Saturday, 2nd December 2023

Adebanjo, Clark, Amaechi, Yakasai at their Sunset – Part 2

By Eric Teniola
18 January 2022   |   3:36 am
In 1966, a similar futile plea was made for the release of Major Isaac Jasper Adaka-Boro (1938-1968). Also in 1995, another futile global plea was made for the release Chief Kenure Beeson Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995).

In 1966, a similar futile plea was made for the release of Major Isaac Jasper Adaka-Boro (1938-1968). Also in 1995, another futile global plea was made for the release Chief Kenure Beeson Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995).

Chief Adebanjo from Isanya-Ogbo near Ijebu Ode, is presently the leader of the Afenifere, socio-cultural organization for the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The Afenifere was formed in 1998 with Chief Abraham Adesanya as the leader and the late Chief Bola Ige as the deputy leader. Other founding members were Pa Onasanya, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, Wunmi Adegbonmire, Okunrounmu Femi, Ganiyu Dawodu, Olanihun Ajayi, Olu Falae, Adebayo Adefarati and Ayo Adebanjo.

Other Afenifere members that joined include honourable Dipo Olaitan, Senator Mojisola Akinfenwa, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Senator Bayo Salami, Chief Supo Sonibare, Chief (Mrs) Kofo Bucknor Akerele, Chief George Akosile, Chief Nathaniel Aina, Chief S.K. Babalola, Mr. Korede Duyile, Mr. Jimi Agbaje (Treasurer), Mr. Iyiola Omisore, Professor Aikuola, Alhaji Lam Adesina, Chief Segun Ojo (Protem Financial Secretary), Chief Ayo Opadokun (Protem General Secretary), Professor Bolaji Akinyemi(Head of the Think Tank), Chief Gbenga Kaka, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Senator Farunkanmi, Honourable Babatunde Oduyoye, Honourable Afuye as well as NADECO officials in exile. In this group we have Professor Wole Soyinka, Dr Kayode Fayemi and others whose efforts were appreciated.

Afenifere was re-grouped after the demise of Pa Adekunle Ajasin. And its monthly meetings were held in Ijebu Igbo. Alhaji Ganiu Dawudu was the leader of the Group in Lagos. The weekly Caucus meeting of the Group was holding every Monday at Surulere, Lagos, house of Pa Onasanya. Other members were Chief Aikulola, Prof Akin Onigbinde, Chief Lere Adebayo, and Dr Gbola Adetunji. Chief Kole Omololu, the Atunluse of Osoro kingdom in Ondo state who was based in London, was introduced to the Group by Chief Olu Falae.

Chief Bola Tinubu was absolved into Afenifere when he returned to Nigeria after the demise of General Sani Abacha (20 September 1943 – 8 June 1998). Chief Cornelius Adebayo, former Governor of Kwara state, was the Chairman of its Political Committee.

A lot has been written on Chief Ayo Adebanjo and he too has said a lot about himself and his stand on issues almost on daily basis. He is a man who is never afraid of controversy.

During the treasonable felony trial in 1963, Chief Adebanjo was in Ghana with Chief Samuel Goomsu Ikoku (1922-1997). On a personal note, while in Ghana, he formed a personal relationship with my uncle, Chief Edward Afolabi Abimbola, the Lijofi of Idanre, who died at 87 in August 2017. Chief Abimbola was the Managing Director of EAACO Company, that established bicycle factory in Accra, Ghana, in January 17, 1969 and also assembled gas cookers, refrigerators and electric cookers in Ghana at that time.

Chief Adebanjo was present in all the funeral events of Chief Abimbola. Several times when I visited his house in Surulere before his death, Chief Abimbola revealed to me how generous Chief Adebanjo is and how principled and objective he was as a friend to him.

Alhaji Tanko Yakasai is the fourth among those I regard as the last link with the present generation. I have known Alhaji Yakasai since 1976. He was very close to Alhaji Mamoud Waziri, Alhaji Gidado Idris, Alhaji Gambo Jimeta, Alhai Uba Ahmed and Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki. Always at alert, he reads constantly. Years ago we usually meet at the Roman Garden House, Victoria Island, Lagos, office of Alhaji Mahmoud Waziri.

Alhaji Tanko Yakasai had his elementary education at the Shahuchi Elementary school, Kano, 1934-1937, Shahuchi Evening School, Kano, Wilhelm Pieck Institute, East Germany, (Diploma in Political Science).

