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Obasanjo, third, not first in Africa – The Sun Nigeria

Obasanjo, third, not first in Africa – The Sun Nigeria

Professor Tam David-West

I’ve through the years observed with nice embarrassment as a Nigerian a critical historic inaccuracy which our mass media proceed to hold on the query of voluntary army handover of presidency to civilian authorities.

Briefly, our eminent compatriot, Basic Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd) is consistently and persistently known as the “First African military leader to voluntarily handover government to a democratically elected civilian government.”

One of many newest of such embarrassing error or inaccuracy was by Jide Ajani, Deputy Political Editor of the Vanguard.

He said as follows in his report captioned, “Obasanjo – for President: Ultimatum for a four-star general” (Vanguard: 6 November, 1998; web page 9): “General Matthew Okikiolakin Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Head of State and Commander-in-Chief, and the first African leader to voluntarily hand over the reigns of governance (sic) to a democratically elected civilian government…”

That is removed from the reality. Common Obasanjo (rtd) was not the first to take action. He was in reality the third African army chief to take action.

The first was Common Akwasi Afrifa of Ghana, who in 1969 voluntarily handed over authorities to the democratically elected Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia of the Progress Celebration, after the army overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on 24 February, 1966.

This was good ten years earlier than Common Obasanjo handed over authorities to Alhaji Shehu Shagari on 1 October, 1979.

To additional buttress my correction I quote from Barbara E Okeke’s e-book, four June: A Revolution Betrayed, web page 12: “Ghana’s first military government kept its promise to return the country to civilian rule in 1969.”

And going additional again to the data: On 13 January, 1972 Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong overthrew Dr. Busia, for being autocratic, repressive, illiberal of opposition (a criminal offense he himself articulated towards Nkrumah). He was additionally accused of being clay-footed on “moral revolution” and mismanagement of the financial system.

Acheampong himself was later overthrown on 5 July 1978 in a palace coup by Common Fred Akuffo. He was charged of corruption, graft, abuse of workplace – his well-known “green-pen” signed all types of contracts to pals, cronies and household; diversion of public funds to inflated private Swiss financial institution accounts; financial mismanagement – he printed large financial institution notes and threw the banks into disarray. Nevertheless, ignored younger (junior) rank officers’ (and the general public) referred to as to probe the six-year authorities of Acheampong.

He even “unfroze” the belongings of Acheampong’s aides. The Akuffo’s Supreme Army Council (SMC) resisted all pressures to probe Acheampong’s authorities, and thereby raised suspicion. It was prompt that the complacency of the SMC was as a result of most senior officers (together with Akuffo) have been additionally responsible of the identical/comparable crimes towards the state.

On 15 Might, 1979 Common Akuffo arrested Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings (a populist officer) together with another Air Drive officers for plotting coup towards him. They have been accordingly tried and imprisoned.

Nevertheless, on four June, 1979 some dissident officers of decrease ranks of the Military and Air Drive led by Captain Baokye Djan overthrew Akuffo. Additionally they shot their approach to the jail and effected the discharge of Rawlings. This was popularly referred to as the “June 4 Revolution.” Rawlings was unanimously appointed Head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), and expressly charged to execute the “Moral Revolution.”

A Peoples’ Revolutionary Courtroom was set as much as attempt corrupt officers. It sat in digital camera. Eight senior officers together with Acheampong, Akuffo and Afrifa have been discovered responsible of “offences against the state”, by “using their position to amass wealth while in office and or recklessly dissipating state funds to the detriment of the nation.”

Rawlings summed up the state of the nation: “It has been forcefully brought home to all our people that while they were starving because food prices were too high, while they risked death on falling sick because drugs were in short supply while they were paying exorbitant rents and while they were dejected and despondent because of the intolerable heights to which inflation in the country had generally risen, there were others in the society who were dipping their hands freely into the nations coffers so that they and their families could live in the opulence of conspicuous consumption.” Additionally equally denounced have been “instant millionaires”.

It ought to be talked about that in Basic Afrifa’s home three gold-plated beds have been found; additionally medicine value 10,000 cedis have been additionally discovered – but the hospitals haven’t any medicine for the plenty. But, he was the Head of the Nationwide Liberation Council which assumed energy after Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown on 24 February, 1966. He was a number one officer in the coup.

