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Alert! 2011 General Elections: The Destabilization Plot Thickens

By: Franklin Otorofani, Esq.
 Published March 31st, 2010

In the countdown to the 2011 general elections for which preparations and political jostling have gathered apace across the nation, agents of destabilization from the usual suspect quarters have been working overtime to oil their rusty wheels, and tune-up their engine of subversion. Under the payrolls of foreign agents, these individuals have been responsible for every crisis that had engulfed the nation at each and every general election.  As before and always, their goal is to undermine the unity and corporate existence of our beloved nation. It is somewhat strange that in a nation of over 150 million adults, a handful of individuals have somehow managed to turn every election season in our country into seasons of anomie in which the lives of our people are ruled by morbid fears, apprehensions, uncertainties, doomsday scenarios, and dire predictions. General elections which are supposed to be celebrations and festivals of democracy have been reduced to theaters of warfare and graveyards of ideas and of innocent citizens. If this is what democracy is all about no nation would touch it with a long pole. But we know that democracy can be made to become what it is meant to be—civilized political contests between and among adults for the recruitment of a nation’s political leadership by the people—not a war front or killing fields. 

This time around, however, patriotic Nigerians are ready for them and will match force with force because propaganda and grandstanding are not the exclusive preserve of the vocal few who have arrogated to themselves the right to determine the fate of our nation to the exclusion of their fellow citizens. What is more? Their hitherto near total control of the Lagos media axis has been watered down and counter-balanced by the advent of other media outlets including the omnipresent internet to which Nigerians have round-the-clock access, not only to keep themselves abreast of developments in the polity, but to also partake in the tasks of shaping public opinion regarding critical issues of the day that affect their lives for good or ill. This is very important considering the fact that he who controls the media invariably controls public opinion. With the diffusion of media access, therefore, Nigerians now have access to a wide range of viewpoints that are now competing in the market place for consideration and adoption. Gone forever is the era of media monopoly where the high priests of the media tell us what they want us to know and withhold what they don’t want us to know, thanks to information technology. Consequently, the days of the tyranny of the vocal few that have been holding the nation hostage to their selfish agenda are gone for good.   

In this connection, therefore, this writer is exceedingly gratified by the alert put out by some patriotic Nigerians based in the United States, namely; Dr. Sullivan Odumegwu, Garba Mustapha, and James Osunbores, regarding the subversive activities of a few compromised individuals recruited to do their country harm. Their report titled, Nigeria 2010 - A Season of Foreign Interventionists and their Nigerian Collaborators, which contains several declassified intelligence reports, is a must read for all those who love this our beloved, but serially abused and subverted nation; that has, quite remarkably, miraculously managed to keep one step ahead of the traitors bent on undoing her a as nation. Now, they have found a new mentor and promoter in the ageless lifetime dictator of Libya, Col. Muammar Qadaffi, the grand-daddy of destabilization plots in Africa, who is notorious for fanning the embers of disunity and civil strife all over the continent.

Permit me nonetheless to put in this disclaimer for the records: I do not earn my upkeeps chasing after bad guys in the super secret and shadowy intelligence community. I’m, therefore, not privy to any classified or declassified intelligence reports or information pertaining to or related to Nigeria; and in particular, to the forthcoming general elections in 2011. The materials used in this piece are all within the public domain but their interpretations remain mine. I have only brought my analytical faculty to bear on these materials for the benefit of those who might not otherwise be in a position to intelligently interpret political developments in the polity in a manner that makes sense to them. Therefore, if anyone is so naïve as to be looking for hard evidence to back up the title of this alert and the one alluded to above put out by the Nigerian patriots, such an individual is prima facie sympathetic to the cause of Muammar Qadaffi and, ipso facto, a mortal enemy of Nigeria.

By the very nature of covert operations, the identities and modus operandi of secret agents of hostile and sometimes friendly nations and their local collaborators, are buried and shrouded in layers of secrecy. Yet the results of their works are manifested in the open although it is always difficult to attribute these manifestations directly to them until sometime later down the road, usually in declassified documents or leakages or even accidental disclosures as happened to the former CIA operative, Valerie Plame, whose identity was illegally revealed during the Bush administration sparking an outrage. Once the identity of a secret agent has been revealed, all the person’s associates, friends, and even family members automatically become suspects in the eyes of the public.   

