By Segun Adeoye.
Negotiating for power between conflicting parties is like crossing a river by walking on a slippery rock,it is a risky business but it is the only way to get across. In conversations with my Igbo friends I have often maintained that it is tactical fallacy and erroneous for insinuations that because only two Yorubas contested the 1999 Presidential elections, fair play and political correctness entitles only Igbo candidates to be presented by PDP and APC in 2023 election when Buhari vacate the Villa.
In my view this is simplistic, naive and unimaginative understanding of power politics,Nicolo Machavelli the classical author of power matrix wrote in The Prince,”the two things that attract power is love and fear”.
I want to submit that it was fear of Yorubas by the Northern Military Oligarchy after a titanic bloody and bruishing battle over the June 12 1993 elections, that made them surrender power to South West in 1999.
it was a surrender and not a donation or a rotational gift as some Igbo’s are painting it.
Power is never donated or served a la carte,although every one is entitled to their opinion but no one to their own fact,and for those whose memory have moved on, a reminder.
On June 12 1993,a Yorubaman MKO Abiola contested Presidential elections against Bashiru Tofa from Kano and won a landslide victory, but the Military government of Ibrahim Babangida egged- on by the Northern political establishment annulled the election.
The Yoruba nation considered the annulments an egregious insult on one of their own, rose in one voice,vehemently and overwhelming rejected the annulment,the Military government panicked, and General Babangida the Head of State stepped aside,and a Yorubaman Ernest Sonekan was named Interim President to pacify Yorubas.
Instead of the protests against the annulment to abate ,the Yoruba’s insisted Nigerian voted Abiola and not Sonekan and should have his mandate restored unto him.
SomeYoruba lawyers went to court and a Lagos High Court Judge Justice Josephine Akinsanya declared Sonekan Government illegal.
Then entered Sanni Abacha the goggled monster,whom Babangida once said, “despite his handicaps Sanni Abacha know how to organize a coup and also knows how to counter and quell a coup de tat”.
General Abacha quickly brought another Yorubaman Oladipo Diya as his Deputy to pacify Yorubas but instead of pacification the battle to restore Abiola’s mandate intensified and continued raging to the chagrin of Abacha ,Diya and their military junta.
Atthis stage Abacha decided to bare his fangs ,working with the devil manual of instructions over 300 protesters were mowed down on Ikorodu road Lagos in broad daylight in other to put fear in the people.
In addition Abacha sent assassins after leading opposition figures like Kudirat Abiola ,Abraham Adesanya,Ayo Adebanjo,Bola Ige,, Alfred Rewane,Omotosho and host of other prominent Yoruba elites, yet the protest continued. NADECO was formed and the international wing was born and protest against the annulment became globalized.
Meanwhile the winner of the election has been to incarcerated after declaring himself President at Epetedo in Lagos.
The international community started imposing all kind of sanctions on the government and not to long after Abacha and government soon acquired the Pariah state statues.
Thestruggle and protest for de -annulment Abiola’s victory continue raging until Abacha suddenly died in June 1998,and by that time leading lights in Yorubaland Obasanjo,Olu Falae,Oladipo Diya,Bola Ige,General Tajudeen Olare waju General Adisa were languishing in Abacha’s gulag because of their stand on June 12:election, Wole Soyinka,Bolaji Akinyemi, and many Yoruba intellectuals went on exile to escape Abacha’s prowling armed goons.
I want to believe at this stage the Northern political establishment and power -mongers got an epiphany and had a change of mind and reasoned if the most vicious Northern Military strongman failed to cow the Yoruba protest despite all odds an onslaughter against them.
TheYoruba’s have to be feared for its doggedness, tenacity ability and capacity to make the country ungovernable, and the way out is to organize election so that one of them can be elected for peace and stability in the land,the main reason why only two Yorubas were in the ballot in 1999.