratrooper which he was, knew that it is only the biological body that dies. That is, far from there being annihilation, the dying phase is a period of the transition of the soul from temporal existence to eternal life.
Akin must have known, as Saint Paul did, that death does not touch our true Self. Is this not why Paul taught that death “has no power to sting those who believe in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)?
Whenever Major Akinloye was called for services in the defence and promotion of Justice, Truth and the welfare of the oppressed, he was in relation to many Nigerian leaders, literally like an eagle or lion among goats. But whenever he found himself amongst these leaders being unrighteous, Akinloye became a sheep among wolves.
Being unafraid of death and, above all, the liberation, God willing, of Akin's soul to the Boundless Consciousness of Christ, are no mean feats. Thus I took a temporary hiatus from the writing of an intervention in the ongoing Nigeria's constitutional reforms debate to quickly compose and rush out this eulogy to my very dear comrade.
The proposed book to which I refer above is on the subject of a political-economic system which Akin and I have, for decades, prayed and acted to build in our country. Akin had often reminded me that restoring Nigeria to true democratic federalism is a task that must be done, as the fake democracy and federalism we are now promoting, will lead us to a fall. This is why the title of the forthcoming book is 'True Federal Democracy or The Implosion Awaiting Us Nigerians'.
Major Akinloye Akinyemi was a de-tribalised gentleman who loved humanity in general and Nigeria in particular. This is why I plead for this opportunity to correct any wrong impression any one has about our friend, and put on record the self-sacrifices which Major Akinyemi made for some of the democratic freedoms, and respect for human dignity, which we are beginning to taste in Nigeria.
There is an urgent need for those who have sincerely sacrificed for us Nigerians to have a better livelihood, to be adequately recognised. A better understanding of the nature of the sacrifices which heroes, like Akinloye, have made is very useful for the well being of our society. This is particularly good for our youths’ upbringing.
It is equally relevant that the pretentious democrats or statesmen, or the internal colonisers, in our midst, need to be exposed and put to shame for what they are.
Thus I am reverently seeking the kind permission of both the noble Akinyemi’s family and my comrades in the struggle for a better Nigeria, to make certain disclosures. Some or more correctly a few people might not be happy with what they see in this tribute. I must confess: it is paradoxically speaking, some Boundless Consciousness, a State of Being greater than Tony Nyiam making the revelations. So if anyone has any fight to fight over these revelations they should go and contend with the Holy Ghost Fire, to use a Pentecostalist preferred terminology.
This book’s list of the names of both those who were for, and against, Abacha’s military regime is far from being an exhaustive recognition of those I have worked with directly or indirectly. I have had to use reliable sources to confirm the roles of those who I did not work directly with. One such reliable source is Kunle Ajibade’s Jailed For Life: A reporter’s Prison Notes.
As you may find, this writer seems to be like a medium urged on by the transited Major Akinloye Akinyemi to allow himself to be used to speak the truth. After all, this is part of why God has extended the writer’s existential life. This writer, for your information, has been blessed with overcoming well over five close shaves with the death of his biological body.
These revelations will not include disclosures about the covert agents, and their roles, which underpinned what has become known as the “1990 Major Gideon Orkar action”. As for our internal colonisers and their stooges, I have no apologies to make.
I am having to do this not because Akin needed the adulation of we humans. He after all, did repeatedly put to practice the understanding of Jesus' exhortation: “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men,…otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).
I am setting the records straight not for Major Akinyemi's sake but rather for the sake of the living. The reasons why I do not want the contributions which this gallant officer made to our freedom forgotten are manifold. Let me at this juncture briefly comment on one or two of the reasons.
Major Akinyemi's consistent struggle against the mis-use of our armed forces for ethnic, or selfish, interests needs to be emulated. The Major would not have allowed his military unit to be used to cover up election rigging or thumb printing of ballot papers in private homes.
Any unit commanded by Major Akinyemi's type of army officer would not have stood idly by to see the Federal Police being used to attempt to unseat a duly elected Governor. This is in reference to the paramilitary coup attempt against former Anambra State Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige. These federal government abuses of power were all done under the former President Olusegun Obasanjo's watch.
A CELEBRATION OF LIFE
Thus we must remember, that we are here to celebrate the physical life of a great soul. A ray of the light of the Holy Spirit which through the being named Akinloye, had many manifestations on earth. First as a son, brother and cousin, next as a brilliant student, an award winner and the best foreign officer cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK; very warm friend, boy-friend, husband, and father.
For a major part of his life, Akinloye served as a regular combatant officer and a signals communication expert. This was followed by service in defense and promotion of democracy in particular and human rights in general. And finally, during the last twelve years, or thereabouts, of his biological life, Akin trained and was ordained a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Akinloye Akinyemi was not only a practicing Christian but also a practical exemplifier of the teachings of Jesus. His faith helped him to survive numerous betrayals. Jesus' exemplary life taught him to forgive and that he had a moral obligation to help others in need.
Those of us who were inspired by Akin's uncommon courage, clarity of thought and expression, utmost integrity and honesty in the conduct of official or personal dealings, great loyalty and dedication to friends, fairness and straight forwardness, and so on, can attest to the footprints he left behind on the sands of time. A whole book could be written about this, one unsung hero of Nigeria. It is because of time constraints that we will be limiting this tribute to the following highlights of Major Akinyemi's life:
• The consistency of the Major's courage and integrity.
• The self sacrifices, including with his body, which Akin made for all seekers of democratic freedom, upholders of the dignity and the honour of an officer and gentleman, and for lovers of humanity, particularly the oppressed.
• Pastor Akinloye Akinyemi's example of submission to Christ.
A MAN OF COURAGE AND TRANSPARENCY
All through my over forty years of keeping in contact with Akin, he was always truthful, dutiful and compassionate. My first encounter with him was towards the end of the 1960s. This was during a military training bush camp in Igbo Ora. Then a slightly built teenager, Akin had attended the camp from Government College, Ibadan (GCI) where he was a secondary school army cadet. I was then a boy soldier, student of the Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria.
Apart from my chest size, I too like the adolescent Akinloye, had, as a youth, the slightest of body frames. I had, in fact, a pair of skinny legs. The slimness of my body came from my slim mum. My legs’ appearance, however, seems to have given rise to my being called names. One of such name calling, by one of my Hausa speaking school peers, was “tsinken tsire”. This caricature of my legs in English meant that my legs were as skinny as the wire like sticks used to hold together minced suya meat.
