Archive for May, 2013

State Of Emergency to Slate the Insurgency


Hannatu Musawa

By Hannatu Musawa

So after much deliberation and rigmarole, after much dissent by leading sectors of Nigerians, after the massacres and nauseating murders of men, women and children, the government has finally declared a state of emergency in three states. The unexpected declaration of the state of emergency to deal with the high rate of violence and spate of deadly attacks by militant groups has taken many by surprise. Yesterday evening, 14th May 2013, President Jonathan delivered an address in which he gave the military powers to take over security in the states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. This step, which affects a broad range of civil rights, has already triggered widespread debate about the implications of the government’s latest strategy, from the opposition, to religious groups, civil society and even the governor’s forum.

The state of emergency requires a presidential proclamation under conditions specified in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended under the provisions of Section 305 (1). It gives the authorities special temporary legal powers to arrest and search citizens without a warrant. It also imposes a curfew on the specified states, restricting residents to their homes between the times of a curfew. Other emergency powers regulations affect ‘habeas corpus’ and citizens’ rights to freedom of movement, assembly, association, speech, and privacy.

Over the past two years, the rate of violence in several states has increased dramatically, fuelled by the rise of militancy, extremism and the widespread availability of illegal weapons. Successive clamp down by authorities, an apparent trigger-happy task force, mismanaged deliverance of information on behalf of the government and a leadership that seems totally confused and not in control have had the utmost regressive effect, almost to the point of providing sympathy and understanding for the plight of the insurgents. In recent weeks, the country has been horrified by the series of violent murders. The situation became a lot worse, with the massacres in Baga and Bama town. Announcing the state of emergency, President Jonathan said, “The country is facing, not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity”.

While I am often at variance with the utterances and policies of President Jonathan, it is not so difficult for me to understand why the president felt the need to take such an aggressive reaction, especially along his reasoning that no terrorist group, religious or tribal has a right to pose a threat to national unity and territorial integrity. Not Boko Haram or tramps and vagrants like Asari Dokubo or any other ignorant yobs who fancies themselves as the new Scarface and who happen to all be the same kind of bigoted criminals disguised in different garbs. The country cannot go to war because of some criminal elements have been threatening to overrun the Nigerian state under the guise of religious extremism, resource control, militancy or insurgency.

If reports that over a dozen local government areas in Borno State have been taken over by insurgents are true, if reports that in those local governments there is no semblance of authority are factual, then a state of emergency in those hotspots was absolutely and unquestionably necessary. Why should a whole nation be held to ransom by plundering and rancorous groups of brutes bent on creating havoc on a society, no matter how candid their grievance or cause? Why should a group of people organize themselves in guerrilla warfare and carry out the kind of offensive that is claiming the lives of innocent men, women and children? For goodness sake, when did our society sink to the depths of darkness we are in now; where we are forced to discuss the destruction of people’s lives and death of fellow human beings in such a blasé manner? That is what we have been reduced to. Every single morning, the minute one listens to the news or reads a paper, the first thing one is confronted with is stories of death, destruction and murder. I mean it is just so absolutely unbelievable for us to wake up every morning with news of the kind of senseless violence we have been witnessing. It is simply unacceptable. As a civilized society which has evolved from the dark ages, our current situation has got to be intolerable by every standard, even for those criminal Nigerians who are hell-bent on declaring a ridiculously, unnecessary and unfair war against innocent Nigerians.

It may be easy enough for those of us who are not directly affected by the violence to sit and judge this draconian declaration by the government, but even those of us that have not been directly affected by the violence and unwarranted massacres in the affected states have been shaken to the core by it and shudder at its domino effect. The situation of the murders and total disregard for human life has reached epic proportions; proportions which call for the authorities to respond in the most decisive manner possible.

There is no doubt that this measure which the government has taken will have an impact on the daily lives of innocent, law-abiding citizens in these areas and provide inconveniencies for them. It will limit people’s movements and give the regiment powers to arrest; it will even infringe on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens, but, unless someone in authority takes the bull by the horn and affects this kind of stringent system, the situation in those areas will not be brought under control and it will come to a point when the violence cannot be contained. Those affected by the state of emergency should look at the bigger picture and recognize the need to protect them and bring the current violence surge affecting them under control. Many people have lost their loved ones to unnecessary violence in the past three years and unless something is done to restore normalcy in those areas, it will likely get worse.

