Evang. Comrade Tony Akeni, a veteran journalist of more than 35 years standing and author of the anthology Psalms of Democracy, is the Global Coordinator of Nigeria Cannot Continue Like This (NCC-LIT, pronounced NCC-LIGHT).
NCC-LIT is a rapidly growing national and global political movement on an avowed mission, according to the group’s coordinator, to network Nigerians all over the globe to wrestle power from both the ruling APC and PDP and install a totally new leadership paradigm across the country from 2023 through a novel democracy model which the movement calls Resident Democracy.
Recently, the Global Coordinator Tony Akeni and state chapter representives of the movement traveled through the frontline South-East states of Nigeria for on-the-spot assessment and interaction with grassroots groups of the areas which had come under much carnage and violent activities between Federal Government military troops and the Eastern Security Network of IPOB.
En route to the South-West states for similar ground assessment the NCC-LIT Global Coordinator stopped by Asaba, the Delta state capital, where he had an incisive media chat with some senior reporters. The chat centred around the widely perceived uncertainty of the 2023 general elections in the light of increasing turmoils of insecurity, restructuring and self-determination agitations across Nigeria.
With what seem like firm and unshakable conviction Comrade Tony asserted that Nigerians should not be fooled by what he described as “government fostered and facilitated crises” in various parts of Nigeria and the consequent uproars of restructuring and self-determination barrages that have swelled across the country as a response to the federal government’s lack of sensitivity to Nigerians’ well-being other than the President’s ethnic group.
The political activist advised that rather than be caught napping and unprepared like 1999 when many good and overcautious Nigerians doubted that the military would actually hand over power for civil rule and left the political space to the worst of unconscionable characters, Nigerians should be diligently conscious that the APC led federal government plans to conduct sham elections across the country in 2023. The central and sacred purpose of the 2023 election blueprint, Evang Tony says, will be to install and impose on Nigerians a worse plague of loyal successors than its present crop of leaders who would be bound by oaths to cover up the APC administration’s many governance atrocities and to frustrate and abort Nigerians’ yearnings for purposeful constitutional amendments as a foundation for restructuring and true federalism. NCC-LIT says that as a result Nigerians should prepare with every ounce of vigilance and diligence to fully partake in the 2023 watershed elections with a view to shocking the status quo miasma of APC and PDP out of power from every inch of political soil across Nigeria.
Below are the movement’s perspectives and insights of the road to 2023 as expressed through its global coordinator:
You said there will be Elections in 2023. Can you please explain?
That is a fact. But first I thank you, gentlemen, for giving me the opportunity to present to Nigerians ahead of time NCC-LIT’s studied insight on national events to come which will unfold between now and 2023. The objective is to enable Nigerians understand and take an informed stand on these events as they begin to manifest.
But before I go into the kernel of this assertion let us examine together why many Nigerians think that there might not or would not be elections in 2023. The issues giving rise to that foreboding are mainly five.
i. Restructuring agitations in association with demands for annuling and replacing the 1999 constitution with a true “We the People Constitution.”
ii. Break-up agitations by self-determination groups.
iii. Nationwide insecurity crises usually forerunning failed state phenomena.
iv. Military takeover theory, and;
v. Local prophets’ and international diplomats’ disintegration utterances.
Insight ahead of national events to come
Without equivocation I wish to firmly declare that none of the above stated agitations and sources of anxiety will prevent the General Elections of 2023 from holding. Let me share with you a few of many facts of hindsight which inform NCC-LIT’s settled understanding of this position.
The infamous MKO Abiola June 12 presidential election annulment took place 24 years ago in 1993. Nigerians who were old enough and politically informed during that watershed era will recall the vortex of social-political turmoil, outrage and inter-ethnic animosities between the North and South of Nigeria, which engulfed the entire country at that time.
At the height of it MKO Abiola, the clear winner of the June 12 presidential election, was murdered in prison under Abachas’ custody. This happened only days after the august Catholic pontiff Pope John Paul II flew to Nigeria from Rome and the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the time Kofi Annan flew in from New York, among countless Western ambassadors and world dignitaries, to plead with the Abacha regime to grant Abiola bail. Each intervention, high and low, was to no avail. Shortly after, Abiola’s wife Kudirat was ruthlessly assassinated on the street of Lagos.