My reaction to my legs being described as tsinken tsire was invariably one of shaking with fury. I think the aggressive response stopped for good the name caller and others, from ever uttering the unwelcomed analogy. It might be necessary for you to be informed that as a child I was a stammerer and subsequently as a teenager spoke with a slight stammer.
The combination of my tendencies of stammering and speaking fast, used to lead to a bottling up of words with the attendant possibility of my being seen with eyes blazing with fury when offended. My aggressive response should also been seen from the context that I was a new arrival to a far-northern Hausa-Fulani city from faraway Lagos. Being called names by some local and native looking lad was not what an Eko for show mentality guy bargained for. This must be considered against the background that we NMS Lagos boys believed we were the pace-setters in the circle of top secondary schools in Kaduna State including the famous Barewa College.
The happenstance of Akinloye and I first meeting must have come about because of a bridge builder who then connected NMS to GCI. The link was the NMS Commandant / Principal, Major General T. B. Ogundeko, an alumnus of GCI.
Immediately after my commission into the Corps of Army Engineers, I went to the United Kingdom for my university education, where I occasionally met up with Akin. First, as a Sandhurst officer cadet, then, as a newly commissioned officer and student of the Royal Military College of Engineering, Shrivenham. Since those early encounters, I had no doubt that this first class electronic engineering graduate was going to be an outstanding military officer. This he turned out to be.
It is indeed, with some nostalgia that I can meaningfully recall Major Akinyemi's attitude to military work. It was, to say the least, legendary. He always superseded the high standards and targets his Nigerian Army Signal Corps (NASC) and the Armed Forces in general, had set for their personnel.
The Major was renowned for the maintenance of the military equipment under his care. We all raved about Akin's professionalism, both as a military officer and an outstanding engineer. Especially when he once elected to move his office outside into a hot tent. This was so as to make room in his air-conditioned (Commanding Officer's) office for the safe keeping of his unit's sensitive electronic equipment. Equally remarkable was the Major's care for officers and soldiers under his command.
For anyone in doubt of this testimony, I suggest they confirm from Akin's former bosses. I am sure that the following veterans of the Signal Corps will corroborate this attestation: the Senate President David Mark; General Ishola Williams, a former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia; former military administrators-Generals Raji Rasaki and Leo Aborisha; and of course, the Emeritus Professor of Nigerian Signal Communication, General Tanko Ayuba.
It was, actually, from General Ayuba, the husband of Ronke Ayuba, one of our best newscasters, that I first learnt, as far back as the early 1980s, the difference between the then popular analogue technology and the nouveau-digital technology. What is interesting is that the Senator-General is still passionate about e-technology. Thus General Ayuba remains undoubtedly the doyen of the modern means of communication in Nigeria.
The admirers of Major Akinyemi's sense of duty and incorruptibility were not limited to Nigerians. The European, American and Russian suppliers of military hardware to Nigeria were full of praise for the fine young officer. The British suppliers often boasted that it was their training institutions which made him such a first class army officer. Some, in fact, confided in me that Akin would no doubt be a sure candidate for the post of Chief of Army Staff when the time was due.
I could go on to reveal that even the then Military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, had high regards for Major Akinyemi's consistent first class command performances. This was for both routine and highly dangerous operational duties. Akin was without doubt a role model for other young armed forces officers to emulate.
The recollection of Akin's exemplary attitude to duty evoked in me a soul searching disposition. This is consistent with my tendency for enquiring, to ascertain whether or not my intentions or motivations for any action or omission, are virtues. I love indulging in such self-enquiry because it has a capacity for helping me discover and unlock the door into the temple of Christ within me. It is from this Christ-in-us, we must know, that we hear the silent voice of the good conscience.
It is in this regards that I am humbly posing this question: How can we repay the true Nigerian patriot, Major Akinloye Akinyemi for the ultimate sacrifice he made for us Nigerians? Let us begin by answering the question: what exactly did Akinloye sacrifice?
Unknown to most of us Nigerians is the fact that Major Akinyemi made numerous sacrifices for the freedom we are now enjoying. This includes sacrificing every material thing he cherished. Major Akinyemi was twice incarcerated by two different rogue military regimes. These were juntas led by politicians-in-uniforms who saw the Nigerian armed forces as tools to serve their selfish interests.
JAILED FOR BEING A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR
Major Akinyemi's first incarceration was for being a conscientious objector. An objector to the then growing mis-use of our armed forces by some of our army bosses for their political and financial self aggrandizement. The epitome of an officer and gentleman detested military officers with vaulting political ambition while still in service.
The Major shared this objection with one of his best pals and course-mates, Major Gideon Orkar, and of course with this writer. Major Orkar is another of Nigeria's unsung heroes. His selfless service we saw in action in the 22 April, 1990, pro-democracy putsch against an unelected military government.
Majors Akinyemi and Orkar were my younger friends. The trio of us could be described as being part of a cadre of rising star officers close to the then Military President. We were, however, clear headed, and loved God enough not to allow ourselves to be pulled down into the dungeon of misguided marabout-led circles. We refused to mortgage our good consciences.
The three of us, including a brilliant infantry officer of mixed Ondo (Yoruba) and Igbo extraction, Major Daniel Bamidele, and other officers who it may not be wise to mention now, expected a lot from General Ibrahim Babangida. Major Bamidele was another fine officer whose body was unnecessarily wasted. This was for accusations, which were not proved beyond reasonable doubt of involvement in a coup attempt.
IBB, as he became well known, was urbane, a wa-zo-bia man, brilliant, hardworking, generous and very friendly. More than any other Nigeria Commander-in-Chief he attracted to his government the best resource persons a country can boast. The amiable General is ever in his elements when in company of other stars. This is very much unlike a certain President who had an...complex, and thus had an attitude problem. This we saw in the rudeness of the language of the President when not in his comfort zone.
General Babangida had all the makings to have transformed Nigeria for good, as Generals Mustapha Kemal Ataturk did in Turkey and Park Chung-Lee did for South Koreans. The General started well until he allowed himself to be derailed by a combination of unrighteous influences, one of which Aso Rock exudes. Some of us IBB’s close advisers were hurt by the missed opportunity. Thus the rest is now history.
It is important that note is taken of our conscientious objection, as our fears were in fact proved right by the annulment of Nigeria's freest and fairest elections. There was indeed, a direct causative linkage between the abuses of military powers which we opposed, and the 12 June, 1993, Presidential election annulment.