At this point in time in Nigeria, the tell tale signs of subversive activities are already appearing in the air and they’re coming into greater relief by the day in the count down to the 2011 general elections. Why 2011 general elections and not some other time? The answer is simple. It is the most auspicious time to destabilize a third world nation. Didn’t we just witness it in Iran? Didn’t we also witness it in Kenya? And didn’t we witness it in 2003 and 2007 elections in Nigeria? Oh yes we sure did.

Only in third world nations! Destabilization plots cannot take place in established democracies because their citizens won’t take it even if they disagree with the outcomes of the elections as happened in the United States during the Al-Gore/Bush presidential elections and as witnessed also in Italy before that. The citizens of these countries take the high road by shunting the issues to the judiciary rather than shutting their nations down in protests. Third world countries are inherently politically unstable and Nigeria has all the hallmarks of political instability with the violent agitations going on in different parts of the country and made worse by the religious flare ups in parts of the North;  seemingly endemically plagued by acute, cut-throat inter-ethnic rivalries. These conditions make third world nations like Nigeria become easy preys and fishing grounds for international predators.

However, the presence of these conditions notwithstanding, Nigeria would not have been targeted for destabilization if the country were a banana republic with hardly any significant resources to be exploited. Consistent with her population, geographical size and her stupendous resources, therefore, Nigeria is naturally a prime target for destabilization plots. Whether Nigerians know it or not, the nation is bristling with foreign intelligence operatives from intelligence agencies such as the KGB, MI5, CIA, MOSSAD, and many others and their local collaborators, who are operating under the radar. They are using fellow Nigerians to carry out their clandestine activities. Our own intelligence agencies, such as the SSS, DIA, and the some extent, the NPF and EFCC are very much aware of the presence of these foreign intelligence operatives in the country and probably have kept tabs on their Nigerian moles planted in sensitive governmental institutions to gather and relay sensitive information to their masters holed up at their nation’s missions from where they establish command and control using different cells scattered throughout the country.

But make no mistake about it: intelligence moles are not ordinary individuals but are usually highly placed individuals in positions of authority who make thing happen in their respective duty calls. And the reader would be surprised to learn that many of the so-called civil rights activists and other highly placed Nigerians whom the ordinary Nigerian would routinely look up to for guidance on political issues could actually be foreign intelligence moles leading double lives. Foreign intelligence agencies would not waste their time and resources recruiting inconsequential individuals who cannot move a pin. They recruit those who can deliver on their destabilization plots. And who is better placed to do that than those who have populist appeals and can make things happen when the time is ripe? Therefore, if and when you’re looking for local collaborators of foreign intelligence agencies who are out to destabilize the nation, look no further than the so-called civil rights activist community in Nigeria. But if you’re looking to see their badges on their coat lapels, too bad, you’ll be looking forever.

As a rule they must find a populist cause to latch on to as a cover to hide under. In a way, they’re like a drug baron who puts up a store front as legitimate business before the public and the authorities, which is nothing but a smokescreen. In the daytime they’re championing what appears to the unwary as populist causes and under the radar don a different coat of subversion. However, this profile must not be taken as a blanket tar on all human rights activists in the country many of whom are genuine patriots who are out to fight against injustice and oppression of their fellow citizens. I salute all those who have taken up such noble calling. However, they deserve to be distinguished and separated from the mercenaries.

But the question is how do we distinguish the genuine from the fake? How do we tell a patriotic civil rights activist from the mercenaries recruited to destabilize their own nation and adopting the populist platform of civil rights to disguise their subversive and dastardly activities? This is a tall order for anyone who is not in the intelligence field. It is difficult for the individual with average intelligence to distinguish the moles from genuine compatriots. However, there are clues that give them away to the discerning.  One of the clues is the alacrity with which they jump at and latch on to uncomplimentary or hostile remarks made against Nigeria by foreign leaders. No true patriot would reduce himself to an echo chamber of hostile attacks on his own nation, no matter what. A true patriot not otherwise on the payroll of foreign masters has no business playing the devil’s advocate against his own country unless and until he has duly and formally renounced his citizenship of the country. But moles operating under the cover of civil rights must earn their paychecks and must therefore be seen to be echoing foreign attacks on Nigeria by their paymasters in order to create a body of opinion in the target country that is conducive to their designs on that country. This is particularly so because in a democracy, competition is for public opinion. He who has the public on his side carries the day. As such, clandestine covert activities must go hand in hand with open, overt activities designed to wet and fertilize the ground for harvesting down the road.

