ASSASINATION AND UNRESOLVED KILLINGS IN OUR LAND - The Disturbing Trend of Political Terrorism

Killings, assassinations, intimidation, thugry are closely associated with intolerant and unaccommodating dictatorships. History is replete with these dispositions that muzzle free speech, association and civil liberties.

The wanton and unwarranted silencing of contrarian views on national issues was at the root of the clamor for a disengagement of all forms of the aberration called military rule in Nigeria’s political history. Nigerians of varying background both within our airspace and the diasporas were united in the various campaigns that stampeded the military out of political and economic power. For this to be achieved, some of our citizens were executed in cold blood through trump up charges of treason, allegations of phantom coups in what was seen as a systematic elimination of unfavorable variants.

The infamous parcel bomb saga of Late Mr. Dele Giwa, the dastardly hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his other Ogoni compatriots, the resort to illicit poisoning of M.K.O. Abiola, Shehu Musa Yaradua, Tunde Idiagbon, the assassination of elder statesman Pa Alfred Rewane, Kudirat Abiola, and the near elimination of Chief Francis Ibru by agents of the Abacha junta are some of the highlighted cases of callous shedding of innocent blood by our military.

In a bid to stem this tide, all hands were required to be on deck in the civilian revolution that heralded the present democratic experiment; this is because the worst form of a democratic government remains centuries ahead of the best form of military  mis-adventurism. While it has been excellently utilized by civilian political monsters on both inter-party and intra-party pedestals, the cult of military politicians too, stand out as the most professional, audacious and bloodthirsty user of this technique to steal political power- a sovereign asset of the people. As we experiment our fledgling democracy still undergoing various forms of nurturing, the nation is still carrying on some of the most dangerous - hangover of militarism – political assassination which at best is a form of terrorism.

In our country between 1999 to-date, evil indeed keeps turning upon evil as Nigerians are once more passing through the retrogressive tutelage of unwarranted shedding of blood from within the political class. We have witnessed terror of the highest magnitude that has led to the unresolved cases of political murder of some highbrow politicians across the length and breadth of Nigeria’s geo-politic. Chief Bola Ige (SAN) Attorney General of the federal republic of Nigeria was murdered within the confines of his home protected and under guard by men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force, hitherto our Police Force remains unable to unravel the culprits. This has left our sensibilities in a comatose state of shock. If this is the case with the nation’s Chief Legal Enforcement Officer, wherein lies hope for ordinary citizens?

A litany and Roll Call of unresolved Recorded Assassinations in the Fourth Republic includes but not limited to:

    Dec. 23, 2001      - Chief Bola Ige (Minister of Justice and Attorney General)
    2001                   - Hon. Odunayo Olagbaju (Osun State)
                              - Chief Ogbonnaya Uche (a.k.a. OGB – PDP, Imo State)
    March 2003         - Yemi Oni (AD Ekiti State)
    March 2003         - Dr. Harry Marshall (ANPP)
    March 27, 2003   - Mr. Ikenna Ibor (ANPP Anambra State)
    April 30, 2003      - Hon. Tony Dimegwu (ANPP Imo State)
    April 2003           - Mr. Issa Zaria (ANPP Kwara State)
    Feb. 6, 2004        - Chief Aminasoari Dikibo (PDP, Delta State)
    April 19, 2003     - Chief Onyewuchi Iwuchukwu (ANPP, Imo State)
    March 2004         - Mr. Luke Shingaba
    April 2004           - Chief Philip Olorunnipa (INEC, Kogi State)
    August 2004       - Mr. Esho Egbelu (Cross Rivers State)
    Oct 12, 2004       - Captain Jerry Agbeyegbe (Aviation Chief, Lagos State)
    May 15, 2005      - Alhaji Lateef Oramiyan (Ife – Osun state)
    July 27, 2005      - Mr. Anthony Ozioko (PDP, Abuja)
    June 3, 2005      - Mr. Patrick Origbe (PDP, Delta State)
    August 2005      - Mr. Felix Eboigbe (Edo State)
    July 2006           - Chief Jesse Aniku (ACD Plateau State)
    July 27, 2006     - Engr. Funsho Williams (PDP, Lagos State)
    August 14, 2006     - Dr. Ayodeji Daramola (PDP, Ekiti State)

