The author of the book Soldiers of Fortune, Max Siollun wrote “Babangida was the first Nigerian ruler to come to power by design rather than by chance. He was, at that time, the only Nigerian military leader that actively sought political power prior to coming to office, prepared for it and waited patiently for it to come his way. All of Nigeria's previous leaders had power inadvertently thrust on them. Balewa became Prime Minister due to the Sardauna of Sokoto’s lack of interest in the job and even shed tears when re-appointed in 1964; Aguiyi-Ironsi, Gowon and Murtala Muhammed had power bestowed on them after coups they did not take part in. Obasanjo became Head of State after the assassination of Murtala and Major-General Buhari was nominated as head of state by the faction which planned and executed the December 1983 coup. Even the elected President Shagari originally had no interest in becoming President but was nominated as NPN's Presidential candidate despite his being un-interested in becoming President. In contrast, Babangida's rise to power was no twist of fate, but occurred by deliberate planning and design. He was, probably, the most prepared military ruler in Nigeria's history.”
Babangida also maintained a tight grip on the intelligence services. The NSO was the first autonomous National Intelligence Agency in Nigeria created by the Obasanjo regime after the February 1976 coup in which General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated. The intelligence failure to detect and prevent the coup motivated the NSO’s creation.
Prior to the NSO’s creation, intelligence gathering had largely been the responsibility of the Police’s Special Branch (also known as the “E” Branch) which was created in 1958. The Special Branch was later absorbed into the NSO and became a feared instrument of the Buhari regime. Babangida dissolved Buhari’s dreaded NSO in a move that was initially (incorrectly) interpreted as paving the way for a more benevolent intelligence apparatus. He sacked the NSO’s Director-General, Alhaji Lawal Rafindadi and placed him in detention for 40 months. In place of the NSO, Babangida created three new security agencies on June 5, 1986. These new agencies were autonomous from the military and reported directly to him:
- The National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which is responsible for gathering Overseas Intelligence and the Detection, Reporting, and Evaluation of external threats to Nigeria (first headed by Chief Albert K. Horsfall)
- The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), which is responsible for intra-military intelligence (first headed by Babatunde Elegbede). The DIA had been in existence since 1984 as a coordinating body, but had its existence formally characterized by military decree under the Babangida regime
- The State Security Service (SSS), which is responsible for domestic intelligence and subsequently proved to be the most feared and brutal of the intelligence organizations, was first headed by Ismaila Gwarzo
In addition to these agencies was the shadowy Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) under Colonel Halilu Akilu. Prof Wole Soyinka once described Akilu as “the virtual power behind Nigeria’s security service”. Akilu is the son of Ali Akilu, the former Secretary to the Premier of the Northern Region Ahmadu Bello during the 1960s. The younger Akilu had well-honed martial credentials. During the Maitatsine religious riots of the early 1980s, Akilu (then a major) was the Commanding Officer of the 146th Infantry Battalion. His troops and soldiers from the 202ndArmoured Battalion helped in the bloody suppression of the riots.
The DMI under Akilu’s leadership watched the military from within and became the country’s unofficial coup-prevention service. The DMI was thoroughly efficient at sniffing out tell-tale signs of subversion and coup plotting. Such signs might include officers travelling outside their duty posts without authorization, increases in requests for ammunition, or unscheduled training or live firing exercises. A consequence of the DMI’s watchful eye was that officers became paranoid and were apprehensive of making even legitimate troop movements for fear of being falsely accused of coup plotting with its attendant dire consequences. Although ostensibly serving different purposes, the intelligence agencies often overlapped; their shared raison d’être was after all the survival of Babangida’s regime. In time, they became even more brutal and repressive than the NSO they replaced.
