By Rotimi Fabiyi
“How Nigerian Tribune Newspaper Editorial On General Gowon’s Dethronement In 1975 Will Be Applicable To Nigerian President Jonathan When He Is Voted Out In 2015” DELIVERED BY ENGR ROTIMI FABIYI (MNIM, MNSChE, MNSE, COREN Reg) AT THE 54TH NIGERIAN INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS ORGANISED BY COMMITTEE OF PROGRESSIVES AND REALISTS (C.P.R) AT IKORODU,LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA ON 1ST OCTOBER, 2014
Good afternoon to everyone present with me in this auditorium and good afternoon to all that contributed to the success of this occasion marking the 54th anniversary of Nigeria’s national independence. My name is Rotimi Fabiyi and I am standing in front of you to speak with you on the self-chosen topic “How Nigerian Tribune Newspaper Editorial On General Gowon’s Dethronement In 1975 Will Be Applicable To Nigerian President Jonathan When He Is Voted Out In 2015.” This 25-word topic might immediately present the appearance of being simultaneously strange and paradoxical (while still being deeply bewildering and unarguably flabbergasting) mainly because of the oddity of suggesting that General Yakubu Gowon’s dethronement as Nigerian ruler 39 years ago in 1975 will have some striking resemblance to the impending ejection of current Nigerian President Jonathan from office through popular vote in 2015 Nigerian General Elections. Some might even see the topic as being more than shocking because of the seeming incompatibility of the topic with the 54th Independence Anniversary we are all gathered here in our individual humble selves to celebrate in our humble way but each person in this auditorium and each citizen of this world should not let it escape his notice that the exact factors that necessitated the removal of General Yakubu Gowon as the ruler of Nigeria on 29th July, 1975 (which was exactly his ninth year on that seat) are visibly and openly manifesting themselves in the current administration of Nigerian President Jonathan such that when he is voted out of office in 2015 due to all the selfsame detestable factors that brought down General Gowon 40 years earlier, the newspaper editorial of Nigerian Tribune apropos Gowon’s deposition will be more than applicable despite being written and published 40 years earlier.
General Yakubu Gowon (an amiable gentlemen soldier who was trained at the internationally-revered Sandhurst Military Academy in United Kingdom) became Nigeria’s head-of-government on 29th July, 1966 as a lieutenant-colonel of 32 years of age after a political crisis led to the brutal but undeserved and unnecessary murder of the avuncular Nigerian Prime Minister Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on 15th January, 1966. The perpetrators of that dastardly act were swiftly rounded up and a certain Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi emerged as the de facto Nigerian ruler but his avoidance of taking the bull by the horns by refusing to prosecute and punish accordingly the said perpetrators up to 6 months after committing such a brazen atrocity led some mid-level military men to overthrow him a manner even more gory than that of Alhaji Balewa and swiftly install then Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon as Nigerian ruler even though he was not at all involved in the gruesome removal of his superior officer Major-General Ironsi. The political crisis that expectedly ensued speedily plunged Nigeria into a bloody civil war a year later and it took the selfsame General Gowon 30 months to smash the rebellion.
But from January 1970 that the civil war ended in Nigeria, the internationally–respected (because of being able to successfully retain Nigerian political unity) General Gowon started losing focus in the way he was handling his administration such that when he was eventually bloodlessly ousted by his military subordinates on 29th July, 1975, his credibility had descended so low that almost all Nigerian newspapers of that period hailed his dethronement. While the Daily Times newspaper declared on its front page that the change of government was “…most timely… [because] General Gowon has lost all moral authority (which he initially abundantly had) to continue to govern…”(see page 1 of Daily Times, 2nd August, 1975),the New Nigerian newspaper vividly stated on its own front page that “…the last few years of General Gowon’s administration have been [too] characterized by indecisions …,indiscipline and a progressive drift…’’(see page 1 of New Nigerian, 1st August, 1975).
Before proceeding beyond this juncture, it should not be too difficult for everyone present in this auditorium with me today and for every citizen of the world to see a similarity between how these 2 now-defunct newspapers (Daily Times and New Nigerian) described Gowon Administration and what are happening in the present-day Nigeria during the administration of President Jonathan which is itself also characterized by a lot of indecisions (e.g. on the nefarious Boko Haram insurgency), indiscipline (e.g. numerous vitriolic and inflammatory statements regularly made by Jonathan’s cronies like Alhaji Asari Dokubo, Chief Edwin Clark, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Dr. Doyin Okupe, etc) and a very visible progressive drift (e.g. the widening poverty gap and the alarmingly increasing insecurity). Relevant as the statements of these 2 aforementioned newspapers are to Jonathan Administration, it is actually what another newspaper named Nigerian Tribune (which was founded by the extraordinarily redoubtable yet surprisingly modest Chief Obafemi Awolowo and which is the longest-serving newspaper in Nigerian history because it is still waxing stronger since its establishment as far back as 1949) wrote about Gowon’s bloodless removal from office in 1975 that would be most applicable when Jonathan would be unavoidably and unriggably voted out of office in 2015.
