Politics of dissonance and duplicity
By Maxwell Oditta
culled from Daily Independent
With a tenure that spanned three months, the Interim National Government (ING)
that came into being on August 27, 1993 and was overthrown on November 18 same
year, remains the shortest regime in Nigeria's political history. That ING was
an unfortunate creation of military autocracy and the ambivalence of the
political class at the time.
In the words of Chief Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan the Head of the
32-member ING: "That the Interim National Government is a child of
circumstance is an incontrovertible fact. It is however the best solution in
the difficult circumstances in which the country found itself. It turned out
to be the only way by which a peaceful end could be put to the military
leadership of the government of our country, given the firm determination of
the military to annul the June 12 election and the obvious lack of a consensus
among the political class in their response."
Not many Nigerians would agree with Shonekan's assertion that the diarchy he
led was a necessary, compromise government. But no one would contend the fact
that there was absence of consensus among the nation's political leaders
sequel to the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Though,
some could suggest that politicians' lack of consensus might have been a
by-product of manipulations of that class by military rulers. For no other
reason except the ostensible one of saving the judiciary from ridicule, the
then federal military government headed by Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, a
General, annulled the results of the June 12 presidential election believed to
have been won by Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the Social
Democratic Party (SDP).
On no other issue did politicians from the two party divide seem to agree
except the exit of the military on their own avowed date of August 27, 1993, a
date that would mark the eighth anniversary of Babangida's government. Whereas
most politicians of the SDP largely favoured the re-validation of the June 12
election as the only viable alternative for putting an end to decades of
military autocracy in Nigeria, to the extent that SDP secretaries in the ING
days threatened to pull out of government to ensure it revisit the June 12
election as published in the Nigerian Tribune of October 4, 1993, many of
their counterparts in the National Republican Convention (NRC) contended the
outcome of the June 12 polls, repudiating it in favour of the fresh
presidential election proposed by the federal government.
All in the bid to frustrate the aspiration of their counterparts who were
pro-June 12, NRC politicians resorted even to making unrealistic resolutions.
On September 30, 1993, nine NRC governors from the Northern part of the
country met at the then NICON NOGA HILTON HOTEL in Abuja. In a communiquÈ
issued at the end of the meeting, they called for restoration of Alhaji Shehu
Shagari administration, abbreviated by military interventionists, 10 years
earlier, adding: " We restate our commitment to and belief in democracy
founded on justice and the rule of law." Later, on November 12, the NRC in
Kaduna State announced that it had unanimously endorsed in absentia, Second
Republic Minister for Transport, Alhaji Umaru Dikko, who had been away from
fatherland, in political exile in the United Kingdom, since 1983.
It became obvious from mass protests that greeted the annulment of June 12
election that Nigerians were far more interested in the re-validation of the
annulled election than the conduct of another election proposed by the
military government and later by the ING. This was accountable for the
unimpressive public response to the two-week review of voters' register, in
November. The military government must have realised that the weeks that
intervened between when Babangida made a nation-wide broadcast on the
annulment and the August date of military disengagement from politics, was
inadequate for the conduct of a credible presidential election. Nowhere else
is this realisation more evident than in the statement credited to Babangida
The Guardian On Sunday of August 1, 1993: " General Ibrahim Babangida
postponed indefinitely yesterday the transition programme which was scheduled
to terminate on August 27, this year. General Babangida said the military took
the decision against the background of the perceived difficulties to a fresh
presidential election within the next 26 days, and 'in the national interest
and with a view to conducting the transitional programme on schedule".
Besides the electorate's disgust with the prospect of another election,
fallouts from the June 12 saga dictated that the military government
reconstitute the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to eliminate elements in
that commission who were favourably disposed to the annulled election, and the
replacement of the political scientist Professor Humphrey Nwosu with the
historian Professor Okon Uya marked the beginning of that elimination process.
Also, the conduct of party primaries required time. Tempers needed to calm
down, especially in the SDP where the Chief Tony Anenih-led national executive
council had to deal with followers who ardently embraced the refrain, "no
alternative to June 12". In the NRC ranks, there was also division. Most
members of the NRC from the southwest geo-political zone of Nigeria
dissociated themselves from calls made by the national party and governors
elected under the platform of NRC for the conduct of a fresh election.
With a common goal of ensuring the exit of military rulers on August 27, 1993,
the crucial issue that confronted political leaders of both parties was that
of striking a balance between the yearning for true democracy by majority of
Nigerians and the military's ulterior desire to remain politically relevant.
That perceived need for compromise gave birth to the idea of an interim
government, which was designed to comprise mainly of nominees of the two
political parties and representatives of the military government.
It has been alleged, without authority though, that the Babangida government
sold the idea of the ING to representatives of the two political parties
amidst threats of dissolving all democratic institutions.
But in sensitive historical matters of this nature, allegations are rampant.
It has also been alleged in some quarters that the ING was the brainchild of
retired generals like Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Yar'Adua, even after the
former explained in Daily Times of September 14, 1993, that his support for
the ING was borne out of a desire for a stable and indivisible Nigeria. Citing
a book authored by the former Director, Centre for Democratic Studies,
Professor Omo Omoruyi titled The Tale of June 12: The Betrayal of the
Democratic Rights of Nigerians, this set of commentators also allege, and
rightly so, that Yar'Adua employed his political machinery in the SDP, a
machinery which control both the party executive council and the upper
legislative chamber, to give party and parliamentary backing to the ING. In
the first place, Yar' Adua did not hide his belief in the ING as an ad-hoc
arrangement aimed at ensuring the exit of the military, leaving the democratic
future of the country in the hands of civil population. Through the media, he
threw the challenge to those who hold contrary views to present better
It remains, however, one of the most profound paradoxes of Nigerian history
that the ING once inaugurated achieved nothing really in its three-month
tenure, except the systematic return of the military to government. Led by the
Secretary for Defence, Sani Abacha, the succeeding military government started
the business of governance by first dissolving the ING and all democratic
structures. Under the pretext of upholding a return to civil rule agenda, the
Abacha regime went further to afflict Nigeria for five years with the worst
possible form of authoritarian rule, in which Yar'Adua became one of the
principal victims. How did all these come about?
If the idea of the ING did not emanate from Babangida and his colleagues in
the then National Defence and Security Council (NDSC), then they subverted
what was originally conceived, by fashioning a form of diarchic government
that would be responsible to the National Assembly, without that government
deriving its existence from a resolution of elected legislators. To many
political observers at the time, the idea of an ING once conceived appeared
like a ruse to prolong military rule. The Head of the ING would rule by
decrees and when necessary summon elected state governors. A committee set-up
to determine the structure and functions of the ING was led by no other public
officer but Babangida's viceroy, Augustus Aikhomu, a retired Admiral. The
Aikhomu Committee report mandated the government to screen before appointing
as Secretaries the list of nominees submitted by the parties.
In its editorial of August 31, 1993, Nigerian Tribune bemoans the subversion
of the idea of the ING: "Although the former President, General Ibrahim
Babangida made good his promise to step aside, the constitutionality of the
ING, however, in all essential manners represents a continuation of his
administration. And the indicators are there for all to see: Apart from the
fact that the major appointments (if not all) to the ING were made by the
Babangida administration before the supposed hand-over on August 26, the ING
is suffused with principal character of the administration."
Not only is the military presence retained, even the civilians appointed onto
the ING do not represent any identifiable interests and organisations of the
civil society beyond those probably nominated by the two political parties."
In deed, most of the civilians in the ING did not represent distinct interests
and organizations. This was because the Aikhomu Committee favoured the
retaining of several members of the Transitional Council (TC), especially
those who going by their utterances published by the media were vehemently
opposed to the June 12 struggle - Secretaries like Uche Chukwumerije
(Information) and Clement Akpamgbo (Justice). The committee even favoured a
continued existence of the NDSC as the highest decision making body in the
country. Decree 61 that gave legal backing to the ING provided for a
replacement for the Head of the ING should he resign or die. That replacement
would his constitutional deputy, the senior minister in his cabinet, Abacha.
Military leaders were very much interested in carrying the National Assembly
along in their desperate bid to put paid to the struggle for the disannulment
of the June 12 election and give a semblance of legitimacy to the ING. Their
desire eventually created the problem of factions for and against the ING in
the legislature, the Yar'Adua and anti-Yar'Adua groups. That situation
ultimately led to the impeachment of the Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu on
November 2, by senators who did not consider him sufficiently in support of
the politics and programmes of the ING. The military should have shown that
initial eagerness to see the ING go through rigours of legislative procedures
in its conception stage, to become an Act of Parliament, instead of
restricting deliberations in the legislative chambers mainly to matters of
culture and topography, only to restore the full powers of the Assembly after
the ING has come into force.
