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Pendulum: Will President Buhari Ever Conquer the Terrorists?



By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, I do not know what you think individually but I’m sure many Nigerians are now collectively worried that the Taliban style capture and overthrow of the Afghanistan Government and people may eventually happen in Nigeria, in not too distant future, but sooner rather than later. The .interesting and sad state of our own situation is that we do not have the US and its European allies being sympathetic to our cause. And of course, it is not that the support they gave Afghanistan eventually proved to be of much help to the Afghans Rather it merely delayed the inevitable and made the fall of the Afghan government even more spectacular once America decided to withdraw its troops. The whole country collapsed like a pack of cards before the very eyes of the Afghans who now feel very much let down by the Americans. With the way things are going in our defenceless country, it is becoming crystal clear by the day that Boko Haram will soon subjugate vast swathes of the northern part of our country, and it will not be too long before they push for the capital, Abuja in the federal Capital Territory, itself. It is only those who are naïve that cannot see this bleak future for our country. We do not need to be seers or soothsayers to be able to predict the impending calamity for our nation and its innocent citizens. We are not prophets of doom rather our aim is to achieve the contrary and reverse our fortunes which for now seem to be going in a fast downward spiral, like a raging tornado. However, we hope that by vociferously voicing our concerns, those in authority, particularly President Buhari, may be jolted to act, and to act decisively.

I’m also aware about the complacency of some other Nigerians who live perpetually on, and cling to, the phantom hope that our problems, especially our insecurity problems, will just vamoose the same way they came without us lifting any finger. It is such unbridled optimism, buoyed by faith in whatever religion that they profess, that baffles me endlessly about our people. For me, God will only come to our assistance when we have shown a penchant or proclivity for helping ourselves to identify, proffer solutions and then resolve our problems. We cannot continually raise our face and offer endless entreaties and pleas to God and believe that without more, salvation will come. No, it is perdition that will follow if we persist on embracing such a foolhardy and foolish course.

I’m a relatively good student of world history and I’m reasonably assured of the fact that the greatest nations on earth did not have to fold their arms akimbo, but had to work feverishly and assiduously, to achieve greatness. As for me and my house, we do not rule out the possibility of some terrorists, masquerading as bandits, invading our southern frontier townships and villages to unleash the sort of mayhem that would scare the living daylights out of all of us. If truth be told, we are already quite scared, and some are pissing in their pants knowing that the gory stories that we heard about in Borno State and its environs is fast becoming the story of the whole of Northern Nigeria including the Middle Belt.

It is obvious to me that this Buhari administration lacks the capacity to confront terrorists headlong in Nigeria. This is not because we do not have brilliant, courageous and brave men and women in our armed forces, but for the simple reason of nonchalance and seeming protection of rabid criminals by those in overall authority who should be fighting them to a standstill. It is obvious that top government functionaries are complicit in the wholesale terrorist incursion of Nigeria which we are now witnessing. I also do not believe that there are many sincere and altruistic reasons for the more than tacit support being given to these scoundrels and infidels by the Government and its cronies. Whilst some are convinced that the whole agenda is the Islamisation of the country, I am beginning to believe that there is some more sinister and underhand motivation at play and it can all be captured by one word, greed. I am starting to feel that there is a selfish and economic angle to all this. There is the allure of gold and the lust for filthy lucre which comes from the trade in arms. One part of the solution is that we must start to be our brother’s keeper. Our private intelligence network must be sharpened and honed. We cannot rely any longer on so-called military or government led intelligence. It has failed woefully so far in protecting the government and our armed forces. I also believe that the time is fast approaching when we may all have to start bearing at least small arms. If the government will not protect us, if the government is busy deploying the might and array of its vast military arsenal on puny innocent subjects like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday ‘Igboho’ Adeyemo, instead of attacking the marauding terrorists that want to hold us all hostage, then it is incumbent on us to start looking at other means of protecting ourselves. In the past we have had to fend for ourselves for all the simple things of lives. These now all pale into insignificance when our security and well-being is seriously endangered and our very lives and existence, individually and as a nation, is put into dire peril. Instead of being just our own little local government, we must now apparently become self-dependent and self-sustaining, We must become our own government and take over our own security.  We must be actively proactive. Pacifism and sitting on the fence cannot help us any longer. I will never advocate violence, but we must be ready to defend our homes and homestead. Our holes are our castles, and we must defend them with all that we possess. If government has lost the plot and its raison d’etre for asking for our votes, then we must not lose everything else. I hasten to add that while I believe in the efficacy of prayers, that alone will not solve our problems because even the scriptures have taught us that heaven helps those who help themselves. This is the brutal reality and truth of life.