It’s intriguing to say that when a strong minister of Nkrumah, Krobo Edusi, imported a gold-plated mattress (costing £three,000) in the 1950’s Nkrumah’s authorities confisticated the mattress, disposed of it and lodged the quantity in Ghana’s coffers. However Afrifa (and his colleagues) who overthrew Nkrumah stated they have been “Messiah”.

The flagrant corruption and graft of the responsible prime officers additional infected the decrease rank officers. They have been not to be appeased till these corrupt officers have been executed.

The AFRC succumbed to those pressures, and so forth 16 June 1979 all of the eight officers (together with the three Heads of State/Authorities: Acheampong, Akuffo and Afrifa) have been executed by firing squad.

Rawlings’ AFRC carried out elections on 18 June, 1979. Dr. Hilla Limann of the Peoples Nationwide Celebration polled majority of the favored votes. Nevertheless, he was in need of the required over 50% of the votes forged.

A second election was, subsequently, held on 9 July, 1979. Dr. Limann had a transparent victory this time round. He polled some 67% of the votes. He was subsequently declared the winner. Lower than two million Ghanaians went to the polls. Voters apathy.

And so, on 24 September, 1979 (October 1979 was initially chosen) the Head of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, handed over authorities to President Dr. Hilla Limann. This was the second army handover of presidency to democratically elected civilian authorities in Africa.

The one in every of Basic Obasanjo to President Shehu Shagari, on 1 October, 1979, was subsequently clearly the third of such handovers in Africa and not the first as erroneously often and persistently carried by the Nigerian media.

It’s unlucky that we’ve got allowed this nationwide embarrassment to go on for therefore lengthy. I had anticipated skilled students of politics or historical past to have corrected the error.

Maybe, one is constrained to additionally acknowledge the ring of universality in the promptings for the Rawlings June four Ethical Revolution of 1979, and so don’t care to know for whom the bell tolls. Ethical Classes. Apocalyptic?

When President Dr. Limann carried out under the requirements and expectations of the “June 4 Moral Revolution,” he too was ousted by Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings in 1982.

It must be highlighted that opposite to the picture one had of Rawlings, as a blood-thirsty officer, due to the execution of the “Ghana Eight” in 1979, from subsequent “research”, the data amply present that in reality, he was against the executions. For example, on web page 47-48 of Barbara Okeke’s four June: A Revolution Betrayed, beneath “Rawlings opposed the executions”: “…as Chairman of the AFRC, it was clear that he was not in favour of the execution. On 7 July, a BBC camera crew filmed a meeting of council at which the fate of the senior officers was being discussed. Rawlings recommended penal labour on farms and public humiliation as punishment.”

Moreover, on web page 76; “Throughout the period of the AFRC rule, Rawlings was the moderating influence on the more radiant elements within the armed forces and society at large.”

The “Obasanjo Error”, as a result of no one has cared to right it––and disappointingly, not even from the Basic himself––it essentially turns into, certainly, a nationwide embarrassment.

It’s my expectation that this “national service” (and contribution to intellectuality) ought to be seen in the spirit with which I’ve voluntarily made it. Something in need of this may be intellectually fraudulent.

Maybe, I ought to point out that that is not the first time I’ve taken upon myself to right printed historic errors about Nigeria; despite the fact that a virologist.

For example, in his e-book, Politics, J. R. Thackrah (1987) on Web page 238 said as follows: “Shagari proved to be corrupt and lethargic in the field of economic development and he was overthrown in 1983 to be replaced by yet another military leader, Martella Mohammed” sic)”

I wrote to the writer by way of Heinemann Books Nigeria Restricted. The guide was revealed by Heinemann London. I identified the errors. First, that it was anachronistic to state that Basic Murtala Mohammed “replaced” President Shehu Shagari. It was Basic Buhari who “replaced” Shagari.

Secondly, it’s not “Martella Mohammed, but “Murtala Mohammed”.

Thirdly, Shagari was not “proved to be corrupt”. Nevertheless, his authorities undoubtedly was recognized extensively by Nigerians to be corrupt. Certainly, A Craig Copetas, stated that a lot in his most fascinating and riveting guide Metallic Males: Marc Wealthy and the 10-Billion-Greenback Rip-off (1985); web page 119: “The Shagari regime personified corruption in the Third World.

Dr.Thackrah was most gracious when he wrote to commend me; and in addition promised to right the errors I identified in his subsequent version.

Just like the correction of the “Obasanjo Error”, the primary object of this contribution, I thought-about the correction of the “Thackrah Error”, additionally a nationwide service; and certainly a service (or contribution) to intellectuality.