“Nigeria Has Persecuted the Yoruba” Submission of Afenifere to the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission (HRVIC) led by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa
Prominent Yoruba people like Senator Abraham Adesanya, Otunba Solanke Onasanya, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Olu Falae, Chief C.O. Adebayo, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, Chief Bola Ige, Senator Bola Tinubu, Dr. Beko-Ransome Kuti, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun, Comrade Ola Oni, Alhaji Lam Adesina, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chief Segun Osoba, Baba Omojola, Wale Oshun and others were variously detained by Abacha for periods raging from weeks to years.
II) HOUNDING INTO EXILE
Leading lights of the Yoruba like Gen. Alani Akinrinade, Prof, Wole Soyinka, Chief C.O. Adebayo, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Senator Bola Tinubu, Dr. Amus Akingba and others were hounded into exile for years because of their legitimate activities within the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO)
III) Bombs and arsonist attacks: Agents of Gen. Sani Abacha and his government launched bomb attacks in Yoruba cities like Lagos and Ibadan. Arsonist attacks were targeted at the homes of Yoruba June 12 activitist. In one of such the home of General Alani Akinrinade in Opebi, Lagos was set ablaze in 1996 and property worth several millions of naira destroyed. The residence of Mr. Ayo Opadokun was also set ablaze in the Oniwaya area of Lagos in 1994. Prof. Wole Soyinka equally had his Abeokuta home vandalised
On November 6, 1995, agents of the military junta murdered a strong backer of NADECO, Chief Alfred Rewane in his bedroom. Rear Admiral Omotehinwa’s assassination in 1996 has also been linked with security agents.
Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, wife of detained June 12 President -elect, was assassinated in broad daylight by Sergeant Rogers and co. acting on the orders of the military junta on June 4 1996. But ironically, Senator Abraham Adesanya, Otunba Solanke Onasanya (80 years then), Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Alhaji Ganiyu Dawolu SHA were detained by the Abacha junta for about five months on the allegation of being the killers of Kudirat.
On 14 November 1996, Dr. Shola Omoshola and his cousin Nelson Kazeem were killed along the Airport Road in Lagos in a bomb blast planted by unknown persons.
V) ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION AND PRECIPITATED MURDER
On the 14th of January, 1997, unknown gunmen (now identified as Sgt. Rogers & Co.) opened fire on Senator Abraham Adesanya at the ELF Filling Station near Sura market in Lagos Island about 200 meters to his law chambers at 12 Simpson Street. They pumped 8 bullets into his Mercedez car marked Ogun AE 3775 GB. But he miraculously escaped unhurt.
Pa Michael Ajasin was arrested and detained with over 40 leaders of Afenifere during a meeting in his house in Owo on May 25, 1995. Those arrested included; Olu Falae, Ayo Fasanmi, Abraham Adesanya, Ganiyu Dawodu, NF Aina, Ade Adefarati, Abdulazeez Afolabi, Wunmi Adegbonmire, Wole Alabi, M.A. Baruwa, Adekunle Salami, Rafiu Jafojo, Adeyemi Alade, Ademola Ademoye, Mufutau Ajisebutu, Olu Dawodu, Olaniwun Ajayi, Titi Adeniran, Wole Oke, Pade Aderibigbe, Allison Balogun, Babatunde Adebanji, Rotimi Ogunrinde, Niyi Owolade, Samuel Adeyemi, Joseph Alabi, Kofo Bucknor- Akerele, Bodunrin George, George Akosile Taoridi Adisa, Moses Danyilu, Mrs Abiola Buraimoh, Olajide Oyewumi, Ayo Adebanjo SAB and Gbolahan Okuneye. Pa Ajasin (87) was released after spending one night at the Owo police Station while the others were released on June 4.
And in December 1996, the Administration of Ondo State, Navy Commander Anthony Onyearugbulem stormed the residence of Afenifere patriarch, Chief Micheal Adekunle Ajasin and harassed the old man through psychological torture and excruciating questioning. He was reported to have taken the tape of his encounter to his handlers in Abuja as a proof of having tamed the old war-horse. Papa Ajasin fell ill afterwards and never recovered from the trauma of the Onyearugbulem invasion of his house till he died.
VI) MARGINALISATION OF YORUBA IN ALL FACETS OF NIGERIAN POLITY.
Since independence there has been an organised and systematic marginalisation of the Yoruba in the Armed Forces, Police, Civil Service, the commanding heights of the economy and government appointments.