Where lies our hope and salvation when the retired Major General we brought back from the dead of forced retirement is unable to fulfil the most basic of our expectations for reviving and resuscitating him, an end to insecurity. It is like a hawk not being able to capture some little chickens. Nothing has disturbed and embarrassed Nigeria in the comity of nations more than the almost total breakdown of law and order across the country, because there is supposed to be a no-nonsense old soldier at the helm of affairs. Notwithstanding this fact, the government seems only concerned with covering its shame and embarrassment in areas that do not matter, as for example sending DSS to disperse young and old Doctors intent on making a living outside the country when their own country has deliberately chosen to forsake them. If it were not so tragic it would be just too hilarious. The stuff of which slapstick comedy is made,

We are already bored and tired of hearing and listening to the same repeated tales by moonlight from Buhari’s spin-doctors who wish to blindfold, hoodwink and convince us that some evil enemies are out to deliberately frustrate Buhari and his government. This type of cock and bull stories have become so nauseating. If the government has enemies, they are these same spin doctors, lackeys and charlatans who believe that this is all the old man wants to hear. The truth is this government has been in power now for over six years. If it is still finding and giving excuses for its failure, then something is tragically wrong somewhere. It is the height of shamelessness for anyone to keep regurgitating the same frivolous reasons for failing to deliver on his promises to the helpless and hapless people of Nigeria. Enough is enough. Face front. There is nothing back there. It is instructive and worthy of note that this government is actively romancing the much-maligned Goodluck Jonathan as a potential successor. Where then is the sense in blaming him for the current ills and woes of this government if they are turning to him for salvation?

If President Buhari and his acolytes are not tired of lamenting like the Biblical Jeremiah, I’m embarrassed on their behalf. But they can’t blame anyone for their collective woes. The fault is theirs and theirs alone. No one is under any illusion that this government is serious about fighting terrorism and terrorists. There is now apparently an overt cover and protection for the terrorists. It is the reason no appreciable progress has been made despite the huge resources and manpower wasted in the last decade. Our military personnel are being sacrificed on the altar of personal expediency and greed. It is a wonder that there has been little attempt at mutiny, and this probably just demonstrates the great discipline and resolve of our noble and gallant officers and men. I salute them. They must now act to save us by doing their duty to their Fatherland first and foremost and rooting out the insurgents and terrorists no matter the body language of our present leadership. It is the only way in  which we will still have a country!

I feel goosebumps all over me whenever I remember that President Muhammadu Buhari has less than two years to go and there’s  nothing tangible to see on ground. If we move away from the debilitating matters of insecurity, our infrastructure deficit is most appalling. That is another story for another day!


I knew of MRS CAROLINE ONYEMAECHI EBENUWA ADISA-AKINLOYE long before we met in person. Her persona was larger than life. She was a paragon of beauty, very sociable, confident, outgoing, intelligent, smart and unmissable in any gathering.

Her name had been in the news early in her life when she got married to one of Nigeria’s most influential politicians, the Chairman of the all-powerful National Party of Nigeria, Chief Augustus Meredith Adisa Akinloye (AMA – Always Mentally Alert). Their whirlwind romance was talk of the town. I was naturally intrigued by their love story. All manner of tales were weaved and woven around the famous couple. She was likened to a modern-day Cleopatra, a living goddess with wiles and charm.