MAJOR AKINYEMI WAS AN OFFICER
WHO PREDICTED THE FUTURE
Major Akinyemi was reputed for being an officer who saw tomorrow. He was one of the few officers that had strong premonitions about the dangers that would accompany the exploitation of a country's national security agencies by a cabal of senior army officers for their own political-economic ends.
As he had foreseen, the armed forces had, by the beginning of the 1990's been taken hostage by a conspiratorial group of coup plotters. I knew this as I was also a plotter, however a plotter not against a democratically elected government but against a regime of unelected military rulers who wanted to perpetuate themselves, or their agents, in power forever.
At the background of all these unwelcome developments was Major Akinyemi, a consummate military officer. His passion for soldiering had no bounds. This may account for why his nickname in his Government College, Ibadan days’ Carter, become Sergeant Carter.
Major Akinyemi was also passionate about how the armed forces should be used in support of duly elected civilian authority. This was especially for a democratically elected government which realizes that its primary mission is for the betterment of the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
INCARCERATED FOR HIS STRUGGLE AGAINST
ABACHA'S DICTATORIAL RULE
Major Akinyemi's second incarceration, alongside General Olusegun Obasanjo, was by the most authoritarian of Nigeria's dictators, General Sanni Abacha. It was during this incarceration that Akin's tall and good looking body was literally sacrificed for his consistent stance against oppressive rule. Akin's body was, like that of General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, injected with a poisonous virus.
INJECTION OF AKIN WITH A CHRONIC
Major Akinyemi was held in captivity in the most unpleasant prison in Nigeria. This was because the prison location, Bama, is in one of the hottest and driest parts of Nigeria. One can only imagine what the son of the rich green Ifewara noble family would have first felt in this semi desert north-easternmost town.
It was in Bama Prison that the notorious Doctor Death, Colonel Ibrahim Yakassai and his sadistic medical team, forcefully injected Major Akinyemi with a chronic disease-causing virus. The evil team’s first approach was under the pretext of injecting prisoners against communicable diseases, which were common in prisons.
Major Akinyemi did approach at least one member of the Justice Chukwudife Oputa Panel to lay his complaint. I am informed that His Eminence, Bishop Hassan Kukah did at the time counsel Akinloye. I do pray to confirm this meeting between the two wise-men when again I see the man of God.
SHELL SHOCKED FROM
Prior to the injection of Major Akinloye Akinyemi's body with the poisonous virus, he was many times subjected to terrible sessions of excruciating torture. He occasionally after such terrible sessions of torture, became shell-shocked. It was these occasions of looking confused that led a few superficial observers to think my dear comrade was, at times, of unsound mind. Such was the price Akinloye paid for you and me.
Major Akinloye Akinyemi was not subjected to any undue torture in his first incarceration during General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s regime. Thanks to General Tanko Ayuba, and even General Babangida, who ensured that the kind of inhuman experiences the Abacha regime's goons subjected officers to did not take place.
General Sanni Abacha was, at a point, isolated from knowing what was going on in the prisons and detention centres, in his name. General Musa Shehu Yar’Adua and Major Akinloye Akinyemi were tortured so many times for information. Being unable to break the spirit of these two fine officers, the goons then decided to finish them off by poisoning them.
Both General Shehu Yar’ Adua and Major Akinyemi were used as guinea pigs of the Abacha regime's biological warfare experiments. The difference between the two victims of the sadistic trials was that Akin's body survived longer. Pastor Akinyemi's faith in Christ Jesus, and the putting of the faith into action, enabled him to live for over ten years after the poisoning of his physiological system.
There are some similarities of faith-in-action between the experiences of Akin and another hero, the late publisher of the Guardian Newspaper, Alex Ibru. He too, because of his strong faith, endured for over ten years after the trauma of being shot by Abacha’s boys.
It was during the extra years added to Akin's terrestrial existence that he had the fortune of reaching a better understanding of Jesus' teaching. Credit for this must go to the Redeemed Christian Church, under the able and humble shepherd, General Overseer Enoch Adejare Adeboye.
Why, it may be asked, was Akinloye Akinyemi jailed for a second time even when he had been retired from military service? Akin was incarcerated for being part of an underground special forces' cell which operated within Nigeria. The operational efforts of Major Akinyemi, and other pro-democracy forces who operated covertly in Nigeria, were of immense importance. Their guerrilla war efforts complemented those of us in the unconventional military wing of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) operating from abroad.
REMEMBERING OTHERS WHO FOUGHT
ALONGSIDE MAJOR AKINYEMI
Let me use this opportunity to remember others who directly or indirectly contributed to the guerrilla operations against General Sanni Abacha and his goons. The contributors could be categorised as follows:
THE HOME FRONT
Major Akinloye Akinyemi, Lt Col M. A. Ajayi and the likes of the late Kudirat Abiola, late David Falaye, the Chairman of Shell Production workers who was murdered by Abacha’s boys, President and Secretary of NUPENG, late Kojo Aganmene and Chief Frank Kokori respectively, Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana (SAN), Barrister Debo Adeleke, Mr Martin Egbejule, the veteran journalists: Bayo Onanuga, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Dele Alake, Professor G. G. Darah, Osa Director, Pini Jason, Alfred Lanre, Dare Babarinsa, Nosa Igiebor, Dapo Olorunyomi, Kunle Ajibade, Obiora Chukwumba, Chris Anyanwu, Tunji Bello, Ben Charles-Obi, Segun Adeniyi, George Mbah, Yemi Ogunbiyi, Sunday Dare, Seyi Kehinde, Soji Omotunde, Ohi Alegbe, etc, and the civil society activist, Mallam Shehu Sanni.
The home front participants list goes on to include Brigadier Raji (a former Corps Commander of the Army Engineers), Lt Col Okiki, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Mrs Ayo Obe, Pat Utomi, Abdul Oroh, Prof Itse Sagay, Olusegun Maiyegun, Barrister Femi Fani Kayode, Dr Frederick Faseun, Prince Rotimi Obadofin, Otunba Gani Adams, Wale Adeoye, Debo Adeniran, Colonels R. S. B. Bello Fadile and Olu Craig, Dr. Amos Akingba, Asiwaju Tinubu’s long time driver Alhaji Mustapha and late Chief M.K.O’s driver, who also drove Chief Anthony Enahoro when he returned from exile, (nicknamed June 12) who, with many others, operated underground in Nigeria.
Dr. Akingba and his lovely family, it should be noted, offered their palatial mansion in Ikeja to be the headquarters of one of the most effective cells of the covert operations. There was the indirect support of the likes of former Governor Gbenga Daniel, General Zamani Lekwot; the late former Military Governor of Adamawa State, Colonel Yohanna Madaki; Colonel Dangiwa Umar and the former elected Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa.