Of course, there are other manners of dialogue and solutions that need to be adopted in order to bring this impasse totally under control; solutions that focus on long-term results to the problem and the fundamental issues that gave birth to the crisis itself has to be tackled. A state of emergency has a time-limit and therefore has a short-term effect and short term gain.
Therefore, in addition to placing the state of emergency, the government must immediately sit down and identify what is driving this upsurge of violence in these respective areas and address the best way to bring an end to it, otherwise when the emergency is eventually lifted, it will be ‘violence’ business as usual.

To show sincerity in its wish to end the violence, the government should immediately make an undertaking to release the innocent women and children that have been detained without cause in the quest to clampdown on the guerrillas. Government should further undertake to rebuild and relinquish the Mosques and properties that belonged to the Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād movement before the Borno state government under the leadership of Ali Modu Sheriff launched its offensive against them, before the murder of their leader Imam Mohammed Yusuf. And most importantly, the on-going trial of the security operatives who murdered Imam Mohammed Yusuf and Alhaji Buji Foi should be intensified, together with the arrest and prosecution of the government officials who allegedly ordered their execution. Those actions would show the sincerity and commitment of government to tackle the root of this problem and bring it to an end.  

Now that the presidency has expressed determination to root out the insurgents in the affected areas, the good people of those states should endeavor to cooperate with the authorities in order to bring an end to the horror that surrounds them every day. To restore law and order to the states, people should be able to give accurate and dependable information as well as advice to all seekers of peace. It is expected that if the society as a whole resolves to end the crisis today, there will be no more killing or kidnapping of our people tomorrow. If the communities do not provide a safe haven for those who are out to disrupt peace, there will be no place for any criminals to hide. Our brothers that have turned renegades should also be persuaded to embrace peace and end the killings of innocent people.

The security officials deployed in the three states ought to understand that democracy is still in place in Nigeria as a whole and even though a state of emergency has been declared in those states, we are still a democracy and overzealousness of any kind should by no means be exercised or tolerated. The authorities themselves cannot use lawlessness to fight lawlessness because violence begets and encourages more violence.

One prays that we will soon see an end to the violence and hopes that the government, in enacting this state of emergency can tackle the mayhem in the troubled areas in the most responsible manner and be committed to placing every resource at their disposal towards winning this war in a way that is in the best interest of the collective.

The current rate of violence dictated for more to be done and stronger action to be employed. The situation, especially in Borno State, could not have been expected to continue the way it was going without a response commensurate with the wanton acts of violence and lawlessness; it is a response that is necessary to halt the current spike in the hostile activity of insurgents in the shortest possible time. Desperate acts require desperate measures.
So, even though the method is not ideal under our democracy, I can appreciate the current declaration of government to be more than a panic response. I do not see it through the lens of opposition, creed or tribe; I see it simply as a “state of emergency to slate the insurgency.”

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When last did you
praise God – Ike
Amadi

I wanted to know more about praising God, since the phrase,
“Praise God!” is littered all over the Psalms with its attendant benefits.
Someone thought it wise to think upon the question – for it
required thinking – and brought up some inspired ideas on the
matter.
I present to you the thoughts of a brother and friend, Eshiemokhai Iniomor
(@eshiemokhai).
“So, @ikeamadi asked us what it means to praise God. Trust me bro, I’m still chewing on it.
One thing I’ll tell you though:
praise is a form of positive acknowledgement of a being’s actions. We praise God for his acts.
Praise is the act of making positive statements about a
person, object or idea, either in public or privately.
Thus, to praise God is to acknowledge his actions as good and beneficial to us. Praise is a form of thankfulness and gratitude.
Of course, we also talk about the life of praise. This means that praise goes beyond singing songs and audible notes eh?
So, when we praise God, we acknowledge his deeds and his abilities. Not only has he done things, he can and he will do things.
Thus, we praise God with our mouth, and we also praise God
with our lives. How?
If I praise God 4 being good, that means I believe that he’s a good God. Thus, I should live my life as though I serve a good God.
If I hail God 4 being a God that knows what he’s doing & has my best interests in mind, I should live a life of obedience to
him.
We can’t praise God for being able to do something and not be
able to live as though God can do such in our lives as well.
Praising God is not merely in songs and hymns and great
speeches. Praising God should be a lifestyle.”
“I will praise God with a song;
I will proclaim his greatness by giving him thanks.
31 This will please the Lord more than offering him cattle,
more than sacrificing a full-grown bull.” Psalm 69:30-31

When last did you sing a hymn for God?
When last did you lock up yourself and dance to Jesus?
Is there an mp3 playing in your spirit?
Let us live a life of praise and watch God open numerous doors for us everywhere we turn.
“5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise
thee.
6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.”
Are you praising God?