Mrs Akinloye and her husband were forced to flee into exile in 1984 after the coup that toppled the government of President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari. They lived together in exile for a lengthy period.

Fast forward. On July 25th, 1995, I also fled Nigeria, through the smugglers’ route into Cotonou, in Benin Republic, and eventually meandered my way into England. I was on the run from the much-dreaded military junta of General Sani Abacha. I would spend the next three years in exile under very excruciating circumstances and conditions.

It was while in London that the idea for Ovation International magazine was conceived and delivered. Like all new publications, of the lifestyle genre, we needed to attract the attention of the rich and famous. One of the stories that would perform the magic for us was the one titled “100 Nigerian Stormy Women.” It was a gathering of who’s who. One name featured prominently, that of Caroline Akinloye.

However, we never met until much later. We were introduced  by a mutual friend. I had expected her to complain about the way she was described and portrayed in our story but instead she told me actually enjoyed our package. She was cosmopolitan and very liberal. We instantly became friends. And her sociability and affability were remarkable. I expected her to be standoffish, but she was clearly simple and humble even if highly sophisticated in taste. She introduced me to her young kids, two boys and two girls who were twins. Lagun was closest to me. He’s always been sociable even at an early age, like his mum.

Mrs Akinloye liked to host special guests in her Belgravia palace. Her parties were legendary and were always must attend treats for the high and mighty.

We didn’t see much after I returned to Nigeria from exile, but we spoke from time to time. She was very comfortable with me and always trusted my judgment and as a result confided in me a bit.

I was stunned to hear of her sudden transition last year, from Lagun, now a big man in his own right. I was saddened and immediately commiserated with the children. One year has already passed and I’m happy to keep the memory of my very dear friend alive by penning this tribute to her.

May her beautiful soul continue to rest in peace…

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Pendulum: Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr: Refreshing Lessons for Generations




By Japheth J. Omojuwa

This is neither a tribute to nor a piece in praise of Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. Presidents have defied protocol to offer praises, even across the ocean. Kings have broken tradition in offering tributes and titles, captains of industry have queued behind themselves sharing memorable and inspiring accolades to a timeless icon who did his best to moderate the celebrations. Even if one defied these and decided to try against reason, King Sunny Ade’s Fayeyemi tribute is matchless and inimitable, and I could never reach Chief Ebenezer Obey’s depth and artistry in celebration of the man. Thus, there is nothing left to be said in form of praise or tributes that could surpass those already offered by these great men and women.

I have not come to praise the man; I have only come to address the spectators who were held spellbound by the spectacle and were left wondering what could be so great about a man whom most of them have never seen and only ever get to hear of. Often, when one gets sucked into the attraction of the show, the lessons get lost.

This once, we cannot afford to miss the lessons. The stories that contributed to the making of the man provide vital context for his greatness and offer a rich source of learning and inspiration for generations to come. When these stories are left untold, myths and falsehoods can fill the vacuum, perpetuating disempowering beliefs that hinder progress and growth. For instance, some may believe that wealth can only be acquired through unscrupulous means or cronyism.

When President Emmanuel Macron of France wrote in his tribute, ‘you are humble enough to often publicly declare that the confidence of several French companies at the beginning of your entrepreneurial adventure was instrumental in building the success that is yours today’, among other French alliances, he was making reference to the man who explored for more capital through the banks. A much harder way than through the disempowering stories that people tell to explain wealth they do not understand and in the same breath excuse their own misfortune.

The moniker, ‘The Bull,’ is not merely a name with a golden insignia; it reflects some of Adenuga’s most essential characteristics. The Bull is traditionally seen as a symbol of wealth and subterranean powers. It does not just make an entry; it makes an unforgettable one. It does not recognize defeat; any appearance of defeat is a retreat that often proves costly for those who stand in its path. These traits find expression in the success story of Globacom, which is a testament to Adenuga’s tenacity and determination.