The late Chief Aka Bashorun, Senator Bola Tinubu, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Hon Wale Osun, Olorogun Great Ovadge Ogboru, Dr Kayode Fayemi and his able wife, now the First Lady of Ekiti State, Bisi Fayemi; Dr John Filani, the veteran journalists: Chuks Iloegbunam, Dele Momodu, Dr Femi Folorunsho, Patrick Smith of African Confidential, William Keeling (Financial Times, London), Ike Okonta, Patrick Wilmot, Odia Ofeimun, Doyin Iyiola, cartoonist Bisi Ogunbadejo, Dayo Richie Johnson and George Noah; Senators Tokunbo Afikuyomi and Musa Adede; Mr Bolu Atijosan, Dr Olaokun Soyinka, Comrades Oluwide Baba Omojola and Biodun Sowemi, Anthony Akinola, Idowu Babatunde, the beautiful and intelligent Miss (Dr) Edenma Udoh, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, etc, operated from the United kingdom as a base.
The present Senate President David Mark, Senator Tunde Ogbeha, and a former senior officer of the Directorate of Military Intelligence, Colonel (Dr) Isaac Nnonah, also played their parts in their own ways.
What was, however, most ironic about the case of General David Mark was that his personal experience, immediately after Abacha took over power, could (if one allegation were true) be likened to the case of a hunter becoming himself the hunted. Let us see if there is any lesson to be learnt from this figurative-analogy. This is important, as Major Akinyemi’s second and most disastrous incarceration would have most likely not taken place if Chief MKO had been allowed to govern.
The allegation is that General David Mark was indeed one of the key members of the caucus (what in Yoruba may be described as egbe ke gbe) who prevailed on IBB to annul the presidential election victory of one of his best buddies’, Chief MKO Abiola. The episode is reminiscent of a Fulani adage that when digging a grave in a far and deserted place to bury some one you have murdered, do not make the grave too deep. This is just in case you fall into it yourself, after you have managed to finish digging.
From the United States of America were the useful contributions of Professors Segun Gbadegesin, Niyi Osundare and Bayo Williams, Major Debo Bashorun, the wife of Professor Wole Soyinka, Adefolake, the wife of Senator Bola Tinubu, the now deservedly distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu; the present National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki and Chief Ralph Obiora.
OPERATING BETWEEN THE CONTINENTS
Professor Wole Soyinka, the late Beko Kuti, Ambassador Antonio Dehinde Fernandez, Chief Harry Akande, Prince Dipo Eludoyin and the youngest of Prof Wole Soyinka's sons, Makin Soyinka. They were also the useful contributions of Major (Pastor) Cletus Obahor, whose house in Porto Novo, Benin Republic, we operated from.
NATIONAL LIBERATION COUNCIL
OF NIGERIA (NALICON)
NALICON, a group founded and led by Professor Wole Soyinka (WS) helped us to open many doors into the treasures of the Noble Laureate’s goodwill and international connections. It was a great opportunity to work closely with the enigmatic Professor and the present National President of the Pyrates Confraternity, Cap’n Oscar Egwuonu, Philip Ileberenemen, Ochudi Ihiejito and Tola Obembe in London.
The reputable lawyer Deji Sasegbon (SAN), Mr Olu Agunloye, and other National Association of the Sea Dogs (NAS) leaders who operated within Nigeria, made it unbearable for members of Abacha’s regime. The discipline, selflessness and the righteousness of the calling of the Pyrates, especially in support of the oppressed, impressed me very much. Hence, it was good doing business with them.
There are some comrades who I have included in this record of selfless heroes, who in fact till this moment were not known to have played a part in the struggle. Major Akinyemi’s important contribution is one of such roles that was not popularly known in the open NADECO circle.
This is not surprising, given the nature of the covert or underground operations which we were engaged in. The principle of sharing information on the need to know basis was then paramount to us. There were, in actuality, many groups or cells working for one common goal. I happen to know the names of many of the comrades because of my readiness to work with whichever group could bring the desired result. It is from this angle that I was privileged to be in an informal coordinating position.
Some of the most remarkable leaders of the liberation struggle were General Alani Akinrinade, who chaired the war cabinet of NADECO, the iconic Wole Soyinka who we have indicated above, the very useful roles of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Great Ogboru, Dr Frederick Faseun, Professor Ade Segun Banjo, etc.
ASIWAJU BOLA TINUBU’S
The consummate strategist Senator Bola Tinubu inspired and funded so many pro-democracy groups operating from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and within Nigeria. His motivational reach extended to various labour and trade unionists’ activities against the oppressive government. Asiwaju Tinubu sold many of his properties to fund the struggle.
PRINCE DIPO ELUDOYIN
One of Asiwaju Tinubu’s best friends and a dear friend to me too, Prince Dipo Eludoyin, also contributed to the funding of the pro-democracy groups actions. Prince Eludoyin, who speaks fluent Igbo, is one of the most de-tribalised Nigeria. It is saying the least for me to say that the Prince has worked hard behind the scenes for the stability of many Nigerian federal and state governments. So also is his influence in other African countries.
The publicity shy and multi-bllionaire Prince of Ife was one of the few people who was fearless in accommodating me in his house after I returned in 2000 from ten years exile. Others were Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and a lawyer friend, Mr Banjo.
CHIEF GREAT OGBORU
I am ever thankful to God for blessing me with very good friends. The unassuming truly great leader, Chief Great Ogboru has for over twenty two years been fighting against injustices and oppression of the average Nigeria. He was there for the late Aka Bashorun, the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, the later Chief MKO Abiola and for thousands of the living.
Like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Great’s interest in politics is for making a difference in the lives of the ordinary Nigerian. During the pro-democracy struggle Great single-handedly funded groups working legitimately from Britain and a few African countries for the restoration of democracy to Nigeria.
INTER-CONTINENTAL GUERRILLA WAR CABINET
All political and other operations were conducted after some form of approval by an inter-continental guerrilla war cabinet that included directly or indirectly the following members: Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Air Commander Dan Suleiman, Chief Bola Ige, Prof Wole Soyinka, General Alani Akinrinade, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue-President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Papa Chief Alfred Rewane, Chiefs Bisi Akande, Chief Lai Balogun, Senator Cornelius Adebayo, Segun Osoba, Ayo Adebanjo and Olu Falae; Senator Bola Tinubu, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Lady Kofo Akerele Bucknor, Chief Ralph Obiora, Chief John Oyegun, Ayo Opadokun, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, Admiral Godwin Ndubusi Kanu, Dr Tunji Braithwaite, Professor Ben Nwabueze, etc.
