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Palestine’s Fatah pledges retaliation against US

1/3/2015 7:39:16 AM
A member of the Palestinian Fatah resistance movement, Abbas Zaki

A member of the Palestinian Fatah resistance movement, Abbas Zaki

The Palestinian resistance movement, Fatah, pledges retaliation against the United States following the UN Security Council’s refusal to adopt a draft resolution demanding Palestine’s recognition and the Israeli withdrawal.

Speaking in an interview with RT Arabia, a Fatah central committee member, Abbas Zaki, said Palestine will start an international campaign to showcase the world that the US is “an enemy”.

“The whole world should understand that the US is an enemy, pushing Israeli extremists to carry on with their actions, depriving us of our rights and supporting Israel in everything,” Zaki added.

He compared the US administration with “the cobra’s head” and vowed retaliation if Washington refuses to change its current stance.

Zaki said the US administration is pursuing an “unprincipled and unacceptable” stance with Washington “always making decisions in favor of Israel.”

He emphasized that the latest developments in the UN Security Council were not a failure for Palestinian diplomacy.

“It’s just the persistent unwillingness of the US administration to give the Palestinian people its lawful right of self-determination. It’s a very dangerous precedent,” the Fatah official said.

He added that the US knows that many international decisions and resolutions condemn the Israeli regime’s “crimes and injustice towards the Palestinian people.”

The current US administration still uses its right to veto, he said.

He called on the Palestinian people to strengthen their unity as the “civilized world stands on our side, in particular – France, Luxembourg, Russia and China.”

On Tuesday, the Security Council did not adopt the draft resolution, which called for the recognition of an independent Palestinian state and the termination of the Israeli occupation.

The resolution needed to secure at least nine votes to be adopted by the 15-member Security Council. However, it managed to garner only eight positive votes, as the US and Australia voted against the resolution, and the UK, Rwanda, Nigeria, South Korea and Lithuania abstained.

In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel and the US.


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Fallout of imperialist interventions in Africa

1/3/2015 7:54:59 AM
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) talks with French soldiers of the Barkhane operation near the border with Libya on January 1, 2015.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) talks with French soldiers of the Barkhane operation near the border with Libya on January 1, 2015.

Simone Gbagbo, the former first lady of Ivory Coast, made an appearance in court inside the country on December 26. She is charged with alleged crimes in connection with the tenure of her husband, the ousted President Laurent Gbagbo, who is now under the custody of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

President Gbagbo was targeted by the former colonial power France and the United States for removal beginning in late 2010. French forces eventually put Gbagbo under siege and raided his hold-up residence in April 2011, taking him, his wife and other leading officials of the Ivorian government into custody.

A politician and functionary of international finance capital, Alassane Quattara, had opposed President Gbagbo in the 2010 elections. A dispute over the outcome and a less-than-adequate resolution by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led to a political crisis and the French-led counterrevolution.

Former first lady Gbagbo, who has been held in northern Ivory Coast since the overthrow of the government, was transferred to the commercial capital of Abidjan for the court appearance. She sat in the dock alongside 83 other political and military opponents of the Paris-backed coup which extended over several months from late 2010 until April 2011.

The trial conducted by the existing pro-imperialist regime is expected to last for a month. Reports say that nine jurors will be impaneled to hear evidence and make a decision with respect to her guilt or innocence.

“If she is found guilty, she will get 20 years to life because we are talking about a crime against state security,” said prosecutor Soungalo Coulibaly.

Nonetheless, even within the imperialist camp there is controversy surrounding the highly-politicized trial.  The ICC ordered on December 11 that the former first lady be handed over for trial in the Netherlands along with her husband and his chief aide Charles Ble Goude.

In a judicial statement, the ICC says that “After a thorough assessment… the Chamber concluded that the Cote d’Ivoire domestic authorities were not taking tangible, concrete and progressive steps aimed at ascertaining whether Simone Gbagbo is criminally responsible for the same conduct that is alleged before the ICC.” (December 11)

Since the French-US supported counterrevolution against Gbagbo in 2010-11, the security situation inside the country has worsened particularly in the northern region where rebels were used in the plot to undermine the former government. The existing security forces appear incapable of addressing the lawlessness despite their endorsement by the West.