Many exited at the point the government cancelled their mobile telecom licenses. Instead, The Bull charged on, refusing the small battle of a legal pursuit and instead focused on the big prize at the end of what was going to be a protracted bidding war for GSM licenses. Adenuga had to call on his grit again when the prize he won came without the trophy. The government had its cake and ate it. The Bull’s bouncebackability came into play again because well over a year later, he got the license that was fairly won in an open bidding process. When the stories get told, you cannot have a single blot on his shield. The Bull played by the rules, even when the rules were shifted against him, his staying power meant his team returned with victory. A hard-fought one but The Bull stayed invincible.

Other companies would have been happy to just start and do a continuous chase of those who had gone ahead of them, Mike Adenuga’s Globacom defied the norm by starting out with a paradigm shift that remains unmatched in Nigeria. Instead of chasing the competition and playing by their rules, by crashing the price of SIM cards and starting out with per second billing – others said this was not possible at the time – the competition had to bend to his game. The horses that started the race earlier were now doing the chase.

Adenuga’s Globacom dragged the industry on the path of perfect competition with his early moves, he then differentiated immediately by offering services the first and second movers had not even thought of. They were left competing with him at one end in a game whose rules he had redefined by his paradigm shifting bullish entry. He left himself alone without competition at other ends, advancing and flexing with technology above what was on offer. Translated to Yoruba, o ti ilekun mo won, o fi kokoro pa mo.

One reference the tributes intersect is his humility. Humility is an interesting phenomenon. You cannot be poor and be said to be humble. Poverty and humility appear to be parallel lines, yet they find intersection because poverty is already a humble position. Albeit a position that appears to be without the choice of the bearer. When it is said that a person is humble, one must pay attention. When you are so rich with means and power but appear to be unconscious of that elevated state of being especially in your dealings with people, that is humility. Some go out of their way to be seen to be humble. That defeats the purpose. Feigned humility is not humility. The Adenuga tributes refer to the sort of humility that the man himself would only come to see in the description of the people who experienced it. The humility of a man who just is.

Attention seeking appears to be humanity’s contemporary collective de rigueur. That could be explained by the ubiquity of the Internet and its appurtenances. Contemporary culture has now birthed a world where billionaires want to evolve into bloggers even as blogger aspire to be billionaires. We have built a universe and culture where staying relevant has become a daily endeavour, yet in all of that world, we all aspire to Mike Adenuga. The one who would rather not be seen, the one who finds comfort and apparent fulfilment in not being heard. Yet the one who has impacted people and institutions so much he brings life to another moniker of his, The Spirit of Africa. A reference that captures the essence of his values and the fact that one needs not be seen to make change happen, one needs not speak to be heard. And to make great impact, intentions and action are greater than fugazi moves, vain aesthetics and puerile drama.

The rich, in observing the tradition of noblesse oblige, have often committed to philanthropy. The Mike Adenuga principle goes above that sense of obligation because giving is entrenched in his persona. In a world where many keep records of those that they helped that never returned to say ‘thank you’, the millions opportune to be blessed by The Spirit of Africa do not get a chance to. Because his generosity leaves no room to collect appreciations. The giving and the changed lives are the essence of it all.

Conversely, you won’t find a person with a higher sense of appreciation, even for the little things.

Writing about personalities can be enjoyable, but there are times when addressing important issues should take precedence. This piece is not solely about an individual’s personality, but rather the enduring values necessary to navigate a constantly changing world. While exploring Dr. Mike Adenuga’s achievements could fill volumes, the focus here is on some of the values that propelled him to success and how we can apply them to our own daily challenges. As we confront new and complex problems, the lessons we learn from those who have gone before us can be invaluable. Dr. Adenuga’s life offers a powerful example of how these values can lead to great rewards, and this is a message that deserves to be heard by this generation and beyond.