HELPFUL FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Our struggle was assisted particularly by countries like Norway, Canada, United Kingdom, United States of America, etc. From Africa we were given support by Presidents who had been beneficiaries of Chief Moshood Abiola’s generosity. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Blaise Campoare of Burkina Faso come readily to mind.
Gratitude must go also to Chief Emeka Anyaoku. This former Commonwealth Secretary is alongside Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmund Tutu, Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe some of Africa’s, and the world’s greatest human beings. Not only was Chief Anyaoku and the likes of Professor Bolaji Akinyemi part of the instrumentalities that freed Africans from former Rhodesia, and apartheid South Africa, bondage, Chief Anyaoku has always been there for the protection of the dignity and freedom of the human.
SPY MASTERS WITH CONSCIENCE
General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and his long-term deputy, Col Kayode Are, and the late National Intelligence Agency veteran, Biodun Ajoje need to be commended for consistently advising the United States and United kingdom governments rightly. Actually this is an understatement as they have over time done a lot for Nigeria.
Why the commendation? This is because these three remarkable professionals, and General Ade Ajibade are four just men and spy masters with good conscience. It is not only that they did not allow power to get into their heads, their efforts over decades helped to save many innocent lives.
CONSCIENSE DRIVEN MILITARY OFFICERS
The remembrance of these good-conscience driven spy masters has also reminded me of a number of military police officers with equally good nature. One of such good officers is Colonel Olu Craig. Colonel Craig was the officer with the courage to be able to convey my clear message (as the Secretary of the Army Board of Enquires which looked into the case) to the President of the Army Court Martial which tried Major Akinyemi, General Oladipo Diya that being a conscientious objector does not amount to planning a coup. This role of Colonel Craig and General Diya’s fairness are what prevented General Sanni Abacha as the Chief of Army Staff from executing Major Akinyemi.
MILITARY OFFICERS WHOSE FATE
INDIRECTLY HELPED OUR STRUGGLE
There were military officers whose fate, following their being wrongfully accused of planning a coup, indirectly helped the progressives’ struggle. The unfortunate experiences these officers went through, confirmed to us that there were cracks in the junta’s establishment which we needed to widen.
The following is a list of some of the officers: General Olusegun Obasanjo, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Colonels Lawal Gwadebe, Olusegun Oloruntoba, Gabriel A. Ajayi and R. N. Emokpae; Lieutenant Colonels M. A. Igwe, Matthew Popoola, S. E. Oyewole, K. H. Bulus; Commander I. M. O. Fabiyi, etc.
Since it takes two to tango, let us look at some of those who might have worked against Major Akinyemi and we his comrades prior to his incarceration in Bama. The opposition response to our efforts to liberate Nigerians from the stranglehold of Abacha, was led by the following ten officials:
1. Major Hamza al-Mustapha, Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Commander in Chief.
2. AIG Ismaila Gwarzo, National Security Adviser (NSA).
3. Lt General Ishaya Bamaiyi, the Chief of Army Staff.
4. Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo, Director of Military Intelligence. We must recognise here the courage of Gen. A. S. Muktar who refused to be used to frame up any officer, and thus removal for Brig Sabo to take over as the DMI.
5. Lt Col Paul Okuntimo, Commander Task Force on Terrorist Activities, an Internal Security Task Force.
6. Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, the Inspector of General of Police (IGP).
7. Colonel Nathaniel Madza was the consistent Judge-Advocate of Military regimes who worked closely with the notorious former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Clement Akpamgbo.
8. Daniel Kanu. This a young man who for his ambition and pursuit for money became the goon who set up the so called Youths Earnestly Ask For Abacha (YEAA).
9. Ambassador Uche Okeke, Director General, National Intelligence Agency.
10. Rear-Admiral Duro Ajayi, Chief of Defence Intelligence.
USE OF THE NIGERIAN INTELLIGENCE
COMMUNITY BY ABACHA’S GOONS
The use of the Nigerian intelligence agencies by the Abacha regime could be categorised as follows:
1. Willing Agencies
2. Ambivalent Agencies
Agencies whose bosses were willing executioners of Sanni Abacha or Major Mustapha’s dictates were the then Directorate of Military Intelligence under the head of a new comer to the Intelligence Directorate, Brigadier-General Ibrahim Mohammed Sabo, and the State Security Service (SSS).
Brigadier Sabo was assisted first by Lieutenant Colonel Kola John Olu and some notorious hatchet men like Lieutenant Colonel Frank Omenka, Assistant Commission of Police Hassan Zakari Biu and Commander G Akpollo.
Agencies like the NIA and the DIA who were caught as it were between the devil and the blue sea. DG NIA Ambassador Uche Okeke and his agents were caught between acting as counter to foreign intelligence and other kinds of threats and defending an illegal and dictatorial government. The National Intelligence Agency managed the balancing act very well.
The NIA’s closeness to Western intelligence agencies helped to constrain the extent to which Abacha’s stooges could mis-use the agencies.
ABACHA REGIME'S UNCONVENTIONAL
RESPONSE TO THE PROGRESSIVE
The Abacha's regime's unconventional responses to the progressives were channelled through at least two organizations. Such as the Nigerian Union and underground groups in Britain and the USA respectively.
THE NIGERIAN UNION
Agents of the British former colonial power and their internal colonisers of Nigeria lackeys have always penetrated any Nigerian civil society or organization, in the UK and Europe, which is not serving their interests. One means of doing this is through the use of the Nigerian Union in Britain.
This they did by ensuring that the key members of the organization’s Central Executive Committee are their agents or stooges. There was no more a time when this was the case than when Sanni Abacha was in office. Through the Nigerian Union, the junta got some information on us in order to throw a clog into the wheel of our operations.
Abacha's government sympathizers in the Nigeria Union were the organization's Central Executive Committee Chairman, Dr Adebayo Oladimeji and Publicity Secretary, the late Mr Tunji Olorunipa. Dr Oladimeji is now a trustee of the British-Nigerian Association and President of Nigerian Elders Council, UK.
Helping to check the excesses of the Central Executive Committee of the Nigerian Union were the efforts of diplomats with integrity and good conscience. Examples of these were Deputy High Commissioner Ambassador Gotip and Ambassador Fafowora. It is necessary to make the recognition of the commendable efforts of the NIA veteran Mr Biodun Ajoje.
