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Oputa Commission is borne out of the dreadful experiences Nigerians went through. Abubakar, Babangida, Buhari, for Allah sake, put on your BABANRIGA AND SHOW YOUR FACE at the Oputa Commission and let's the devil be ashamed of itself.


Friday, August 17, 2001
Dr. Femi Ajayi
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THE OPUTA COMMISSION AND THE NIGERIAN GENERALS



he irony of life is that when laws are made in Nigeria, according to the Generals, it's only the poor people that the laws are meant for. Poor man that stole a cow would have his amputated and the Local Government Chairman or any commissioner that inflated contract prices would still go on the Nigerian streets with all his arms, legs intact. The Nigerian leaders are above the law, so state General Buhari, Babangida, and Abubakar, and the rest of Nigerian RULERS not LEADERS.

The ex-military generals cowardness, woke up the sleeping butterflies in my stomach about their non-appearance at the Oputa Commission. The Panel set up to reconcile Nigerians and move forward, especially those that felt the pains from the Nigerian rulers, or lost relations, during the years of Nation building. I feel like throwing up each time I read about the almighty Nigerians RULERS who placed themselves above the law, even above the command of the Almighty Allah or God.

Gen. Buhari has the nerve to say that he is not appearing on the Oputa panel. General Babangida refused to appear before the Commission in Lagos unless it was moved to Abuja. The commission moved to Abuja, the Chicken Generals would not appear. Nigerians have not forgotten Babangida's dribbling mechanism. He came out to state that he is not afraid to appear before the Oputa commission. What are they afraid of? Gen. Abubakar would like to set up special arrangements to appear before the commission. Nigerians could see what type of Nigerians managed the affairs of the country. What has been their usefulness to the country besides inflicting heavy pain on Nigerians?

What type of conducive environment is IBB looking for to make him appear at the Oputa Commission that was better than the one he inflicted on millions of Nigerians during his dictatorship. I wonder what type of dignity that he is trying to show Nigerians. If the Generals are not afraid to appear before the Oputa commission, we want to see them in the room and face their accusers at least they are supposed to be Generals. Nigerians would like to see them like Obasanjo said and clear their good names. Hiding behind the little tiny pieces of law would not help you at all.

Your Excellency, Nigerians are anxiously waiting to hear what you have to say about the June 12, especially those who FORCED you to annul the June 12, election, and the killings of prominent and poor Nigerians. Follow the suit of your superior officer, tell Nigerians to go to hell and appear before the commission. Nigerians would love to know how a human being, Umaru Diko, got inside the banana crate; tell us that you were not involved in the 1997 coup against Abacha; Abacha is dead he won't say nothing to you, and let us know about the death of Bashorun Abiola. Tell it all.

Gen. Buhari's defense is very simple, crying about the proscription of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). He vowed never to work for the current (2001) Peoples Democratic Party government (PDP). He insisted that he accepted to head the PTF only because Abacha "was much more serious". This is a very pathetic statement from a former Nigerian Head of State. Responding to the interview granted the VOA Hausa Program, he stated, "I was doing my work but was later compelled to resign because right from his (Obasanjo) campaign, he said he would stop my work and they proscribed the PTF unjustly. I will never work for this government again in any capacity. I worked for Abacha because he was much more serious."

"I didn't work for myself when I was in PTF. I worked for the nation. Why did some people for associating with Abacha accuse me? Didn't he ask me to come and help, which I did? There were conditions and I was allowed to do my work." We could see the bitterness in Gen. Buhari's statement against the changes in the current administration.

I agree with most Nigerians that the revelations Nigerians are getting from the Oputa Commission alone are good for the polity. At least, let us know how our previous leaders, or do I call them rulers now, because of the way they went about their activities, their staff and government officials cooperated as if there was no God, there was no fairness, and justice had no meaning. A lot of things are being unraveled whether it is a theatre of lies and truths and all that those who can decipher can find in the statements and the confession by witnesses and all that, some level of understanding of what happened. Therefore, it is good for the system. However, Buhari, Babangida, and Abubakar should appear to answer the charges against them.

I would like to see the military sponsored members of the National Assembly to come up with the law to back up Oputa Commission if that is what the legal squabble is all about. Would they do that? How do we want to bite the fingers that feed them?

Senator Idris Abubakar does not see reasons for setting up the Oputa Commission, which I might call a reconciliation commission to settle all rifts in the Nigeria society. Nigerians are forgiven set of breed, if you genuinely and honestly admit your mistakes. Who is that saint on the face of the earth that does not make mistakes in his public life? The Generals should stop dribbling us around like a soccer ball. The Civil war ended about three decades ago the three Rs of Reconciliation, Reconstruction, and Rehabilitation recommended by my good friend Dr. Yakubu Gowon is not fully implemented yet. I wonder how long this would take Nigeria Government to do. The Igbos, Isokos, Okrikas everyone is crying marginalisation, from Port Harcourt through Sokoto to Maiduguri. I am being marginalized because of my name, my religion, my height, my size, my voice, my education etc. etc. etc. If Nigerians are not exposed to the truth, about the atrocities of the past years of misrule, how can we reconcile Nigerians and relate among ourselves as brothers and sisters.

The Yorubas complain of early retirement of qualified and experienced civil servants during military rules with no justification for that. Ilorin is complaining of unprogressive feudal system in Kwara State. The Riverrine area wants to take full control of their resources, Resource Control; the Middle Belt is crying for autonomy from the North, and the North is crying for marginalisation in the areas of education and economic development, the Christians are crying of deprivation from the other parts of the country where Christianity is not welcomed. If we do not hear from those that polarized Nigerians, how do we want to have true Federalism that we are all yearning for?

Oputa Commission is borne out of the dreadful experiences Nigerians went through. Abubakar, Babangida, Buhari, for Allah sake, put on your BABANRIGA AND SHOW YOUR FACE at the Oputa Commission and let's the devil be ashamed of itself.

What goes round comes round so goes the saying. The training stick for the first wife is only reserved for the second wife. History is on our side. Are they afraid of Hague court? As Generals, soldiers are trained not to be afraid. If they are indicted, some local human rights groups who are presently searching for damning evidence against the Generals may take them to The Hague Court, no question about that. They have enough money to defend themselves. The groups would get international arrest warrant and bundle them like Milosevic (Yugoslavia) to The Hague. Moreover, they will cite Ejigbo, Dele Giwa, Mamman Vatsa, Saro Wiwas, and so on.

We need to heal the wounds of the past. I believe that nobody anywhere should be immune from any due process whether that person is a former Head of State, President, or Speaker of Parliament. In fact, there is no exception, more so, when we are talking about human rights violations. These Generals are invited on human rights violations, not war Tribunal of the United Nations War Tribunals.

Therefore, if they are being invited on grounds of human rights violations, they must honor and appear before the commission in their own interest or risk subpoena.

Nigerians want to hear from the Generals, so as to publicly clear their good names they built for years.

Thank you.