Intrigues That Foiled Awolowo, Azikiwe’s Alliance In 1983


…How Yoruba delegation’s indecision denied Awolowo joint presidential ticket

…COVID-19 pandemic lock-down without palliatives inhuman …We must devise our survival strategy

On President Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast and the lock-down of Lagos, Ogun and FCT, Abuja 

General Buhari cannot just lock down Lagos and Ogun without the necessary palliatives, funding or food-wise in a secure situation. He is dealing with human beings and not animals. 

They should also put on their caps instead of face masks as the virus does not segregate or discriminate or avoid prestigious locations. We must have existential and strategic equations as a fair remedy for all.

I am concerned about further two weeks lock-down of Lagos and Ogun states without real Federal Government palliatives while threats of insecurity persist. 

Now, Boko Haram has threatened to attack the South-East. We must remain vigilant and not take things for granted. We should critically study the ongoing economic and biochemical clashes between the Western and Eastern nations. 

From the millennial creation of humans and animals it has been wars and bickering everywhere and survival of the fittest in the name of civilisation. 

Cannibalism is a natural strategy for survival. We have to adumbrate our own survival strategy. 

His take on the origins and upsurge of COVID-19 pandemic 

Wuhan City today is very different from what it was 50 years ago. I am one of the oldest surviving Nigerian visitors to Ancient China. 

I am now 83 years old. As a student leader and President of the iconic West African Students Union, WASU, in London in succession to our illustrious son, Aka Bashorun, I was invited by Chinese Students Association to lead a six-delegate team of West African Students in London in 1963 on a historic visit to mainland China under the Regime of Chairman Mao tse Tung for a period of six weeks at a time The Republic of China was totally locked to foreign visitors, particularly from the West due to the bitter cold war between the West and the East.

It was a revealing journey and spectacle. We Africans were more non-aligned in our approach to the rivalries between the two contenders as we had been under the Colonial and Imperial structure for centuries and even up till now. 

The Republic of China realised the dominance of the Imperial Power and plotted its own survival strategy in the acrimonious and existential circumstances. 

It decided it would not fight an open war which may again subject it to an imperial subjugation. It decided to acquire knowledge which is a Universal instrument for accelerated development. 

Knowledge has no boundaries . It can be copied stolen or acquired materially or in any other way in the dire circumstances at any time. It became a state instrument for many decades. 

They made mistakes internally in revolutionary ways and mended their ways. They had a Communist Philosophy which bonded them with the Soviet Blocs but still ensured their own national pedestal till today. 

They saved their economy by not fighting any external war till date and concentrated on quality education, scientific research and advancement as their main dialectics for internal and external survival. 

Wuhan of recent decades was just a village impoverished location when we visited. Imagine the difference today. China today is a combination of Communism and Capitalism. 

For them, their existential priorities are anchored on the theory or philosophy of the survival of the fittest which must be internally adumbrated and in their own national interest. 

They have now risen to a strategic supersonic dimension which pits them mainly against the biggest continental super power which is the USA with whom they have been at economic, scientific and galactic loggerheads in the last two decades. 

Donald Trumps’ USA had to take the bull by the horn in the race for economic and scientific dominance in the past three years through trade tariffs, ICT, Intellectual properties and other spheres like the 4G and now 5G spectre and outer space endeavours for galactic dominance. 

China is superior to the USA in infrastructure development buildings like skyscrapers, roads vehicles, trains and other existential developmental activities, financial, treasury and stock investments. 

With the recent Coronavirus syndrome they seem to have out-manoeuvred the Western World in the dire quest of rivalry for the survival of the fittest which has always been a Millennial Instrument of Dominance in which all tools for superiority are deployed which include Biological Tools of War. 

Is it the USA or China that has deployed it’s highest and strategic instrument to realign the World Order? The answer is still not clear but there is an ongoing rivalry for the survival of the fittest. 

How does the Third World South of the equator mainly in Africa and South America fit into their equation as their prebendal practices show we have been experimental species for a millennia? Nigeria was just 13 years younger than China at Independence but imaging the difference today. 

In the last decade China has extended more financial aid to all the developing countries than USA and the West, which also comes with its dominant strategic interests. What are we doing about it except with our citadel of kleptomaniac and lootocratic audacious tendencies even in this age of catastrophic climate change. Woe betide us as we are in denial of our existential rights. 

On comments that Nigeria would have been on the right pedestal but for the inability of the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr Nnamdi to forge an alliance and allow one of them emerge as president 

Some of us lived through many parts of it and are still charting our ways through the very murky waters of present day fixations. 

As the Chairman of the Nigerian People’s Party in old Anambra State, Governor Jim Nwobodo and our party executive and local governments with Governor Sam Mbakwe and Imo NPP under Chief R B K Okafor agreed after a joint caucus to heal the political cleavages between the Igbo and Yoruba and to unite Zik and Awo with other ethnic nationalities to form a common front for a purposeful platform that would move Nigeria forward from its degeneration. 