We shall attempt to deal with these acts of marginalisation sectorally:
(I) Federal Capital Territory: When Lagos was considered a federal territory, the Ministers for Lagos Affairs from 1959-1965 were Northerners: Muhammadu Ribadu (1959-1960) and Musa Yaradua (1960-1965). But since Abuja became the Federal Capital territory, except Mobolaji Ajose Adeogun who was FCT Minister from 1976-1978, all subsequent ministers from 1978 till date were Northerners: John Kadiya (1979-1982), Iro Dan Musa (1982-1983), Halilu Dantoro (1983-1984), Mamman Vatsa (1984-1986) Hamza Abdullahi (1986-1989, Gado Nasko (1989-1993, Jeremiah Useni (1992-1999).
Ministry of Defence: Apart from Brigadier Olusegun Obasanjo’s sojourn from 1977-79, the closest Yoruba has ever moved in the political head of the ministry is the present Minister of State (NAVY), Mrs. Dupe Adelaja. There have been Tafawa Balewa (North) 1960, Inuwa Wada (North) 1960-1964, Muhammadu Ribadu (North) 1965, Inuwa Wada (North) 1966, Yakubu Gowon (North) 1968-1975, ID Bisala (North) 1976, Olusegun Obasanjo (South) 1977-1979, Iya Abubakar (North) 1980-1981, Akanbi Oniyangi (North) 1982-1983, Shehu Shagari (North) 1983, Domkat Bali (North) 1984-1988, Ibrahim Babangida (North) 1989, Sani Abacha (North) 1990-1998.
Mines and Power: No Yorubaman ever headed this ministry. There were Muhammadu Ribadu (North) 1955-1959, Yusuf Maitama Sule (North) 1959-1960, R.O.B. Dikko (North) 1966-1967, R.B.A. Dikko (North) 1968-1971, Shetimah Ali Mongunno (North) 1972-1975, Efom Ekong (South) 1976, Kachala Barko (North) 1977, Shehu Kangiwa (North) 1978, Professor Justice Tseayo (South) 1979, M. I. Hassan (North) 1979, Paul Unongo (North) 1983, Ali Makele (North) 1981-1983, Audu Ogbe (North) 1983, Idrisu Ibrahim (North) 1983, Tam David West (South) 1984-1985, Rilwan Lukman (North) 1985-1986, Bunu Sherif Musa (North) 1986-1989, Nura Iman (North) 1989-1993. Security Printing and Minting Corporation: No Yorubaman has ever been appointed as a Chief Executive of this corporation. The preponderance of Northerners perhaps explains why the 20 Naira notes, a national currency carry the Arewa logo. From 1981 when Nigerians started heading the NSPMC the following have been the heads: A. E. Ekukinam (South) 1981-1984, A. A. Abdulkadir (North) 1984, W. I. Aleyideino (North) 1985-1989, Muktar Bello (North) 1989-1993, S. S. Baffa (North) 1993-1999.
Passport Office: From independence till 1999, no Yorubaman was ever appointed the Chief Passport Officer. Out of the eighteen between 1958-1999, only 2 were from the South and the remaining 16 were from the North; Mr. C. O. Egbunike (South) 1958-1960, Alhaji C. A. Bukar Kolo (North) 1961-1962, Alhaji Bukachuwa 1963-1965, Alhaji M. W. Lamino (North) 1966-1970, Alhaji Ibrahim Karfi (North) 1971, Alhaji Mohammed Sagie (North) 1971-1972, Alhaji S. A. Yakubu (North) 1972, Mrs. Rhoda Mohammed (North) 1972-1973, Mr. Mustapha Sam (North) 1973, Mr. E. U. Akang (South) 1973-1975, Alhaji S. A. Yaro (North) 1977-1978, Alhaji M. W. Lamino 1979-1982, Alhaji S. T. Adamu (North) 1982, Alhaji Ibrahim Karfi (North) 1982-1984, Alhaji Dattijo Ahmed (North) 1984-1985, Alhaji M. Kolo (North) 1985-1988, Alhaji A. T. Abdulkadir (North) 1988-1999.
It should be noted that Alhaji Ibrahim Kafir and Alhaji M. W. Lamino both served twice each.
Head of Immigration: This has also been a no-go area for the Yoruba. Six out of eight between 1962 – 1999 were Northerners. There have been H. E. Harrison (Exp.) 1962-1966, J. E. Onuboju (South) 1966-1967, E. I. Aleyideino (North) 1967-1976, Aliu Mohammed (North) 1972-1979, Lawal Sambo (North) 1979-1986, M. Damulak (North) 1986-1990, Garba Abass (North) 1990-1999.
Customs and Excise Head: The only Yorubaman that had a stint there was Mr. Oyebode Oyeleye in 1976.