Rampant high profile assassinations and assassination attempts targetted pro-June 12 NADECO political opponents, mainly of Southern Nigeria origin, who formed a democratic opposition brick wall against the Abacha military dictatorship, predominantly of Northern origin like today’s Buhari Administration.
That bloody era consumed famous Southern political mogul Chief Alfred Rewani among others, sent Wole Soyinka and Chief Anthony Enahoro fleeing into self-exile and landed former President Olusegun Obasanjo in jail with a death sentence necklace on his neck for a phantom coup plot cooked up by Abacha’s spin doctors and tyranny strategists.
During that same stretch of catastrophic dictatorship which consumed some of the best, iconic and mighty gems of Southerners by the North controlled federal centre under Gen. Sani Abacha’s blood-soaked rein, internationally famous Ogoni environmental rights activist, playright and TV dramatist Ken Saro Wiwa and his eight Ogoniland compatriots, who included two state commissioners, were on November 10, 1995 hanged to death in Port Harcourt prison by Abacha, right in the heart of the South. For good measure their bodies were doused in corrosive acid for double mortality assurance. Again their trial and execution was based on trumped-up charges of murder of local community chiefs, just to get rid of the formidable but intolerable Southern Nigeria intellectuals who were in the way of SPDC Shell and Abacha’s free oil flow from the Niger Delta.
I remember an interview meeting I had as a human rights journalist sitting face to face, some years after Saro Wiwa’s hanging, with Ledum Mitee, then MOSOP president and the only man that Abacha’s kangaroo “judicial murder” panel set free from the hangman’s noose. It was across a small desk in MOSOP’s office in Port Harcourt, about the year 2008.
I remember vividly the hot tears Mitee fought to hold back as he made to me his last unforgettable and everfresh concluding statement on the Ogoni 9 saga. “Tony,” he said, “when you talk about the Nigerian state’s falsehood, travesty of justice and tragedy in light of the Ogoni saga, you are seeing before you the only surviving soul and bridge between the past and the present as the only man out of ten who came from the edge of the grave. I bear the burdens of that nightmare, custody of its darkest truths and deepest scars of an entire era’s hideous testimonies. No-one alive can tell the Ogoni story better than me.”
I also remember similar unshed tears in the falsely smiling face of the lead actor of Ken Saro Wiwa’s TV play series, “Mr. Bassey” of Bassey & Company. I ran into the young delightful actor in the reception of The Guardian newspaper in Rutham House, Isolo Express, Lagos, when I went visiting the newspaper house to file a freelance report. It is the same unmistakable farcade of unshed tears of agony which most knowledgeable Southern Nigerians wear across the country in their daily lives at the receiving end of the Apartheid APC administration.
With a seemingly inexhaustible syllabus of social-economic atrocities and human capital decimation against Southern Nigeria from 1983 when the Muhammadu Buhari junta overthrew the Shagari administration to 1998 when death relieved Nigeria of the Musolonic scourge of Abacha, virtually every inch of Southern Nigeria soil boiled over with incendiary hate, irreconcilable animus and venom against the Hausa-Fulani North.
Climaxing with the hell-size depravity of the June 12 annulment and political injustices of that era, Nigeria appeared headed, between 1993 and 1995, for a shattering, cataclysmal breakup. On hindsight you will find striking similarities between that epoch and the outrage which prevails in Nigeria today from the pandemic atrocities and notoriety of Islamic terrorists, killer Fulani herdsmen, rape and ransom bandits and the scourge of IDP refugee camps flowing from these felonies of anti-state brigandage.
Yet I can tell you from the prism of the same hindsight that nothing in today’s Boko Haram terrorism, herdsmen sacrilege and bandits scourge committed on the soil of our country can be said to match or come near the nation disintegrating lacerations and perils of Abiola’s June 12 crises. In an interview years after he left office as Nigeria’s Head of State and central entrepreneur of the June 12 crises, Ibrahim Babaginda confessed that even as a military Head of State with unlimited powers, he had never been so frightened in his entire life as the day he saw the sight of long lines of trucks massively evacuating Ibos and sundry Southerners from different parts of the North, heading home to the South because of the fear that another civil war was about to break out in Nigeria.
