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Gideon Orkar’s was pro-democratic action aimed at a rogue military regime



Why did the Gideon Orkar coup fail?
Let’s begin with making sure that we are speaking from the same page particularly, as you seem to assume that Major Gideon Orkar’s uprising was a military coup d’état. Lest we forget: the 22 April 1990 Gideon Orkar’s action was, at least, not a coup against a Nigerian democratically elected government. It was, indeed, a pro-democratic action that was aimed at preventing a rogue military regime from perpetuating itself in power. It was a clear example of the military dictators not wanting democracy to be restored in Nigeria; it is the same politicians in military uniform’s annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election victory of Chief Moshood Kashimawo O. Abiola.

The April 22, 1990 uprising was, in fact, a response to the Nigerian peoples’ Save Our Soul (SOS) call to the duty of preventing the internal colonizers and their willing tools in the Nigerian Army from intimidating majority of Nigerians, especially the original owners of Nigerian land, into accepting their colonization.

On the question of whether Major Gideon Orkar’s April 22 action was a failure or not: In terms of meeting the immediate objective of over-throwing the military regime, you are right it was a failure. But in terms ‘Aluta Continua’, the struggle continues. What was sparked off is still very much ‘work-in-progress’, a ‘struggle’ and its inherently required actions are similar to a war and the battles that add up to make up the war. Losing a battle does not mean a war has been lost. As to why there wasn’t a regime change on 22 April 199, there was leakage and the action had to be brought forward with all its limitation. In so doing the originally planned force was not used. What was resorted to was a ‘contingent response’ – a rapidly gathered and, as such, a fraction of the force that would have been used.


Most of the issues raised by Orkah’s speech are still very critical till date. Is there anything the country can do to mitigate those issues?
There are the issues of the short-changing of the South West, South-South, South-East and the Middle Belt people by the three Northern geo-political regions, (which) is still very much in place. The military’s decreed extant Nigerian national constitution has been used to perpetuate the social injustices we are referring to. There is, for instance, ongoing President Muhammadu Buhari’s government’s breaches of the Federal Character provisions of the 1990 constitution.

Thus, the restoration of democracy and federalism to Nigerians are the ways out. There is especially the necessity for fiscal federalism. Whether we like it or not, political-economic powers will have to be devolved from the centre to the federating states. If not willingly done by the internal colonisers, nature will do so. The impact of the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, and the increasing collapse in the worldwide demand for petroleum, on the national economy, are some of such interventions of nature. We might face the doom syndrome of not only being unable to pay public servants, but being unable to pay our military officers and soldiers, a development that would certainly introduce chaos. No state, or geo-political region, will then allow the resources coming from the sweat of the federating unit’s people’s hard work and entrepreneurship to be usurped by others. For too long now the Nigerian national economy had been dependent on the South-South region’s natural resources, the invincible earnings from the Nigerian financial and commercial capital, Lagos, and the entrepreneurship of Ndigbo.


The Hausa, Middle Belt, the South West, South-South and South East people must begin to demand for them to be treated with dignity. They must rise against those who want to claim their land or kidnap their loved ones. The unity in diversity which the South West’s traditional rulers, civil society organisations and clergy employed to compel their governors to accept and promote the South West states’ Homeland Security network, ‘Amotekun’ is one such way to go in the demand of the human right of self-determination.

If there is no change after 21 years of democratic rule, does that mean military coup remains the best option to resolve the challenges that are persistently faced by the Nigerian people?
First of all, you seem to assume that we have since 1999 had democratic rule. This is not true. What we have had is pretentious democracy, as the presidential elections have always been rigged. There has ­never been Independent National Election Commission nor unbiased police service or other national security agencies. We do not need military coup and its attendant regime change. What we need is a political-economic system change. The military dictators’ imposed 1999 constitution needs to be replaced with the people’s consented Federal Democratic National Constitution of Nigeria.

Given all the controversies surrounding the military’s might in the fight against insurgencies (Boko Haram), is the present army as disciplined as it should be, and can it be relied upon to do the job?
The first place to look when looking at out national security failures is the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide leadership. All we have been hearing are promises. There has never been the sincerity of purpose, political will and competence required to address the situation of national security threat, which Nigerians are faced with. The extent of the national security failure is indicative of the ‘near failed state’ which PMB has run us into.

My observations are evidence-based. For instance, Buhari has not shown the sincerity of purpose in stopping the AK-47 armed transnational Fulani herdsmen raping, kidnapping, invading, and taking over the God-given lands of the Hausa, Middle Belt, South West, South-South and South East people. Not much has been done to stop the bandits doing the same, beginning from the North West region and Niger State.

Sincerity of purpose would have required the Commander-in-Chief to stop the massive corruption associated with the fight against insurgency. A few army generals are making money at expense of our soldiers being killed in the North East region: units of troops are sent to the war front without adequate arms, equipment, and logistics support.


There is no political will to stop inter-services’ rivalry between the Army and Air Force Chiefs. We see the open display of each of the armed forces acting on their own. We often hear and see the Air Force planes bombing Boko Haram insurgents’ strongholds without the necessary Army’s ground troops moving in to take over and thereafter dominate the ground. Airpower alone cannot defeat the insurgencies. Why has Buhari not learnt from the Chadian president who fired the non-performing generals and, indeed, led the operations himself?

There is need for the establishment of a Joint Armed Forces Operations Command, a unified command through which the Commander-in-Chief can be more effective in the operational use of the armed forces. The recurring intelligence failures call for a Nigerian Intelligence Czar and Coordinator of all the Nigerian intelligence community’s agencies.

A move from the re-structuring needs of Nigeria’s National Security Architecture shows clearly the need for a four-fold increment of the human resources we have committed to our National security. The number of national security personnel is too little to protect a population of over 200 million people and a large land mass. The problem of shortage of manpower is such that we do not have a full-fledged field army formation. We have less than six field divisions compared to nine divisions, which make a full-fledged field army formation.

All the foregoing suggestions need to be anchored on allowing the states, or geopolitical regions, have self-governments within the Nigerian federation. Without the allowance for self-determination, there will continue to be mutual distrust between the people of the six geo-political regions. (It’s) a mutual fear that has been, and is being, exploited by enemies of the Nigerian state.


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