“People living, working, and travelling in northern Ivory Coast are being terrorized by armed men who appear to operate with little fear of being stopped, much less prosecuted,” Corinne Dufka, the West Africa director of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a press statement.

According to an article published by the French Press Agency (AFP), “Buses, cars and homes were being targeted in near daily attacks by gunmen armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, among other weapons, the report said. Many victims had said they had ‘given up reporting attacks because of the lack of response’ HRW added.” (December 15)

Consequently, the counterrevolution against the Gbagbo government weakened the Ouattara regime’s ability to stabilize Ivory Coast as well as increasing the dependency of the post-colonial state. Only a reconsolidation of patriotic forces can provide hope for a better future.

At the same time that Washington and Paris were effectively destabilizing the West African state of Ivory Coast, the imperialists led by the Obama administration moved rapidly to launch a counterrevolution against the Jamahiriya in Libya. On February 17, 2011, a rebel war was launched in Benghazi against the central government in Tripoli, seeking to undermine its authority.

When the loyalist forces mobilized to repel the counterrevolutionaries, the US, France and Britain, engineered two United Nations Security Council resolutions. The first, UNSC 1970, placed an arms embargo on the government of Muammar Gaddafi but allowed large shipments of weapons and personnel through Benghazi and other areas that border waterways and contiguous states. The second resolution, UNSC 1973, provided pseudo-legal cover for the massive bombing of the North African country under the guise of establishing a “no-fly zone.”

After the Pentagon and NATO along with their allies bombed Libya from March 19 to October 31, 2011, the destruction of the country was sealed. Millions were displaced in the aerial bombardments, estimates claimed that 50,000-100,000 people were killed and the terror carried out by the rebels took on a decisively reactionary and racist character.

Today Libya is in chaos with oil terminals being burned and population groups under direct assault from various rebel factions, two of whom are contesting the control of the capital and the coveted oil resources and revenues.

The imperialist-recognized faction that has taken refuge in a Tobruk hotel after being driven out of the capital, have called in Egyptian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) warplanes which are carrying out airstrikes against the rival militias.

Even after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt which toppled the regimes of longtime western-allied dictators Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, the military regimes that preempted a genuine people’s revolution allowed their military forces to be utilized in the imperialist war against Gaddafi.

Absent of an anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanist approach to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt both countries were bound to revert to a neocolonialist reconfiguration of domestic state power and foreign policy. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political organization, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), although elected in June 2012, made no fundamental changes in Cairo’s relationship with the US and Israel.

In Tunisia, the recent elections which saw the rise of a reformed party of Ben Ali, known as Nidaa Tounes (Tunisia Call), resulted in the ascendancy of 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi as president. The left parties, centrists and Islamists remained divided and unable to stave off the return of the career politicians who were stalwarts of the governments of Habib Bourguiba and Ben Ali.

Lessons for 2015: From Uprisings to Revolutionary Pan-Africanism

Despite these challenges that have been outlined in this series of articles on developments in 2014 and their socio-historical context, there are clear indications that neocolonial dominance is not effectively guaranteed. Events in Burkina Faso provide an illustration of the potential for people to rapidly mobilize to overthrow a military-turned-civilian dictatorial regime operating in the interests of imperialism.

Throughout the West Africa region, strikes have taken place over the recent period. In Ghana, public sector, educational and healthcare workers walked off the job during 2014 demanding better conditions of employment, the securing of their pensions and salary increases to guard against the social impact of the decline of the cedi, the national currency.

Also in Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone, workers have struck and protested in the similar sectors as in Ghana. Many of these states where strikes and rebellions have occurred are being labeled as examples of phenomenal economic growth in Africa. Nonetheless, the profits accrued as a result of the foreign direct investment driven policies are not being shared with the masses.