Another clue to spotting moles is when they begin to live beyond their legitimate means when they’re not drug dealers, armed robbers, lotto winners, someone who suddenly come into wealth through family inheritance or anything of that sort. The reader must understand that intelligence and counter intelligence votes are huge, running into several billions of dollars much of which goes directly into the pockets of disaffected or plainly opportunistic local moles in our midst.

Yet another clue could be found in the very hostile attitudes of these individuals to anything Nigerian. These individuals see and have nothing good to say about their country. Let’s be absolutely clear here: criticisms of the government of the day for perceived inadequacies is legitimate undertaking and are necessary to either wake up or keep the government on its toes at all times. In that sense therefore, government criticisms are actually a patriotic service to the nation that should be encouraged even by the government itself. But there is a fine line between pure subversion and wholesome political activism that benefits the nation. When an individual has absolutely nothing good to say about his own country, including her people, it is time to look closely at such individuals to decipher their motivations. I don’t know about you, but an individual who sees nothing good about his country is a traitor and not a patriot. It is pointless dancing around it. I will not call a pot by another name but a pot. It is that clear cut to me. 

In identifying those clues, however, I’m not unmindful of the genuine angst and seething rage of those who genuinely felt shortchanged by the current political imbalances and injustice in the distribution of development and resources in the nation at the federal levels; and are therefore up in arms against the authorities at the center as a result. It must be quickly pointed out that such individuals are in no way engaged in subversive activities and only adopt measures, sometimes extreme, to call attention to their demands. They are not plotting for foreign powers to come and take over our affairs and dictate to us how we run our affairs. This category of individuals must, therefore, be scrupulously distinguished from the mercenaries who are working with and for foreign powers to destabilize the polity, not for the purpose of improving the conditions of their own people but for their own selfish material gains.

Now, the question that one might want to ask is, what do they want in our country? Why do they commit such huge funds to come and destabilize our country and throw her into crisis that would kill, maim, and destroy lives and properties? I want to ask put the question back to the reader: Why would Qadaffi want Nigeria divided? If we, Nigerians, were fighting or killing one another in the North, they are not Libyans and therefore none of his business to poke his nose. At least the AU has not asked him to send peacekeeping troops to save us from ourselves. So what is his interest in seeing Nigeria divided along religious, and now, ethnic lines? Simple! The answer is because he sees Nigeria as threat to his ambition of ruling Africa. Nigeria, by virtue of her size, population and resources, is undoubtedly the leader of Africa and Qadaffi is not comfortable with that fact. Nigeria has been standing in his way to dominate African leadership. His country’s size is not comparable to Nigeria’s and his several attempts to forcibly co-opt other smaller countries bordering Nigeria, like the Republics of Chad and Niger, to form a political union with Libya to be led by him were frustrated by Nigeria. He’s pissed with Nigeria and dying to see her smashed into smithereens. And don’t be surprised if Qadaffi is fingered as one of the foreign brains behind the religious flare ups in parts of the North including the recent ones in Plateau state.

But Qadaffi is not alone. There are other foreign powers out there that just can’t wait to see Nigeria break-up and then share the pieces amongst themselves as sovereign loots. As the world witnessed in the break-up of the former Soviet Union, it is not at all difficult to dismember a nation using forces from within. With the break-up of the Soviet Union many of her former republics have fallen into hostile hands that are now openly antagonistic to Russia. The Soviet Union was cut down to size using moles from within and that’s why its implosion was so remarkably so short and total. The Nigerian authorities must, therefore, watch very closely the activities of those who hide under the cover of civil rights and/or politics to grant Muammar Qadaffi his death wish for Nigeria. Therefore, they should, within the ambit of the rule of law and the right to civil protest, watch closely the activities of the so-called civil rights activists, and in particular, the newfound and questionable political activism of NLC under its current otherwise docile leadership and ASSU, its comrade-in-arms.

