Mike OnwukweThursday, September 15, 2005
Arusha, Tanzania



hen a maddening king stamps his foot, the slaves tremble in their quarters. Take the example of Col. Ahmadu Ali, the current chairman of PDP was has been recycled and foisted upon us by Obasanjo. Col Ali of Ali-must-go syndrome who killed protesting students in 1978 for daring to query tuition fee hike. Please tell Obasanjo and Ali-must-go that we are human beings too even though we don't appear on TV. Nigerians should get ready to read their obituaries when somebody in the mould of Ali is given a sensitive position like this. For as they say, when a small man is given a position of authority and influence, he either defecate it or cheapens it to fit into his small frame. Ali-must-go has done both in trying to appoint his wife Madame Marian Ali and son, Dr. Ogala Adah Ali to board chairman of NPA and board member of NRC respectively.


In civilized societies, Ali should have been under lock and key or at best bury his head in shame and lie low. Or better still if spotted anywhere in the public, should be chased with the speed of a deer to a place where students' killers reside. Ali is sufficiently available but utterly insensitive. Ali is one of the people who cannot be trusted with church collection but here is he shepherding the almighty PDP. The ugly could be transformed into the beautiful with today's PDP. Ali that was shorn of his plumage, Ali whose speech to students was laced with worst expletives, is now the bride of PDP. How time changes. The day he was rehabilitated at the PDP convention, he was gibbering to the PDP hired crowd. Now it is all too clear that he wanted the PDP top post to award contracts to himself and appoints his wife and son into choice government parastatals board members. The leopard cannot change its spots. Nothing has changed in Ali-must-go, not even his looks and carriage.

Vast majority of Nigerians are sinking deeper and deeper into the ravine, Nigerians are existing under the rubble and squalor of PDP. Some are disillusioned, many are sick and most are hungry and fed up. There is a deliberate government policy to pauperize the masses. I am pissed off by this conquered land. Nigerians are challenged as never before as small band of outlaws lord it over to the rest of us.

A sociologist will tell you how dangerous a monoculture is. And we have in Nigeria today a mono-culture of one party that has brooks no healthy opposition. Why can't we as a nation dip into our wells of wisdom and use it for general good? A land where people starve while waiting for their death is an ill land. Manipulating the social system, stifling opposition and frittering away our collective resources for individual narrow purposes may yield instant dividends to their pockets, but eventually may have disastrous consequences in the long run. It is now time for us to prise out the hands of the villains. We are burning the haystack in order to find the pin.

Ali of Ali-must-go syndrome, this man who killed students because they were protesting against tuition fee hike in 1978, is now awarding 43 million naira contract to himself and his family to print voters' registration card. They go about giving false information to people, increasing their misery by increasing fuel price and appointing cronies, sons and daughters of big men to man government positions. And offsprings of big men only respect and recognize big cars and their owners. They are not challenged and all they have as qualification is that their parents are have-beens.

In 1978, students were protesting against tuition fee hike when Lt. Col. A. A. Ali was the Federal Commissioner for Education as it was then known. For daring to muster the gamut, Ali rounded up the students, sent police to the campuses and proscribed National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS-existing body that had always being the umbrella body for students in Nigeria as far back as 1957). Segun Okeowo, the heavily bearded National President of NUNS changed it to NANS. There was a peaceful protest against the fee hike and Obasanjo rolled out the military tanks against the students. University of Lagos and Ikorodu road became the theatre of blood and a leading student activist-Akintunde Ojo was murdered in the afternoon of his life. The roll call of other casualties is endless including Kunle Adepoju, one Mrs. Arike Balogun a Pregnant housewife, near University of Lagos and unknown Secondary School Students at Ile-Ife. Segun Okeowo, National President (NUNS), Ekpin Appah, President (UNIBEN), Offiong Agua, President (UNICAL), Bukar Mbaha - President (ABU), all were expelled under Col. Ali's supervision. Ebenezer Babatope the Welfare Officer at University of Lagos was also sacked. Lectures were not spared as well even as Comrades Edwin Madunagu of UNICAL and Ola Oni among others were sacked. Vice-Chancellors were also axed and they include Professor J. Ade Ajayi, Vice Chancellor, UNILAG, and Professor Iya Abubakar - Vice Chancellor, ABU.

The nation was angry and students started chanting 'Ali Mungo' meaning 'Ali must go' calling for Ali's head. Police had gone into the campuses with live bullets and wear shooting above knee level, a globally prohibitive maneuver. Obasanjo then swung into action to hit the rubbles into finer dusts and expelled student' leaders from various universities removed Professors and lectures that were sympathetic to the students' cause.

At No 28 Sabiu Ajose Crescent, Chief Gani converted part of his Chambers into the operational Headquarters of the National Union of Nigerian Students. Again Obasanjo dispatched troops thereto, and they brutalized Gani, ransacked the office, arrested and locked him up in the underground cell of Inter Centre at Ikoyi with bloodied face. Gani was later to be arraigned with spurious criminal offences and after a long drawn legal abracadabra and spending several weeks in isolated cell, he was discharged and acquitted by a woman magistrate sitting in Lagos Magisterial district.