He exemplifies E pluribus unum, and of him, there are lessons to be learned for generations to come. This is the legacy one must have a sense of appreciation for. Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. GCON, CSG, CdrLH at 70 has left lessons for us in these Platinum number of years, we cannot afford to lose sight of these precious gems.

Japheth J. Omojuwa is the author of Digital: The New Code of Wealth and founder of Alpha Reach

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Adenuga Special

Pendulum: Mike Adenuga: The Spirit of Africa @70




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, exactly 70 years ago, on Wednesday, April 29, 1953, an exceptional baby was born. As was customary with the Yoruba people of old Western Region of Nigeria, he would soon be given names that would reflect the circumstances of his birth and the observations of his parents around the period.

Thus, he was named Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Isola Adenuga, at his christening. One of these powerful names soon became a prophecy fulfilled. AGBOLADE is the child who has attracted wealth to his family. If the Adenugas thought they were already successful and prosperous, their son, Mike Adenuga Jr. would soon be known globally as one of the world’s wealthiest humans on planet earth.

I will not bore you with his biography since the cyberspace is already awash with tales of his uncommon trajectory. I’m here to demonstrate why I’m convinced that the celebrant of today is a special creation of God sent to this world to touch countless lives.

As for me and my house, I consider my encounters with him as being spiritually ordained. Not many people can boast of seeing and knowing Adenuga at close range. I’m privileged to have Dr. Adenuga as my mentor and benefactor. I can readily write a PhD thesis on the extraordinary nature of the Spirit of Africa, a spirit you hardly see but feel his impact all around you.

I’m very convinced that only God could have sent Dr Adenuga to me. Our relationship is undoubtedly divine.

I bless the day I met Dr Adenuga in 1991. More than money, I have gained much more from having substantial access to him and drinking endlessly from his fountain of knowledge than the wealth he has splashed on me and so many others. While most people see his billions in dollars, I see his intellectual prowess in trillions. I pray that technology will give us opportunities to clone such brains as I doubt if similar geniuses are still manufactured these days. I will never get tired of learning at his feet.

Let me now give you just a few of our encounters.

Adenuga, the generous giver: I can confidently say, Mike Adenuga is the most generous man or woman alive. If you know of any other, please write your own piece. I know of people who have become billionaires in Naira/assets from the regular support Adenuga gives them. All it takes is to impress him repeatedly with performance and loyalty. No amount is too big for Adenuga to give his friends and associates. He believes in the reward system. I once asked why he gives out so much. His response was a classic. “If you have a Billionaire as your friend, his wealth must reflect on you…” What a response!

In 2015, I got a call to pick up a car at Banana Island which he bought for me. I wasn’t surprised that he bought me a car, since he gives more than 50 exotic cars out every year, I was stunned that he bought me the most expensive car in the Audi family, Audi A8L. I was later told he bought about ten of those luxury cars and gave them out. I know of a family he gave the husband a Range Rover and the wife a RAV 4. These are not Tokunbo vehicles (used cars) but brand new. Adenuga does not believe in dolling out peanuts to people. One encounter is enough to leave you dazed eternally. If you are smart and can manage your business well, you should be made for life.

Adenuga, a loyal friend in the days of tribulations… In 1995, I got into serious trouble with the Abacha government and I needed to literally vamoose and I reached out to Adenuga for help. I was pleasantly surprised when he gave financial support as risky as it was then. And during my exile years in England, he supported me every year till I returned home. Unlike others who would expect you to become a slave thereafter, I was treated with love and respect.

When I started Ovation International in London and the company ran into trouble, I wrote to Adenuga and asked him to take over since I didn’t want my dream to evaporate. His response again was brilliant and encouraging… “Ovation is your baby, work harder at it…” He kept giving me the necessary support periodically without requesting for my flesh and blood.