– @ikeamadi
Ike Amadi is a fiercely
passionate Thought Leader, and Author of the book, “Do Something!” which is available on kobobooks.com. He blogs on
http://www.ike-amadi.com



The Late Flying Officer Ayuba Joab, before a flight on 1st March 2013

 

The journey began on 9th September 1998 when we commenced military and academic training at the Nigerian Military School Zaria. We began as boy soldiers from different backgrounds. We branded you as ‘Ayuba Joab’ and affectionately nicknamed you Schwepps. Bonds grew and we all became brothers, oblivious of tribe or religion – I never knew until your demise that you were from the Kaltungo tribe in Azare Local Government Area of Gombe State. Esprit de corps grew and all we knew is that we were brothers commonly clad in starched military khakis and camouflage. 

The journey went on as you distinguished yourself as one of the best graduating student of the NMS 98 set. You and others went on to accept the ultimate challenge of entering the Gateway to Generalship with a mandate to defend our country at whatever cost.

I recall the days we shared slum books and wonder what future ambitions you had filled. Nevertheless at the Nigerian Defence Academy you decided to become a neurosurgeon under the Nigerian Navy and later altered those plans for a career in the Nigerian Air Force. You distinguished yourself as a gallant member of the 57th Regular Course and proceeded for training at the Hellenic Air Force Academy in Greece.

Then came the fatal moment when in response to the call to help fight terror under the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), the Alpha Fighter Jet you manned alongside Squadron Leader Benjamin Bem Ado crashed in non-combat flight in Dargol village some 60 KM from Niamey. Can words fully express our loss? 

The Late Flying Officer Ayuba Joab, After a flight on 1st March 2013

 

But we take solace in the fact that you died helping others find freedom. We are glad that even in dying your brilliance shone as you died as the youngest T – Winged fighter pilot in the entire Nigerian Air Force. 

We bid you and the equally brave Squadron Leader Benjamin Bem Ado farewell. We pray your bereaved takes solace in the fact that you left behind a strongly bonded NMS Ex-Boys family who will carry on the values you stood for.

We give you our last physical salutes as you are lowered into the earth, but be assured that we shall always be saluting in our minds; though you’ve slept in this life you shall never sleep in our minds.

Your favourite quote as published on your facebook page reads – Peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition of benevolence and love. I know you have now found that peace you so described. 

Sleep on gallant soldier. The candle you lit by your brilliant life is not out, but shall flicker from now blown by the cold winds of death. Adieu.

Tribute by
Theophilus (Terungwa Tyough) Amenger

NMS/98/462

ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR

 
 

ON THE DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN BORNO, YOBE AND ADAMAWA STATES IN ORDER TO RESTORE PUBLIC ORDER, PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY IN THE AFFECTED STATES OF THE FEDERATION

 
 

MAY 14, 2013

 
 

Dear compatriots,

 
 

1.    It has become necessary for me to address you on the recent spate of terrorist activities and protracted security challenges in some parts of the country, particularly in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe, Bauchi, Kano, Plateau and most recently Bayelsa, Taraba, Benue and Nasarawa states.  These unfortunate events have led to needless loss of lives and property of many innocent Nigerians including members of our security forces.

 
 

2.   The recent killing of security operatives by a cult group in Nasarawa state is particularly condemnable. I have directed that no effort or expense be spared in identifying and bringing to justice all those who had a hand in the killing of the operatives.

 
 

3.   The activities of insurgents and terrorists have been reprehensible, causing fear among our citizens and a near-breakdown of law and order in parts of the country, especially the North. We have taken robust steps to unravel and address the root causes of these crises, but it would appear that there is a systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists to destabilize the Nigerian state and test our collective resolve.

 
 

 4.  Since I returned to the country after cutting short my visit to South Africa and aborting a planned state visit to Namibia, I have received detailed briefings from our security agencies. These briefings indicate that what we are facing is not just militancy or criminality, but a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to national unity and territorial integrity. Already, some northern parts of Borno state have been taken over by groups whose allegiance is to different flags and ideologies.