AN UNDERGROUND GROUP
The Abacha government had a number of underground cells they had established for them to counter our activities from the United Kingdom and the United States of America. These underground cells were of at least four types:
1. Nigerian hustlers in the diaspora.
2. Businessmen who were benefitting from Abacha's government and pretending to be friendly with members of the NADECO.
3. The use of other African countries’ civil societies, particularly Ghanaians. This was the route one of Abacha's errand boys and the Chief of Army Staff General Bamaiyi preferred.
4. Use of beautiful girls to penetrate the progressive circles.
One of the most effective of Abacha's gang in the West was made up of young Nigerian men and women who moved between Nigerian and the USA or Canada or the UK. These were youths hungry for quick money, power and fame. Hence, like junkies they were ready to offer any services to achieve their vaulting ambition.
Having realized that all the Western governments would not tolerate any extra-judicial activities in their territories, the Abacha government decided to target us through men of the underworld in the UK or USA. This cell of operatives and contacts were controlled by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the dictator, Major al-Mustapha. One of the prominent coordinators on behalf of the CSO to Abacha was a hustler turned into a master goon, Mr James Ibori.
James Ibori did in fact become the chief enforcer of what Major al-Mustapha’s whims. Thanks to the UK, US, and other major Western powers government's departments, who helped to keep taps on the activities of Abacha’s goons in the diaspora. The goons who tried to over reach themselves paid the price.
I actually use to help one or two to make money from the Abacha Government. They use to come to me pretending to be friendly and I played along. As it takes two to have a chart, I got as much from them as they thought they had gotten from me.
One of the reasons why James Ibori appears to have been singled out, and has become the only ex-governor now serving imprisonment, was because he once or twice over reached himself. The Western intelligence, for good reasons, do not forgive anyone who double-crosses or dares the interests of their nations’ strategic companies. Ibori should have learnt from veterans like OBJ and IBB. The former Vice President, the Turaki of Adamawa who was given a small dose of the kind of medicine I am alluding to.
You can see how the case of two James Iboris went on and on, until they could no more stomach his antics. Mr James Ibori to be fair can be very loyal to his friends. He is a man who never eats alone and a smart ass with regards to the way mafiaso politicking is done in Nigeria.
I think the James Ibori who is now languishing in Her Majesty’s Prison in Britain will rise again. He will rise again, if he makes amends to the Urhobo naked women who laid curses on him and above all to the man, Chief Great Ogboru who, through his network in OBJ's head and the Nigerian Judiciary, he had been consistently denied Justice. James Ibori will rise again if he makes the amends just suggested.
James Ibori should know that his Urhobo people are one of the most marginalised resourceful Nigerian ethno-nationalities. It is time for the Urhobo in particular, and Delta State in general to be healed of the wounds. Equally marginalised are the Efik people and Cross Riverians in general. The Cross Riverians have also been given a taste of the injustices the majority of Deltans have been getting from the Nigerian federal judiciary. When the wounds of Cross Riverians and the Deltans are healed, other Nigerians too will begin to be healed.
Cross Riverians and our brothers in Akwa Ibom should not allow the internal colonisers' age old divide and rule tactics work on us. Governor Godwill Akpabio is a man only a fool will not admire. A man who has turned a people who used to be domestic servants all over Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to a proud people must be appreciated.
A PARADOX AND A CONTRADICTION
First the paradoxical James Ibori. James Ibori who we have indicated worked against the progressives for Sanni Abacha's regime turned out to become a reliable covert supporter of the progressives who OBJ wanted to exterminate. James Ibori must have learnt this from his older brother and who has friends at all levels and in every part of Nigeria and the world in general.
Then the contradiction: OBJ who more than anyone benefited from the progressives’ support to be freed alive turned out to become the progressives’ worst enemy. I remembered Dr Kayode and Bisi Fayemi’s UK house being used as the operations room for the “Rescue OBJ” campaign. I remember the late Beko Kuti working so hard to ensure that no harm would come to the man who never brought justice to those who murdered his (Beko) mother. What a world? Beko Kuti remains one of my heroes.
Having looked at a paradox and a contradiction, let us consider the irony in the following episode: during the 2003 Presidential election campaign, I grew very close to the late, enigmatic operator, Chief Godwin Daboh Adzuana. We had once been in bitterly opposed camps, yet there we were in election campaign rally at Mapo Hall in Ibadan helping to drum up support for President Olusegun Obasanjo.
During the course of our newfound camaraderie, Daboh Adzuana could not help but blurt out one day: “Can you imagine it, that sometime ago I was part of a team sent to kill you. And here we are today, laughing and joking with each other”. My response, if memory serves me, was: “how come?”
He went on to say: “Just see how in the last few weeks we have been in Obasanjo's presidential campaign jet or convoy, traversing the 36 states. And only five years ago, I was in another airplane and motorcade with James Obori, gunning for Great Ogboru and you”. Daboh Adzuana went on to tell me how they had narrowly missed us in a Calabar cuisine restaurant in London.
At that same Mapo Hall campaign rally, we could not help but remark at the similarities in the grandiose entrance between the strongman of amala politics, the late Chief Lamidi Adedibu, and the President Olusegun Obasanjo running for re-election. Both we joked were warlords in their different ways.
The lesson here is that existential life could sometimes be akin to the game of football. Today a player is in a team facing another team which tomorrow the player may be transferred into.
HEROES WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE
Those who have suffered most from the syndrome of out of sight, out of our mind, are heroes like the electronic engineer Nelson Kaseem and the then Chief Security Officer of Muritala Muhammad International Airport, Dr Shola Omotshola. Nelson, who died in active service, alongside with Omotshola, left his young children and a very good job to volunteer for the operations in Nigeria. These heroes, like Major Akinloye Akinyemi, deserve to be remembered by all Nigerians.
APPEAL ON BEHALF OF HEROES
WHO HAVE TRANSITED
I should have not needed to do this, but since there has been no remembrance of our true heroes. Kindly allow me make this appeal on behalf of the heroes who are no more with us. Let the example of our showing gratitude begin with my comrade in arms Major Akinloye Akinyemi and Engineer Nelson Kaseem, and Dr Shola Omotshola, who I knew by proxy.
The Federal Government and all democratically elected governments are requested, for God’s sake, to immortalize the names of these our unsung heroes. The plea extends to their seeing to the welfare of the dependants of these heroes left behind. I am quite sure the Governors of the Yoruba nation will not fail these sons of Oduduwa.
Let me, also, thank in advance the governors of Benue, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Edo States for their belated recognition of their sons who sacrificed their lives for them to be in the positions they now occupy.