When Gowon was deposed in 1975, the Nigerian Tribune expressed non-surprise and wondered why it didn’t come sooner and subsequently stated 10 reasons why Gowon fell from grace to grass so flatly and so mightily (see pages 1-3 of Nigerian Tribune, 1st August, 1975). First, Gowon sought to impose a dictatorship on Nigeria and Nigerians with himself as the dictator (Jonathan has also proved himself to be an unscrupulous dictator by his wanton, unlawful and clearly unconstitutional removals from office of the governor of Central Bank Of Nigeria Lamido Sanusi, the president of Nigerian Court Of Appeal Justice Ayo Salami and other examples too numerous to mention) while the second reason for Gowon’s downfall was identified as being the widening credibility gap between the government and the governed because he (Gowon) easily moved from “yes” to “no” and “no” to “yes” as if the 2 words were synonymous and interchangeable up to the point that the Nigerian populace no longer believed whatever he said (when voted out in 2015, Jonathan will similarly be remembered as the irredeemable liar that promised in 2011 on a national television that he would not seek re-election in 2015 only to later deny he ever said such a thing and he would also be aptly remembered as the inveterate fibber who openly said on national television that members of “… Boko Haram are in my government…” only to deny ever saying such some months later).
According to the usually-incisive Nigerian Tribune, the third reason that precipitated Gowon’s downfall was that he consciously or unconsciously isolated himself from the Nigerian general public (when Jonathan openly stated that “…stealing is not corruption…” and subsequently personally added that ownership of private jets in Africa is highest among Nigerians therefore Nigerians are not poor people, he was clearly exposing himself as being completely isolated from the realities of the hardship faced by the Nigerian public), the fourth reason was that he (Gowon) lost his head in the deluge of flattery by sycophantic subordinates and by uninformed hired foreign correspondents (from observation, Jonathan has clearly lost his head in the deluge of flattery daily mouthed by Doyin Okupe, Reuben Abati, Edwin Clark, Asari Dokubo, Ayo Oritsejafor, Tony Anenih, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Adamu Muazu and other sycophants, toadies, yes-men and stooges that team up to form the stinkingly-fake and thoroughly misnamed political group called Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria), the fifth reason was that Gowon chose to ignore all advices and criticisms which did not fit into his grand political design (which is exactly the same way Jonathan has always refused or ignored all suggestions, advices and criticisms that do not fit into his grand political design of getting himself re-elected in 2015 at all financial and even human cost), the sixth reason was that he (Gowon) completely misjudged the character and temper of the Nigerian people by thinking he can hold on to power by his wanton distribution of millions of naira for the least deserving of projects and the least deserving of people (when Jonathan is electorally-booted out of office in 2015, he will be remembered as someone that deluded himself into believing that the solution to the question of presidential re-election simply lied with throwing millions of dollars at the sundry toadies and yes-men surrounding him), the seventh reason was pinpointed as being the fact that Gowon’s government was corrupt to the marrow and he did not even make any attempt to hide this fact from public gaze so much so that when private individuals attempted to expose this evil fact, he (Gowon) promptly suppressed the efforts with the very weight of his high office (Jonathan Administration will in the same vein be remembered for the disappearance of 20 billion U.S dollars from Nigerian government’s coffers, the acquisition of several multibillion-naira private jets as official and personal vehicles by Jonathan’s minister for petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke, the flagrant purchase by Jonathan’s minister of aviation Stella Oduah of bulletproof cars more costly than U.S president’s official car, the millions of U.S dollars found in raw cash in South Africa after Jonathan government smuggled it to that country, etc; he will in addition be remembered for the brazen and shameful way his administration tried to suppress every effort made to investigate all these hobgoblinous facts) while the eight reason was analyzed as being that Gowon gave Nigeria a 9-point programme but never implemented any of the points in the programme because there was a total absence of any sense of direction on the part of the government (Dr Jonathan will be similarly remembered after being removed from office in 2015 as promising to upgrade and uplift Nigeria through his 7-Point Agenda but never implementing any of the bogus and intractable agenda one of which is agriculture which he coolly assured Nigerians would be boosted up to the level of sufficiency and even exportation but Nigeria under Jonathan has contrastly become the country that imports the highest tonnage of rice and frozen fish in the world, annually losing trillion of naira to other countries that export such commodities).