The 32-man ING had only seven politicians who were not members of the TC. They
were Barnabas Gemade (Secretary for Works and Housing), Dapo Sarumi
(Communications), Don Etiebet (Petroleum and Mineral Resources), Alhaji Bashir
Dalhatu (Transport and Aviation), Professor Jerry Gana (Agriculture and
Natural Resources) and his Secretary of State, Alhaji Isa Mohammed.
The politics of the ING tended towards persuading those clamouring for the
actualisation of the June 12 mandate to give up the struggle and look forward
to another whose sanctity would be officially acknowledged. A series of
meetings between the Okon Uya-led NEC and the two political parties fixed
January 7 to 9, 1994 as the date for party conventions to elect party
flag-bearers for the presidential election scheduled for February 19, 1994. As
it were to ensure grass-root participation in that election, the local
government election was fixed for same date. With the agenda of fresh
presidential election, Shonekan reached out to traditional rulers across the
nation, many of who came out in the open, appealing to Abiola to give up the
struggle for the presidency. In one of his popular responses, Abiola told the
Oba of Benin, Omo N'Oba N'Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo Erediuwa: " If need be, I can
prostrate for the peace of Nigeria, but not to abandon the people's mandate"
The politicians in his government embarked more covertly on campaigns similar
to those of Shonekan, meeting stumbling blocks moulded by their own people.
The secretaries from the southwest met greater barriers as the Yoruba proved
entirely intransigent about acceding to the pleas of the ING. The vehemence of
opposition to the antics of ING members of South West origin was expressed in
an advertiser's announcement published in some local newspapers on October 14,
in which SDP leadership in Lagos State disowned the Secretary for
Communications, Chief Dapo Sarumi, over his accepting to serve in the ING. To
the Lagos SDP, " the greatest favour Sarumi can do to himself is to resign
immediately from the ING and come back into the party".
The ING also reached out to the international community, especially the so-
called global policemen of democracy. While the British had no problem with
recognising a Shonekan who for over two decades represented their economic
interests in Nigeria, the Americans responded that they were waiting to
witness political developments, which would indicate the regime's interest in
installing democracy in Nigeria, before they give Shonekan the right hand of
fellowship. Shonekan continued to court all shades of interests and opinion in
Nigeria, rehashing the Babangida script of compromise over the outcome of the
June 12 election, until Nigerians were told he has resigned from the headship
of the ING on November 17, 1993. Shonekan left the presidency exactly one week
after a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Dolapo Akinsanya declared
the ING illegal and ordered the invocation of the provisions of the 1989
Constitution to fill the vacuum that would be created by the exit of that
In spite of his running a government that appeared like a mere proxy of his
predecessor, Shonekan has a place, marginal though, in history. One of his
first steps in office was the release of many activists detained for their
involvement in several pro-June 12 crusades. He fervently sought the
understanding of these groups on the dilemma in which the nation was
entrapped. Also, his initial days in power coincided with the return of
relative peace to the nation evident in the temporary cessation of media
reports of violent crises in Ogoni land and the re-opening of the nation's
tertiary institutions, closed down some months earlier in the wake of a
face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the
Babangida government. Employing a consistent policy of dialogue, his
government was able to convince hitherto striking trade union groups like the
National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the NLC to
give up industrial actions. On the anti-corruption campaign, his government
restructured the management of sensitive government parastatals like the
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation
(NNPC). What about the abrogation of certain obnoxious laws of the military
era like the Detention of Persons Decree 2 and the Forfeiture of Assets Decree
54, whose abrogation he initiated?
Above all, the Head of the ING also demonstrated character in not quitting
office in a plaintive manner, mudslinging and blaming everyone else but
himself for the woes of his ousted government.
By Bolaji Adepegba
culled from Daily Independent
Chief Ernest Adegunle Shonekan came home a sad man from Cyprus. It seemed as
if it was only because of the news awaiting him in Abuja that a group named,
Movement for the Advancement of Democracy (MAD), had hijacked a Nigeria
Airways' airbus. Jerry Yusuff led the group that diverted the flight to Niger
It was not. He was arriving from the commonwealth summit of heads of
government, where he had just been given a cold attention. In fact, while
there, the head of Nigeria's Interim National Government was tacitly told that
someone was more important to them than he, in the political picture of
Nigeria that they had.
Apart from the fact that Nigeria was treated as if it had no representative at
the summit, with no mention made of the country's crisis in the summit's
communiquÈ, Sir Douglas Hurd, the British High Commissioner, was reported to
have told the Egba chief- turned head of state overnight to "reach an
accommodation with Moshood Abiola, the unofficial winner of the poll."
It was not among the things that Shonekan wanted to hear. In fact, the ING
policy is about de-emphasising Abiola and everything he represented at that
time. But it set the tone for the position of the international community in
relation to the political impasse that the country was grappling with.
Just as the interim National Government was trying to settle down, preparing
to hold another election and consign the one of June 12, 1993 to the dustbin
of history, the British High Commission in Lagos issued a long press release
which stated in part: "A peaceful transfer of power to a democratically
accountable government is the only way to maintain a strong and united
The statement made it clear that the wish of the British government was a
return of Nigeria to democracy acceptable to the Nigerian people and without
any military hindrance.
The hope of the international community was very high about Nigeria as soon as
General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was eased out of office. It was thought
that the ING was going to make room for dialogue that would restore genuine
order that will bring the wishes of Nigerians as expressed in the June 12
election to reality with the instalment of Abiola as the president.
The British government was not fooled into not seeing through the wiles of the
Nigerian military in installing an interim government that still had one of
them in a strategic position.
"At a time when military dictatorships are being replaced by democracy, it
would be wrong for a leading African country to attempt to put the clock
back," its high commission's statement says.
The accreditation of a new US ambassador to Nigeria fell within the 82 days of
ING in Nigeria. Before Walter Carrington left Washington DC for Lagos in
September of 1993, he was feted by the Nigerian ambassador to the United
States, Mallam Zubair Kazaure. Playing on the popular definition of democracy,
the ambassador designate did not fail to let his Nigerian counterpart know
what he intended to come and do in Nigeria.
Carrington said that at Independence in 1960, Nigeria got a "government of the
people" which he expects to lead to a "government by the people" at the end of
the democratic process. The US envoy said he hoped to see a "government for
the people" before the end of his stay in the country.
Western countries treated the ING with disdain. On 10 November, 1993, Abiola
hosted Carrington to a diner that rallied almost all western diplomats in
Nigeria this is just after the American envoy presented his credentials to
Shonekan at Aso Rock, an action which drew flak from pro-democracy
organisations who felt the West should not accord such recognition to the ING.
Abiola was the one who bailed Carrington out of the court of critics with
emphasis on the western disdain.
At the occasion, the Nigerian national anthem was first played. Then the US
national anthem. The party went under way and it was time for speech making
"The only way you can greet a dwarf is to bend down," he quipped, in
Carrington's defence, "and having done that, you regain your usual height"
Abiola told the entire ambassadors present that he wanted to ascend power
without further bloodshed.
Meanwhile it was not all gloom on the international scene for Shonekan's ING.
It was during the administration of Shonekan that Nigeria was elected
alongside Rwanda to fill two of the three non-permanent seats assigned to
Africa on the United Nations' security council to join Djibouti whose term was
yet to expire.
Moreover, some governments were not totally averse to the idea of an ING. On
September 2, the day after Shonekan's maiden speech, the Japanese ambassador
to Nigeria, Takanori Kazuhara assured Shonekan that the Japanese government
was "impressed" by his maiden speech and made it known that the Egba chief
could count on his government's support.
Shonekan did not allow the opportunity to consolidate the Japanese support to
slip out of his hands. One month after on 2 October precisely, a delegation of
the ING, led by Alhaji Mustapha Umara, the secretary to the Interim National
Government set out for Japan.
The mission of the delegation was to seek support for the economic programmes
of the ING and to "assure Japan of the good intention of the interim
government, explain circumstances leading to the annulment of June 12 election
and effort made so far to resolve the crisis," Umara told journalists.