The Director of Defence Information of Babangida’s regime also expressed identical foreboding in another interview years later. For those who were not born then or old enough to appreciate the size of the June 12 cauldron, this should give you an idea of the knife-edge annihilation spectacle Nigeria was tested on.
What is the essence of this background relative to the uncertainties associated with the 2023 elections?
Yes, the point in all of this is that nothing is happening in today’s more democratically mature Nigeria that did not happen in worse dimensions in Nigeria’s past less democratically mature dispensations. Abiola’s June 12 election injustice writ-large, numerous incendiary massacres of religious riots of the 1980s and ’90s in the North which consumed many innocent souls, and Nigeria’s three years of bloody civil war are landmark proofs. None of those Rubicon or red line catastrophes disintegrated Nigeria. If they didn’t, nothing else will in the remaining 700 days before the swearing in of the next Administration in 2023.
The politicians who benefit from sharing and feeding fat on the corpse of Nigeria, and they are from all sections of the country including the 17 states of Southern Nigeria; they are united wolves with united appetites and strategies for ensuring that no matter the hell they make the ordinary people of Nigeria pass through, Nigeria’s corpse is always preserved “alive” to another election in other to make way for the turn of the next wolves and vampires to “chop.” It is that strategy I passionately wish to draw Nigerians’ attention and actions to.
Nigerians must not allow themselves to be deceived, swayed and lullabied to sleep or comatose state of unpreparedness by APC’s and PDP’s diversionary governance calamities. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be stampeded and disoriented into ultimately believing that there will be no elections in 2023 and therefore become lax and laid-back. Nigerians should not allow a repeat of the 1999 scenario when most good citizens thought that the military regime of General Abubakar Abdusalami would not relinquish power to civilians and in their lukewarmess allowed wolves of like-minds to hyjack the political space to the protracted doom of Nigerians and selfish boom of bad politicians since then to the present.
There will certainly be elections in 2023. In furtherance of this fact, NCC-LIT wishes to encourage Nigerians of goodwill and progress in all parts of our country – North, East, West and South – to come together urgently, be focused and hyper-prepared for full participation and close-marking polls accountability in 2023. This is the kernel of the NCC-LIT clarion for the imminent struggle of our lifetime; the struggle to truly and finally set Nigeria free through the 2023 polls.
You allege of APC’s sneak election strategy for 2023. Expatiate.
The APC led Federal Government, her sly closet schemers and frontline contenders are acutely aware that their party has a very bleak future going into 2023. Sincere party stalwarts like APC Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, Kano state former Commissioner for Works the exceptionally brilliant Engr. Muazu Magaji and former Spokesman to Kano state Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, both sacked by the irrascible Kano state Governor in 2020 and 2021 respectively for daring to bare and blare this truth against Buhari’s higgledy-piggledy administration, have been courageous to say this in very loud public platforms.
With this fact in plain view, APC will use five sneak strategies in collaboration with INEC to approach the 2023 General Elections in attempts to have its way at the polls. I ask Nigerians to follow me. These strategies are as follow:
i. Like a boat that has lost its engines the APC Administration will continue to let the country drift casually towards 2023, with little motions of governance and guidance as we are seeing. At first they will continue to ignore most of the republic’s disintegration agitations by the South-West and South-East. Like the driver of a jalopy ignores the jeers and boos of the passengers of his broken-down bus. Then in sleep-walking fashion the government will make a few motions to pacify the tensions in the country.
