The struggle is going to be tough and nerve wracking but at the end, the Obidients and Mr Obi will triumph
Knowing that Azikiwe no longer posed any threat to Northern political agenda, Britain having rubbished him, and since opposition forces have coalesced under Awolowo, to bolster Southern opposition to Northern power, the destruction of Awolowo and the Action Group became a task that must be accomplished. From then, NPC’s political project centred on containment or destruction of Awolowo. Unfortunately, Awolowo’s deputy, Samuel Ladoke Akintola was not so enamoured of his leader’s uncompromising politics with the feudal principles and humongous political and economic power warehoused in the Federal Government.
So, he secretly made overtures to Sardauna for political rapprochement. As Tafawa Balewa noted in his autobiography, Robert Clarke, A Right Honourable Gentleman: The Life and Times of Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,”the Sardauna was not disposed to oppositions that did not admit his superiority … and if Alhaji Ahmadu ever imagined himself as a Nigerian tout court, it must have been as a future caliph or emperor, pavilioned with panoply and praise singers.” It was this feudal autocrat that Akintola by his political gamble was pitching Awo for epochal contest for power. So, as Awolowo was not the kind to admit of any mortal man’s superiority not to talk of that of Sardauna, the stage was set for an all-out war.
Autocrats like gamblers rarely count the danger or their losses otherwise Sardauna and Balewa would have known that their ‘Destroy-Awo-Project’ will adversely affect democracy in Nigeria. So the project gathered momentum. As expected, Akintola sealed his alliance with Balewa/Sardauna with the concomitant duty of Balewa-led Federal Government to protect Akintola from political troubles in Western Region and ensure Akintola triumphed unjustly in any electoral or democratic contests. On discovering Akintola’s betrayal, Awolowo-led Action Group proceeded against him by way of replacing him with Alhaji Adegbenro.
To realise this plot, Awo-led AG faction by a resolution merely signed by majority of Western House of Assembly members without tabling it in parliament petitioned governor of Western Region, Sir Adesoji Aderemi that Akintola has lost confidence of parliament. In reaction, Governor Aderemi exercised his powers under sections 33-39 of the Western Region Constitution by replacing Akintola with Adegbenro. Akintola went to court but Western Region High Court demurred as it was a constitutional issue and reserved same to the Federal Supreme Court which constituted a full court, which gave judgment in favour of Akintola.
Governor Aderemi and Adegbenro appealed to the Privy Council of Britain. In a unanimous judgment, the Privy Council upheld the appeal holding that Governor Aderemi need not be restricted to the type of information by way of resolution whether passed at the floor of the Western House of Assembly or not but only needed to satisfy himself on the authentic information available to him that the premier no longer enjoyed the confidence and cooperation of his fellow parliamentarians.
The Federal Government of Balewa was livid with rage against this judicial triumph of Awolowo faction and it immediately summoned the Federal Parliament and hurriedly tabled a constitutional amendment to make Nigeria a republic. Within months, the amendment was carried through and on October 1, 1963, the 1960 Constitution that recognized the British monarch as head of state through the Governor-General as alter ego was repealed and Azikiwe became President.
Also the provision that made the Privy Council the highest court of Nigeria was repealed and Federal Supreme Court became the Court of last resort thereby pulling the rug of the Awolowo faction’s appeal victory. Prior to this episode, Awolowo had been accused of corruption and Coker Commission of Inquiry was set up to inquire into the affairs of Western Region parastatals such as the Western Region of Nigeria Property Development Corporation, a conduit through which the Action Group financed its political activities just as NCNC used Eastern Region Marketing Board and Northern People’s Congress used native authority treasuries to finance their activities.
The Coker Commission indicted Awolowo. The Federal Government of Balewa later charged Awolowo with treason which nailed and imprisoned him. But from that date, Nigeria wobbled and stumbled until January 15, 1966 when soldiers sympathetic to Awolowo staged a coup d’état that toppled Balewa and plunged Nigeria into crises that resulted in the Biafra War that cost Nigeria over two million lives and trillion Naira worth of property.