By the beginning of November 1993, western nations' governments had started to
exhibit impatience to the ING contraption and had started gravitating towards
the interest of pro-democracy groups, making regular suggestion coated in
diplomatese that there was a need for a government of popular mandate to be in
power for it to be recognised.
"Without full democracy in place, Nigeria will lack the confidence to tackle
its economic difficulties," the British high Commission said in a press
statement which it issued after the Head of State returned from the
Meanwhile it was the need to solve the country's economic problems that the
ING functionaries had been using as a selling point for the administration.
By November 10, when Abiola hosted Carrington, the drumbeat of the
international community was getting louder. And a week later, General Sani
Abacha, ING Defence Secretary took over power, returning the country to a full
However, the hostilities of the West did not abate.
In the interim, a government in a fix
By Wale Fatade
Culled from Daily Independent
Until they tell the full story of the annulment of the June 12,1993
presidential elections, those who were actors during the logjam would not be
doing Nigerians any good. However, while we wait for such a moment, the key
players of the time cannot be forgotten in a hurry. Some are dead, some are
alive. Not unexpectedly, many are among the gladiators in the current
The contraption called Interim National Government (ING) was foisted on the
nation by a committee led by Vice Admiral (rtd) Augustus Aikhomu, who was then
the Vice President to the military president, Gen.Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.)
Other members were Lt. Gen. Aliyu Mohammed (rtd.), then National Security
Adviser, Brig. Halilu Akilu (rtd.), Director, National Intelligence Agency,
Brig. Anthony Ukpo (rtd.) and Brig. John Shagaya (rtd.), the General Officer
Commanding (GOC) 1 Mechanised Division, Kaduna.
Included in the committee also were representatives of the two political
parties derisively called "government parastatals"- National Republic
Convention (NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) by the public because they
were founded and funded by the military government National Republican Their
chairmen, NRC's Dr.Hameed Kusamotu and SDP's Chief Anthony Anenih were among
the committee that threw up ING as the only available option to move Nigeria
forward. The above were the people that attended the initial meetings.
Subsequent meetings had in attendance current Finance Minister, Mallam Adamu
Ciroma, late Gen. Shehu Musa Yar'Adua (rtd.), Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and Dr.
Patrick Dele Cole in attendance.
Meanwhile on Monday, July 26, 1993, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd.) called a
press conference at his Ota farm. There, he told newshounds that "99% of
Nigerians who voted on June 12 voted for a change and if they are denied the
personality, they should not be denied a change". The subtle campaign for an
interim government had surreptitiously kicked off. He later said as much when
he declared that "Abiola is not the messiah we need".
Anenih, present Works and Housing Minister, in conjunction with Kusamotu
decided in the presence of Prof. Okon Uya, new chairman of the National
Electoral Commission (NEC) to revisit the idea of an interim government on
Tuesday, July 27. Uya took over from Prof. Humphrey Nwosu who was relieved of
his appointment after the annulment of the elections.
The next day, top notchers of the SDP converged at the Ikeja, Lagos, residence
of the acclaimed winner of the annulled elections, the late Bashorun Moshood
Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. Sule Lamido, present Foreign Affairs minister and
then SDP General Secretary, Amos Idakula, Publicity Secretary, Agunwa Anaekwe,
Speaker, House of Representatives, and his deputy, Rabiu Musa were also in
Others who were present include Balarabe Musa, Abubakar Rimi, Bala Takaya,
Jerry Gana, now Information and National Orientation minister, Ezekiel Izuogu,
Cornelius Adebayo, Femi Agbalajobi, Dapo Sarumi, Asikpo Essien Ibok, Rasheed
Gbadamosi, Jim Nwobodo, Debo Akande, Lateef Adegbite, Sunny Kuku and late
Josiah Olawoyin among many others. Interestingly, Abiola's running mate,
Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe was absent. The meeting started at 8 p. m. and
moments after they started Anenih sauntered in. With tempers rising, many of
the speakers, it was learnt accused Anenih of rushing to embrace an idea which
had been rejected by the majority of Nigerians. By the early hours of July 28
when the meeting ended, they issued a communiquÈ, which rejected the idea of
an interim government.
Indeed Anenih said then "we have children, we cannot just fold our arms and
watch innocent souls being killed like that, we have to do something to
salvage the situation".
On Thursday July 29, a group that styled itself "Northern Consultative Group"
met for over nine hours in the northern political capital, Kaduna under the
leadership of Yar'Adua, Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters in the Obasanjo
military regime and a former presidential aspirant. The group later issued a
communiquÈ at the end of their meeting, which was read by Yar'Adua.
It stated that: the transition-to-civil-rule-programme put in place by the
Babangida administration be brought to a conclusive and definite end by August
27, 1993; the group supports the recommendation of the two political parties
for the establishment of an interim national government by August 27;it urged
the federal government to announce the process of bringing this about and
called on all well-meaning Nigerians to rally behind this viable and
reasonable solution. The group said it recognises that Nigeria's problem must
be solved by all Nigerians together.
Present at the meeting were Adamu Ciroma, Lema Jubril, Bamanga Tukur, Abubakar
Rimi, Aliko Mohammed, Chris Abashiya, Yohanna Madaki, Ibrahim Tahir, Abubakar
Atiku and John Wash Pam.
Earlier in the week, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, former External Affairs minister
in the Babangida regime called for the setting up of a post-August 27 interim
national government of five years to be headed by Abiola.He advocated a
constitutional indemnity against any acts of commission or omission for all
military officers who served in any capacity under the Babangida regime and
that any officer above the rank of Colonel should be granted constitutional
protection that such an officer can only be removed or retired by a 75 % vote
in the National Assembly.
Outside these shores however, a lot of activities were going on as well. On
August 4, the US House of Representatives held a congressional hearing to
examine the political situation in Nigeria and possibly determine any further
course of action to be taken against the military regime. At the hearing, the
then Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, George Moose, did not
hide America's dislike for what the Babangida regime had been up to since June
He chastised it as "self styled guardians of national unity" and accused them
of starting the political crisis which "poses the greatest risk to Nigerian
national integrity since the 1966 -1970 civil war". Moose stated emphatically
"we have put the Nigerian regime on notice that, should a civilian government
not be in place in Nigeria on August 27, the United States may be obliged to
take additional steps.
"Nigeria's military regime must understand that any attempt to hold political
power after August 27, 1993- no matter how it might be rationalised- would
raise fundamental questions about the future character of our bilateral
relations". The three-hour hearing had about 200 people in attendance
including the then Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Alhaji Zubair Kazaure and
the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka.
Majority of the NRC governors were also in support of the idea of an interim
government. Indeed Governor Evans Enwerem of Imo state led a delegation of
Igbo traditional rulers to Aso Rock expressing support for the idea. Enwerem
later said, "Abiola has no mandate. I am surprised that we are talking about a
mandate. Which mandate? When was it given? Who gave the mandate and where was
it given? He found good company in other governors like Ogbonnaya Onu of Abia
state then, Akpan Isemin of Akwa-Ibom; Okwesileze Nwodo of Enugu; Clement Ebri
of Cross-River and Rufus Ada-George of Rivers state.
Journalists, especially those with the government media, also played serious
roles in germinating the idea. The New Nigerian and Radio Kaduna, particularly
the Hausa service were in the forefront, thumping the drums of war and
carrying the vilest propangada.It berated those calling for the revalidation
of the annulled elections as tribalists who wanted to plunge Nigeria into a
needless war. The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) started airing a
campaign, ostensibly to prepare the minds of the people, for another abortion
of the dream of democracy.
The campaigns said that there was nothing sacrosanct about August 27; after
all, countries such as Turkey and Pakistan had in the past postponed the
termination of military rule.
New Nigerian also played up orchestrated calls for the elongation of
Babangida's rule through its editorial comments. This led to the resignation
of its editor, Abdul-Yakubu Azeez over allegations that those comments were
written by Aso Rock. While some media houses like The News, TEMPO, TELL,
Quality, The Punch, Abuja Newsday, Daily Sketch, The Concord Group, The
Nigerian Observer and Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation (OGBC) were under
proscription during the period, the duo of Peter Enahoro, a former Daily Times
editor and Hassan Sani Kontagora, the publisher of Hotline magazine were
drumming up support for the interim government project.
Enahoro who returned from a 26-year self-exile in 1992 perhaps takes the
credit for being the first singular voice that read ethnicity into the
impasse. He said accepting Abiola as president amounted to trading one master
for another and, being unimpressed by "calls for southern solidarity", he
whole-heartedly backed the voiding of the June 12 polls and the after-the-fact
disqualification of the candidates.