Among these will be to pretend to call and rein in Miyetti Allah and through them establish a truce with their forest legions to reduce the kidnappings, violations and condemnations in the North, South-West, herdsmen and bandits onslaughts in different parts of the country. Of course this will be at a high cost of quietly disbursed “palliatives” to the bandits and herdsmen under undisclosed subheads of national security expenditures.
ii. To further buy time, at a time President Buhari’s APC government, steered by it’s behind-the-curtain minders, will pretend to listen to the people and set up a seemingly serious but actually perfunctory national restructuring conference. This will throw especially the southern geopolitical zones of Nigeria into ecstatic excitement and false hope.
iii. The restructuring conference, which will automatically take away most of the agitating tensions in the South-West and South-East zones will be given unnecessarily long time-table with ambiguous terms of reference. It will be encouraged to waste time in the name of carrying everyone along by “consulting all the component ethnic groups and stakeholders.” It will raise recommendations which would be frozen in the Presidency’s file cabinets. Its recommendations will be attended to with piecemeal, immaterial outcomes while time passed and 2023 General Elections rapidly approach.
iv. While 200million Nigerians would be embroiled in the din and debates of false restructuring with paid apostles of the Administration nobly talking the public into peace and patience with the Administration, the APC government would unzip exciting credibility factors into the 2023 general elections time-table foisted on Nigerians. This might include symbolic but light-weight amendments to the Electoral Act, promising to finish the restructuring process they started after the 2023 General Elections.
The Buhari-APC social-political palliatives to the electorates of the country will also likely include the creation of an equalizing 6th State in the South-East to especially to pacify, divide and rule this geopolitical zone against its more radical revolutionary frontiers like IPOB.
iv. During the same period the Buhari Administration will buy extra time and goodwill with fancy psychological projects which will serve it like masses tranquilizers. These will include devolving oil blocs ownership to the South’s oil producing communities, revisiting the Ogoni Clean-up project with dizzying billions of naira committed to contractors mostly in newspapers and on NTA network news. Emphasis will be made about completing the railway lines that run through Southern Nigeria, which will naturally excite the South.
v. Of all above strategies, this fifth one is their natural, constitutional *masterstroke*! The 17 Governors of the South-West, South-East and South-South, all serving National Assembly members who are of course each murderously determined to return to the Abuja Federal Honeycomb as senators and reps, the Governors’ 17 State Houses of Assembly members, their governor installed local government chairmen and councillors will go to work in the usual scramble and frenzy to return their Abuja principals, second-term governors’ anointed successors and their State Houses of Assembly principals to office, all of them complemented by the federal Ministers from the 17 states and their networks of political aides.
Old marriages will be renewed and new ones forged with the reigning ballot snatching warlords of their various states and geopolitical zones. Sacks of gold will replace philosophy of good. Good governance principles which were preached during the last four years of the electorates’ scourge by their Egyptian slavemasters from Abuja and their various state capitals will fly through the window. As much as possible, so-called good governance civil society organizations, labour and trade unions and their leaders will be compromised along.
The MC Oluomos and perhaps by then politically baptized and converted Sunday Igbohos of the South-West, Tompolos and Atake Toms of the South-South, the Mbas and Ezikes of the South-East will be brought by politicians hauling sacks of money into romantic lockdowns of Covid-2023 electoral cash virus. There will be mass weddings of promises by the politicians to the regions’ ballot snatching warlords. The mantra will be to give the locust politicians of their states and regions one more time to “repent and this time really improve on governance for their people.” Each side would know from the first breath that these are promises not meant to be kept. But it would not matter after politicians and ballot thugs exchange bags of gold and guns for another four years of cold and burns to the electorate.
In all of these what will be NCC-LIT’s banner word for Nigerians on the road to 2023?
Our top word to Nigerians is that there will be elections in 2023. Seal that and take it to the bank. Knowing this and APC’s sly strategies to burgle the 2023 polls victory and reimpose its hell of misrule on Nigerians, what should the long suffering people of Nigeria do? This question is for both the masses and the suffering middle class comprising over 199m citizens who have not been part of the APC and PDP nation ruining misrule. That is the urgent question for all citizens who do not wish Nigeria to continue in her leadership disaster mode of many decades.
If we Nigerians truly desire transcendental trans-generational transformation of our country, if we have agonized and lamented bad leadership for so long, 2023 is our chance to translate wishes to action and realization of our strongest values.
Together let us build this 300million capacity NCC-LIT alternative political ship to APC and PDP. Always bearing in mind that the APC-PDP boat takes too few, that is, the politician, his wife, children, one or two concubines and their security dogs.
Together let us storm the country with NCC-LIT’s brand new, novel political ideology called Resident Democracy, a unique democracy model which no political party in entire Africa and the world, past or present, had ever conceived.