The Biafra War represents an indigenous conquest and rule akin to the British colonial conquest and rule. The first was a foreign conquest and rule while the second was a state-hijack and country-subjugation for selfish exploitation. This piece of Nigerian history is being put forward not to frighten Mr Obi but to make him appreciate the dangerous journey his aspiring to rule Nigeria entails, especially doing so not by following the political trajectory mapped by Britain and faithfully upheld and followed by the chosen caste of rulers that inherited British-Nigeria. This caste of chosen rulers has no tribal and religious boundaries even as they use the same tribal and religious divisions to keep the people divided and distracted in order to achieve their well-planned objectives.
When Obi defected to Labour Party and by his antecedents, the Nigerian youths variously dismissed by rulers as “lazy” and “hoodlums” before and after ENDSARS protest unanimously adopted him as their presidential candidate, this caste of rulers with their binoculars have looked far and wide and saw that your political trajectory has shifted from their normal route to easy access to power to the uncertain and dangerous trajectory of people-oriented revolutionary movement centred on populism, egalitarian and just society they panicked.
They at first dismissed the ‘Obedient’ movement as noise-makers domiciled in the social media and when the din of the movement’s activities was swallowing their intriguing mischief they cried that they were being subjected to cyber-bullying. On 25th February, 2023 they were shocked that Obi was leading them in the presidential election hence they rubbished the hitherto promised fair and clean election and replaced it with manipulated results that threw up an honoured member of the caste.
In APC, several permutations had gone in to manipulate the nomination outcome but seeing the determined resolve of Asiwaju Tinubu to rubbish the party if he was denied nomination they eventually zeroed in on choosing him. Not to choose Tinubu would have resulted in an unmanageable revolt from the South especially Western Region (Yoruba) with the concomitant result that the most feared consequence being the historical Ahmadu 1953’s “the mistake of 1914” translated as fear of Igbo/Yoruba understanding on power relations would have occasioned thereby sounding a death knell for Northern political domination.
So, despite Tinubu’s vitriol against APC’s intrigues the power-that-be settled for his candidacy for whatever it was worth. Even after Tinubu’s emergence as presidential candidate of APC the same political tendency that cherishes Northern supremacy had thought of delivering Atiku Abubakar of PDP but weighed the consequences and backtracked hence the last minute resolve to return Tinubu at all cost because between Obi’s victory, similar to SDP’S MKO Abiola’s June 12 and Tinubu, Tinubu presidency will be a lesser evil being guaranteed to be business as usual, if not worse. It was this divided attention and uncertainty driven by fear and doubt that led to the bungled 2023 elections that have rubbished the tolerable provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the gadgets for clean elections.
President Buhari’s assurances to deliver clean and fair electoral system as his legacy turned out dud promissory note. There is nothing sacred or too much for this caste of politicians to do to accomplish a chosen task, usually evil agenda, once they set their mind to it. Mr Obi should know that the result of the presidential election has shown him to be the issue in Nigerian politics, ‘a clear and present danger’ to rogue politics and governance in Nigeria. Henceforth, rogue politicians that have made career out of Nigeria’s dysfunctional state and society will not go down quietly.
They will use the presidency, if eventually they sustained the grabbed power at the court to fight him to a standstill. But he should just be true to himself and the Obidients and every other Nigerian who rejected the evil system and have chosen to fight to take back Nigeria. The struggle is going to be tough and nerve wracking but at the end, the Obidients and Mr Obi will triumph over these forces of evil held together by tenuous band of mercenary considerations. Mr Obi should not panic or be unduly worried by the attacks by the APC and their government because he is standing on firmer pedestal of truth and justice and history vindicates the just.
Let the Obidients and Obi move on, with or without the presidency because what lies ahead is greater than the present disputed presidency that the court will pronounce upon either way in due course.