The Financial Times of London however did not support the idea. In its edition
of August 4, it viewed the efforts as "window-dressing" which "will not
improve the domestic standing of a deeply unpopular regime. It will also not
satisfy Western government and creditors, who have made it clear that
rescheduling the country's $34 billion external debt depends not only
Nine members of the Transitional Council eventually made into the ING.The
Transitional Council, headed by Shonekan was among the innovations of the
Babangida transition programme. It was designed as a way of easing out the
military from the governance of Nigeria. The final list of ING members
contained the following names and their posts: Head of State: Chief Ernest
Shonekan; Defence Secretary: Gen.Sani Abacha (now late); Agriculture/Natural
Resources: Prof.Jerry Gana; Commerce/Tourism: Chief Mrs.Bola Kuforiji-Olubi;
Communications: Chief Dapo Sarumi; Education and Youth Development:
Prof.Abraham Imogie; Finance: Alhaji Aminu Saleh; FCT Administrator:
Maj.Gen.Gardo Nasko; Foreign Affairs: Chief Matthew Mbu; Secretary of State
(Foreign): Alhaji Saidu Isa; Health and Human Services: Prince Julius
Adelusi-Adeluyi;Internal Affairs: Chief Ezekiel Yesufu; Industries: Chief
Ignatius Kogbara; Information and Culture: Mr.Uche Chukwumerije;
Justice:Mr.Clement Akpamgbo SAN; Petroleum/Mineral Resources: Chief Don
Etiebet; Secretary of State (Petroleum): Alhaji Ibrahim Ali;Labour and
Productivity: Prince Bola Afonja; Power and Steel:Alhaji Hassan Adamu;
Secretary of State (Power and Steel):Alhaji Oladunni Ayandipo; Police Affairs:
Alhaji Abdullahi Mahmud Koki; Science and Technology: Prof. Bartholomew Nnaji;
Transport/Aviation: Alh.Bashir Dalhatu; Water/Rural Development: Alhaji Isa
Mohammed; Works/Housing: Mr.Barnabas Gemade; Chairman, National Planning
Commission: Mr.Isaac Aluko-Olokun; Establishment/Management Services: Mr.
Innocent Nwoga; States and Local Government Affairs:Alhaji Sule Unguwar
Alkali; Secretary to ING:Alhaji Mustapha Umara; National Assembly Liaison
Officer: Alhaji Abba Dabo (House of Representatives) National Assembly Liaison
Officer: Dr.Samuel Ogboghodo (House of Representatives) National Assembly
Liaison Officer: Senator George Hoomkwap (Senate).
The original seven members of the Transition Concil who were returned were
Saleh, Mbu, Isa, Chukwumerije, Akpamgbo, Gemade and Umara.Renowned economist,
Prof. Sam Aluko indeed declined to serve as chairman of the national planning
commission paving the way for Aluko-Olokun.
Shonekan addressed the nation on August 31, the same day that the exponent of
"amala politics", Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, also a major actor in the ING
dispensation and then a stalwart of SDP, took a page in a national daily to
denigrate his role in the Babangida government and acceptance of the post. A
portion reads: "by your acceptance to serve in the most inglorious role as
Head of the unpopular Interim Government, you have further complicated your
already unenviable public reputation dating back to your acceptance to serve
as head of an ineffective Transitional Council. You have thereby attracted to
yourself, scorn, disrespect and pity rather than the sympathy of your
The then Senate President, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu also played very prominent roles in
setting up the ING.This was before he was removed by his colleagues and
replaced by Ameh Ebute who continued leading his fellow senators on the road
of support for the ING. Largely, the majority of the national assembly members
were in full support of ING. The exception then were the south west senators
who perhaps felt the heat of the annulment of their kinsman's election, late
Abiola. Numerous newspaper adverts were placed to state their position and
some went as far as the courts in seeking redress.
An example was the current governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, then a
senator representing Lagos state. Together with Theodore Ezeobi, chairman of
the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, who represented the
Lagos and Ikeja branches of the NBA.In the originating summons, they asked the
court for a declaration that any decree subsequent the Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria (Suspension and Modification Repeal) Decree 59 of
1993 is null and void and of no effect and that after the decree, the
legislative power of the Federation resided only in the National Assembly
comprising the Senate and House of Representatives; a declaration that the
instrument published in the official gazette No.23 volume 80 dated August 23,
1993 and described as the Interim Government (Basic Constitutional
Provisions)Decree 61 of 1993 was not and could not have been made until after
August 28;a declaration that the head of the ING was not validly appointed
under any law in Nigeria, an injunction restraining him from parading himself
as the Interim Head of Government or from purporting to perform the functions
of that office and a declaration that as from August 27,1993,Nigeria can only
be governed in accordance with the provision of the 1989 Constitution.
Billed to be argued by another major actor of the period who was then the NBA
President, Alao Aka-Bashorun, it was never heard but withdrawn from court due
to the change in government when Abacha usurped Shonekan.
The numerous pro-democracy activists, labour movements and students of higher
institutions were also active during the interregnum of the ING. People like,
Dr.Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Frank Kokori and others made
appreciable impact during the time.
Justice Dolapo Akinsanya of a Lagos High Court sat and declared void the
Interim National Government (ING) Basic Constitution Provision Decree 61 of
1993 on November 10,1993.She gave the ruling in the suit filed by Abiola and
Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe challenging the validity of the decree setting up
the ING and seeking a number of reliefs, among which was that the 1989
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria's implementation began on
August 26 or 27, and that Abiola was the person "duly elected as president in
law who should have been sworn in".
The sheer bravado with which the ING carried on not withstanding, it was
obvious that something had to give way, and it did with a fitting epitaph by
Abacha who said of Shonekan: "He showed great courage at taking on the
daunting task of heading the ING, even a greater courage to know when to
82-day contraption: A diary of events
An account of major events, on a daily basis, in the life of the Interim
National Government, from August 26 to November 17, 1993, compiled by Maxwell
August 26, 1993 (Abuja): The Chairman of the defunct Transitional Council,
Chief Ernest Shonekan assumes leadership of the 32-member Interim National
Government (ING), as General Ibrahim Babangida quits the office of President
and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Bello, performs the swearing-in
ceremony at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, at about 3. 30p.m.
In his valedictory address to the nationwide broadcast on radio and television
network, General Babangida appeals to Nigerians to co-operate with the ING,
saying that it represents a delicate balance between contending forces of
extremist persuasion. He also announces the retirement of all the service
chiefs, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police.
The affected officers are - the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Salihu Ibrahim,
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Dan Omotshola, Chief of Air Staff, Air
Marshall Akin Dada, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako,
and the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Aliu Atta.
Aug. 27 (Abuja): The Head of the Interim National Government is the Chief
Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of Nigeria.
The federal government gazettes a decree that states that Chief Shonekan "
shall hold the office up to the end of the transition period". Titled Interim
Government Basic Constitutional Provisions Decree 61 of 1993, it also requires
Chief Shonekan to declare his assets and liabilities and " subscribe to the
oath of office prescribed in the seventh schedule to this decree" before
commencing the performance of his duties. It further forbids the Head of the
ING to hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity
whatsoever during his tenure of office, directing that in the event of his
death before taking and subscribing to the oath of allegiance and oath of
office or resignation, the most senior minister shall be sworn-in as the head.
The last act of the Babangida regime is the abrogation of laws whose
enforcement amount to abuse of the rights of the citizenry. They are
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (suspension and modification)
(repeal) of 1993, National Assembly Basic Constitutional and Transitional
Provisions (repeal of 1993), Academic Staff of Universities (proscription and
prohibition)(repeal) of 1993. The gazette also contains other decrees as the
Forfeiture of Assets (release of forfeited properties, etc.) Decree 54 of1993;
Universities (miscellaneous provisions amendments) Decree 55 of 1993; Teaching
(Essential Services) (Amendment) Decree No. 56 of 1993 and Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Aug. 28 (Lagos): The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) embarks on a nationwide
industrial action, to protest among other things, the fuel scarcity in the
(Minna): While addressing a large crowd of people at the Permanent Trade Fair
Complex in Minna, Niger State, where a mini-durbar is organised to mark his
return home, General Babangida declares: " I tried my best in all aspects of
the country's body polity, be it political, economic and international".