Together let us stun Nigeria and entire Africa with sweeping victory in 2023. Together let us have the world in standing ovation for Nigeria’s incredible gigantic development leaps and superlative clean-up of our country shortly after victory in 2023.
At the NCC-LIT frontlines we are determined to sacrifice all, lead from the front and lead by the most transparent open governance public expenditure model in the world.
Step up your game by stepping into the march for the freedom frontlines. Together, in the end we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves of victory, glory and honour to God Almighty in a country where the boundaries of religion, tribe, ethnicity, gender, social chauvinism and political narcism shall vanish terminally for a new epoch of economic buoyance and prosperity derived not from nepotism, cronyism and corruption but industry, commerce and creative African silicone economy.
Finally, I urge Nigerians to pray assiduously for our country’s future and the blessing of modern God-fearing leadership. To remember the words of Patrick Henry that “It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” And that never again shall Nigerians be chained and forced through the valley of leadership catastrophe, failure, misery and agony that APC and PDP, actually one and the same legion of darkness, have forced our citizens through in the last 21 years. One therefore cannot over-emphasize the need for all Nigerians of goodwill, irrespective of religion and tribe, to pray earnestly for our country and the new pan-Nigeria liberation struggle whose climax shall culminate in the people’s sweeping victory in 2023.
I urge every well-meaning Nigerian to consider this a sacred and urgent duty especially now you know that there shall be elections in 2023.
May the chains tyrants of our land in various station’s of life have forged over the years and the new ones they are forging for 2023 to keep Nigerians, our children and their posterity in the dungeons of perpetual poverty, ignorance, bloid-shedding savagery, stagnation and beggarly unwanted third-class citizens in cold, hostile and friendless foreign lands be broken through your resolve, sacrifices, prayers, freedom march and matching actions hereafter.
Finally, what is NCC-LIT’s position on Restructuring and Self-determination both of which agitations are increasing furiously across Nigeria?
Both agitations are arising from outrage against gross governance misrule and its concomitant calamities. Unfortunately, whatever measure of misrule and misery we are witnessing today under the present leadership at federal and state levels, the worst is yet to come in our country politically, economically, socially, and in terms of inter-ethnic hate baths, bloodbaths and dire general insecurity. Against our wish, this is an iron-cast and irreducible fact, unless there is a radical change of attitudes and governance dynamics especially in the nation’s Presidency and the Governors of the Northern states.
As NCC-LIT our position since 2018 is clear, concise and consistent. With the Buhari-APC junta and its kill and conquer mentality, Nigeria has come to the highest summit ever of bad governance and a horrible crossroad of history. From here, there are only two roads, unfortunately without the benefit of a third.
First is the present option of uncoordinated, non-consensus restructuring and self-determination agitations. With the Buhari type of stone-deaf pilots and closet vampires, this is like beggars wishing for royal horses to drop from the sky at their feet. There will be only one consequence, which is what we are seeing now: endless bloodshed from selective ethnic decimations and reprisal backlashes from ethnic victims.
So, we can continue to engage in this option and have a blood-spattered road to 2023, the Rwanda path of pathological bloodshed and collateral massacres of countless innocent Nigerians in different parts of our country.
The second option is the bloodless or least blood-stained road to 2023 and Nigeria’s Total freedom. This is to bring and unify the good citizens in every part of this country together to erase APC and PDP, the co-authors of the monstrous state Nigeria is in today, completely from every governance office throughout Nigeria, save their outstanding exceptions from state to state. This can and will happen through a massive, decisive Electoral Revolution and Victory in 2023 under the banner of Resident Democracy, an epic brand new political ideology with inviolate service compact with the people. Then immediately after victory in 2023 put a listening, reason-seasoned and devil-fearless Government in place which will comprehensively, without regards to tribe or religion, root out within 12 months every menace of insecurity from every inch of Nigeria’s soil and roll out within 24months a decisive, transparent and practical Restructuring Action, not Plan.
Finally, it has to be a Government determined to execute a Restructuring Model that will not, out of prejudice or malice, put any section of Nigeria at a disadvantage side by side others.
Like I said earlier, we don’t have the benefit of a third option.