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NIGERIA’S UNSUNG HEROES (7): ALHAJI WAZIRI IBRAHIM

Posted by BY PAUL MAMZA on 2005/11/17 | Views: 1821 |

NIGERIA’S UNSUNG HEROES (7): ALHAJI WAZIRI IBRAHIM


POLITICS WITHOUT BITTERNESS: CAPTURING THE MESSAGE OF ALHAJI WAZIRI IBRAHIM

POLITICS WITHOUT BITTERNESS: CAPTURING THE MESSAGE OF ALHAJI WAZIRI IBRAHIM


The general philosophical framework to achieve national integration is vested in the revolutionary attitudes of the political players towards the logic of social and political setting. The achievement of a well-integrated political system which is anchored on ideas in planning, national ideals and orientation brings peace, progress and stability. In Nigeria, the failure of leadership had its history in self-egoism nepotism and greed. Even when new changes in leadership occur, it tends to hover around the perceived survival shadows of the predecessors based on the debasement factors. With the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates, each region is being forced to map-out devices for its survival in the national stage. The maturity of the First Republic politicians was able to nip to bud the many flashpoints of threat against national survival and progress. Apart from the pockets of ethnic resentments like the Tiv riots and the ‘wild Wild West’ of that era, the trend was a gradually process of persuasion and enlightenment based on a sense of maturity. The first military coup of 1966 had altered some nationalistic feelings but for the maturity of the military government under General Yakubu Gowon that emerged in 1967 after the overthrow of the first military ruler, Major General J.T.U Aguiyi-Ironsi, the nation would have been disintegrated and segmentalized. The military under Gowon managed a 30 months civil war with a high success of a rescued nation. When General Murtala Muhammed assumed power on July, 29th, 1975 after General Yakubu Gowon was overthrown while attending O.A.U Summit In Kampala, Uganda it was just a matter of time that some aggrieved soldiers wrote a letter signed by one Major Abubakar Ahmed and others that the "country is gradually drifting to doomsday" and they gave some conditions if not met will result in "change of government either through assassination, normal tactical change or sabotage" and threatened that "Murtala and his group cannot stop us".

General Murtala was assassinated on February 13, 1976 in a bloody coup led by Col. Bukar Suka Dimka. General Olusegun Obasanjo took over the mantle of leadership and handed over Alhaji Shehu Shagari as the first Executive President in 1979. Before the inauguration of Shagari, the political parties that participated in the election that brought about the Second Republic are National Party of Nigeria (npn) which succeeded the Northern People’s Congress (npc) of Ahmadu Bello and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa had Alhaji Shehu Shagari who as a former minister in the First Republic as its presidential candidate. The Unity Party of Nigeria (upN) had the Yoruba base of the old Action Group (ag) of the First Republic led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Samuel Akintola with Chief Obafemi Awolowo as its party’s flag-bearer. The Nigerian People’s Party (npp) was an Igbo – based replacement of National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon (NCNC) of the First Republic, led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe with Dr. Azikiwe the presidential candidate. Amongst the political parties that participated in the 1979 presidential election only the Great Nigerian People’s Party (gnpp) had no clear and distinct First Republic roots. The Peoples Redemption Party (prp) led by Malam, Aminu Kano was the extension of the radical minority descent of the old Northern Elements Progressive Union (nepu) coalition against the npc in the First Republic. The gnpp presidential candidate was Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim who had nurtured advocacy for politics without malice appealed for participation without the normal ‘do or die’ or "make-it-or-break-it" mindsets of the political class. Though securing a limited base of Borno and few states winning 10% of the total votes with 43 houses of representatives members out of 449 and 8 senate members out of 95, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim had tendered a new dimension to approach towards politics as it is in any civilized society. An apostle of politics without bitterness and good governance in a remarkably pervasive schism that is normal in Nigerian politics.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo rekindled the ethnic rivalry that marred the First Republic even before the 1979 election and by 1983 round of election it was clear that the Second Republic is on a cusp of gunpowder. It exploded. The military under the General Muhammed Buhari that took over from Alhaji Shagari was certain about the uncertainties. General Olusegun Obasanjo had later to reveal the serious study. In his book "Not My Will", Obasanjo said of Awolowo that "Awolowo’s failure and rejection at the polls in 1979 had started well before the elections itself. And he failed because he did not possess in sufficient quantum those commodities required to be a political success". Obasanjo was here trying to echo Awolowo’s lack of integration and acceptability by all. Said Obasanjo "in the early life of own administration he was appointed as the Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. A seasoned politician, well-groomed in the intricacies of Nigeria politics would have seen that as a time-honoured opportunity to mix and mingle freely with those who mattered in the North and to develop a sort of rapprochement that would lead to a better understanding of his political views and his person" he continued". "infact, the first speech he made at the university did not seem to have gone down well with most of the northern elite and seemed not to close the gap between him and the main stream of the northern political and social elite. His subsequent attitude, disposition behavior and utterances did not help matters either". Obasanjo was later to have squabbles within the mainstream Yoruba political and social elites for the onslaught on their hero and had for a long time not forgiven Obasanjo for handing-over to Shagari and not Awolowo. General Ibrahim Babangida that overthrew the General Buhari’s Government organized an inconclusive transition that was perceived in some quarters to deny a Yoruba, Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the supposed winner to be emerge as a President by the annulment of the June, 12, 1993 presidential election. By the time the Fourth Republic emerged, the clouds were filled with hatred and fury, people only see progress as that of their kinsmen, brethren and friends. Only few Nigerians bother about the survival of the nation. Divide and rule become the order as reminiscent of the military rule, trivialities and arbitrariness had offered lawlessness and despairs. All organs including the fourth realms are engaged in a fight for self-survival at the expense of national survival. Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim message canvassing for politics without bitterness would have saved the Second Republic from collapsing, it would have arrested abortion of the Third Republic and it can resist the present threat to the survival order. This is the ample time to capture the Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim sermonizations with keen interest for Nigeria and Nigerians. Do we forget this great politician, former minister and the presidential candidate of the Great Nigerian Peoples Party (GNPP) because of what is he preaching against is what we are collectively surviving on? Introducing Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim of blessed memory.

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