Come Wednesday, this week as reported, the otherwise sleepy NLC will declare a war on the nation using the forced ouster of Professor Maurice Iwu as INEC chairman as a convenient cover. It is the considered view of this author, however, that an NLC that went to sleep when the nation was riled up and on the verge of a major catastrophe over the Yar’Adua saga, cannot suddenly wake up to take on Iwu, if someone else is not pulling the strings from behind. Here is a union leadership that could not offer even a whimper when the Federal Government failed to honor its pledge over wage increase. Here is union leadership that could not utter a word over the Federal government deregulation proposals that would have been implemented but for the Yar’Adua issue that held it back. Here is a union leadership that has serially betrayed its workers for failing to negotiate better conditions of service and improve their take home pay; all of a sudden abandoning its core area of jurisdiction to jump on Iwu and INEC! Isn’t that suspicious enough to warrant close scrutiny? When the leadership of a union that went into hiding during the Yar’Adua saga suddenly comes out with a smoking gun and gunning for the head of an electoral agency, it is time for people of good conscience to step back for a moment take a deep breath and ask the inevitable question: wait a minute, what the heck’s going on here? And I’m asking what the heck’s going on here at Imodu House?

I do not question the patriotism of anyone as everyone has his own conscience to judge him. But when otherwise normal people begin to dance a strange dance, then it is time to look closely at the direction or quarters from which the intoxicating music is coming. I make bold to state that the music to which seductive beats the leaderships of labor and ASSU are dancing themselves naked at the village square, is not produced by labor or ASSU, but by some invisible hands that Nigerians would want to know and see in the open. All it takes to destabilize a nation is get the leadership of popular organizations like labor and ASSU to bring the nation down. But even so, only in Nigeria would the target of public protest be an individual whose tenure is constitutionally mandated and as such, cannot be summarily dismissed except as provided for under the constitution. Iwu’s appointment as chairman of INEC has constitutional flavor as the senate INEC chair has declared. Now pray, what has Iwu’s appointment got to do with the welfare of Nigerian workers which the labor leadership is statutorily duty bound to protect and defend? Did Iwu prevent Nigeria workers from getting their pay or pay increases? Or is Iwu withholding the paychecks of INEC staffers for which labor would be right to protest? Are there labor issues at INEC that need to be addressed? I don’t get it! And for ASSU, it is fair to state that it is one organization that has completely lost its strictly academic bearings. What it lacks in intellectual pursuits like her peers in other nations it makes up in union activism. It is a shame that ASSU is known more for union activism than the production of knowledge and ideas that would move the nation forward.

Only in Nigeria do we find labor unions so blatantly dabbling into pure politics and seemingly getting away with it. Warning: Should ASSU and NLC proceed with their mercenary protests ostensibly to agitate for Iwu’s removal from office before his tenure expires, the Federal Government is hereby advised to delist them as trade unions and compel them to be registered as political parties to add to the mushroom political undergrowths in Nigeria. Two more political parties namely; ASSU Party of Nigeria and NLC Convention to add to the existing no-name political contraptions that exist purely for the purpose of gaming the system rather than winning elections will not make a difference other than the usual opportunistic noise making and press conferences before and after elections.

However, if politics is now the major pre-occupation of the NLC and ASSU, Nigerians would want to know when their conversion from trade unions to partisan political parties took place. And Nigerians would want know further where were the ASSU and the NLC when they poured out in the streets in anger protesting Yar’Adua’s blatant refusal to hand over to Jonathan less than two months ago? Or are they out testing the waters with their move against Iwu? Is this a foretaste of their destabilization plot for the nation? Why Iwu and why now?

The authorities should investigate the funding sources of these agents of destabilization. This nonsense cannot be even be contemplated in the so-called advanced democracies let alone consummated. Severe consequences await all moles in advanced democracies working for hostile foreign countries’ intelligence agencies. We have seen American citizens rounded up and led away in handcuffs, accused of espionage activities within United States soil including, hear this, one high ranking individual working deep inside one of the country’s top security agencies! We have similarly witnessed in recent times how Iran rounded up and currently prosecuting scores of so-called political activists found to have been recruited as local collaborators of hostile foreign intelligence networks operating within the country using its general elections to destabilize the nation. We have also several of such cases in other countries. In all of these severe penalties await the traitors. Nigeria should not be any different and it is unacceptable that the authorities in Nigeria appear to be sleeping on duty and are not paying adequate attention to the nation’s security that is being compromised from within and without. How is it that a nation could be so blatantly subverted yet no one is arrested and prosecuted? How is it that the nation could be bristling with foreign agents of destabilization and their local collaborators yet no one is arrested and prosecuted to send a message?