Come to think of it, some of the steps of the ladder which our President, Goodluck Jonathan climbed to the Presidency were built by the blood of heroes like Major Akinloye Akinyemi, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Alfred Rewane, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Alex Ibru, Engineer Nelson Kaseem, Dr Shola Omotshola, Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar, Captains Harley Empere, Perebo Dakolo and Charles Idele; Lieutenants A. E. Akogun, Nicholas Odey, Cyril Ozualor, N. E. O. Deji, A. B. Umukoro and other members of the April 1990 action.
How about our other heroines? It may be asked. A word or two about them.
We men tend to be chauvinistic in ignoring the supportive, and even the direct, roles that our female comrades played in the struggle for liberty and human rights. Hence it would not be fair not to mentions, in addition to the six, or so, already cited other heroines like Mrs Anthony Enahoro, late Justice Atinuke Ige, Dr Doyin Abiola, Mrs Alani Akinrinade, Mrs Bolaji Akinyemi, Mrs Akinloye Akinyemi, Mrs Ebi Ogboru, Mrs Maria Ken-Saro-Wiwa, Mrs Kemi Atijosan, and of course my dear sweetheart, Mrs Roselyn Isioma Nyiam.
There is something noteworthy about the foregoing indications of some of the heroes of our struggle for good governance. For instance, the sacrifice that Wole Soyinka's family made. Almost all the immediate family members took part directly or indirectly in the struggle. It is because Ola and Makin Soyinka and Mrs Adefolake Soyinka are, to use WS’s words, “stoically resigned” personalities that Nigerians did not hear much about them.
THE UNIQUE GENERAL A ABDUL SALAMI
There is some significance in the fact that it was General Abubakar Abdul Salami's government that gave Major Akinyemi, Colonels-Sambo Dasuki and Bello Fadile, Chief Great Ogboru and I, a presidential pardon. This is not surprising, as General Abdul Salami, who was compelled by circumstances beyond his control to become the Head of State following the demise of General Sanni Abacha, is a unique African. Unique in the sense of seeing to it that he did not stay a day longer than it was necessary as an unelected Head of State.
A SACRIFICIAL LAMB
How then does one best pay tribute to a sacrificial lamb like Akinloye? After some contemplation of the question, it dawned on me that this could be best addressed by looking at Akin's self-sacrificial life in the context of the history of life in general. The usefulness of this methodology lies in an understanding of the word 'history', which I have come to realize. The subject of history, to me, means an account of His-story. The 'His', here, being a synonym for Christ.
Hence, I have come to the realization that the history of the earthly manifestations of a soul, particularly of a great one like Akin's, is a story of Christ's creativity through the embodied soul. Some features of our brother's earthly life bore witness to this. For instance, Akin's literal sacrifice of the health of his body for us Nigerians.
The self-sacrifices Major Akinyemi rendered are part and parcel of His-story's uncanny relentless process of spawning sacrificial lambs. Thus the ancestors of the Akinyemi's of Ifewara in Osun State, teach, through Yoruba traditional religious scriptures, that whenever the world was thrown into a Dark Age and consequent disorder, God would come to show humanity the way out of this ignorant state.
God, according to the corpus of the Ifa Oracle, does this by sending his most loved child, Ela to earth to restore enlightenment and order. This is why one of the meanings of Ela is the Redeemer. Each time Ela was sent back to earth He had a different name. Orun-mila, Olu-orogbo, Agbon-niregun are, for me, the various Yoruba names for the Eternal Christ during His respective incarnations on earth.
The Yoruba progenitors of this distinction of the Eternal Christ from when Christ is enmeshed in history, must have been adepts of the Bible. For there are many correspondences between the Yoruba Old Testament and the Jewish one. If you doubt me, I suggest you check out the biblical verse where Jesus, speaking as the timeless Christ (who in Ifa is Ela) said: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
The Ifa affirmation to what appears to be Christ-in-history, which states: “Orunmila eleri ipin, igba keji Olodumare” meaning “Orunmila, witness of fate, the second to the Godhead” also teaches us a lot. Is this Ifa maxim not similar to this biblical revelation: “These things saith the A-men, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14)? And, also to the Pauline reminder that Christ Jesus “is the image of the Invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15).
Lest we forget, despite the parallels we have illustrated between the Ifa Oracle and the Holy Bible, the sacrifice our Lord Jesus made is the most enlightening of the pathways to Salvation. However, as every happening in history has its opposite, there has always been a Judas archetype to betray and lead a lamb to the sacrificial table.
We saw a refection of this kind of Judas's betrayal of Jesus, in how, at least three supposed gentlemen and officers and friends of Akin betrayed his trust. One of these turncoats allowed himself to be overwhelmed by the temptation of the promise of the rewards of high office.
It was actually the Akinloye Akinyemi's close family friend and one of his Sandhurst officer cadet comrades, Major Okeowo who was the Judas. This was an officer who was later made an aide camp (ADC) to a General Officer Commanding (GOC). Major Okeowo as fate will have lost his life in the Nigerian Air force C130 plane crash near Ejigbo.
Comradeship to Akinloye was, above all, to the truth and integrity of one's profession and faith. Thus he felt betrayed by close associates who, because of the pursuit of money, power and fame, allow themselves to be compromised. One such betrayal that he felt very much was one of his close Sandhurst and Shrivenham peers, Lt Col Komo Dauda. Akinloye could not understand why such a brilliant and hardworking officer allowed himself to become a goon of Sanni Abacha's regime.
This was an officer whose kinsmen the Zuru people have for centuries been oppressed by a majority neighbouring ethnic group. For Komo to allow himself to be used to terrorist another minority ethno-nationality offended Akinloye very much.
The naming to put to shame some officers is necessary so as to remind the living that the evil that people do live after them. It is important that military officers, and indeed public servants, always do what is morally right for their people. Examples of brilliant and hardworking officers who were persecuted simply for being Akinloye's very close friends, include: Lt Cols Paubilus Izourgu and R. D. Obiki.
The third traitor was an officer and Akinloye’s good friend who allowed himself to be overcome by the temptation of the flesh.
These are just three of the many betrayals that our brother had to stomach. Akinyemi's readiness to sacrifice his life for others reminds me of a very good friend and Catholic Reverend Father, Elias Kekong Bisong's insightful categorisation of how in comparison to our Lord Jesus, people take to the making of sacrifices.
