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Nigeria@60: The Emergence of Chief Ernest Shonekan as Head of ING

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Abbas Yushau Yusuf

Following our series of Nigeria at 60, we have been bringing you what the nation has passed through thick and thin for it to attain a robust political re-awakening.

After the turmoil that trailed the cancellation of June 12 ,1993 elections by the military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida,the Military President has no option than to handover power at the slated date of August 26 1993.

The formation of ING by General Ibrahim Babangida was adjudged as a trap to return Nigeria again to a full blown military government which democracy preachers have been singing to the Nation as an abomination.

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By the time General Ibrahim Babangida was stepping aside for the business Mogul Chief Ernest Shonekan,he retired top military officers from the rank of general and below.

The only senior officer that was left and who happens to be in the same rank with the outgoing military President was Kano Born General Sani Abacha, the then Chief of Defence Staff and Minister of Defence.

General Sani Abacha was known as prominent coup monger who also serves as the guardian angel to the 8 year administration of General Ibrahim Babangida, Nigerians became familiar with the voice of Late General Sani Abacha from the early hours of December 31st
1983 announcing the ouster of President Shehu Shagari.

Therefore by the time IBB was going he we nt with the top military officers who were Junior to Late General Sani Abacha, one of them was the Late Army Chief General Salihu Ibrahim.

From the beginning of Chief Ernest Shonekans’ administration, the June 12 Pro democracy activists gave him a serious problem by instituting court cases calling for the declaration of the ING as illegal, there was strike action embarked upon by petroleum workers and the hijacking of Nigeria’s plane ,the unpopularity of Chief Shonekan’s administration rises by the day.

On the Night of 17 November 1993, The Administrations secretary of Defence , General Sani Abacha,took armoured tanks accompanied by other Generals to the Presidential Villa in Abuja and briefed Chief Ernest Shonekan on the situation the country found itself, among were the declaration of ING as illegal,the fuel tanker crisis,the June 12 cancellation and the palaver that follows.

On listening this ,the military demanded from Chief Ernest Shonekan to resign, which he honourably did .

They demanded to take him back to his home town in Ogun State by plane , which Shonekan refused to ,but sought to be riden in a car and head straight to Ogun by Road on the night of the coup.

Following Chief Shonekan’s resignation, Abacha took over and addressed the nation the following morning as new Head of State and commander in Chief , there by dissolving the interim arrangement.

 

 

History

Civil War:Did Awolowo Betrayed Secessionists

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Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo

 

Frederick Forsyth in his 1969 book “The Making of an African Legend: The Biafran Story,” argues:

Chief Awolowo had just returned from a visit to Colonel Ojukwu in Enugu and he had been able to witness for himself (which others scrupulously refrained from doing) the depth of feeling in the East. According to Colonel Ojukwu, Awolowo had asked if the East would pull out, and the reply had been it would not until and unless it was absolutely offered no other alternative.

After seeing the situation for himself, Awolowo sympathized with the sufferings of the Eastern people, and asked that if the East was going to pull out, he be allowed twenty-four hours forewarning and he would do same for the West. This he was promised. Later he got his forewarning, but by that time he had been swayed round by other attractions, and failed to fulfil his intent. From the point of view of the Yorubas it was a pity, for if Awolowo had stuck to his guns the Federal Government, unable to face two simultaneous disaffections, would have been forced to fulfil the Aburi agreements to the letter.

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Had it done so, Nigeria would probably be at peace today, not as a unitary state of twelve provinces, but as a Confederation of quasi-autonomous states living in harmony.
===

Note:
On 1 May 1967 at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meeting in Ibadan, Awolowo listed as one of his four imperatives for peace in Nigeria that: “If the Eastern Region is allowed by acts of omission or commission to secede from or opt out of Nigeria, then the Western Region and Lagos must also stay out of the Federation.”