Aug. 29 (Abuja): ING releases persons detained for involvements in pro-June 12
rallies. Shonekan receives the prominent amongst the released, namely Chief
Gani Fawehinmi, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and Mr. Femi Falana, in Aso Rock, where
he exhorts them on giving the ING a chance.
Aug. 30 (Washington, USA): The Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the
annulled June 12 elections, Chief Moshood Abiola says he might be willing to
enter into dialogue with the ING as a way of cooling the heat generated by the
annulment of the elections. While addressing a press conference, Abiola says:
" I foresee peace overtures from the Interim administration. They can start by
talking to leaders of my party. They don't have to see me. After carrying
discussions to a point, they should be able to contact me and talk to me
directly on telephone".
Aug. 31 (Abeokuta): Security agents seal up the road leading to the house of
Chief Shonekan following rumours that some people are planning to set the
building on fire.
(Lagos): The strike action ordered by the NLC takes off on a slow start. It
fails to achieve total response in all the states of the federation.
(Abuja): The ING says it is working out plans to withdraw Nigerian troops from
war-torn Liberia. Chief Shonekan announces this in a state of the nation
ING gives its general policy direction as promoting national reconciliation
and healing the deep wounds in the collective psyche of Nigerians. Chief
Shonekan says in his maiden national broadcast that the government intends to
sooth frayed nerves and seek to enhance the tone and quality of public
September 1, (Abuja): The ING holds its first meeting in Abuja with the Head
of State and Commander-in- Chief, Chief Shonekan presiding. The meeting holds
behind closed doors without two members in attendance. The absent members are
those yet-to-sworn-in. They are the Chairman of the National Planning
Commission, Professor Sam Aluko, and the Internal Affairs Secretary, Chief
Talks resume between newspaper proprietors and government on the proscribed
newspapers, with the ING pleading their commitment to upholding the principle
of freedom of expression in the country.
A delegation of the NLC meets with the ING. The meeting is aimed at ending the
industrial action in parts of the country.
Sept. 2 (Lagos): NLC announces the immediate suspension of the nationwide
industrial action it embarked upon five days earlier. Speaking after a meeting
of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the congress in Lagos, the deputy
national president, Mr. Adams Oshiomole says the Congress has decided to call
off the action meantime.
(Akure): Renowned Economist, Professor Sam Aluko speaks on the appointment as
the Chairman of the National Planning Commission in the ING saying he is not
prepared for a ministerial appointment.
Sept. 3 (Lagos): The Defence Headquarters amends the postings of service
chiefs announced six days earlier. In the amendment ordered by the Secretary
of Defence, General Sani Abacha, Lt-General Oladipo Diya, Commandant of the
National War College, becomes the new Chief of Defence Staff. He replaces
Joshua Dogonyaro named to that position a day after the inception of the ING
on August 26. A new Chief of Air Staff is also appointed in the person of Air
Commodore John Femi. He replaces Air Commodore Nsikak Eduak. The appointment
of Lt-General Aliyu Mohammed as Chief of Army Staff, and Rear Admiral Suleiman
Saidu, as Chief of Naval Staff are unaffected.
The Defence Secretary gives the Military Task Force on Petroleum till the next
day to restore normal supply of fuel to marketers. Director of Defence
Information, Col. Fred Chijuka says it became imperative because some members
of the Tankers' Drivers' Association in Lagos and Ibadan refuse to lift
products from the depots to filling stations.
Sept. 4 (Lagos): Nigeria's soccer pride is fully restored with the Golden
Eaglets humbling Ghana's Starlets 2-1 to win the Under-17 World Cup. The
Eaglets score a goal in each half to dethrone the starlets in a memorable
Sept. 5 (Nsukka): Former President of Nigeria and Owelle of Onitsha, Dr.
Nnamdi Azikiwe, appeals to all Nigerians to co-operate with the ING to enable
it succeed in its assignment. Dr. Azikiwe makes the appeal while receiving
Chief Shonekan in his Onuiyi Haven residence.
(Mogadishu, Somalia): The Nigerian contingent to the United Nations
peacekeeping mission loses seven of its members in a clash with supporters of
Somali warlord, Mohammed Fara Aidid.
Sept. 6 (Lagos): National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers suspends
its weeklong strike and directs tanker drivers to start lifting petrol from
all oil depots in the country, immediately.
Sept. 7 (Lagos): A four-member military delegation leaves on a fact-finding
mission to Mogadishu following reports of attack on Nigerian contingents
serving with the UN peacekeeping force in Somalia. Brigadier-General Cyril
Iweze leads the four-man delegation.
(Abuja): NEC opens discussions with the two political parties on groundwork
for the forth-coming local government and presidential elections. At the end
of the day's deliberation, NEC and parties adjourn the talks till September
Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu says an important factor in the complete
resolution of the country's political crisis is to allow Chief Abiola to
Sept. 8 (Abuja): Nigeria's Golden Eaglets fly home to a tumultuous welcome.
The Eaglets, flying straight from a stopover in Amsterdam, Holland, land first
at the Federal Capital Territory where Chief Shonekan receives them. He gives
them a reward of N100, 000 for each player.
Twenty-six state governors rise from their maiden meeting with Chief Shonekan
calling on all Nigerians round the ING for the successful completion of its
Sept. 9 (Ibadan): Academic Staff Union of Universities calls off its
four-month strike, which has kept students of the nation's universities at
home since May.
Sept. 10 (Abuja):
The meeting between NEC and the two political parties on the modalities and
timetable for the forthcoming local government and presidential election
resumes. They fix February 19 as the date for the fresh presidential and local
Sept. 11 (Geneva, Switzerland): The price of the Brent crude oil, similar to
Nigeria's Bonny Light and which is the international market reference oil,
goes down to its lowest in four years as a barrel exchanges for $15.66, the
lowest price since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in July 1990 when Brent Oil
(July delivery) sold for $15.60. The N15.66 price drops by 54 cents below its
$16.10 price three days earlier, a downward trend in prices recorded in the
last three months.
Sept. 12 (Abuja): Chief Shonekan sends a condolence message to the families of
seven Nigerian soldiers killed in Somalia while serving with the UN
The Head of State carries his message of national reconciliation to the core
West, stressing the importance of dialogue in conflict resolution.
Sept. 13 (Abuja): The federal government dissolves the board of directors of
NNPC and those of the four of its subsidiary companies. The Federal Ministry
of Petroleum and Mineral Resources names the affected subsidiary companies as
Pipelines and Products Marketing Companies (PPMC), Kaduna Refining and
Petro-Chemicals Company (KDPC), Port Harcourt Refining Company (PRC) and Warri
Refining and Petrochemicals Company (WRPC).
(Ota): Former Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo says his support for
the ING is borne out of his desire for a stable and indivisible Nigeria.
(Lagos): The Defence Headquarters confirms Army postings and says the exercise
has no political undertone. Col. Chijuka reveals that similar exercise is
underway in the Navy and the Air Force.
Sept. 14 (Abuja): Oil marketing companies begin fresh negotiations with the
federal government on the issue of appropriate pricing of petroleum products
in the country.
Sept. 15 (Abuja): The federal government directs NNPC to submit comprehensive
and detailed information of its accounts at home and abroad to it.
Sept. 16 (Canberra, Australia): Addressing the 90th Inter-parliamentary Union
Conference, Deputy Senate President, Senator Albert Legogie canvasses for
support for the ING, saying it is a Nigerian solution to the political crisis
created by the annulment of the last June 12 presidential election.
(Lagos): On a visit to NIPOST, Communications Secretary, Chief Dapo Sarumi
orders immediate relocation of the Lagos Foreign Mail Office (LFAO) at the
Murtala Muhammed Airport.
Sept. 17 (Abuja): The federal government names Mr. Paul Ogwuma, former Union
Bank PLC Managing Director, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Ogwuma takes over from Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmed who retired from the post after
11 years on the seat.
(Lagos): The Central Bank of Nigeria at the ninth session of the Open Market
Operations (OMO), sells to discount houses treasury bills valued at N1.2
billion, an over 100 per cent short-fall of the N2.376 billion operators
Sept. 18 (Abuja): Security men arrest 14 persons in a pro-democracy rally
organised at the Evans Square, Lagos. They include former NANS President, Mr.
Segun Maiyegun, Solomon Gbinigil, Akeem Adebiyi and Femi Obayori.