 
 

5.   These terrorists and insurgents seem determined to establish control and authority over parts of our beloved nation and to progressively overwhelm the rest of the country. In many places, they have destroyed the Nigerian flag and other symbols of state authority and in their place, hoisted strange flags suggesting the exercise of alternative sovereignty.

 
 

6.  They have attacked government buildings and facilities. They have murdered innocent citizens and state officials. They have set houses ablaze, and taken women and children as hostages. These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten her territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this.

 
 

7.  Previously, we adopted a multi-track approach to the resolution of this problem through actions which included persuasion, dialogue and widespread consultation with the political, religious and community leaders in the affected states.

 
 

8.  We exercised restraint to allow for all efforts by both State Governors and well-meaning Nigerians to stop the repeated cases of mindless violence.

 
 

 
 

9.  Yet, the insurgents and terrorists seek to prevent government from fulfilling its constitutional obligations to the people as they pursue their fanatical agenda of mayhem, mass murder, division and separatism.

 
 

 
 

10. While the efforts at persuasion and dialogue will continue, let me reiterate that we have a sacred duty to ensure the security and well-being of all our people and protect the sovereign integrity of our country. Therefore, we shall, on no account, shy away from doing whatever becomes necessary to provide the fullest possible security for the citizens of this country in any part of the country they choose to reside.

 
 

11. We have a duty to stand firm against those who threaten the sovereign integrity of the Nigerian state. Our will is strong, because our faith lies in the indivisibility of Nigeria.

 
 

12.                      Following recent developments in the affected states, it has become necessary for Government to take extraordinary measures to restore normalcy. After wide consultations, and in exercise of the powers conferred on me by the provisions of Section 305, sub-section 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, I hereby declare a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

 
 

13.  Accordingly, the Chief of Defence Staff has been directed to immediately deploy more troops to these states for more effective internal security operations. The troops and other security agencies involved in these operations have orders to take all necessary action, within the ambit of their rules of engagement, to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists.

 
 

 
 

14. This will include the authority to arrest and detain suspects, the taking of possession and control of any building or structure used for terrorist purposes, the lock-down of any area of terrorist operation, the conduct of searches, and the apprehension of persons in illegal possession of weapons.

 
 

15.                       The details of this Proclamation will be transmitted to the National Assembly in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. But in the meantime, let me make it clear that within the purview of this Proclamation, the Governors and other political office holders in the affected states will continue to discharge their constitutional responsibilities.

 
 

16.                     I urge the political leadership in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states to co-operate maximally with the Armed Forces and the Police to ensure that the exercise succeeds. We call on the citizenry to co-operate with our security agencies to ensure a return to normalcy within the shortest possible time.

 
 

17.                        I am again approaching our neighbouring countries, through diplomatic channels, as done in the recent past, for their co-operation in apprehending any terrorist elements that may escape across the border.

 
 

18.                      Nigerians are peace-loving people; these sad events perpetrated by those who do not wish our nation well have not changed the essential character of our people.

 
 

19. I want to reassure you all that those who are directly or indirectly encouraging any form of rebellion against the Nigerian state, and their collaborators; those insurgents and terrorists who take delight in killing our security operatives, whoever they may be, wherever they may go, we will hunt them down, we will fish them out, and we will bring them to justice. No matter what it takes, we will win this war against terror.

 
 

20.I am convinced that with your support and prayers, we shall overcome these challenges and together, we will restore every part of our country to the path of peace, growth and development.

 
 

 
 

 
 

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

WHO MOVED THE MOTION FOR NIGERIA’S INDEPENDENCE?

By FFK

Prior to 1985 Nigerians were amongst the most literate, intellectually-inclined, respected, well-informed, well-read and well-educated people in the world and this had been so since the mid-1800’s. Our education system was once the envy of the British Commonwealth and in terms of academics Nigerians scored firsts wherever they went. However as from 1985 everything changed in our country including our attitude to life, our economic situation, our sense of values, our perception of ourselves and what we stood for and our education system. From that time everything appears to have gone to the dogs and from that point it was just one period of degradation and degeneration to another up until today. 

Nothing was more affected by this unfortunate state of affairs than our education system. Post-1985 the whole education system in our country simply broke down. The result of this was predictable, swift and startling as an attitude of disdain and derision for anything that lay in the realm of education and particularly in the realm of the arts, like literature and history, were treated with disdain and contempt by our people. Simply put no-one was interested. As far as most Nigerians were concerned it paid better to be a tomato puree importer and dealer or a sugar trader than it did to be a scholar or a professional. The result of this shameful attitude was devastating on our psyche as a people and on our culture. We just degenerated in every conceivable way and post-1985 we became a nation of traders and ceased to be a nation of scholars. 