The authorities and Nigerians in general, need to understand that this is beyond politics and Iwu. Iwu is only being used as a lightning rod for a greater plot in the works. The real target is the destabilization of the nation during the next round of elections using Iwu as a pretext. The real purpose of this misguided, planned demonstration is to lay the groundwork for discrediting the 2011 general elections if the outcomes do not favor the interests of their sponsors.  The very fact that the open target of their threat is the head of the nation’s electoral agency is conclusive proof that this move is political. Who is after Iwu? It has got to be those on whose way he has stood to protect our nation from unholy plots. But they can’t come directly and openly at him but use local lackeys as fronts to take on Iwu by not only discrediting the elections conducted by him but going broke by demonizing him as the devil incarnate. It is obvious to even the naïve that both NLC and ASSU are not using their members’ check off deductions to fund this ill fated adventure. Someone somewhere has got to be picking up the tabs for it. It is time to publicly expose the sponsors of these subversive elements.

But they must be made to understand that although they almost got away with their demonization of INEC and anti-Iwu campaigns in the aftermath of the 2007 elections, Nigerians have become wiser and now understand that the issue is not about Iwu but about the reform of the electoral system and the attitudinal orientation of the typical Nigerian politician who refuses to accept an electoral loss and must win by all means necessary, fair or foul. Therefore, to reduce Nigeria’s electoral problems to one man is simply mischievous, incredibly simplistic, and shows the shallowness of their thinking.

So NLC and ASSU are the super champions of democracy that are fighting for credible elections in Nigeria, uh? Beautiful! Isn’t it? But wait a minute: How come both ASSU and NLC did not protest when Yar’Adua sat on the Justice Uwais reform recommendation for two years, if they’re truly and genuinely concerned about Nigeria’s electoral integrity? And how come they have left off the hook the crooked politicians that have individually and severally messed up our electoral system in each and every electoral system to pounce on Iwu? How come neither of them has come out to condemn the politicians and trained their barrels against one man and one man alone? Have they so perceived political weakness on the part of Iwu that he’s now the victim of bully tactics by those seeking relevance?

If an organization like ASSU that is supposed to be the reservoir of the nation’s intelligentsia is this shallow and simplistic in reducing Nigeria’s electoral problem to one man and one institution, then Nigeria is in trouble. Any wonder ASSU has no contribution to national development beyond going on strikes to extort more money from the public without commensurate results? Tell me how many Nobel laureates has ASSU produced? How many world class scientists has ASSU produced for the nation with all the funding the universities have been getting from the government including research grants? When its members are not extorting the federal government and literarily holding the nation to ransom over their own welfare, they’re extorting their own students with their half-baked handouts. The fact that ASSU cannot produce a single Nobel laureate since its existence is proof positive that it has not justified its existence because it is not enough to teach the knowledge produced by others outside the country. It is the duty of its members to contribute to the production of knowledge and not merely mouthing the theories and research findings of their peers abroad. That is not scholarship but studentship.

It is clear to me therefore that ASSU’s pre-occupation with politics has regrettably distracted its members from academic and intellectual pursuits and that is a profound disservice to the nation. The same is equally true of the NLC and its members. NLC is responsible for the pathetic plight of Nigerian workers. It shoots itself in the foot by abandoning core trade union issues and dabbling into politics. Were the NLC an American trade union body it would have since ceased to exist and its leaders long cooling their heels in jail. Yes, trade unions support political parties and may even campaign for them indirectly through paid adverts, as recently held by the US Supreme Court, but they cannot openly call out their members to protest in the street on strictly partisan political matters. That would be the day they would lose their status as trade unions. Both ASSU and the NLC have taken unionism beyond the pale and someone needs to call them to order before they destroy our nation.

I would want to tell the NLC and ASSU that if they had failed in their past agitation to remove Iwu when public sentiments were high against him back in the days, it is next to impossible now for them to do it because the man has changed the game and moved a step ahead of them. Today, Iwu and INEC are drawing accolades even from traditionally hostile quarters due to their stellar performances in recent elections. At a time Iwu and INEC are receiving enthusiastic commendations from people like the Edo state governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a traditional critic of INEC, and past chairman of NLC, for a job well done in his state elections; and from heavyweights such as the Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, who hailed the conduct of the Anambra gubernatorial elections; that in and of itself, should send a clear signal to the organizers of this ill-timed and ill-purposed protest that Iwu and INEC are a step ahead of them and their agitation is doomed to colossal failure.

