Obasanjo, Terrorism and Nigerian Democracy

by Tokunbo Awoshakin

Since the Bush administration launched her retaliatory attack on Afghanistan, after gathering loads of intelligence on Moslems alleged to be affiliated to Islamic fundamentalist, Osama Bin Laden, the entire Islamic world has become unsettled.

In Nigeria, a supposedly secular country, both the attack of September 11 and the subsequent events, including the bombardment of Afghanistan, elicited somewhat strange responses. Although millions of Nigerians joined other people around the world to mourn the huge loss of lives and property occasioned by the terrorist attack, some Nigerians in Zamfara State chose to jubilate.

As America began the shelling of alleged terrorist camps inside the Taliban-led Afghanistan, some Moslem elements in Kano started a protest while similar elements in Minna took to the streets. These protests soon moved from being just a peaceful reaction to the Nigerian government’s support for American reprisal attack to becoming a major attack on innocent Christians who were thousands of miles away from America.

Although President Bush has consistently maintained that his country led coalition attack on Afghanistan was not an attack on Islam, the Moslem elements in Nigeria, who are believed to be associates of those that had earlier stirred the country’s political waters at the very return of democratic rule in Nigeria, preferred to display their displeasure to The Obasanjo administration’s support for the reprisal attack by re-igniting the embers of religious intolerance and setting Kano ablaze.

While this important section of Nigeria was aflame, while churches and mosques were being set on fire and hundreds of Nigerians were being killed, the Nigerian leader, President Obasanjo, was in far away France.

Our president was actually attending an event of UNESCO, a United Nations agency set up to provide for the education of world children-among whom were supposed to be the six Nigeria G.C.E. candidates killed in the Kano crossfire. Curiously, Obasanjo’s first reported reaction to the catastrophe in his country was that it was nothing to worry about. “I don’t worry” he reportedly told Reuters in Paris.

I think Obasanjo has a lot to worry about. By this statement, I echo the voices of thousands of Nigerians here in America and perhaps several others in Nigeria and other places. To be sure, our President, truth be told, should really worry.

President Obasanjo, rather than sweeping the Kano incident under the carpet of “domestic terrorism,” should be worried about the effect of that event on the country’s stability and thus jettison the dishonest camouflage of religious neutrality of the Nigerian state for a more realistic toga that can help sustain the nation’s nascent democracy.

It seems enough has already been said about the appropriateness or otherwise of Obasanjo’s decision to even leave for France to attend the UNESCO conference In the first instance. Not enough has however been said about the Obasanjo administration’s antiquated methods of responding to and handling crisis.

Those that have been following the political events in Nigeria since the inception of the present administration can easily trace the riots in Kano to the introduction of the Sharia Islamic code in parts of country.

Nigerians here in America, both Christians and Moslems, are of a joint consensus that there was no overt reason whatsoever for the bombing in Afghanistan to have led to killing of Christians in far away Kano and are now more than ever before pissed with Obasanjo’s obvious dishonesty in tackling the sharia issue.

If we are to agree with our globe-trotting president that the Kano riot was a case of “domestic terrorism,” we should also have the moral and patriotic expectation that our president should be worried; not only for the completion of his tenure or his ambition for a second term but essentially for the stability of democracy in our country.

Again, I speak not just as a Nigerian, but also as an international journalist in touch with Nigerian and international events; in touch with our people as well as foreign analysts of the Nigerian political process before and since the rulership of president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Can it be totally impossible to link the sudden but systematic introduction of Sharia in almost half of Nigeria to Moslem elements that have the support of certain Islamic fundamentalist groups like the one led by Osama Bin Laden? Is it not possible that the recent event in Kano was another evidence of the preparedness of certain elements receiving foreign support to scuttle Nigeria’s nascent democracy?

Just a fortnight ago in Washington D.C., just a few blocks away from the Nigerian Embassy here, a Biafran house was opened, the Biafran flag was hoisted and the Biafran national anthem was jubilantly sang by hundreds of Nigerians from another section of the country. Yet, the Nigerian president says “I don’t worry”.

Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State, who boldly introduced Sharia in his state while Obasanjo looked on passively must now be smiling as the events in America, Afghanistan and Kano successfully bring back to life that brazen attempt to islamise Nigeria. The opening of Biafra House in Washington D.C. is obviously the response of some Igbo people to what Sharia is causing and may cause.

Nigerians here in America and I guess elsewhere are interested in the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria. We are interested in the growth and development of the nation not only along the lines of G.S.M.cellular phones availability, but in terms of improved standard of living. We are interested in the honest and decisive tackling of the Sharia issue as well as genuine execution of the anti-curruption crusade.

President Obasanjo’s inability to provide these things; his administration’s continued inability to put in place a legal reform that will make seemingly sacred cows like Babangida, Buhari and Abubarkar to come before a Truth Commission as done in civilized nations and his continued aversion to a genuine National Conference more than what he describe as “domestic terrorism” pose greater dangers to the sustenance of democracy in our great country.

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Mark March 11, 2010 - 3:47 am

I agree with you totally. He might not be perfect, but still is the best compared to others. Now with all the happenings, people can’t even say anything, even the so called people in the HOUSES. It’s a shame on them.

dike victor January 18, 2010 - 2:57 pm


Ihate 9a December 27, 2009 - 1:15 pm

i think the best thing is to divide the country, if we continue to hope that these animals in power will change one day, in the next 1 million years nigeria will even be worst……lets not decive ourselves, we all know that the change we are expecting will never come.

Is there anybody that will tell me know that Obasanjo, lucky igbinedion, ibori, goodluck jonathan, yaradua and all the governors and ministers will change for the better overnight, It is not possible.

The country should be divided and lets see what will happen next, even Ghana is better than nigeria…..nigeria the only country in the world today that cannot boast of common stable electricity power supply.

Our Government has no shame, they have no love for the country…and it is a big pity that i am from that shameless country..Nigeria

Leke Sodiya June 22, 2009 - 5:15 pm

Obasanjo is a big disgrace to his nation. He is so greedy and corrupt with his cohorts. I hate him with passion. We need some set of radicals in Nigeria to eliminate these bunch of good for nothing politicians and set Nigeria free of decay. the system is too sick and the people are very disillusioned with the system. I am a Yoruba man but I support the Ibos. The obvious truth is that we can not exist as one nation in Nigeria. We are just too different. the amalgamation has definitely failed us.

Ifeanyi Ifeanyi June 11, 2009 - 5:02 pm

Brave people speak bravely in the face of death: the politics Nigeria runs is a very crude one indeed! The political brains in Nigeria needs modern civiilizations. Why would a country boast of having more than they can shew. Can a parents have more than enough children they cannot take care of. Divide the Nigeria into Biafran-Nigeria, Arewa-Nigeria, and Odua-Nigeria, and watch the though integrated body to be defined as if loosely disintegrated with every one managing its natural resousces, and see how excellent the world of africa would look like. Of course the Jews, I mean the Igbos, are the commercial nerve of the big for nothing Nigeria, of course we are indispansible and we are attached to the undefined entity, nigeria, with cohesion. Free the Biafra because this world is singing freedom for all, but the crude, greedy country filled with crude political senses would not let go. We will go for sure. I bet ya.

Yemisi May 14, 2009 - 2:53 pm

Honestly speaking, with all these insinuations on OBJ, I still see the man as the best out of all the the leaders in Nigeria. He may not be a good politician but he is a good leader. He is a detrabalised leader and that is why the Yorubas dont like him. Check out his appointments and look at what Yaradua is doing now, where where is Hausa, talk of NNPC, etc. When OBJ appointed Kupolokun as NNPC GMD, people were shouting that he was not from oil producing area but look at what is happening now non of you have challenged it. Shame on all of you abroad. COAS-Hausa, CNS – Hausa, NNPC- Hausa, Min of petro – Hausa,etc and you people cant talk. OBJ cant do that.

awake March 19, 2009 - 5:56 pm

quote “sacred cows like Babangida, Buhari and Abubarkar to come before a Truth Commission”

What we need is a Nigerian insider embeded in western politics that can take some of this sacred cows out as a warning

Andrew Yu-Jen Wang March 2, 2009 - 11:38 pm

Speaking of terrorism:

George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

Many people know what Bush did.