The National Association of Seadogs (NAS INTERNATIONAL) is alarmed like many other Nigerians that the Nigeria Police Force has resolved none of the afore-mentioned killings. Does this not amount to a colossal failure of Police duties? What about the clamor for community based policing as is the case in other successful nations? Is the call for state owned police out of place? With this crass ineptitude of the centrally controlled police, the need for devolution of the police apparatus has become imperative. There is need for a grass root policing of lives and property. Police reform should top the agenda of the various political parties jostling for political and economic power. The above roll call does not take into account the many-failed assassination of attempts prior to and equally soon after the two most recent killings. This burden weighs so much on poor Nigerian citizens who are legally precluded from protecting themselves and at the same time stuck with the absence of an effective police force. The Nigerian police continue to shout wolf in respect of community and state owned vigilante outfits when the same police are always caught pants down whenever it is put to test. The National Association of Seadogs is of the view that Nigerians should decide via a referendum what to do with the current and failed centrally controlled NPF. The Nigerian Police Force is certainly a FAILED EXPERIMENT.

Nigerians had not woken up from the coma imposed by the shockwaves of the cruel murder of Engineer Funso Williams, a famous aspirant to the seat of Governorship of Lagos state, before the assassination of Dr. Ayodeji Daramola, another gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti State, was announced. Too coincidentally, both were members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The two most recent brutal cases attest further to the tumultuous character of the Nigerian party-political space. They, in addition, offer a non-partisan organization such as ours another instance for an assessment of the syndrome of political killings in our nation.

Certainly, the National Association of Seadogs (A.K.A. Pyrates Confraternity) views, with utmost disdain, the current trend in the country’s political space, which can be best described as a tradition of terrorism. When it is the breed of gangsters that are allowed the privilege of leadership, and felons and potential outlaws are free to brazenly display aspiration to rule decent citizens, the key methodologies of attaining their objectives must be passionately informed by their inclination, expertise and reasoning: murder, arson, thuggery, battering and all unimaginable forms of criminality. Terrorism, an all time horror, has remained a familiar strategy of actualizing political ambition in the Nigerian society since independence.

Our organization views political killings and gangsterism as a tool that is adopted in politics only by those who seek to rule and despoil, and definitely not those who seek to lead and build. It is a strategy to hijack the democratic process, an annexation and fraudulent conversion of democratic structures to the antagonistic family estate thereby annulling the majority wish of the people for self-serving purposes. Terrorism by all standards is against all civilized and acceptable values of human existence. It is antithetical to the democratic culture and our tolerance level for the aberration is zero – i.e. zero tolerance.

NAS International is convinced that the moment a candidate or a group of party loyalists conspire to rig an election, a political terrorist act has been perpetrated against the people. Political terrorism is not only an infringement against the individual fell by the assassin’s bullet or his immediate family, it is equally an open, and a most unwholesome infringement against the collective psyche of the people. This, actually, has become a ritual in the process of our country’s political evolution; and the 2003 general elections is, no doubt, an unforgettable experience.

The federal government has effectively played the role of the chief mourner at the home of almost every newly bereaved via the visible presence of the president, his vice and/or other top government officials. It has also consistently mouthed justice at such ritual sites. At the home of Late Engr. Funso Williams, President Olusegun Obasanjo was even more fervent in his usual pledge to bring to book, this time, the executioners of our political and leadership materials. This form of statement has become a euphemism for Police and Government failure and ineptitude.

How do we trust the competence of the government to ensure security and justice in a country where the assailants of a serving Attorney General and Justice Minister are still enjoying freedom, rubbing bellies with government and participating in governance, five years after the terrorist act? Does this mean that political assassination has become an institutionalized section of our constitution? – An unwritten moribund convention? Political assassination such as what we have been witnessing in the life of this administration is a potent technique of upholding a barbaric order of political existence. The politicians must as a matter of urgency put an end to these acts and  spare the nation further loss of lives.

JUSTICE remains the only realism that can douse and assuage the Psycho-Socio and political tension being generated by these raging political killings. Anything short of this will remain a Grand National Illusion and an International Humiliation.

This is the Official Position of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS).


Signed:

PROF. OLATUNDE MAKANJU
NAS Capone
National Association of Seadogs (NAS)

September 5, 2006