Quest for Awolowo, Azikiwe’s united political front 

We met Zik at Nsukka and Awo in Apapa, Lagos. Our team included statesmen like Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya. Dr Abubakar Rimi. Chief Solomon Lar. We agreed to have a common united political front to stop the domineering Fulani jihadist tactics in Nigeria. 

Both Zik and Awo gave us their blessing and we organized the biggest party conference for the public in Enugu, which was attended by both leaders and their executives in the East and West. 

Awolowo led Action Group, AG leaders like Pa Ajasin. Cicero Esa-Oke Bola Ige, Alhaji Lateef Jakande etc to attend and address the teaming multitude in Enugu. 

We all returned to Lagos and formed a Strategic Committee with Governor Jakande as chairman. Apart from our Northern eminent brothers the Yoruba members in the committee included Senator Abraham Adesanya and Chief Ayo Adebanjo. 

We had our think-tank intellectuals in the committee whose aim was to have a formidable alliance for Zik or Awo to vie for the Presidential Election against Alhaji Shehu Shagari who was seeking a second tenure. 

Sharing of positions 

The committee shared all the distributable portfolios and board positions among the parties in the coalition. There were about 2000 of such positions which were satisfactorily shared. 

What was left was the Presidency and Party Chairman. Awolowo’s group insisted the would have the first choice since they had five states and Ziks group had 3 states. The unresolved issue was the party platform and Chairmanship. 

We adjourned for a few days for consultations with our leaders. Zik said he would abide by our consensual decision as a democrat. Chief RBK Okafor and Omenife Ikokwu were mandated by Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya to find an agreeable synthesis. 

Awolowo to choose post before Azikiwe 

We consulted and I proposed a solution of compromise to suite all. Awolowo was to make the first choice as they had insisted. In such a situation Awolowo would be the Presidential Candidate against Shehu Shagari. 

We then proposed that if the coalition party was the Nigerian Peoples Party the party Chairman would be Zik and the party would be supreme on policy matters to move the country forward. 

So Zik as NPP party Chairman would take Awo round the nation during the elections as presidential candidate; and vice visa if the Unity Party of Nigeria emerged as coalition party. 

Our chairman, Jakande, when we resumed requested a brief adjournment for their (Yoruba) response after consultations. All other members in the Strategy Committee agreed with our proposals except Awolowo s group which was split. 

The press and the world media awaited the final results at the lawns of the Governor’s Lodge at the Marina. 

Members of the Unity Party of Nigeria Youth Wing under then youthful Ebenezer Babatope were chanting Awo! Awo ! that in their party constitution there is no cleavage between the Executive and the Party. 

They are one and no form of Coalition would work as being proposed. 

We all met after in-house discussions and phone calls. The Chairman, Jakande then said there will be no press conferences on the matters and if there was no meeting in the next week all the parties would field their presidential candidates and cooperate where desirable in the other elective offices. 

So that was how the parties contested against each other and the election was rigged for Shehu Shagari. And Zik made his famous speech that history will vindicate the just and the wicked shall not go unpunished. 

Some Nigerians say that Zik did not lift that curse on Nigeria before he died. He lived to a very ripe age seeing people and exchanging pleasantries with his two new wise kid sons with whom he shared his wisdom of ages. 

Chief Awolowo did not like the state of the polity thereafter and as a sage who had written ominously on our contemporary issues, he felt very disconsolate as he was betrayed by some of his followers and the military junta who had ruined the nation. 

Awolowo was dogged and astute but did learn much of human frailties and the way and manner he was used during the civil war. V

ery few Nigerians really know how and why he died. He was betrayed unexpectedly by his closest confidant who is still alive now. 

So, do you now see how the wheels of fate have turned? Chief Ayo Adebanjo was at that strategic meetings and remembers it all till date. 

He had agreed to our proposal which may have made Awolowo the first truly elected leader which may have altered some of our Nigerian inanities one way or the other and possibly not degenerating into the infamy of the World Poverty Capital. 

At 91years of age with blessed digital memory my good friend Ayo Adebanjo deserves our accolade as a front line leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, in which we have friends from the Afenifere Yoruba group like Prof Banji Akintoye, Chief Amos Akingba, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Supo Shonibare and Mr. Yinka Odumakin as a dedicated secretary. 

The current widened pedestal of the SMBLF is now a wider national group including the Middle Belt, the South- East, the South-West, the South-South, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, and some members of the core North who are all dedicated to the task of moving Nigeria forward with justice, equity and good governance for a better development of our nation with reduced acrimony and insecurity and true federalism, resource control with devolution of powers which has the same ambience as the proposed coalition of Zik and Awo of ages past.