Public commendations of INEC have taken the wind out of the sail of ASSU and the NLC leaderships. Or are they trying to show the world that they are more Catholic than the Pope? What is their point this time around? Iwu and INEC got pass marks for the gubernatorial elections in Anambra state and the house elections in Edo state won by APGA and AC respectively. All over the world it is axiomatic that you do not change a winning team that has delivered good results midstream. Sport managers know and understand this all too well.

Maybe these people, many of whom were neck deep in plots to abort the 2007 presidential elections for an interim government need to be told that many Nigerians are now keenly aware of their negative roles in the past, and hold Iwu as the savior of our democracy. But for him there would have been no transfer of power in 2007 and therefore no elections. But for him there would have been no talk of 2011 elections. But for him Nigeria would have been right back in the hands of the military had he not resisted the unpatriotic moves of the very same forces angling to destroy our democracy.

The larger question though is why are we as a people bent on destroying our best? Is the Nigerian nation under a curse or what? El-Rufai transformed Abuja only to end up in exile. Nuhu Ribadu radically transformed the anti-graft crusade and gave it credibility and visibility only to end up in exile while the corrupt and incompetent amongst us dictate the tunes for us at home. Professor Charles Solubo transformed Nigeria’s banking landscape and made it a force to reckon with in global financial circles only for him to be removed from office deliberately, abandoned and eventually disgraced at his own home state elections. Governor Tunde Fashola of Lagos state is gradually transforming the state to the admiration of all well meaning Nigerians only for him to be targeted for removal from office. And now, it is the INEC chair, Professor Maurice Iwu that is the target of humiliation by the same forces.

And lest we forget in a hurry, these are the same forces that have always prided themselves as “progressives” in Nigerian politics. Some progressives, indeed! If that is what progress looks and sounds like, tell me what retrogression looks and sounds like. If this is it then sorry, Nigerians can do without it. Any wonder that true progressives like Chiefs, Lateef Jakande, former governor of Lagos state who proved his mettle in power, and Ebenezer Babatope former fiery student union leader and UPN’s Director of Organization and Minister, have abandoned them due to their hypocrisy, as did the late Chief Bola Ige, former governor of Oyo state and AGF and Minister of Justice; who are the real and widely acknowledged progressives in Nigeria?  And hasn’t former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku whom they had wanted to use and dump not dumped them also and reportedly headed back to the PDP, again due to their hypocrisy and unholy agenda for the nation?

Gradually the nation is coming to terms with the true colors of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. These are the same people who pushed and goaded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential elections, into his untimely grave only for them to be shedding crocodile tears after destroying him. Having ostracized him as political leper in the South/west for decades, they all rushed and latched on to him and prodded him to “reclaim” his electoral “mandate” in an election in which they had worked tirelessly against his victory! Wonders never end in Nigeria. These people have no iota of shame and sense of history and will move to exploit any political situation to their own benefits at whatever cost using the press and unsuspecting Nigerians as their foot soldiers.

It is entirely conceivable that had the results of June 12, 1993, presidential elections been officially declared and Abiola sworn in as president, these same folks who lured him from abroad to make his famous Epetedo Declaration without putting in place Plan B that would ensure his personal security, would have become a thorn in his flesh in the presidency. My goodness, haven’t we learned of their double dealings with Abiola and the military when they howl “On June 12 We Stand!” in the day and in the night plot against the very cause they proclaim loudly in the daytime? Were we surprised therefore that many of them readily wound up in Abacha’s cabinet even when Abiola was still in jail? Having called the man names in the past; having gratuitously granted him a pariah status all those years, these men suddenly became Abiola’s friends and confidants literarily overnight all in their selfish bid to take advantage of his massive political capital. And when the chips were down, they abandoned him to his fate and even stabbed him in the back.

As double-faced political associates and confidants of the late chief, Abacha had no problem using them to lure Abiola back home from self-exile with a promise of validating his election and handing over to him after offering them plum ministerial positions in his government. Pronto! They went to work and brought Abiola home to be finished off by the military which had no intentions of handing over to anybody; certainly not the dark-spectacled Abacha who was already seeing himself as Nigeria’s life-president after IBB.