The fastidiously-researching editorial crew of Nigerian Tribune later identified the ninth reason for Gowon’s deposition in 1975 as being that he was incapable of maintaining discipline within his government (Jonathan will be remembered as someone who was not only incapable of maintaining discipline within his government but was even too weak to control many of his cronies like Olisa Metuh, Marylin Ogah, Reno Omokiri, Ayo Fayose, etc and his strangely uncouth and therefore highly laughable wife Patience Jonathan who can not speak simple formal English despite owning a university degree, who confidently says whatever gibberish she liked at whatever public function she wanted and who ignorantly created investigative committees she clearly had no authority to create under Nigerian Constitution) while the tenth reason for the fall of Gowon’s government in 1975 was explained by the same newspaper as being that it (the government) had clearly overstayed its welcome because he (Gowon) and his clique did not possess the qualities of excellent policy-makers and good politicians (Jonathan will also remembered as a failed ruler who thought governing a country only involved civil servants, unachievable transformation agenda, and millions of dollars in cash being smuggled about in private jets despite preaching the benefits of a cashless economy, all because the art of governance is best left for those who have the necessary training, public confidence, temperament, experience, ability and the gut for this art of governance).
The aforestated 10 reasons were relevant to General Yakubu Gowon 39 years ago and they are still relevant to President Jonathan today. I am therefore deeply concerned for the future of a Nigeria in which the ruler is a dictator, a liar, completely self-isolated from the general public, soaks himself in sycophantic flattery, ignores criticisms and advices, misjudges the character and temper of his own countrymen, presides over a government that is corrupt to the marrow, lacks a sense of direction, incapable of maintaining discipline within his government and has, in conclusion, overstayed his welcome. My concern for Nigeria transcends what I stand to personally gain from the country today; it is actually about what generations yet unborn will benefit from it thousands of years after me. And before posterity can get the best out of Nigeria, everybody present in this auditorium with me today including my humble self must exert ourselves to the safest limit to contribute our best to uplift Nigeria so as to make it great again, so as to make it grand again.
Speaking for the past few minutes about the pernicious characteristics of the administration of the current Nigerian ruler Dr Jonathan is part of my own contribution to the upliftment of Nigeria. Thanks for listening and thanks for joining us in celebrating Nigeria’s 54th year of national independence.
Engr Rotimi Fabiyi (MNIM, MNSChE, MNSE, COREN Reg,
P.O Box 1709, Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria
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- Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Oloye Toyosi Akerele, THE RISE Place, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
- The Director, Council Of Foreign Relations, New York, U.S.A
- The Chairperson, ECOSOCC Secretariat, African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- The Secretary, U.S Department Of State, Washington D.C, U.S.A
- S President Barrack Obama, Washington D.C , U.S.A
- S Senator John McCain, Washington D.C, U.S.A
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem, Israel
- Nigerian Information And Communication Minister, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
- Nigerian President Jonathan, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
- Nigerian Senate President, Three Arms Zone, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
- Murtala Muhammad Foundation, Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria
- The Chairperson, African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- Shehu Musa Yaradua Centre, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
- Asabe Shehu Yaradura Centre, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
- Professor Wole Soyinka Centre For Investigative Journalism, Oregun, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Africa Leadership Forum Plaza, Ota Idiroko, Ogun State, Nigeria
- General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Yakubu Gowon Centre For National Unity & International Cooperation, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
- Femi Falana, Esq., Falana & Falana’s Chambers, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Femi Gbajabiamila, Esq., Femi Gbajabiamila & Co, Broad Street, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Ebunolu Adegoruwa Esq., Ebunolu Adegoruwa Chambers, Lekki, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Pastor Tunde Bakare, El-Shaddai Chambers, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Bola Akinyemi & Associates , Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
- General T.Y Danjuma (rtd), T.Y Danyuma Foundation, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
- General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), Minna, Niger State, Nigeria
- Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria
- Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Segun Toyin Dawodu, Albany, New York, U.S.A
- Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Gbagada, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Director General, The National Institute For Policy And Strategic Studies, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
- Director General, Nigeria Institute Of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos State, Nigeria
- General Mohammed Buhari (rtd), Daura, Katsina State, Nigeria
- Professor J. Isawa Elaigwu, Institute Of Governance And Social Research, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
- General Oladipupo Diya, Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
- Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria
- Jan H. Boer, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- The Director, Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel
- Emir Of Kano Alhaji Lamido Sanusi,Kano, Kano State, Nigeria
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