Chief of Army Staff: Of about 20 occupants of this office, since 1964, only Adeyinka Adebayo (1964/65) and Alani Akinrinade (October 79-April 1980) have been Yoruba. There have been 16 from the North. Alani Akinrinade had to be taken to newly created innocuous office of Chief of Defence Staff in six months following a powerful Northern lobby to make way for Major General Jalo, a Northerner. In thirty-seven years of the Army under the command of Nigerians, Yoruba have been in charge for only one and half years.
JAMB Registrars: The Registrars of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the body that controls admission into universities since 1977 have been Northerners. Perhaps this was a deliberate ploy to “faithfully” implement the quota system. There have been M. S. Angulu (North) 1977-1986, Dr. M. S. Abdulrahman (North) 1986-1991, Professor Salim Bello (North) 1992-1999.
Executive Secretaries of NUC: The National Universities Commission (NUC), just like JAMB has had only Northerners as its Executive Secretaries since 1975 except Dr. I. A. Guobadia (1979-81) in acting capacity. Are we being told that there were no qualified Yoruba professors up till the recent appointment of Professor Peter Okebukola? There were Dr. Jubril Aminu (North) 1975-1978, Alhaji Yahaya Aliyu (North) 1981-1986, Professor I. A. Abdulkadir (North) 1986-1999.
Police Commissioners in Lagos: Despite being a Yoruba territory, of the 23 Police Commissioners that have been in Lagos since 1961, only 6 have been Yoruba. Compared with Kaduna, only Mr. J. Adeola (1973-75) has been a non-Northerner to be appointed a Police Commissioner in the state.
Secretaries to the Government of the Federation: Since independence in 1960, only 2 Yoruba have held the position of secretary to the government of the Federation out of 16.
Commercial Banks in which the Federal Government has Equity Participation: Before 1979, only one of the seven commercial banks in which the Federal Government had equity participation was headed by a Yorubaman. But by 1979, none of the seven banks: Arab Bank Limited, Allied Bank of Nigeria Limited, First Bank of Nigeria, International Bank of Nigeria Limited, Savannah Bank of Nigeria Limited, United Bank for Africa Limited and Union Bank of Nigeria Limited was headed by a Yoruba.
PTF Projects: The Abacha regime created a parallel government through the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) headed by Major General Muhammed Buhari. Nothing else typifies the marginalisation of the Yoruba than the lopsidedness of the projects carried out by the PTF. Figures from PTF Situation Reports (Vol. 2 Dec. 98) show that the PTF carried on as if there was no South West.
Of all the roads rehabilitated by he PTF, only 1984.5 kilometres of roads representing 10.84 per cent were carried out in the South West; from where the bulk of the PTF revenue came since the zone consumes over 60 per cent of refined petroleum products. All the Southern States had 4,440.43 kms or 24 per cent of road rehabilitation as against 13,870.47 kms or 76 per cent in the Northern States zone three comprising the North-West States of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara had a lion share of 5020 kms or 27.42 per cent because the Fund’s Chairman, Buhari and the military dictator Sani Abacha were from there; zone four comprising the North-East States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe picked 23.48 per cent. This is the zone where Salihijo Ahmed, the late Chief Executive of Afri-Project Consortium APC, the sole consultants that supervised all PTF projects came from.
Figures in other sectors were more scandalous. For instance, under the National Health and Educational Rehabilitation Programme (NHERP), the South West had zero allocation in the tertiary programme, while the North picked 100 per cent. In the vocational programme, the South West had zero while the North had 97 per cent. In the primary area, the South-West had zero against 88 per cent for the North and in the secondary area, it was zero for the South-West and 86 per cent for the North.
The health sector is similar. For the Teaching Hospitals, the South-West had zero while the North had 62 per cent. For the Specialist Hospitals, it was zero for the South-West and 71 per cent for the North; in General/State Hospitals the Yoruba had nothing while the North had 56 per cent for health clinics, it was zero for the South-West against the North’s 100 per cent.
Under the food supply summary, the Southwest had 7.26 per cent compared with 83 per cent for the North, Buhari’s zone having 60.54 per cent to itself.
Demographic Manipulation: The Northern wielders of power have skewed all demographic indicators to marginalise the Yoruba and confer undue advantage on the North. For instance, while the old Kano and Lagos used to have the same number of divisions, various demographic manipulations over the years have brought about absurd disparities between the two states. While the old Lagos remains a state with 20 local governments, the old Kano has become two states-Kano and Jigawa with 77 local governments. These are some of the indices used for revenue sharing.