Was it naivety on their part to have fallen for Abacha’s plot to eliminate the chief who was considered more dangerous to the junta abroad than in Nigeria? No, they knew better than to believe Abacha and his fake handover promise. The man was deliberately sacrificed to advance their own political agenda. They made political martyrdom out of a man who had reportedly declared that if he wouldn’t be allowed to become president of the nation, he should at least be allowed to go home and become “president of my home.” But his selfish confidants would have none of that and goaded him to insist on his “stolen mandate” while they hobnobbed with his military tormentors behind him.

Now, if they could do that to that great man who trusted them, they would do that to you and anybody else, including the nation. Yes, a great man and Nigeria’s foremost businessman, publisher, Africa’s Pillar of Sports, and philanthropist extraordinaire, Chief Moshood Kolawole Abiola (MKO) and his wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, were callously sacrificed by those on whom he had placed his utmost trusts, both in the military and in his inner civilian circles. How then in the name of all that is prudent and commonsensical would anyone in his right mind put his trust on traitors like these to be used as cannon fodders for their political agenda?

All I’m permitted to state here for now is that Nigerians should be wary of their activities because they are not who Nigerians think they are and should not wait for the proofs because it might be too costly when it comes. If the nation is set ablaze these people will be first to flee abroad with their families leaving the poor and the weak behind to be cut down and consumed by the conflagrations that they have unleashed on the nation. Not every break-up would be as peaceful as that of the former Soviet Union. Any forced break-up of any African nation as witnessed in Ethiopia/Eritea episode in recent times is bound to result in a civil war the winner of which no one can foretell. And in the case of Nigeria in particular, there will be several civil wars going on at the same time with pockets of warlords controlling mini-territories with territorial claims and counter-claims pressed against one another, and the fate that befell Somalia will be child’s play.

Nigeria has been there before and we don’t want to go that route again because it will be ugly, nasty, brutal, genocidal, protracted and all-consuming with no clear cut victory. If Nigerians think they’re suffering now from unemployment, infrastructural inadequacies, hunger and social deprivations, let them check out Zimbabwe and Somalia for a change or swap places with the citizens of those war-torn nations. Trust me, you don’t want to go there and they will flee back to Nigeria barefooted.    

I would therefore put it as bluntly as it gets as I have done previously: Iwu deserves a national medal and four more years! Why? Simple! At this critical juncture of our nation’s democratic journey, the nation cannot afford to experiment with some rookie INEC chairman to handle the next elections for which Iwu is presently laying the groundwork for a successful outing. The man will bow out gracefully and proudly when the ovation is loudest come 2011, not now, not June, 2010 but June 2014 because he has a legacy to leave behind. You think Maurice Iwu doesn’t want a good name and reputation for himself and his country? Think again. God will not send down an Angel Gabriel to conduct our elections for us. We must learn to crawl before we walk and in the process accept that we will inevitably fall down sometimes and get up before we attain perfection in the process. Credible elections in a country this big and filled with lawless individuals and legions of do-or-die politicians who ambush the system do not come cheap. That is realism not platitudes. It takes super human qualities to successfully head an organization such as INEC.

But here is the issue: Nigerian elections are in the hands of several agencies including the Nigerian police and sometimes the military, not just INEC. Do we now have to call for the Chief of Defense Staff and the IGP to be booted out of power the way we’re talking about Iwu because they failed to provide adequate security for the elections? What is good for the goose should equally be good for the gander. We cannot continue to cherry pick on whom to lay the blames for our flawed elections. There is more to the campaign against Iwu than meets the eyes. I think it is unwarranted victimization that must be stopped. They can’t do this to the heads of the police and the military who failed to prosecute election riggers and arsonists and provide adequate security. Picking on Iwu and Iwu alone has assumed a completely different coloration in a multi-ethnic environment. I would, however, prefer to reserve further comments on this.

This much I would state here and now though: any attempt to victimize any Nigerian in position of authority on the basis of his/her ethnic background under whatever guise or pretences will be firmly resisted. I can’t tell Maurice Iwu from Adam, but he has my solid support due to his patriotic bearings as copiously demonstrated in 2007. I stated this in my write-ups back in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  And I’m repeating it here and now. For me it is not a question of a recent conversion but a deeply held position from day one. I have maintained an uncommon consistency in my views about the chairman of INEC well before others joined the bandwagon. And if you called that foresight, all well and good, and I have no problem at all with that characterization.