The result of all this was as follows. I would concede that there are some exceptions to the rule but one of the weaknesses of the average Nigerian today is that, generally speaking, he does not read widely, he does not do much research, he knows little about literature and the arts and he knows nothing about his own history or the history of his country. Worse still because he does not have the discipline to do his research and to read widely he is prepared to accept oral folk-lore and self-serving revisionist folk tales as historical fact and to literally swear by them. No group of people that I am aware of in the world today suffer more from this strange affliction and this willful attempt to ignore or to distort their own history as much Nigerians. To make matters worse the average Nigerian honestly believes that history does not matter and that the fact that history is not taught in Nigerian schools is no big deal. Is it any wonder that we are in a mess? 

They say that those that do not know or do not learn from their own history are bound to repeat its mistakes. And nowhere has this truism found more relevance and veracity as it has in modern-day Nigeria. Some of the consequence of this unfortunate mindset is the fact that the manifestation of crass ignorance and the expression of pure falsehood has taken pride of place and has become commonplace in our country when we talk about our past. Few Nigerians know who they are, where they are coming from, how their nation came about and who our heroes of the past, our great nationalists and our founding fathers actually were. Great names like Sapara Williams, Herbert Macaulay, Adeyemo Alakija, Ajayi Crowther, Akinwale Akinsanya, Ernest Ikoli, Charles Onyeama, Bode Thomas, H.O. Davis, Adegoke Adelabu, Eyo Ita, Inua Wada, Mohammadu Ribadu, Joseph Tarka, Aminu Kano, Ayo Rosiji, Isa Williams, Louis Ojukwu, Alfred Rewane, Festus Okotie Eboh, S.O.Gbadamosi, S.G. Ikokwu and so many others have little relevance or meaning to most young Nigerians today. They just don’t know who these great men were or what they did for our country. What a tragedy. 

Yet nowhere has the confusion of our people been made more manifest when it comes to our history than on the vexed question of who successfully moved Nigeria’s motion for independence. There has been so much misunderstanding and disinformation about who actually moved that motion and I believe that it is time to set the record straight and bring this matter to closure. In order to do so successfully we must be guided by facts and historical records and not by emotion, sentiment or political considerations. The moment we allow our recollection of events or our knowledge of history to be guided or beclouded by such perennial considerations, we are finished as a people. 

The truth is that almost 90 per cent of Nigerians have been brought up to believe that the motion for Nigeria’s independence was successfully moved by Chief Anthony Enahoro, a man that is undoubtedly one of our most revered nationalists and founding fathers. Though nothing can be taken away from Enahoro in terms of his monumental contributions in our quest for independence (I would argue that he kicked off the process for that struggle with his gallant efforts in 1953) the fact remains that he was not the man that successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence. 

Another group of Nigerians believe that Chief S.L. Akintola, another great nationalist and elder statesman and the former Premier of the old Western Region, was responsible for the successful movement of the motion for Nigeria’s independence. Again though there is no doubt that Akintola played a major and critical role in the whole process, he was not the one that successfully moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence. 

There is yet another school of thought that says that it was Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the much loved former Prime Minister of blessed memory that was the first to successfully move the motion for Nigeria’s independence. Again this is not historically accurate. Balewa’s 1959 motion was not the first successful motion for our independence and neither was it in actual fact a motion for independence at all . It was rather a motion to amend an already existing motion which had already been successfully moved and passed by Parliament and which had been accepted and aquiessed to by the British in 1958. 

That successful 1958 motion was moved by none other than my late father of blessed memory, Chief Remilekun Fani-Kayode, the former Deputy Premier of Nigeria ‘s Western Region. Not only did he play a major role in the movement of the motion for Nigeria ‘s independence but, as a matter of fact, his was the first successful motion for independence in Parliament that was acceepted by the British and it was actually the one that got us our independence. His motion, which was moved in Parliament on the platform of the Action Group on August 2nd 1958 , was actually the landmark and most significant motion of all when it comes to the issue of our independence. 