Adenuga respects reciprocity in relationships… He tries hard to reciprocate kind deeds you make to him. A year after he bought me the Audi, I did something that really touched him in 2016. He invited me to his Bellissima Palace on Banana Island. As I sat down, he thanked me profusely for my love for him. Then to my greatest surprise and joy, he announced very calmly: “I have just ordered you a Range Rover, the only problem is that the dealer only have it in white color…” Jesus, I screamed: “Chairman, you just gave me the Audi A8L last year, this is unexpected Sir…” He smiled and told me: “Our Bob Dee, you’re a great guy and you deserve anything I can give… I will let you know when the Range is available in black, because black will look good on you, and send it to you…” And when the car was ready, he told me to wait for someone at Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi, where it was delivered to me. Let me confirm to you that both cars he gave me in one year cost him N85 million… Let’s not talk about other transactions at home and abroad, including well funded foreign assignments.

Adenuga hates the word impossibility… One beautiful morning, I landed in Dubai. As I was checking into my hotel, a call came through from his top aide, Mr Bode Opeseitan. “Bob Dee Sir, Chairman wants to have dinner with you and a few friends at home tomorrow…” Wonderful Lord, the Devil is a liar, I soliloquised. This was an opportunity I had waited for so patiently. A dinner with Adenuga is always a treat. He is a man of extraordinary culinary taste and style… He spoils his guests with the best of cuisines, washed down with an assortment of cocktails, white and red wines, champagnes and cognacs… He sends me cartons of these expensive drinks, from time to time. Sorry, about this digression. This is a rare opportunity to say just about one percent of our interactions.

I had to abort my stay in Dubai with automatic alacrity. How can a whole Adenuga invite me to dinner and I will tell him I can’t come because I’m in Dubai. So I told Bode to tell Chairman, I will honor his invitation, no matter what it would take.

So I called Emirates and moved my next flight to London backwards and left for London same afternoon. Fortunately, I landed in London by about 6.30pm and was able to board the 10.30pm Virgin Atlantic flight from same Heathrow Terminal 3 to Lagos. Because of Adenuga, I made a round trip of Accra to Dubai to London to Lagos in less than 24 hours. But it paid off handsomely. At that dinner, I sealed a mega deal of the Ovation Carol sponsorship with Glo… “Bode, please, tell your sponsorship team to give Bob Dee whatever is required to make Ovation Carol a success…” What a Spirit!

Adenuga’s battle with photographers… For a man so charming and handsome, Adenuga does not like cameras around him. I’m lucky to have had many pictures with him. When I started handling his media relations in 1992, I was being paid to shield him from publicity, whether good or bad. It was difficult, if not impossible, to get any clear picture of Adenuga in media files. His favourite words are “I’m hiding under the parapet…” When I complain about the way he’s being undervalued on the annual Rich List, he used to tell me: “I’m not desperate to be listed as number one. I’m comfortable wherever they put me. Those who understand the game know the real wealth.”

On one occasion, about 12 years ago, he agreed to open up his books to a few of us. His nationwide and international real estate portfolio was so staggering that we became dizzy just looking from city to city. He owns one of the most priced properties in Johannesburg and he’s a neighbour of the current President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. His properties litter several world capitals.

We gained access to the stupendous assets of GLO and GLO 1 and could not believe the figures staring at us. It is difficult to contemplate how one man could ever think of stretching the limits of technology by laying submarine cables under the Atlantic ocean from Europe to West Africa.

His gargantuan operations at ConOil was another matter entirely with huge investments in exploration, in upstream and downstream. The gas deposits were beyond imagination. What a blessed man!


Adenuga and his battle with cameras… It has been a struggle getting him to agree to take pictures even for his 70th. For a man who can afford the biggest photographers in the world, he only allowed one young talented Nigerian Photographer, Jeffrey Olalekan, to take his pictures and Maureen Ekezie, to clean up the job. What an enigma!

Let me give one more encounter, a very recent one, since there are too many tributes to read on Adenuga today. He called me two days ago to complain that the noise about his 70th birthday is getting too loud. So I pleaded with him to allow us celebrate him this time around and that I believe this one is beyond his control. It is not his style but his friends, associates and disciples have decided to celebrate him big time, whether he agrees or not.