Nigeria, which is now designated as having the largest economy on the continent, has not been able to effectively contain and eradicate the Boko Haram militancy in the northeast.

The kidnapping of hundreds of high school girls in Chibok was indicative of the breakdown of the dysfunctional post-colonial political dispensation with regional divisions in the body politic that are reflected within the military and security forces.

All of these struggles aimed at winning a decent standard of living for workers, youth and farmers; the ideological and political campaigns to battle reactionary ideas and movements; the quest for genuine all-African unity; and the revolutionary imperative for the empowerment of the majority of the people within society, should be at the top of the agenda of all progressive forces on the continent and their supporters internationally.

With the decline in commodity prices on the global markets, many African states are already feeling the impact of this looming crisis. These post-colonial governments and the national bourgeoisies in these countries are more vulnerable than ever since they are largely dependent on the foreign exchange earnings from exports to ensure their dominance within these societies.

It is quite obvious that the neo-liberal agenda in operation for the last three decades is running its course. The only real solution to the crisis is socialist reconstruction and planning within a continental and global Pan-African framework.





Abayomi Azikiwe is a Detroit organizer of the Workers World Party and editor of the Pan-African Newswire.

Tinubu Feared Buhari Would Destroy Nigeria – WikiLeaks

Tinubu Feared Buhari Would Destroy Nigeria – WikiLeaks.

Authorities come under fire for Shanghai’s New Year stampede

The official Xinhua news agency said the government could not shake off responsibility for what happened

Chinese state media and the public criticised the government and police yesterday for failing to prevent a New Year’s Eve stampede in Shanghai that killed 36 people and dented the city’s image as modern China’s global financial hub.

Apart from Hong Kong, which is run as a separate territory, Shanghai is China’s most international and cosmopolitan city, a glitzy home to global companies and with ambitions to become a world financial centre by 2020.

The official Xinhua news agency said the government could not shake off responsibility for what happened. It asked why there were apparently so few police on duty for the tens of thousands thronging Shanghai’s famous waterfront, known as the Bund.

“The disaster… served as a wake-up call that the world’s second-largest economy is still a developing country which has fragile social management,” it said in an English-language commentary. Most of the victims, 35 of whom have now been named by the authorities, were young women and students. On social media and TV airwaves, many were asking how such a tragedy could have happened in the heart of the country’s financial hub.

People mourn the victims of the New Year stampede. At least 35 people were killed in the Bund area in central Shanghai (Getty Images)People mourn the victims of the New Year stampede. At least 35 people were killed in the Bund area in central Shanghai (Getty Images)
The waterfront has become a New Year countdown site since authorities brought in performances such as 3D light shows and fireworks. Celebrations in 2013 drew more than 300,000 revellers.

Pan Haiqin, 24, was among the thousands who decided to ring in the new year on the riverfront. But as the crowd grew and then turned into an out-of-control crush of bodies, the property worker never made it up steps to a viewing platform to see the dazzling lights.

Nearly 20 hours later, her parents and friends identified her trampled body in a morgue. “I blame myself for it. I did not protect her,” said Ms Haiqin’s boyfriend, Zhao Weiwei, his eyes welling with tears. “She was a cheerful woman who worked so hard in this city.”

The site of the stampede was cordoned off yesterday, as grieving relatives held a candlelit memorial. Authorities were still investigating the cause of the stampede, but street vendors, residents, taxi drivers and other witnesses say the city had failed to prepare for the massive turnout.

On Thursday, police refused to allow foreign media into a briefing, for fear of negative coverage. They have dismissed reports that the crush was caused by people rushing to pick up coupons thrown from a bar overlooking the Bund. Instead, the focus has shifted to overcrowding on a raised viewing area.

People cry at a hospital after a stampede occurred during a New Year's celebration on the Bund, central Shanghai (Reuters)People cry at a hospital after a stampede occurred during a New Year’s celebration on the Bund, central Shanghai (Reuters)
Mr Weiwei said the crowd descending from the platform crashed into him and his girlfriend as they were trying to make their way up.