To Akinloye, being a Christian was more than the keeping of outward observances. It meant to deny one's self, so as to carry one's cross and follow Jesus. This is exactly what Akin did. Those who are familiar with the biblical scene of Golgotha will remember that there were three crosses: the Cross of the first thief, the Cross of the second thief and the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first thief rejected his cross, rebelled against everyone and died in despair. The second thief accepted responsibilities, defended Jesus Christ as not deserving the cross and died with hope. The Cross of Jesus Christ was a Cross of choice of our redemption.
Put differently, there are really three types of crosses of life for a human being to choose from. In other words, the cross we reject like the first thief, the cross we accept (like the second thief) and the cross we choose, like our Lord Jesus Christ. The cross we reject destroys us, the cross we accept saves us, and the cross we choose, saves us and saves others.
It therefore follows that sacrifice and love are one and the same. Thus there is no love when there is no giving part of oneself away. There must be a form of self-denial before there can be love. It was with such understanding that Akinloye accepted his cross. He played his part well. His life has taught me, and consequently given me the realization that there is no point in being led by selfish desires.
AKIN'S RICH YORUBA HERITAGE
What is the relevance of our pointing out, earlier, the synchronicity, that is, the meaningful coincidence between the ancient Yoruba's religious scriptures and their Hebrew parallels? It is to demonstrate that just as the Jews relentlessly gave, and are still offering the world men of wisdom, the Yoruba nation too, has kept on giving Nigeria in particular, and the world at large, beings of vision of which Major Akinyemi was one.
Starting from 'The Word' of Orunmila's enlightenment, and the Yoruba Patriach Oduduwa, the ethno-nation blessed us with Madam Tinubu (whom Tinubu square in Lagos is named after), Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Methodist Patriach Bolaji Idowu, the three late Kutis-Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Beko Ransome Kuti and of course their great parents Reverend and Mrs Ransome Kuti and their uncle the Noble Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka; Chief Rotimi Williams, Gani Fawehinmi, etc.
The Yoruba nation is still offering us the services of the likes of Generals Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, Benjamin Adekunle and Adeyinka Adebayo; Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi; Pastors Enoch Adeboye and William Kumuyi; Chief Akintola Williams, and obviously, the consummate politician Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Richard Akinjide, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Bisi Akande, the Awujale of Ijebu kingdom, Oba Sikiru Adetona, Otunba Segun Osoba, and the Emeritus Professor of International Politics and Security, Bolaji Akinyemi.
These are stars whose light Nigeria is in dire need of. This is why it is such a cruel irony that the federal government which is most in need of personnel with appropriate capacity, have no Yoruba person in the topmost ten positions of the cabinet.
It may be necessary to ask our President and the ruling political party this: Why are the Yoruba deprived of any of these positions: Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of Federal House; Chief Justice of Nigeria, Secretary to the FGN, Chief Judge of the Federal Court of Appeal, Chief of Staff to the President, National Security Adviser (NSA), Private Secretary (PS) to the President, etc?
I do hope a Yoruba retired General is considered for the position of the Minister of Defence as a beginning of the long over due making up to the Yorubas. I do also hope that the leaders of Niger Delta and South West realize that the alliance between the two regions will be a marriage blessed by God.
Closely following the first group of Yoruba role models are Generals Emmanuel Abisoye, Olutoye, T B Ogundeko, and Ishola Williams, business moguls; Otunbas Oba Otudeko and Mike Niyi Adenuga; Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Professors Akin Oyebode, Segun Gbadegesin, Kole Omotosho, Bayo Williams, Mrs Margaret Vogt, Niyi Osundare, Anthony Asiwaju, Bola Akinterinwa, etc.
The young brothers of these great personalties must include rising stars like Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Babatunde Raji Fashola, the best Federal Minister of Agriculture Nigeria has so far been blessed with, Dr Adewumi Adeshina; Pastor Tunde Bakare and, of course, the recently transited comrade of ours, Major Akinloye Akinyemi.
What is common to the Yoruba nation's gift to Nigeria, and the world in general, is that all these reputable and very important personalities is the hunger for divine wisdom which they were born with. Be it evangelists or statesmen or politicians or creative artists or intellectuals or military officers or civil servants or business people, most members of the Yoruba elite tap from the wisdom and spiritual science of the Ifa Odus. This is an inheritance which is stored up in the Yoruba people's collective unconscious. What a Yoruba aspirant to any position needs to do is to drink from this already existing well of knowledge that is within his heart.
There might be some people who out of curiosity may question why I talk so admiringly of our Yoruba brethren; and may ask: what about my own ethno-nation? Since it takes one to know another, be rest assured that my people of the Boki nation and the Ejagam speaking people in general, and our neighbours in Calabar, the Efik people, are a well endowed race. This one sees not only in our highly creative and cultured personalities, but also in our intelligent and considerate approach to issues. We are also, as we all know, beautiful people.
This is why Cross Riverians are the most amiable and cleanest Africans. We are blessed with lovely musical voices, fascinating dancing steps and the most delicious African cuisine. One only has to go to Cross River State to behold all these, and many more.
This is why it is most ironic that a part of Cross River, Bakassi is being ceded away without the people’s consent. And the Attorney General and the Foreign Minister do not care to offer the proper counsel to the president.
It must be remembered that no far northern, specifically speaking Hausa-Fulani head of state ceded away Bakassi. How come that it is a southern President who initiated the ceding without any plebiscite? And why must a Niger Deltan President allow himself to be used to do what is an abuse of the human rights of the Bakassi people.
This we must finally remember: Major Akinyemi was no fluke. The Major came from a family of achievers. Apart from the world renowned Prof Akinyemi, Akinloye’s other siblings have all excelled in all their endeavours. In fact, the youngest of the brothers, Akinlolu who was always the contact between us and Akinloye when we could not easily reach him, is an enterprising business man. We Akinloye’s comrades thank Akinlolu for steadfastly standing by the high ideals of his brother. May God continue to blessed Major Akinyemi’s immediate and extended family.
Akinloye was indeed a true son of his well educated and cultured parents. Like his pastor father and mother before him and his brothers and sisters who were beside him, Major Akinyemi had exceptional foresight. He was, as we have illustrated, of the progressive leadership strand.
I only wish that we Nigerians, and the Yorubas in particular, knew well, this illustrious son of ours. Comrade Akinloye Akinyemi's contributions to the progressive cause were not publicly known. This is because since his years of incarcerations, Akin preferred to act for the noble causes from behind the scenes.
My final and dear wish is for my dear comrade Major Akinloye Akinyemi to rest in perfect peace, having played his part with courage and fortitude. Shanti ! Shalom !! Peace !!!
15 September, 2012.
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