Just imagine a newspaper edition in which you have Segun Adeniyi, Simon Kolawole, Reuben Abati, Nduka Irabor, Yemi Ogunbiyi, with congratulatory messages pouring in from well-wishers. What more can a man ask for from God?

Today na today…

Happy birthday to the Spirit of Africa…

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Pendulum: Please, Bring Back Our History




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, let me say how much I enjoyed reading as a young boy while growing up in the ancient town of Ile-Ife. Life was so much fun in those good old days. As a university town, Ile-Ife paraded some of the best bookshops in the old Western Region. The University of Ife Bookshop was top on the list. This bookshop was ably managed at different times by very cerebral and highly influential men like Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire and Chief Oyeniyi Osundina. Next door was the Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library, where I worked as a Library Assistant, from 1977-78. We also had the CSS Bookshops, managed by the Anglican Church, where I also served as a shop assistant in 1976, after my West African School Certificate examination. We had Surulere Bookshop, owned by Chief Ezekiel Oluwafemi Adegbola, Olusanu Bookshop (later changed to Omo Arewa Bookshop), owned by my first Headmaster, Chief Isaac Olagbaju. There was Adura Lere Bookshop, owned by my Mum’s best friend, Mama Adura Lere, as we fondly called her, the mother of Mr Erastus Bankole Akingbola, the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank. My Mum’s beer parlour was next door at Number 2A Atiba Square, opposite The Ooni’s Palace and the Ife Museum.

My early years were soaked in books and voracious reading. I soon fell in love with thrillers. I enjoyed James Bond novels, written by the British novelist, Ian Fleming. I thoroughly devoured the novels of James Hadley Chase, a master of suspense. I massacred the spy adventures of Nick Carter who wrote about 648 novels. I later graduated to Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, James Clavel, Joan Collins, Leslie Charteris, and so many others. I feel so nostalgic about those amazing days as I write this piece right now. I got so addicted to thrillers and was happy to discover detective novels written in Yoruba by two major authors, Baba Oladejo Okediji (the author of Aja Lo Leru, Agbalagba Akan, Rere Run and others), and Alagba Kola Akinlade (the author of Ta Lole Ajomogbe and others)…

Historical works and biographies attracted me endlessly. I loved the historical play of Efunsetan Aniwura, as captured by my teacher and supervisor, Professor Akinwumi Isola.
I followed the lives of African writers through the works of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mongo Beti, Ferdinand Oyono, Ayi Kwei Ahmah, Kofi Awoonor, Jomo Kenyatta, Alex La Guma, Nawal El Sa’adawi, Mariama Ba, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Camara Laye, Cyprian Ekwensi, T.M Aluko, Elechi Amadi, Kenneth Kaunda, Oginga Odinga, D.O Fagunwa, Kole Omotoso, Amos Tutuola, Okot p’Bitek, David Rubadiri, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Christopher Okigbo and so many others. But one man stood out for me, not just as the greatest user and “manipulator” of the English language but as a fearless activist. Whatever little radicalism and activism buried in me today was planted in me by Wole Soyinka, who I met early in life as a teenager on the campus of University of Ife.

The book that did the magic is no other than THE MAN DIED. If you’ve not read it, please find one, possibly at The Booksellers in Jericho, Ibadan. It contains a riveting account of Soyinka’s prison memoirs. After reading it, you will realise and appreciate how much Nigeria has lost most of its ability to fight injustice.

After Wole Soyinka, I was privileged to meet and get close to Chief Gani Fawehinmi. His Chambers nearly became my home at a time and I marveled at his collection of radical books plus his neatly bound collection of newspapers and magazines.

I have deliberately taken you through this long preamble in order to demonstrate my fascination with knowledge. My dream was to be a scholar and end up as a university lecturer. But man proposes and God disposes. As much as I tried to get employed as a teacher, I couldn’t secure a job. It was out of joblessness that I started writing. That’s a tale for another day.