“We were holding hands then, but no way could we resist the force coming down,” he said. “We were separated, and people fell down backward with their faces up, piling on each other. When we were able to pull them out, many were already unconscious.”

AP; Reuters

Entertaining insults!


on January 02, 2015 / in Sweet and Sour 3:50 pm / Comments

By Donu Kogbara

EX-PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, are at it again. These two grand old men have been at each others’ throats for years; and it doesn’t look as if their colourful verbal battles will end anytime soon.

Last week, my colleague Emmanuel Aziken, Vanguard’s Political Editor, wrote about their most recent war of words – which revolves around “My Watch”, Obasanjo’s controversial new autobiographical trilogy (it’s the subject of legal action, so not yet widely available). Excerpts from Aziken’s report:

Soyinka gave a rebuttal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s latest book…describing it as a narrative by a career liar always determined to crookedly project himself above his true standing among men.

Affirming his general detestation of such men, Soyinka said the Obasanjo brand was compounded by the inclination of even foisting the lies on members of the younger generation.

Obasanjo had in his book flayed Soyinka as a self serving critic who he said always sought to shine out among men claiming, that the Nobel Laureate is a “misfit as a political analyst, commentator or critic.”


He had written “For Wole, no one can be good, nor can anything be spot-on politically except that which emanates from him or is ordained by him.”

Continuing his assessment of Soyinka, Obasanjo said: “He is surely a better wine connoisseur and a more successful “aparo” (guinea fowl) hunter than a political critic…,” adding “I take him seriously on almost all issues except on the political particularly Nigerian politics.”

Replying, in a treatise, titled Watch and Pray, Watch and Prey, Soyinka said: “I had fully attuned myself to the fact that our Owu retiree soldier and prolific author is an infliction that those of us who share the same era and nation space must learn to endure. However, it does appear that there is no end to this individual’s capacity for infantile mischief, and for needless, mind-boggling provocations, such as his recent ‘literary’ intrusion on my peace.

Perhaps I ought to interrupt myself here with an apology to some mutual acquaintances – ‘blessed peacemakers’ and all – especially in this season of ‘peace and goodwill to all men’. Please know that your efforts have not been entirely in vain. I had a cordial exchange with Obasanjo over the phone recently – engineered by himself, his ground staff and/or a chance visitor – when I had cause to visit his Presidential Laundromat for the first time ever.

During that exchange, I complimented him on making some quite positive use of landed property that was acquired under morally dubious circumstances, and blatantly developed through a process I denounced as ‘executive extortionism’….

…Our author invokes God tirelessly, without provocation, without necessity and without justification, perhaps preemptively, but does he really believe in such an entity? Does our home-bred Double-O-Seven believe in anything outside his own Omnipotency? Could he possibly have mistaken the Christian exhortation – ‘Watch and Pray’ for his private inclination to Watch and Prey?…

Soyinka goes on to describe Obasanjo as a “Master of Mendacity” and “irredeemable egomaniac” who is heading for “twilight disgrace”.

Obasanjo is also scathingly accused of issuing a “grotesque” statement and “ignoble fabrication”. And so on. And on. And on and on and on!…until we reach the conclusion of this particular diatribe, a gleeful: Chei! There is Death o!”

Talk about an un-merry Christmas message and festive ill will!

Soyinka, being a professional writer and pundit, is the more verbose of the two and has the upper hand when it comes to dishing out abuse with style.

But Obasanjo is no slouch on the insults front. He is also (as President Jonathan has discovered!) pretty skilled at putting people down when they annoy him.

Anyway, I nearly fell off my chair, laughing, when I read about the latest Soyinka/Obasanjo spat. I find the rudeness that they unrepentantly fling at each other hilarious; and I’d like to thank them for providing me with free entertainment at a time when Nigeria is not the most cheerful place on earth.