Sept. 19 (Lagos): CBN finally lifts the suspension order placed on the uses of
the bills for the collection and open account payment arrangements, as a
method of foreign trade association. Bills for collection and open account
transaction system, enables importers, especially manufacturers, to import
materials and spare parts in advance before payment was suspended in March, by
Sept. 20 (Abuja): NEC fixes the revision of voters' register for October 18 to
(Lagos): Chijuka confirms the voluntary retirement of the former Commandant,
Command and Staff College, Jaji, Lt-Gen. Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro.
Sept. 21 (Abuja): The Code of Conduct Bureau confirms that former President
Babangida has briefed it on his possessions. The Bureau's chairman, Justice
Haruna Dandaura informs newsmen that Babangida submitted detailed report of
his report of his assets to the bureau one month before he quit office.
Sept. 22. (Abuja): ING pledges to check the lapses in the management of public
finances in all local government in the country. Shonekan promises to announce
soon new prices of petroleum products.
Sept. 23. (Abuja): In his maiden meeting with members of the diplomatic corps,
Shonekan appeals to the international community to reconsider its stand
against Nigeria, with regards to the nation's political crisis.
Sept. 24(Ikeja) : Bashorun Abiola returns home after a 52-day sojourn abroad. An
unprecedented large crowd of enthusiasts, party men and ordinary folks from
across the country receive him at the presidential wing of the Murtala
Sept. 25 (Ikeja): Chief Abiola says he is ready to "bend backwards" to
accommodate all views towards solving the political problem in the country.
Sept. 26 (Ikeja): Education and Youth Development Secretary, Professor Abraham
Imogie says the Federal Government is to take over the management of funding
of primary education in the country soon.
Sept. 27 (Benin City): speaking on a courtesy call on the Oba of Benin, Omo N'
Oba N'Edo Uku Okpolokpolo, Erediuwa, Chief Abiola affirms that he would not
surrender the mandate given to him in the last June 12 Presidential election.
Sept 28 (Abuja): Professor Uya announces January 7 and 9 as dates for the
national conventions of the two political parties for the selection of
candidates for fresh presidential election. NEC insists that January 25 to 31
are the days for collection, completion and return of nomination forms for the
forth-coming presidential election Sept 29(Abuja) Shonekan makes it known that
the ING will not set up any special commission of inquiry to investigate the
issue of the annulled June 12 Presidential election.
Sept. 30 (Abuja): At a meeting at the NICON NOGA HILTON HOTEL in Abuja, nine
National Republican Convention (NRC) governors from northern part of the
country call for the restoration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari administration,
saying: " We restate our commitment to and belief in democracy founded on
justice and the rule of law".
October 1 (Abuja): Shonekan turns back from his initial position, promises to
institute a high-powered commission of enquiry to probe the circumstances that
led to the annulment of the June 12 election, in his national day broadcast.
(Lagos): At the Yaba Bus Stop, security men arrest 21 persons, including a
former presidential aspirant, Dr. Frederick Fasheun, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti and
his daughter, Nike. Other arrested persons are - the Secretary General of
Campaign for Democracy, Mr. Chima Ubani, immediate past president of the
National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr. Olusegun Maiyegun; a
lawyer, Mr. Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Dr. Osagie Obayuwuna; the president of the
Obafemi Awolowo University Students' Union, Mr. Ebundu Adegboruwa; president
of the University of Lagos Students' Union, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Peter Eriosie,
Ronke Ayoade, Michael Okon, Sunday Ataga (driver to Dr. Ransome Kuti), Wale
Adeoye, Wale Adeyemi, Soji Adedigba, Jimi Akinrinola, Oluwole Adebiyi, Sola
Samuel, Lateef Jubril, Funsho Omogbein and Babatunde Sanjo.
(Abeokuta): At the palace of the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Oyebade Lipede, Chief
Abiola appeals to prominent traditional leaders in his home-town, to warn
Chief Ernest Shonekan and advise him on the danger inherent in his continued
stay in the Interim team.
Oct. 2 (Abuja): The ING releases the sum of N1.036 billion to the two
political parties, to enable them forge ahead in the arrangement for the
forthcoming presidential and local government elections.
(Ibadan): In his rejoinder to a front-page story of the Nigerian Tribune
captioned " Conspiracy to ward-off June 12", Leader of the Senate in the
Second Republic, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki indicts the SDP over the
annulment of the June 12 presidential election, saying the party's leadership
failed to act to prevent the annulment.
Oct. 3 (Abuja): Attributing their acceptance to serve under the ING as part of
a palace coup to oust the former military president, General Babangida (rtd.),
all members of the SDP serving in the ING threaten to pull out of government
to ensure it revisit the June 12 election.
(Akure): Speaking at an Ondo State Television Programme, Guest of the Week,
Senator Remi Okunriboye says that the National Assembly is gathering more
support from progressive forces amongst the membership and by the time it
reconvenes, it will muster enough support to enable members repeal the decree
annulling the June 12 election.
Oct.4 (Nsukka): Receiving Chief Abiola at his Onuiyi Haven, the Owelle of
Onitsha, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe warns that Nigeria may be plunged into darkness in
its quest for democracy if care is not taken, wondering at the rationale and
legality of the authority that annulled the June 12 election.
Oct. 5 (Bori): In its effort to arrest the on-going communal conflicts in
Rivers State, the Federal Government drafts 200 soldiers to the warring
communities of Ogoni and Andoni and to strategic locations in the troubled
Oct. 6 (Abuja): The ING inaugurates the Commission of Inquiry into the
annulled June 12 presidential election, naming a former Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, Justice Mamman Nasir as Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry.
Oct. 7 (New York, USA): Chief Shonekan addresses the United Nations General
Assembly on the explosive political situation in Nigeria, promising to find a
just and acceptable solution.
(Abuja): Three members of the National Assembly drag the Head of the ING to
court over the release of N350 million to the NEC and the two political
parties - the SDP and the NRC. The members, Akintunde Suara, Muyiwa Oladimeji
and Francis Odusanya seek a perpetual injunction restraining the ING from
releasing the money to the organs. Majority Leader of the House of
Representatives, Sani El-Katuzu condemns the formation by the ING of the June
12 Commission of Inquiry.
Oct. 8 (Abuja): The ING suspends from office for alleged fraud and dereliction
of duty, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Edmond Daukoru and the
Group Executive Director (Finance and Account) Chief Okey Okwara. In their
place, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Secretary, Dr. Don Etiebet announces
the appointments of Mr. Chamberlain Oyibo, NNPC's Group Executive Director
(Oil and Gas) as Managing Director and Mr. Wilfred Eze of the Federal Ministry
of Finance as acting Group Executive Director (Finance and Account). The two
officials are in police custody in connection with an oil deal centred on the
Strategic Storage Oil Reserve contract worth about $64 million (about N3
Oct. 9 (Abuja): ING releases funds to rescue Nigerian foreign missions
paralysed for nearly five months because of unsettled bills, to cover
accumulated subventions of the embassies.
Oct. 10 (Abuja): Shonekan tells members of the US - Africa Chamber of Commerce
that Nigeria has in place an encouraging industrial policy, which would grant
importing concessions to present and prospective investors.
Following the directive of the Education and Youth Development Secretary,
Professor Abraham Imogie, in the previous week, the nation's universities and
higher institutions of learning re-open to normal academic activities, after
several months of closure.
Oct. 11 (Abuja): Shonekan meets the leadership of the National Assembly over
funding of the Legislature.
(Lagos): In a bid to resolve the rift in the SDP following the acceptance of
the national executive to partake in the ING, the party chairman, Chief Tony
Anenih agrees to work with Chief Abiola in building a united and formidable
party. They also agree to find a lasting solution to the political impasse in
Oct. 12 (Kaduna): Four politicians go before the High Court to challenge the
institution of a commission of enquiry into the annulment of the June 12
presidential election, joining as co-defendants the Federal Republic of
Nigeria, the ING and the Attorney General of the Federation. The four
politicians, Tijani Aminu Bagwanje, Hamisu Gambo, Dan Lawal and Sabo
AdamuWamba, are contending that the ING has no powers and competence to probe
the annulment of the election and want the court to so declare.