Growing up on the University of Ife campus really helped my formative years. Meeting Wole Soyinka was a major inspiration and the icing on the cake. Many young boys of those days wished to get arrested in order to acquire the “Soyinkean” experience and fame.

The meat of my epistle today, you can guess, is easily about the recent elections in Nigeria, which has surpassed others before it in all its negative ramifications. The matter is not about who won or who did not win. Not at all. It is about the brazen impunity of how a winner emerged without the umpire, INEC, following its own rules. Had INEC obeyed its own rules, I would have been the first to congratulate whosoever won.

It is shockingly embarrassing to see how we are being told to just adjust, accept the charade and move on, as if this is now our new normal, or just go to court despite the well known booby traps usually along the ways to the court of justice. Not even the usual members of the privilentsia, otherwise known as the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, have the confidence to determine good or bad cases any longer. Opposition voices are systematically being bullied, suppressed and discouraged. This could not have been the democracy we fought for, and certainly not that which we envisaged as compensation for those epic battles against the military juntas.

What I find most baffling is the attitude of many of our former comrades who no longer see nothing wrong in bold faced election rigging. Nothing insults me than those telling us it is an act of disloyalty to speak against our friends who may have been heavily involved in this gargantuan mess.
So I’m now thinking that what they are saying is that it was good to criticise those who were not our friends but we can keep silent and pretend that all is well once our friends can grab power by foul or fair means.

I weep for my country. Some of the people I used to respect so much have now revealed to me that hypocrisy is a virtue. I sincerely do not care if they refuse to speak up for justice, for varying reasons, but I do not expect them to discourage those who are willing and ready to travel the slippery roads.

A man I love so much called my wife aside recently and told her to tell me to support Chief Bola Tinubu because of our past relationships. I simply told my wife that the man should try and be fair to me for the following reasons.
I hold Tinubu in high esteem but we’ve not been in the same political parties since we returned from exile in 1998. I had chosen to be in opposition as my humble and modest contributions to nation-building. Two, I preferred to support individual candidates based on my personal experience and conviction and if I fail or feel disappointed, like in the case of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, I will seek other candidates, thereafter. This is the reason I supported the Atiku/Obi ticket in 2019, at a time I was not yet a member of PDP.
Three, I already tried to seek the PDP Presidential ticket last year and no matter the degree of disappointment, I won’t jump ship just because my friends are contesting in other parties. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Four. I will not do anti-party like some senior members did remorselessly under flimsy and pretentious excuses. I insist that it is the height of chicanery to set fire to a home under which you still hope to sleep. Better to quit than being the Judas within. You may still come back later, if you wish.
Six. I prefer to give priority to the image and betterment of my country above that of my friends or pecuniary consideration. Anyone who does not appreciate that level of personal sacrifice is certainly an enemy of progress.
7. There are those who have come to attack me on the basis of ethnicity, saying power should come to the South, no matter who fills that space. I beg to disagree, by rising above such pettiness. At nearly 63 years old, I have lived long in Nigeria to understand the fallacy of thinking that bringing a President from your zone will guarantee the progress and advancement of your people. As educated as most people pretend to be, I expect them to place premium on experience, exposure, capacity, stability, and so on, and not on some primordial sentiments. While I do not expect the President to be a Saint, there must be some minimum standards to meet.
It is my right to then choose my preferred candidate just like I never begrudge your own choices.
And finally, throughout my assignment as Director of Strategic Communications for the PDP ATIKU/OKOWA Presidential Campaign Council, I reflected the wishes of my Bosses by keeping to the message, and focus, of our cardinal programmes. If we lost within due process, there would have been no controversy. But I wish to put on record that what happened was a garrison operation and I do not care if every other Nigerian do not to see it that way and so decides to move on as usual. I choose to exercise my right of recording this dissenting voice for posterity.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria…

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