Xmas message from APC
IN a Christmas message to Nigerians, the APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that hope is on the horizon for the millions who could not celebrate this year because of the gloominess that prevails across the land.

“Many cannot travel home due to fears of kidnapping, ethno-religious crisis and insurgency…Many cannot celebrate due to the effects of the economic downturn, as manifested in the weakening Naira and falling oil prices, both exacerbated by widespread corruption.

“Many will mark the holidays in darkness as the country’s public power supply seems to have fallen in a direct proportion to the huge funds ostensibly pumped into the sector in the past few years. Many will be stuck on the roads that have become clogged due to their poor state.
“While there is no magic wand to solve the myriad of problems facing our country in one fell swoop, an APC government will begin to positively impact on the citizenry within its first few months at the helm, to such an extent that Nigerians will have a better Christmas celebration in 2015.”

Alhaji Mohammed went on to solemnly promise that APC will create three million new jobs per annum, sternly tackle corruption, employ an extra 100,000 police officers, establish a properly-trained and equipped Federal Anti-Terrorism Multi- Agency Task Force to destroy Boko Haram and immediately introduce better pay and conditions for all security personnel.
Fine and thrilling words indeed!

Naija politicos have a habit of failing to deliver once victory is in the bag. If APC does wind up winning the election, let’s pray that it sticks to these pledges and doesn’t turn out to be as disappointing as the bunch who are in power now!
Merry Christmas and happy New year to all Vanguard readers and their friends and families.

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Boko Haram will not get away with their atrocities – JonathanBy


 Olawale Kadir on January 1, 2015 @ 12:09 pm@todayngr President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday reassured Nigerians that terrorists operating in the North-East would not get away with their atrocities. In a new broadcast to the nation, Jonathan restated his administration’s determination to rout the terrorists and bring them to justice. He said that the Federal Government had done the necessary groundwork to finally resolve the current security challenge in the country, NAN reports. “Regrettably, terrorists have unleashed much pain and agony on our land. They have made widows of our mothers and sisters and orphans of our children. “They have shut down businesses, desecrated places of worship and brought untold hardship to both men and women. “They have violated the culture and peaceful way of life in our country, which took generations to build. “They have destroyed countless schools and displaced people from their communities, driving them into exile. “I want to assure you that the terrorists will not get away with their atrocities: they will not win; they will be routed. “As President, I feel the pain of all affected communities and families. I hear their cries and share their sorrow and pain. “We will not forget; we will not look the other way. We have done a lot of painstaking planning and work to resolve the current security challenge. “We will bring justice to the savage terrorists known as Boko Haram. They will be defeated,” he said. The president paid special tribute to personnel of the nation’s Armed Forces and other security agencies for their dedication and commitment to the war on terror. He said the federal government was “re-equipping and re-positioning” the armed forces to boost their capacity to win the war. Jonathan also commended all Nigerians for remaining vigilant and cooperative with the security agencies in the fight against “the common enemy”. He urged citizens to renew their zeal and patriotism to serve the nation with “love, honesty, faithfulness and hope for a greater tomorrow. “As I have always maintained, none of the challenges before us is insurmountable. “We must come together as a people and work with single-minded unity of purpose to overcome them. “Let us continue our march to the future, toward the attainment of our collective vision of a strong, united, prosperous and harmonious nation – a secure nation for us and for our coming generations,” the president said. Got a news tip, article or press release for us? E-mail: or Follow us on Twitter at @todayngr and Facebook at