(Abuja): ING sets up panel to look into the finances of the Nigeria Airways
and to audit its accounts in the last 20 years. Former Chairman of the
Airways, Prince Tony Momoh discloses that the airline is indebted to the sum
of N7 billion which the government would take over after the auditing of the
In a bid to boost agricultural output in the nation, the ING sets up a special
committee to facilitate the procurement and distribution of fertilizer in the
Oct. 13 (Abuja): ING alerts security agencies and the State Investigation and
Intelligence Bureau (SIIB) to swing into action in the next few days to
unearth dubious deals in the nation's parastatals. The ING's searchlight is on
many parastatals, especially NEPA, CBN, Customs and Excise Department, Nigeria
Airways and steel rolling mills.
Oct. 14 (Akure): In his response to a speech by the Governor of Ondo State,
Mr. Bamidele Olumilua, Chief Shonekan promises that Ondo State would start to
receive its own share of oil royalty accruable to oil-producing states from
the following month. Shonekan reveals that 46, 000 barrels of oil per day will
be the basis of the royalty, expressing hope that it would improve the
finances of the state.
(Lagos): In an advertiser's announcement on some Nigerian newspapers, the SDP
leadership in Lagos State disown Secretary for Communications, Chief Dapo
Sarumi over his accepting to serve in the ING.
Oct. 15 (Lagos): Addressing newsmen on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of
his residence, Afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti describes the ING as a
neo-colonial government. He describes the Head of the ING, Chief Shonekan as a
stooge of the Western powers, saying that is why they have been declaring
support for him.
Oct. 16 (Bori): The Ogonis of Rivers State accuse the FG, the Rivers State
Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company of instigating and fuelling
hostilities between them and the Andonis which claimed over 2, 000 lives and
inestimable costs in properties. Dr. Barinem Kiobel, the Chairman, Publicity
Committee of Kilsi Gokana, under the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni
People (MOSOP) alleges that some of the strategies adopted by the FG were "
providing nuts, cakes, cash and personnel for anti-MOSOP operations from MOSOP
fold, the use of security agents, diverse state government agents for
intimidation, unlawful arrests and forced detention of MOSOP leader and
Oct. 17 (Ibadan): Abiola calls on Nigerians to fast and pray for three days to
ensure a peaceful resolution of the political logjam in the country. According
to Abiola, all men of goodwill, irrespective of religious affiliation should
observe Wednesday October 20 to Friday, October 22 as days of fasting, for God
to intervene in the affairs of Nigeria.
Oct. 18 (Abuja): The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice
Mohammed Dahiru Saleh restrains the June 12 probe panel from sitting. Saleh
issues the interlocutory injunction after hearing the motion brought to that
effect by the Katsina State Chairman of the NRC, Alhaji Wada Nas.
ING holds talks with a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
over Nigeria's debt problem. The Secretary of Finance, Alhaji Aminu Saleh
informs the press that the meeting is a continuation of the deliberations
between the ING and IMF earlier in Washington.
(Lagos): Tell reveals former President Babangida's amazing wealth: " Babangida
(Nigeria) Unlimited! IBB's share: $5 billion. His wife, Maryam, $2 billion.
Total worth: $7 billion. Its naira equivalence: some mind-blowing N280
Oct. 19 (Abuja): The ING releases N90 million for the reconvening of the
Shonekan leaves for Cyprus to attend the 1993 Commonwealth Summit holding in
the Greek capital.
Oct. 21 (Abuja): ING scraps the National Guard, an elite unit set up by former
President Babangida to tackle civil unrests.
Oct. 22 (New York): Egypt's high-powered diplomatic manoeuvres scuttles
Nigeria's bid to secure a seat as one of the ten elected members of the UN
Oct. 23 (Abuja): The federal government says it is looking into modalities of
trimming the federal staff list, the workforce in all the ministries and
parastatals to ensure efficient management, according to the Secretary of
Establishment and Management, Chief Innocent Nwoga.
Oct 24 (Lagos): CBN directs all finance companies it has licensed to return
their certificates of registration to the apex bank by month end, in what
appears to be a move to check growing malpractices by some operators in the
Oct. 25 (Niamey, Niger Republic): Six gunmen hijack and divert to Niamey, a
Nigeria Airways airbus A310 with 137 passengers and 11 crewmembers on board,
on a scheduled flight from Lagos to Abuja. The plane has registration number
(Abuja): ING dispatches to Niamey a delegation led by the Transport and
Aviation Secretary, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, to secure the release of the
remaining passengers and the aircraft.
(Lagos): Chief Abiola expresses sadness at the action of the hijackers, which
put the lives of 136 passengers and crew in danger.
Oct. 26 (Abuja): Hijack of airbus forces Chief Shonekan to cut his trip to
Cyprus by two days. He returns to Abuja.
(Lagos): 26 of the freed 122 passengers of the plane arrive at the local wing
of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, recounting their ordeal.
Oct. 27 (Lagos): Foreign Affairs Secretary, Mr. Matthew Mbu gives assurance
that the ING is intensifying efforts to secure the lives of hostages not yet
freed. He says the government has recruited the service of international
experts in handling of hijack situations to assist in resolving the problem.
Oct. 28 (Niamey): The authorities in Niger Republic arrests one of the freed
Nigerian hostages suspected of having links with the hijackers of Nigeria
Airways airbus A310.
(Ilorin): The Kwara State Police Command apprehends three persons in
connection with the hijack.
Oct.29 (Abuja): While addressing the 26 passengers and crew of the hijacked
Nigerian Airways airbus at the presidential lounge of the Abuja International
Airport. Chief Shonekan assures Nigerians that his government would move
resolutely to counter any threat to peace and security of the country. His
administration would also not succumb to blackmailers and agents of anarchy.
The ING is determined to guarantee the security of all law-abiding citizens
and air travelers.
Alhaji Dalhatu says the four men who hijacked the Nigerian Airways A310
aircraft last Monday are undergoing interrogation in Niger Republic.
Oct. 30 (Abuja): ING orders inquiry into the alleged payment of about N100
million by the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) for the hire of aircraft from
two foreign airlines to distribute mails among other transactions.
Oct. 31 (Ibadan): The Nigerian Tribune reveals a fresh, determined bid to ban
the two registered political parties, the SDP and the NRC. A group of
politicians and influential government functionaries, the newspaper reveals,
has sent an opinion to the Head of the ING, Chief Shonekan, that the only way
out of the political crisis is to dissolve existing political structures and
make way for fresh realignment of political forces.
November 1 (Abuja): The nationwide review of voters' register kicks-off with
the electorate in the Western states shunning the exercise. The 14-day
exercise records very low turnout in the Northern states.
Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu narrowly escapes impeachment as Chuba
Okadigbo-led senators bent on unseating him plunge straight into the process
immediately the Senate resumed sitting in the afternoon after a 70-day recess.
Over 500 persons storm the National Assembly to protest against moves by
Yar'Adua sponsored pro-ING senators to impeach the incumbent Senate President,
Dr. Ayu. The protesters, comprising workers, students, market women and
farmers, are from Benue, Plateau, Kogi and Kwara States.
(Ibadan): Justice Okeyode Adesina of the Ibadan High Court restrains the
National Electoral Commission (NEC) and its Oyo State Resident Commissioner,
Alhaji Alkali Imam, from continuing the process of reviewing the voter
register. The Judge makes the order after hearing the exparte application
filed by Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Oyo State, Mr. Tade
Ipadeola and Alhaji Audu Lawal to restrain NEC from conducting the voters'
Nov. 2 (Abuja): Dr. Ayu along with the principal officers of the Senate, are
impeached. This follows the outcome of a decision to determine the number of
senators who are either for or against the motion, which calls for the
dissolution of the leadership of the Senate. While 55 Senators are in favour
of the dissolution, 25 are against with only one senator abstaining. The
concluding paragraphs of the impeachment motion reads:
" That the learning process and transitional period of the Senate ended with the restoration of
full powers of the National Assembly (As Amended) The term of office of the
President of Senate, Deputy President of Senate, Majority Leader, Minority
Leader, Majority Whip and Minority Whip of the Senate elected on December 5,
1992 have accordingly expired effective August 26, 1993. That the Senate
hereby declare vacant the said offices in the Senate with a resolve to elect
new officers in due course without prejudice to the rights of all senators
including the out-going officers to vie for any office of their choice."
Otheraffected Senate officers are Albert Legogie (Deputy Senate President),
Professor Wande Abimbola (Majority leader), Ibrahim Kazaure (Majority Whip),
Benneth Birabi (Minority Leader) and Uba Ahmed (Minority Whip).
