Letter to my son; to pass judgment on our generation in the Year 2024 AD
On the First Day of the Month,
In the Eleventh Month of the Year,
In Year Two Thousand and Twenty-four
My dear son,
YES, I TOLD THEM
The little book of which this appendix is part was prepared in the thick of battle, some thirty years ago, in 1993, when frantic attempts were being made to save a country called Nigeria from disintegration at a time many other countries of the then known world were at war trying to sustain old ties, and woefully failing to do so. The anger and venom and hatred of many years had boiled over and national groups within countries were at each other’s throats, asserting their ethnicism in the first instance, and thereafter exposing their naked greed and obvious lack of grasp of the demands of the times they were in.
It was obvious that a Higher Hand that had perhaps been patient over millennia had decided to take over, in its own Way, the direction in which the Train of Life must move.
You of the twenty-first century are more aware of where the journey leads than those of us of the year 1993 who had no clue as to where to go and what to do; nor did those who professed knowledge of what the future held in store for us give us enough encouragement by the regularity with which their predictions on mundane issues like the results of elections failed.
I decided to locate this letter in your time, in the year 2024, because exactly 60 years ago, in 1964, our country chose a path which led us into nooks and crannies where we almost always discovered that we
had come to dead-ends. There had been elections to the Federal Parliament in the then Federal Capital of Lagos and it was known that because of massive malpractices, some sections of the country called
for and decided to boycott the elections. Voting did take place all the same and a party was declared winner and a head of government was sworn in. But the fact is that we deluded ourselves then in thinking that we could achieve justice and fair-play and love in any other way than working for and living justice, fair-play and love. You can with a click of the button survey the whole period with much more ease than was possible in our time 30 years ago in 1993.
As your findings will show, the military who had ruled the country between January, 1966 and October 1979 came back to power on December 31, 1983. It would not be difficult for you to deduce that with
the return of the military in 1983, the mistakes of the mismanaged 1964 elections had refused to go away.
With the transition to civil rule programme launched in 1987 and the smooth way it was being implemented, up to the elections of State Assemblies and Governors and then the National Assembly, there was hope that the wound inflicted in 1964 would heal. The botched Presidential Election of June 12, 1993, re-opened that wound. The way the political actors behaved in 1964 was the very same way they started to dramatise their narrow personal and ethnic interests in 1993 instead
of looking the matter straight in the face and pronouncing on what was right in the name of justice, in the name of God.
Every day that passed after the annulled election saw tension building up in such frightful dimension that we of that time thought the country would split up before August 27, 1993 when the military had decided to hand the Government over to an elected President. That the month of
August, 1993 came and went without an elected President showed the deep political mess we were in, and instead of acting as the leaders of the people that we were supposed to be, we again, with our eyes wide open, took a path that was not different from the way we tried to resolve the same problem about 30 years earlier, in 1964.
Having just emerged from a most illuminating spiritual festival, I felt the urge to write to the then most senior serving military officer in a temporary arrangement that had been put in place to try to resolve the
impasse arising from the annulled June 12, 1993 election. I wrote to him instead of the Head of State because he was the right-hand man of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, the military ruler of Nigeria from
1985 – 1993.
The long and short of the letter was that the political problems which the country faced at the time could be resolved in the way suggested if the Nigeria we believed had not just a future but a mission would be helped to be. This helping to be, in my view, was meaningful only when we showed clear signs that we had WORKED ON OURSELVES to vibrate in the new perceptions which seemed to be emerging in respect of Love as we never have known it; of Purity as never before contemplated; and of Justice in more sense than the traditional recourse to a yardstick determination by the rule of law which in the world of our times varied with the change of geographical boundaries of countries.
You are better placed to look back to 1993, from your vantage point in the year 2024, to know who of the people of the country helped in paving the future dream of a people. But I can only help by publishing
for you the names of those I did reach out to in the first place and whose dedicated commitment, if they had risen above their emotional attachments to ethnicity and other vested interests, would have made
all the difference. In other words, I am reporting the political actors to you and your generation of 2024 so that you can judge them individually and collectively on the role they played to make or mar Nigeria.
I list their names here so that you can identify who of them played their part in making the country of their time one that people should have been happy to live for, and if need be, die to sustain.
1. Chief Ernest Shonekan,Head of the Interim National Government. He it was to whom erstwhile military leader General Babangida handed power to in August 1993.
2. General Sani Abacha, Secretary for Defence who provided the military backing for the Interim National Government of the time.
3. General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangidawho ruled Nigeria for 8 years and initiated the structures that resulted in the various elections climaxing in the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election that was cancelled. He left Government and retired to his home state in Niger State on August 26, 1993.
4. Lt-Gen. Oladipo Diya, Chief of Defence Staff.
5. Lt-Gen. Aliyu Mohammed, Chief of Army Staff.
6. Air Vice Marshall Femi John Femi,Chief of Air Staff.
7. Rear Admiral Suleiman Seidu, Chief of Naval Staff.
8. Mr. Ibrahim Coomasie, Inspector-General of Police.
9. Chief Anthony Anenih,Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
10. Dr. Hameed Kusamotu, Chairman of the National Republican Convention (NRC).
11. Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, President of the Senate.