This is therefore calling on Ag President Jonathan and the Senate to show leadership and ignore the intimidating tactics of naysayers and immediately reappoint the man who knows what it takes to conduct successful elections in Nigeria in order to send a clear message that they will not bow to intimidation and threats from any quarters no matter how vocal. A patriot extraordinaire whose courage, patriotism, and dogged determination saved our democracy from destruction from within deserves national recognition and a better deal than the mischievous howls of mercenaries.

Whatever imperfections that had reared their ugly heads, perceived or real, on the part of INEC staffers in the previous elections could only have been mistakes of the head not of the heart and for which politicians are largely to blame not Iwu and INEC. By the way, how many gubernatorial results have been upturned so far at the tribunals? As far as I know one could only point to Edo and Ondo states out of 36 states.  So INEC failed in two out of 36 questions. Now, failing two out of 36 questions in an examination seems to me a pretty good result that could earn the candidate a distinction and an honor. And if I’m correct as I know I am, Iwu deserves nothing short of a national award and the best way to reward him is a second term notwithstanding the puffs, howls, shrill calls, and grandstanding of political opportunists and agents of destabilization masquerading as champions of democracy.

No, they’re not champions of democracy and we know it!  Yes, they should be told point blank that whatever their imperfections might be Nigerian elections are not any more flawed than elections in Afghanistan and Iraq that have been hailed by the same west that is their sponsor. We will not be cowed and made to feel bad about our nation and her electoral processes that are undergoing refinement. Mistakes made will be corrected; loopholes found will be plugged; saboteurs will be fished out and punished; electoral management will be improved and quality standards maintained. But what the nation will not and cannot do is to allow internal saboteurs and moles to sell her out to foreign interests seeking to undermine her unity and stability in whatever guise and false pretences. This is our country and we will defend her from the enemies within and without with all legitimate means available to us.

ASSU and the NLC will be resisted unless they back out of their destabilization plots and go back to their core areas of jurisdictions because they do not have our mandates to represent us in any shape or form. If they want our representation, let them throw their hats into the political ring and contest elections. It is that simple. They cannot purport or pretend to be our representatives because no one, to my recollection, voted for them to represent us. They are impostors not mandated to speak for or represent us. This game of democracy has rules and due processes. It’s not the rule of the jungle.  This lawlessness must stop and stop now.

My message to these co-adventurers in infamy is that Nigerians have become wizened to their antics and know that they’re only puppets dancing to the tunes of the puppeteers outside the shores of their dear, beloved country and would therefore have no part in their subversive activities. If they have nothing better to do to their members than playing the spoilers’ role in our democratic march, history will judge them harshly because our eyes are now open to their guiles and wiles. The facts that thousands of Nigerians have taken to the streets to protest the evil machinations of their sponsors should be signal to them that that the days of using unsuspecting and gullible Nigerians as cannon fodders and political guinea pigs are over or at least numbered.

The pro-Iwu demonstrations taken together with the several write- ups that have been posted by concerned Nigerians, including comments from respected quarters like the Senate president and his deputy and the highly revered Reverend Father Matthew Kukah and other groups in the North, it seems pretty obvious to me that the tide of public opinion regarding Iwu’s tenure at INEC has shifted seismically and dramatically from its position barely a year ago and that is bad news for the leadership of NLC and ASSU in their current misadventure.

Nigerians are raising their voices against the self-serving antics of the vocal few who had hitherto ambushed and hijacked public opinion using the press. Times have changed. They cannot lead Nigerians into the dark alleyways any longer even as the authorities keep security surveillance on them and their subversive activities. Nigerians will refuse to be led by the nose like herds of sheep to the slaughter house by questionable self-styled champions of democracy who have their children and wards abroad and can flee from danger at home at the drop of a hat.

Nigeria shall and will always overcome the dank and dark wishes of the security moles in our midst. Yet as it’s often said, vigilance is the eternal price for peace, freedom and liberty. Watch out for the moles. Be vigilant and save our nation. 

Long live the nation. 

Franklin Otorofani, Esq. contact:

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