Nov. 3 (Abuja): At the beginning of the two-day pre-budget workshop organised
by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Chief Shonekan says that the ING would
address the noticeable inadequacy of the NNPC in the management of the
downstream of the country's oil industry.
Nov. 4 (Abuja): Senator Ebute Ameh emerges as new Senate President to succeed
Dr. Iyorchia Ayu. At an election conducted under the supervision of Senator
Jubril Martins-Kuye, who was elected to serve as Protem President, Senator
Ameh pulls 74 votes against seven scored by Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and two by
Senator Ahmed Tijani Ahmed. Senator Albert Legogie is re-elected as the Deputy
Senate President. Legogie scores 65 votes against 17 scored by Senator Francis
Okpozo. NRC Senators return Senators Benneth Birabi and Uba Ahmed as Minority
Leader and Minority Whip, respectively. The offices of Majority Leader and
Whip remain vacant.
(Lagos): Further hearing continues in the suit instituted by Bashorun Abiola
and his running mate, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe against the NEC and the
Attorney General of the Federation, challenging the constitutionality of
Decree 61 of 1993 vis-?-vis the cancellation of the June 12 election,
continues in the Lagos High Court.
Abiola and Kingibe file fresh suit at the Lagos High Court requesting an order
restraining the National Assembly from debating or passing any resolutions
pertaining to the ING.
Nov. 5 (Abuja): On the second day of the workshop organised to discuss the
1994 budget, at a dinner organised in participants' honour, Chief Shonekan
says the Federal Government would adopt comprehensive fiscal measures in the
1994 budget to address the persistent depreciation in the value of the Naira.
Nov. 6 (Kaduna): Prominent Northern Elders meet to work-out strategies for
ensuring that Nigeria remains one united and indivisible entity within the
federal framework. Former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari presides over the
meeting, which affirms support for the ING.
(Abeokuta): Chief Shonekan pays an unannounced visit to his hometown to hold
dialogue with top-ranking personalities in the state over the current
Nov. 7 (Abuja): The National Executive Committee of the SDP introduces new
measures to enhance its control of the party. One of the measures is a new
law, which gives the control of party affairs to the national chairman,
secretary, treasurer, financial secretary, publicity secretary, legal adviser
and national auditor. The new law empowers the seven officers to take decision
on behalf of the party, to remove officers of the party, including members of
the national executives who may have committed an offence, which they deem to
deserve such punishment. Also, the SDP releases guidelines for the election of
the party's candidates for the local government and presidential slated for
the same day on February 19, 1994. The guideline reveals that January 7 to 9
is the date for the conventions to nominate the candidates of the two
Nov. 8 (Abuja): Federal Government removes the controversial subsidy on
Chief Shonekan dissolves all local government councils throughout the country.
Members of the House of Representatives plotting to impeach the Speaker, Chief
Agunwa Anaekwe, decide to stay action. Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Mr.
Musa Tumela says the group is withholding the impeachment action in view of
happenings in the Senate. House members commence deliberations on two bills
sent by the ING through the Justice Secretary. The two bills are " Corrupt
Practices and Economic Crimes Bill No. 3 of 1993" and The Newspaper (Repeal
No. 2) bill of 1993. In another resolution, the House calls on the Federal
Government to beef up security throughout the country. Members condemn the
hijack of the Nigeria Airways, urging the ING to investigate the incident.
Presided over by Justice Mohammed Usman Kusheki, an Abuja High Court upholds
the ruling of Justice Mohammed Dahiru Saleh on October 17 restraining the
Justice Mamman Nasir Panel from probing events leading to the annulment of the
June 12 Presidential election.
Nov. 9 (Abuja): NEC Chairman, Professor Okon Uya alerts the public to acts of
intimidation, blackmail, harassment of registration officials in some states
to frustrate the on-going voter register update.
Nov. 10 (Lagos): The Lagos High Court declares the ING illegal and orders the
invocation of the provision of the 1989 Constitution to fill the vacuum
created by the exit of the ING.
(Abuja): In its response to the ruling of the Lagos High Court, the ING says
it would appeal against the decision.
Members of the House of Representatives disagree on ING recognition, as some
members hold up proceedings for 30 minutes, following a motion by Mr. Nnana
Ngwu (Arochukwu Federal Constituency, Abia State), calling for a formal
recognition of the ING.
(Ibadan): ING communicates to an Ibadan High Court of its refusal to accept
the order restraining it from dissolving the 25 local government councils in
Oyo State and three others. By way of response, Justice Okeyode Adesina
extends the interim order till the November 14 hearing date to enable the
respondents (the ING) swear to a counter affidavit.
(Abeokuta): Irate students, mostly from the Ogun State Polytechnic and the
Federal University of Agriculture, both in Abeokuta, destroy a Mercedes Benz
230 with registration number LA 9141 KB and a Peugeot 504 salon car OG 6999 EC
belonging to Alhaji Adio Shonekan at his Quarry Road residence. Alhaji
Shonekan is elder brother to the ING Head, Chief Shonekan.
Nov. 11 (Abuja): In an address to a joint session of the National Assembly,
Chief Shonekan discloses that the nation's 1993 budget as at the end of
September witnessed a rise in fiscal deficit. He describes the deficit rise as
an unsatisfactory development and says there is an urgent need to align the
nation's macro-economic instability to excessive spending. He promises to
place before the National Assembly the repeal of four decrees. The decrees
are: Detention of Persons (Decree No. 2) as amended, the Treasonable Offences
Decree, Publication (Proscription) and the Newspapers Proscription and
Prohibition from Circulation Decree No. 48 of 1993.
(Kaduna): The NRC in Kaduna State unanimously endorses in absentia the
Transport Minister in the Second Republic, Alhaji Umaru Dikko, as its
presidential flagbearer under Option A4.
(Lagos): The NLC directs workers in the country to go on a nationwide strike
from Monday, November 15 if government fails to rescind the N5 per litre fuel
Former Minister for External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi calls on the
Secretary for Defence, General Sani Abacha to act immediately and save Nigeria
from the present " terrible political and legal quagmire".
Nov. 12 (Abuja): The Secretary for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Chief
Donald Etiebet says the ING has no option to the petroleum products price
(Minna): A middle-aged man named Courage Ndah physically assaults former
President Babangida at the temporary central mosque in Minna.
Nov. 13 (Lagos): Crisis-ridden NNPC concludes plans to lease out its oil
depots and refineries to foreign oil companies for cash.
(Ibadan): A member of the NRC, Chief Ayo Ogundokun says that the signature of
the Chairman of the NRC, Dr. Hammed Kusamotu, on the letter of congratulations
to Bashorun Abiola is fake.
Nov. 14 (Abuja): The NLC fails to turn up in Abuja for a meeting with the ING
over the indefinite nationwide strike. Labour leaders say they are yet to
receive any invitation letter from the ING for the meeting.
The Secretary for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Chief Etiebet says that
Nigeria's budget for 1994 will be tight given the decline in global oil price
which hit a three-year low of 15.4 dollars per barrel on November 8.
Nov. 15 (Abuja): The two-week review of voter register ends on a less than
impressive note due to generally poor response of the public and other hitches
in some states of the federation.
(Lagos): Most states of the federation, including Abuja heed the indefinite
general strike action called by the NLC.
(Abuja): A high-powered government negotiating team meets with representatives
of labour in Lagos. The Labour Secretary, Prince Bola Afonja leads the
government team, which includes Chief Etiebet, while the Deputy NLC President,
Adams Oshiomole leads the 13-man NLC team.
Nov. 16 (Benin-city): The nationwide strike enters its second day, with more
states, including Edo, Enugu and Niger joining in.
The House of Representatives directs the ING to rescind increase in the prices
of petroleum products immediately, pending the conclusion of the negotiations
with the NLC and the National Assembly.
Nov. 17 (Abuja): At 10am the Defence Secretary, General Sani Abacha Chief of
Defence Staff Lt-Gen Oladipo Diya and Army Chief of Staff, Lt-Gen Aliyu
Mohammed arrive Aso Rock with a retinue of armed security men in lorry loads
of soldiers and went into a session of marathon meeting with Chief Shonekan.
Also present at the venue of the meeting are the Commandant of the National
Guard, Colonel Lawan Gwadabe, and the Commander, Brigade of Guards, Brig-Gen.
After delivering his farewell address to members of the ING, Chief Ernest
Shonekan resigns his appointment as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Defence Secretary, General Sani Abacha takes over as Head of State and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.