Political Analyst and fixer, Matthew Chima Amadi says President Muhammadu Buhari call for mass action in 2003 when he lost the presidential election to Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is more insidious than to incarcerated SaharaReporters Publisher Omoyele Sowore call for revolution.
He said in a series of tweets on his official twitter handle, in reaction to Buhari’s administration continue incarceration of Sowore despite being granted bail by a Federal High Court for a second time, but he is yet to regain his freedom despite fulfilling his bail conditions.
Recall that Sowore was arrested in the early hours of Saturday, August 3, 2019, after announcing his plan to stage a nationwide protest tagged #RevolutionNow.
Sowore was subsequently flown to Abuja where he has been detained.
The refusal of the DSS to release Sowore as ordered by the court, has prompted nationwide outrage and protests at the agency’s headquarters.
The DSS on Tuesday, November 12, assaulted some protesters who were demanding Sowore’s release.
He tweets read, “As I sauntered towards the lifts at the Hilton around 1am late April in 2003, I wondered what was so urgent that warranted Baba summoning me that late. I knocked at his the door of his Suite and he personally ushered me in.I walked in to see Chief Tony Anenih also seated.”
“I bowed and greeted Chief Anenih and as was customary with me,I sat on the floor very close to Baba’s feet and looked down trying to avoid making eye contacts(my late godfather, Alh Garba Koko was like a father to me). Both men were pensive.”
“For a brief 60 seconds nobody spoke, then Baba said to me, “Amadi, Buhari wants to throw this nation into a crises. We need to have a ready troop of demonstrators to repudiate this his disgusting call. How fast can you put it together”.
I told him that was not a problem. I waited for Chief Anenih to say something but “Mr Fixer” kept mute. I then spoke again. “Baba, with due respect, can I express a difference of opinion?”
“Immediately, Chief Anenih who looked disinterested before this time became animated. Baba asked me to speak. I told both revered men that organizing a team of demonstrators to my mind was walking into Buhari’s trap.”
“I told them that one of two things could happen:a counter force would confront ours on the streets which could lead to violence or they would arrange theirs on another day & may have a larger crowd to surpass ours.”
“We have no right to prevent theirs from holding without being accused of stifling free speech. I advised that we should rather put in place a forum or an event organized by an independent organization but that would attract influential Nigerians and opinion leaders who would repudiate Buhari’s call and ask him to tow the path of constitutional order.”
“I argued that no political, religious,business or academic leader in Nigeria would openly back a losing candidate so there won’t be the possibility of a pushback from Buhari’s camp thereby leaving ours as the predominant narrative.”
“I also argued further that if our plan was successful, Buhari would be firmly on the defensive and would take the only honorable way out for him:approach the courts. I stopped speaking and bowed my head again looking at the floor. There was quiet.”
Then Chief Anenih spoke for the first time but only with a question directed at my godfather. “Can he be trusted to pull it off?” Baba answered him immediately.
“He doesn’t take no for answer. He will break down walls to get it done”. Chief then addressed me directly: “my son, this is your show. We are not involved.
Anything you need shall be provided”. Baba then gently tapped me and asked me to see him later that day for logistical support. I left both men. But hey, Mazi, why are you conspiring with old men against Buhari in 2003? Let me explain.
The 2003 elections was over and predictably, Buhari lost by over eleven million votes to the PDP’s Obasanjo.
However,rather than concede defeat to Obasanjo and perhaps congratulate him, Buhari showed the first signs of his penchant for anarchy: he called for a MASS ACTION against the Obasanjo government.
Yes, Buhari asked citizens to rise in defiance against constitutional order and to engage in a violent shut down of government( REVOLUTION).The same “offense” that his government is punishing Sowore for today.Buhari obstinately refused to go the tribunals.
He was more vested in rousing public sentiments against the OBJ government towards achieving his Mass Action call. He was already gaining traction as the media had started to give him headlines, thereby creating palpable tension in the country.
This was the background when Alh Koko who was OBJ’s SA PDP Affairs and the North West Coordinator of his re-election and Chief Anenih, the Deputy National Coordinator, summoned me to the Hilton. I quickly assembled my team and we got to work.We went to the Yar’Adua Center and booked the venue for an event in May.
I then penciled down names of notable and well respected Nigerians from all works of life. Then I started my cross country tours. One of the visits took me to a State in the South South where I sat down with a well respected first class traditional ruler from there.
I spoke with the wily monarch & told him that he was going to be scheduled to speak after my opening speech as the Co-Host and that he should make a short speech and end it with NO TO MASS ACTION, YES TO DUE PROCESS. Told him that it would set the stage for what will happen that Night. He agreed. After our meeting and as I made to leave, he told me that he wanted a small favour from government.
I told him that I was not representing the government. He said he just wanted me to try. He said he didn’t want to die without having a National honours award. I told him that he deserved it after everything he had done for Nigeria. I left him. Then I proceeded to the North to balance it with another traditional ruler. Long story short , we mobilized effectively.
Then I went to see the then PDP chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh to personally invite him to the event and to brief him. I then scheduled a meeting with some of my friends in the media.
Briefed them and told them that nothing but headlines the next day was good enough.We mapped out plans to ensure that the news coming out from the event would be hyped enough to get the nation’s attention.
Then I moved to NTA to negotiate with them. They wanted a live coverage which I rejected. Told them to just give us 6 minutes during the 9pm news. I knew that a live coverage will give the event away as a sponsored one thereby betraying my pact with Chief Anenih. D-day came and trust the PDP, the venue was filled to the brim. Then the show started.
Speaker after speaker rose in condemnation of the Mass Action call by Buhari. By the time Alh Koko rose to speak, the No to Mass Action chant was already reverberating all over the atrium hall of the Yar’Adua Centre where the event was holding.
Then the icing on the cake was the oratorical prowess of the PDP Chair, Chief Audu Ogbeh. With well marshaled points, he made it clear to Buhari that approaching the courts was the only acceptable option left for him in a democracy. No name calling, no threats , just intellectually engaging arguments.
It was political oratory at its best. Various groups( women, youth and business leaders) lent their voices too. It was a befitting response to Buhari. The event ended.
Well, the reports the next was resounding:Nigerians had rejected Mass Action.Buhari approached the courts.
I have brought back this story for two reasons:to remind PMB that Sowore’s call for a revolution is in no way more insidious than his call for Mass Action in 2003.A call that was dealt with not with crass disregard for the rule of law but with civility.
The second reason is to remind those in charge of the PDP these days that being silent over Sowore’s travails as the main opposition party- even when there are fundamental disagreements that exists between the party and Sowore ,does not forebode well for us as a party.
The reality is that Sowore should not have been in the vanguard of the pushback to the tyranny of this administration, it was and still is the primary responsibility of the PDP as the main opposition party to provide leadership and direction.
We may disagree with his style, but his message must not be lost on us. The party is in the process of reinventing itself, what better opportunity than this will beckon again for the party to side with a truly nationalistic struggle.
We must jettison ego trips and realign with causes that affect the masses the most no matter who else is in the trenches with us. At the height of the Occupy rallies, Comrades had to accommodate the likes of Elrufai and Dino just to achieve our aim. This must be re-enacted.
To end this thread, let me assure readers that the wish of that traditional ruler was granted. I paid a visit to then SGF Chief Ufot Ekaete and related to him the patriotism of this traditional ruler. The Monarch was later bestowed with a CON title. That’s how you use power.