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Buhari: Which South-West? Akin Osuntokun PoliticsJanuary 2015 There is tragic irony in the choice of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the South-west answer to the Muhammadu Buhari deficit in Yoruba-land. To be counted as a credential of the nominee would be the fact that he is married to the granddaughter of the late political juggernaut, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. I expect that very soon a much orchestrated campaign visit to Ikenne would materialise where the reinvented Buhari would plant a specially packaged millennia peck (sharia permitting) on Mama HID Awolowo’s century old cheeks. Yet one of the mindless cruelties and victimisation of Awolowo’s political camp by then military head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, was the seizure of Awolowo’s international passport, which resulted in the consequence of not being able to go for his annual medical check-up for the first time in his adult life (Awolowo died two years later in 1987). In tandem, the residential abode of the political icon in Lagos and Ikenne were besieged and ransacked by Buhari’s security goons. Beyond the factor of the compensatory concession of the presidency to the Yoruba in 1999, the next crucial determinant of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s success at the presidential election in 1999 was the political reciprocity of the ‘north’ to his candidacy. Shunned by his geo-political constituency of the South-west, he was practically adopted by the north as political payback for his generous identification with the region in deed and precept, when he was the military head of state. By the same token, the question begs to be asked — what is the political debt of gratitude that the South-west owes Buhari? At the time Buhari seized power, the government of Alhaji Lateef Jakande had embarked on a turnkey infrastructural project that would have had a revolutionary mobility impact on the economy of the South-west in particular and Nigeria in general. The project was the construction of a light rail city wide system known as the Lagos metro line-an infrastructure that had proved indispensable to the evolution of all developed economies. Can we for a moment imagine the consequence of the absence of the sub-way rail transportation system for the London or New York mega polis? One of the first steps Buhari took as military head of state was the cancellation of this socio-economic transformative project. And the tragedy did not stop there. For violating the terms of the contract of the project, Nigeria had to pay a penalty of about $600 million. And again, the tragedy did not stop there. The penalty of $600 million actually translated to over 60 per cent of the entire cost of delivering the project-yet this was the choice Buhari made. How a man so socially and economically obtuse and cruel can now be peddled as the solution to the problems substantially created by the megalomaniac misdeeds of rulers like him beats the imagination hollow. On October 13, 2000, Buhari led a delegation of prominent Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) personalities including General Buba Marwa, Alhaji Aliko Muhammed, Alhaji Abdulrazak, Alhaji Hassan and some others to confront Governor Lam Adesina of Oyo State in Ibadan on his characteristic divisive platform. Said Buhari: “Your Excellency, our arrival here is to discuss with you and your government our displeasure about the incident of clashes between two peoples, my people and your people…The Fulani cattle rearers and merchants are today being harassed, attacked and killed in Saki like in any war. In the month of May 2000, 68 bodies of Fulani cattle rearers were recovered and buried under the supervision and protection from a team of Mobile Police from Oyo State Command.” The unfounded allegation provoked a response from the Oyo State police commissioner: “First to speak was the Commissioner of Police who debunked all the claims made by the General. Instead of the claims by the General that the natives were killing the Fulanis, the police commissioner said pointedly that the opposite was the case. The killings of the natives by the Fulanis were duly reported to the police and, of course, we can’t make arrest because as soon as they kill they migrate to other areas. Who are you going to arrest? So that is the problem.” Governor Adesina concluded by questioning Buhari’s patriotism and nationalism and made a telling reference to the subversive role he was, at the material time, playing against the Obasanjo government: “My appeal will be that effort must be made to unite this country and that will be to the best interest of all Nigerians. I am appealing to the Arewa Consultative Forum under which auspices our distinguished Nigerians are here. In recent times, they have been sending wrong signals to a number of us who believe in the unity and peace of Nigeria. You have been too critical of the efforts of the federal government. I am saying this because Nigeria at this point cannot afford to break and words you northern leaders utter are very weighty. At the South here, we normally analyse them critically.” In a rather self-debasing manner Nigerians are being told they lack discipline and are in dire need of task master Buhari as antidote, but is there a greater act of indiscipline imaginable than an army officer taking arms against the state to overthrow a democratically elected government? If in the improbable