And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

Bush was absolute evil.

Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

Bush is a psychological prisoner.

Bush has a lot to worry about.

Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang

B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996

Messiah College, Grantham, PA

Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993



I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it is a linguistically excellent statement, and it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memory so it never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off of the top of my head—I think the quotation came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.

anthony ojomo August 16, 2008 - 5:30 pm

this website is very good and educative

daphne abuah April 28, 2008 - 11:40 am

to say that the writer is good is an understatement.Nigeria is filled with alot of intellectuals who are daily being discouraged by the way the economy is being handled.

We need to start educating friends and colleagues as it is time for liberation.

Good Shepherds Movement April 9, 2007 - 3:50 pm



Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: enslavement of the Biafran people

We are writing to you to express our grave concerns about the violent attacks by Nigerian government forces on individuals associated with the non-violent Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Southeastern Nigeria.

Due to the escalating violent attacks against the Igbo community and other ethnic groups in the enclave, we urge you to promote (with any authority you have contact with) peaceful negotiations between the Government of Nigeria and MASSOB.

The Good Shepherds in conjunction with MASSOB International are running a campaign for the immediate release of the MASSOB leader: Ralph Uwazurike and other non-violent leaders of MASSOB that have been detained by the Nigerian Security agents.

Our organisation will continue to work for non-violent restoration of the Sovereign State of Biafra which will ally with Britain, USA, Israel and other Worldwide Countries.

Igbo's have been in this area for thousands of years and the State of Biafra has been recognised by the Western world (especially Portugese explorers) from as far back as the 15th century.

The meaning of Biafra is not from the Bight of Biafra, but taken from Bia (come) fra (Efraim) – meaning: coming from the tribe of Efraim.

If you care to check our website or contact us we can give you biblical references to back our claims.

We are promoting the rights of Igbo's and other southeastern ethnic groups to have a political, non-violent referendum on the right to rule ourselves – ie. Sovereign Republic of Biafra, we know that Nigeria was designed and agreed by Lord Lugard and his wife. His wife actually naming Nigeria!

Igbo's and other inter-related peoples from the East have no common heritage with Yorubas or Hausas – although we have no fight or argument with them, we recognise they would also wish to rule themselves – therefore, why were Igbos subjugated into a Colonial state (not recognised by Igbos) in 1914 against their own wishes?

Biafrans are NOT Nigerians.

We request that you would inform anyone of authority that to deport Biafrans to Nigeria is committing Genocide.

Igbos and other ethnic groups who are inter-related to each other have NEVER ceded the right to exist as a Sovereign State to any group of people or nation, pre – or post -1914.

There is NO documented referendum nor plebicide that supports or legalises the 1914 amalgamation of Hausas, Yorubas and Igbos as a single political entity.

The Good Shepherds believe that the inclusion of the Biafran nation in the State of Nigeria was illegal and an act that was worse than slavery. The fact remains that even though slavery was abolished more than 200 years ago, our people and their future remain mortgaged and therefore sold, to the 'Nigerian Corporation' with NO hope of our people regaining their freedom, which is a Human Right accorded to them by International Law.

At the moment there are over 200 men and women & pregnant women, who were members of MASSOB, who were allegedly killed by Nigerian state agents, who are yet unburied from June 2006.

The world cannot remain silent about the continuous killing of our people from the Niger Delta, Igbo mainland and Ogoni – land. In 1999, hundreds, if not thousands of innocent civilians were massacred in Odi, before this, Ken Saro-Wiwa and nine others were murdered by the Federal Government of Nigeria. In the last 9 months hundreds of people have been murdered at Onitsha. Our environment is facing ecological disaster as a result of the recklessness of oil companies.

This travesty of Justice must be addressed by all powers that be in the world today, because the unjust situation in Nigeria is heading to an explosive point once again, will it take another 3 MILLION BIAFRANS TO DIE BEFORE THE WORLD WILL ACT?

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

President, on behalf of the Good Shepherds Movement



kelechi June 28, 2005 - 12:56 pm

This article is just a picture of what Nigeria looks like.I am a Nigeria and I read this article before I accessed it.


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