In 1946, there emerged some radicals in Kano, they formed the Northern Elements Progressive Association (NEPA). The radicals include Habib Raji Abddallah, Abubakar Zukogi and Abdurrahman Bida. It was the NEPA that gave birth to the Northern Elements Progressive Union, which was launched in Kano on August 8, 1950. The Party was headed by the Headmaster of Maru Teachers College, the legendary Malam Aminu Kano (August 9, 1920, Kano- April 17, 1983, Kano along with Malam Sa’ad Zungur, the NCNC Federal Secretary. Eight other radical founded the NEPU then. They are Bello Ijumu, Abba Maikwaru, Mudi Sipikin, Magaji Dnbatta, Babaliya Manaja, Musa Kaula, Abdulkadir Danjai and Garba Bida.

The executive members of NEPU at that time were Malam Yerima Bella (Vice President General), Malam Abubakar Zukogi (General Secretary), Malam Yahaya Sabo, Alhaji Salihu Nakande(Treasurer), Alhaji Ahmadu Tireda(Assistant Treasurer), Malam Shehu Sataima (Financial Secretary General), Malam Tanko Yankasai (National Publicity Secretary), Malam Ibrahim Heebah( Administrative Secretary), Malam Yahaya Abdullahi (Political Secretary to the President General), Malam Lawal  Dan-Bazau (Adviser on Moslem Law), Malam Adamu Jaririand, Malam Abubakar Tanbuwal (Auditor), Malama Gambo Sawaba, Malam M.B. Yunusa and Malam Saliu Tate (National Field Secretaries).

In November 1956 election to the Northern House of Assembly was held. The Government Party, the Northern People’s Congress (N.P.C.) won the election with 100 seats out of 131 elected seats. But for this first time the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) secured five seats in the Regional legislature, the United Middle Belt Congress twelve, the Bornu Youth Movement-two and the Action Group- four.

The ideology of NEPU was socialist economics, social liberalism and democratic humanism. It became the main opposition party in Northern Nigeria after the region was granted self-governance in the 1950s. In the First Republic it maintained a steady alliance with Zikist National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) against the Northern People’s Congress (NPC)-dominated Federal Government.
Other members of NEPU at that time were Malama Gambo Sawaba, Malam Ladi Shehu, Alhaji Ali Chindo, Alhaji Shehu Gombe, Malam Lamin Sanusi, Alhaji Mudi Lagos, Malam Abba Zakar, Malam Isa Yaro, Malam A.k. Danjaji, Malam Danladi Tudun Nufawa, Malam Uba Na Alkassim, Malam Adamu Gaya, Malam Babandije Jimeta, Malam Bala Keffi, Malam Ango Soba, Malam Garba Danbera, Malam Muhammadu Achichi, Malam Ben Wafi Bida, Malam Ali Dakata, Malam Sambo Barka, Malam Mamudu Tireda, Malam Buba Hadejia, Malam Yusufu Hadejia and Malam Baba Dan Agudi.

It was the NEPU that issued the Sawaba Declaration; a proclamation of a political front calling for a socialist revolution in Northern Nigeria. Malam Aminu Kano translated the original Hausa document published by the party in 1953 called on the ‘Talakawa’ or populace to launch a ‘class struggle against the ruling class.

At the Lafia Convention of 1953, NEPU endorsed the declaration, including it in its in manifesto of 1954.

The Declaration of Principles states that the shocking state of social order as at present existing in Northern Nigeria is due to nothing but the family compact rule of the so-called Native Administration in their present autocratic form; That owing to the unscrupulous and vicious system of administration by the family compact rulers and which has been established and fully supported by the British imperialist government, there is today in our society an antagonism of interest, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between the members of the vicious circle of Native Administration on the one hand and the ordinary talakawa on the other hand; That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the talakawa from the domination of the privileged few and by the reform of the present autocratic political institutions placing their democratic control in the hands of the talakawa for whom alone they exist; That this emancipation must be the work of the talakawa themselves; That as at present, the machinery of government including the armed forces of the nation, exist only to conserve the privilege of this selfish minority group, the talakawa must organize consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government both nationally and locally in order that this machinery of government, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation, and the overthrow of the bureaucracy and autocratic privilege; That all political parties are the expression of class interest and as the interest of the talakawa is diametrically opposed to the interest of all sections of the master class, both white and black, the party seeking the emancipation of the talakawa must naturally be hostile to the party oppressors; the Northern Element Progressive Union of Northern Nigeria, therefore being the only political party of the talakawa enters the field of political action determined to reduce to nonentity any party of hypocrites and the traitors to our mother country, and calls upon all the sons and daughters of Northern Nigeria to muster under its banner to the end, that a speedy termination may be wrought to this vicious system of administration which deprive them of the fruits of their labour, and that as poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality and political, economic and social slavery to freedom.

To be continued tomorrow