event of Buhari been elected president, on what ground would we stand to condemn a military coup against his government? And consistent with this treasonable predisposition, his campaign organisation recently went on record as openly declaring support for Army mutiny. What greater lack of discipline is there than a former ruler of Nigeria habitually lapsing into parochial laden ethno-regional fulminations; regularly throwing Buharispeak tantrums on his preconceived sense of entitlement to the presidency of Nigeria-the dog and the baboon will soak in blood; not treating the Boko Haram insurgents like the Niger Delta militants amounts to an injustice against the North… What of the anti-corruption avenging angel platform? We may not need to wait too long for substantial answers to this query-as we eagerly await the release of the report of the inquiry into the activities of the defunct Petroleum Trust (special) Fund (PTF) under his executive chairmanship. Did saint Buhari not absolve the late General Sani Abacha (under whom the PTF was established and lasted) of any iota of corruption even as governments and banks the world over were returning tonnes of Abacha stolen dollars to Nigeria? And is it not instructive that even before the election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been begging off from its candidate’s vaunted platform of anti-corruption? – as attested by the amnesty on corruption issued by party chairman, John Oyegun, a few days ago “the future of the people of this country is too important for us to spend valuable time trying to dig into the past”. Buhari: A Leopard Does Not Change Its Colour Wole Soyinka The grounds on which General Buhari is being promoted as the alternative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naive. History matters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. Of course, we know that human beings change. What the claims of personality change or transformation impose on us is a rigorous inspection of the evidence, not wishful speculation or behind-the- scenes assurances. In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evidence suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that he is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order. Buhari enslaved the nation. He gloated and gloried in a master-slave relation to the millions of its inhabitants. It is astonishing to find that the same former slaves, now free of their chains, should clamour to be ruled by one who not only turned their nation into a slave plantation, but forbade them any discussion of their condition. Nor must we omit the manner of Buhari coming to power and the pattern of his corrective rule. Responsibility for the national condition lay squarely at the door of the ruling party, obviously, but against whom was Buhari’s coup staged? Judging by the conduct of that regime, it was not against Shagari’s government but against the opposition. The head of government, on whom primary responsibility lay, was Shehu Shagari. Yet that individual was kept in cosy house detention in Ikoyi while his powerless deputy, Alex Ekwueme, was locked up in Kirikiri prisons. Such was the Buhari notion of equitable apportionment of guilt and/or responsibility. Recall, if you please, the judicial processes undergone by the septuagenarian Chief Adekunle Ajasin. He was arraigned and tried before Buhari’s punitive tribunal but acquitted. Dissatisfied, Buhari ordered his re-trial. Again, the tribunal could not find this man guilty of a single crime, so once again he was returned for trial, only to be acquitted of all charges of corruption or abuse of office. Was Chief Ajasin thereby released? No! He was ordered detained indefinitely, simply for the crime of winning an election and refusing to knuckle under Shagari’s reign of terror. One is only too aware that some Nigerians love to point to Buhari’s agenda of discipline as the shining jewel in his scrap-iron crown. To inculcate discipline however, one must lead by example. For the exercise of a changeover of the national currency, the Nigerian borders air, sea and land had been shut tight. The story of the thirty something suitcases it would appear that they were even closer to 50 – found unavoidable mention in my recent memoirs, YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DOWN. For the exercise of a changeover of the national currency, the Nigerian borders air, sea and land had been shut tight. Nothing was supposed to move in or out, not even cattle egrets. Yet a prominent camel was allowed through that needles eye. Not only did Buhari dispatch his aide-de-camp, Mustapha Jokolo, later to become an emir- to facilitate the entry of those cases, he ordered the redeployment as I later discovered – of the Customs Officer who stood firmly against the entry of the contravening baggage. What does one choose to include or leave out? What precisely was Ebenezer Babatope’s crime that he should have spent the entire tenure of General Buhari in detention? Nothing beyond the fact that he once warned in the media that Buhari was an ambitious soldier who would bear watching through the lenses of a coup-detat. Babatope’s father died while he was in Buhari’s custody, the dictator remained deaf to every plea that he be at least released to attend his father’s funeral, even under guard. •Professor Wole Soyinka wrote this in 2011. It is reproduced here for its contemporary relevance. Share this: Share on Tumblr AKIN OSUNTOKUN

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