Let us look at the history, the records and the facts. Chief Anthony Enahoro moved a motion for ”self-rule” in the Federal House in 1953 which proposed that we should have our independence in 1956. Unfortunately it was rejected by Parliament and it therefore failed. It also resulted in a walk out by the northern NPC parliamentarians who were of the view that Nigeria was not yet ready for independence. The tensions and acrimony that came from all this and the terrible treatment that was meted out to the northern parliamentarians and leaders that were in the south as a result of the fact that they would not support Enahoro’s motion resulted in the infamous Kano riots of 1953. 

In 1957 Chief S.L. Akintola moved a second motion for independence in Parliament and asked for us to gain our independence from the British in 1959. This motion was passed by the Federal House but the British authorities refused to acquiese to it and consequently it failed. In 1958 my father moved the third motion for Nigeria’s independence in the Federal Parliament and he asked that Nigeria should be given her independence on April 2nd 1960. The motion was not only passed by Parliament but it was also acquiesced to by the British and was therefore successful. That was indeed a great day and a great achievement for Nigeria. 

However in 1959, at the instance of the British Colonial authorities who said that they needed a few more months to put everything in place before leaving our shores, Sir Tafawa Balewa moved a motion for a slight amendment to be made to the original 1958 motion that had been passed and approved to the effect that the date of independence should be shifted from April 2nd to Oct. 1st instead. Sir Tafawa Balewa’s motion for amendment was seconded by Chief Raymond Njoku, the Minister of Transport, and it was acquiesced to by the British. That is how we arrived at the date October 1st 1960 for our independence. 

The details of all this can be found in Hansard (which are the official record of proceedings of Parliament) and they can also be found in what in my view is one of the most detailed, authoritative and well-researched history books that has ever been written when it comes to the politics of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s in Nigeria titled “Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation” by the respected American historian, Professor Richard L. Sklar. Sklar actually lived in Nigeria throughout much of that period. On page 269 of his book he wrote the following “in July 1958, Barrister Remi Fani-Kayode had the distinction of moving the resolution for independence on April 2nd 1960, which was supported by all the parties in the Federal House of Representatives”. 

Another excellent book that covers this topic and era very well is titled “Glimpses into Nigeria’s History” and was written by Professor Sanya Onabamiro, a highly distinguished elder statesman and nationalist in his own right, who was a regional Minister and one of the main political players at the time. On pg.140 of his book and in reference to Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of the Northern Region, Onabamiro wrote: “he was the bridge between the north and the south, between the old and the new, between the fast and the slow. Without such a bridge to swing the votes of the Northern members of the House of Representatives in support of the southern members, there was little hope that the crucial motion on ‘independence on April 2nd 1960″ moved by an Action Group member of the House of Representatives in July 1958, would receive the unanimous endorsement of all the parties in the House as it did”. Professor Onabamiro was writing about the Fani-Kayode motion of April 2nd 1958 and the “Action Group member” that he was referring to was my father. 

This is contrary to the assumption of some, including my dear egbon Chief Ladi Akintola (the distinguished son of the late Chief S.L. Akintola) who, in an article titled, “Between Akintola and Enahoro” which was written in 2001, wrote that when Onabamiro wrote this he was writing in reference to the motion that his father had previously moved on the same issue in 1957. Ladi Akintola was wrong. The 1957 motion which Akintola moved had asked for our independence in 1959 and though it was indeed passed by the Federal House it was not accepted or acquiessed to by the British. Consequently, just like the Enahoro motion of 1953, it failed and this is why we did not get our independence in 1959. 

From the foregoing you can see that the successful movement of the motion for our independence in Parliament was as a result of the collective efforts of a number of prominent and notable people from different parts of the country and from different political parties that worked closely together on this issue over a period of time in the Federal House and that my father was one of those people. As a matter of fact he played a key and critical role in the proceedings. His 1958 motion for independence was highly significant because it was the only successful one and it was the one that actually got us independence in 1960. As I said earlier Tafawa Balewa’s motion was not a motion for independence but rather a motion to slightly amend the original one that had already been approved by the House and acquiesed to by the British. 

The simple answer to the question as to who moved the motion to Nigeria’s independence, in my view, is that Anthony Enahoro, Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Remi Fani-Kayode, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Raymond Njoku, together with their respective political parties (Action Group, NPC and NCNC respectively) all played major and key roles in this exercise and the credit for the successful passing of that motion should go not just to all those who, at different times, moved or attempted to the move the various motions but also to every single member of Parliament that sat on the relevant days and that voted for the various motions to be passed.