12. Chief Agunwa Anaekwe,Speaker of the House of Representatives.
13. Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, Vice President until August 26, 1993.
After the October 1, 1993 Independence broadcast of Chief Shonekan during which he announced that a commission of enquiry would be set up to investigate what led to the annulment of the June 12 Election so that the pitfalls would be avoided in future, tempers rose to fever pitch. The NRC governors announced after a meeting in Abuja, the new Federal Capital, that any attempt to revisit June 12 was a call to war and the possible disintegration of Nigeria. It was at this point I decided to widen the scope of distribution of the letter I wrote to General Abacha. I therefore sent copies of the letter to the 30 Executive Governors of the 30 States of Nigeria with a covering letter to each of them. I also gave copies to some other people. I list their names here for you to vet so that the role they played to keep your country one can be identified for commendation or condemnation.
1. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Governor of Abia State, Umuahia.
2. Alhaji Saleh Michika, Governor of Adamawa State, Yola.
3. Obong Akpan Isemin, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Uyo.
4. Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Governor of Anambra State, Awka.
5. Alhaji Dahiru Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State, Bauchi.
6. Rev. Father Moses Adasu, Governor of Benue State, Makurdi.
7. Alhaji Maina Lawan, Governor of Borno State, Maiduguri.
8. Mr. Clement Ebri, Governor of Cross-River State, Calabar.
9. Olorogun Felix Ibru, Governor of Delta State, Asaba.
10. Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Governor of Edo State, Benin.
11. Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Governor of Enugu State, Enugu.
12. Chief Evans Enwerem, Governor of Imo State, Owerri.
13. Alhaji Sa’ad Birni-Kudu, Governor of Jigawa State, Dutse.
14. Alhaji Dabo Lere, Governor of Kaduna State, Kaduna.
15. Alhaji Kabiru Gaya, Governor of Kano State, Kano.
16. Alhaji Saidu Barda, Governor of Katsina State, Katsina.
17. Alhaji Abubakar Musa, Governor of Kebbi State, Birni-Kebbi.
18. Alhaji Abubakar Audu, Governor of Kogi State, Lokoja.
19. Alhaji Sha’aba Lafiaji, Governor of Kwara State, Ilorin.
20. Sir Michael Otedola, Governor of Lagos State, Ikeja.
21. Dr. Musa Inuwa, Governor of Niger State, Minna.
22. Chief Olusegun Osoba, Governor of Ogun State, Abeokuta.
23. Chief Dele Olumilua, Governor of Ondo State, Akure.
24. Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, Governor of Osun State, Osogbo.
25. Chief Kolapo Ishola,Governor of Oyo State, Ibadan.
26. Chief Fidelis Tapgun, Governor of Plateau State, Jos.
27. Chief Rufus Ada-George, Governor of Rivers State, Port Harcourt.
28. Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkarim, Governor of Sokoto State, Sokoto.
29. Rev. Jolly Nyame, Governor of Taraba State, Jalingo.
30. Alhaji Buka Abba Ibrahim, Governor of Yobe State, Damaturu.
I also had to give copies of the letter to the following in the hope that they would in their own way also help to get us out of the path of disintegration we had taken:
1. Barrister Albert Logogie, Deputy President of the Senate.
2. Dr. Rabiu Musa, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
3. Dr. (Mrs.) Doyin Abiola, Managing Director of the Concord Press.
4. Mr. Sam Amuka, Publisher of the Vanguard.
5. Mr. Lade Bonuola, Managing Director of the Guardian Press.
By the publication of the book, “Experiment with Disintegration”, I was able to reach out to everybody who was anybody in Nigeria in 1993 and no one should therefore plead ignorance of the issues when you
and your generation do carpet us of this time for our unwillingness to learn the lessons of history. Everyone will have to plead their own case to show what they did to make or mar Nigeria. This letter is my plea and the little book I had written is the proof of evidence.
I beg to submit.
I would have closed this letter by identifying myself as your father, having addressed it to you as my son, but I do not know if the Nigeria you have been growing up in since you were born on November 1, 1993
is the one you would have wanted for your generation and for your own children too. And with the fear that you may think I am not worthy to be your father because of the failure of my generation to work with a sense of mission, let me just close the letter by saying:
Prince Tony Momoh
Minister of Information of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria (1986 – 1990)
END OF SERIALISATION OF EXPERIMENT WITH DISINTEGRATION BY TONY MOMOH, A BOOK PUBLISHED IN 1993 WITH RESTRICTED CIRCULATION GIVING BLOW-BY-BLOW ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN JUNE 12 WHEN THE ELECTION TO CHOOSE NIGERIA’S PRESIDENT WAS ANNULLED UP TO THE TIME BEFORE THE INTERIM GOVERNMENT OF SHONEKAN WAS REMOVED BY THE MILITARY IN NOVEMBER 1993