Defending Awolowo in his 2009 book “Awo: Unfinished Greatness,” Olufemi Ogunsanwo posits:

Chief Awolowo has defended his conduct as far as the accusations against him on the ‘Biafran question’ was concerned. What was the main grouse against him as perceived by the avarage Igbo at the time? First, it was claimed that after the Igbos, led by Ojukwu, seceded from Nigeria, Awolowo refused to follow suit by taking the West out of the federation in May 1967. Instead of doing so when he had declared in Ibadan that if the East was pushed out, the West would quit the federation, he added the weight of his political acumen and expertise in managing the economy to help Gowon’s administration to subdue the secessionists…

Chief Awolowo has refuted all these charges as a “blatant misrepresentation of the facts”. First, he denied luring anybody to secession and war. He said his speech at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meetin in Ibadan in May 1967 “could not and was not an invitation or a goading to secession or the dismemberment of the country”. He stated that his ‘Four Imperatives’ speech contained nothing to suggest secession. All he said was that the East should not be bullied out of the federation. Was the East forced out? Awolowo argued that: “It insults the intelligence of the Igbos as a group to imply that they were heartened to opt for secession on the basis of my speech.” On the contrary he had advocated on the eve of the war that: “The Eastern Region must be encouraged to remain [as a] part of the Federation”.

He did not stop with mere admonishment and platitudes in his caution. He took the risk of travelling by road to Enugu in the middle of the crisis to lead a delegation to plead with Ojukwu to relent and take the cautious road to save precious lives on the battlefield. Ojukwu refused.
===

Obafemi Awolowo was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in the Gowon government during and immediately after the civil war.

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History

Nigeria’s SG Ikoku,Who Aligned With Zik For The Struggle Of Nigeria’s Independence

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Late SG Ikoku

 

Born to Alvan and Grace Ikoku, Mazi Samuel Goomsu Ikoku was a trade unionist and politician. in 1946, As a student at University of Southampton, he supported Nigeria’s independence movement led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, writing articles printed by the West African Pilot.

He was popular for famously defeating his father, Alvan at the March 15, 1957 South Eastern House of Assembly elections.

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Dr. Alvan Ikoku lost the election with 59 votes.
Alvan heavily frowned at it but later gave his son his full support to carry on and even provided funds for his re-election in 1961.

Alvan Ikoku is the man whose face is on the ₦10 note

They hailed from Arochukwu in Abia state.

Samuel Goomsu Ikoku died on 2nd April 1997 in Awka, Anambra State.

SG Ikoku is the author of Nigeria’s Fourth coup D’etat a collection on the overthrow of Shagari’s regime by soldiers on the 31st December 1983

 

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History

Ejoor:The General Behind Nigerian Army Logo

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General David Ejoor

 

I Present to you, the Man behind the written statement on Nigeria Army logo “نصر مناالله ” (Nassurul Minnal’llah) meaning “Victory is from Allah(GOD) Alone”.

His Name: General David Ejoor.

A Nigeria by Birth, A True Blood of Niger Delta, A Christian, and a Patriotic Nigeria.

Little of how he comes about the Arabic Inscription on Nigeria Army.

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He said and i quote, “ Looking at all the world Navy, Air force has same logo pattern, but Nigeria Army flag was just having palm tree as a logo then which was before independent”. I always rejected the ideas but since then I wasn’t an army officer and i have no power over it such i left it ideology”.

“In 1903, I remembered the battle between the British and the the sultan of Sokoto, which flag of sultan of Sokoto has an Arabic inscription, which took me long before I know the meaning but at the end, i learnt, it means, (Victory is from God Alone)”.

What British has as a logo was Regiment colour shade, after i was given a chance to design a new logo for Nigeria army which was after independent, I incorporate the Arabic inscription in to army badge to represent Defence. Because during 1903 battle of Sultan of Sokoto with British Army, the Sokoto Army become stronger and unstoppable by saying “Victory is From God Alone”. These was the ideas and it was 99% accepted by the Nigeria Government.

He also said, “Nigeria after independent need a very strong bond to keep all region together as one nation, so the idea was fully welcome and that was how i come about the Arabic inscription.

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The funny part of it was, presenting the Arabic inscription without knowing the meaning but after discovering the full meaning i become stronger because I knew those Sokoto army can’t chant a word without a strong meaning backing it.

 

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