Above the intelligence agencies, Babangida created the new office of the Coordinator of National Security. The Coordinator of National Security, Brigadier Aliyu Mohammed, advised and reported directly to Babangida on the activities of the Intelligence Agencies. He also chaired the Joint Intelligence Board which collected, analyzed and co-ordinated reports from all the intelligence agencies. Although the Joint Intelligence Board was procedurally supposed to report to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in practice, its deliberations were often reported directly to Babangida, who was the main beneficiary of its work. [Soldiers of Fortune Page 136-138]
The book Soldiers of Fortune Nigerian politics under Buhari and Babangida 1983-1993 was published in 2013. It detailed Babangida four strategies
Strategy one: Retirement, Dismissals and Rotation
Strategy two: The Retired millionaires Generals Club
Strategy three: Settlement
Strategy four: Security and Paranoia
Babangida began his transition to Civil Rule which NCEF now believe was mere "Taqiyya" (License for a Muslim to deliberately deceive in order to propagate Islam). The transition has been described as follows: “Babangida initiated one of the most ambitious, imaginative, complex, and; expensive transitions from authoritarian rule that has ever been attempted anywhere. Ultimately, it would also prove to be one of the most protracted, controversial, unstable, and unsuccessful. So frequently and fundamentally were its timetables and ground rules changed, so staggering were the corruption, abuse of power, and cult of personality surrounding it, that most Nigerians came to doubt that it would ever be completed. In the process of trying to track, interpret, and explain the agonizing twists and turns of this process - and the deepening descent of this African giant into political turmoil, endemic conflict, and economic depression. ... It failed to bring forth a new political culture. It failed to control corruption and improve accountability. It failed to mitigate Ethnic, Regional and Religious conflict and cleavage. Despite initial strong commitment to liberalization, in the end it failed miserably to reform and revitalize the economy.” [Transition Without End, pgs xv –xvii] It also failed to enthrone Sharia as the ultimate ideology, the only source of legislation in Nigeria.
Ideologies and Intelligent Services
History of Communism and Apartheid tell us that to promote an ideology, the intelligence services are usually the main instruments. In the case of Nigeria, the intelligence serve in addition to Taqiyya and the vantage position of former Heads of State, the stealth introduction of Islamism with Sharia as an ideology was made easy. Omo Omoruyi wrote that President Babangida had an identity problem and had to acknowledge Sultan Dasuki as his adopted father “What was not known to Nigerians and the world was that General Babanglda did not speak for the Armed Forces. The fact was that there was no military political programme which General Babangida was implementing. ... I observed wrote Omoruyi the various ways in which General Babangida bypassed the military in many decision he took which involved the design and implementation strategies in 1989, 1992 and 1993 and I came to the conclusion that the President was acting alone. ... General Babangida only needed to be reminded in 1999, by the Northern Elders Council that he should be grateful to the creators of the North, He was told not to preside over the status reversal of the gains recorded by the North since 1960. He saw himself embroiled in a dilemma, He could not bite the hand that fed him; he could not roll back over 80 years of British plan for Nigeria; he could not reverse the advantageous position secured for the North be its civilian leaders since 1960: he saw danger looming in the horizon for him and his family in the situation he created for himself. He became agitated.” [Tales of June 12, pgs 107, 318-319]
Sultan Dasuki we know from the Aniagolu Commission is an advocate of combining State and Religion as opposed to Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution which states “the Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.”
It would appear that Section 10 provided for secularism to protect the Church against the State, such as secularism in France and also to protect the State against the Church as in the United States. However, secularism does not mean no God as was peddled by some Nigerians including Christians. Ordinarily, Nigeria would have long become an Islamic Sultanate if Sharia had not decided to compete with Democracy as ideologies for Nigeria. It is pertinent to point out that Sharia laws that found its way into the Laws of 12 Northern States had been in existence before the advent of British colonialism and amalgamation of 1914. The British subjected Sharia and Native and Custom laws to repugnancy test i.e. subject to natural justice, equity and good conscience, stoning to death, amputation etc were regarded as repugnant to natural justice. All the Constitutional Conferences proceeding independence and after, showed that Democracy of the Westminster Model was to be the ideology of independent Nigeria. In the year 2000, i.e. 86 years after amalgamation, a Christian Olusegun Obasanjo was democratically elected and Sharia was re-invented as a way of checkmating the progress of other Nigerians to full democracy. This, the NCEF consider was in bad faith. Since then Nigeria seemed to have two parallel ideologies Liberal Democracy and Sharia in which the Imams and Emirs hold sway and are now being exported to non-Muslim zones under Customary Courts, Traditional and other Institutions. The result is a confused polity resulting in severe security challenges. The solution is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, thereafter a Nigerian Constitution devoid of Taqiyya so that it will be subjected to a Referendum. A New Nigeria can then begin. Time is of essence. Even though the Islamists were in charge of Nigeria with absolute powers for 24 years and with Taqiyya in tow, they could not succeed because Democracy is difficult to destroy as an ideology. These leaders not having succeeded in the replacement of Democracy with Sharia, the NECF decided to see at Buhari’s actions as those of a Muslim not a democrat until the contrary is proved. This explains NCEF’s letter to Professor Yadudu in addition to the Abuja declaration.
In the Abuja Declaration1989, a paragraph on page 6 of the Communiqué states as follow: “The Conference decided that the Steering Committee should also work out detailed plans for the transforming of a national political party in each member nation into a National Islamic Party, and that the National Republic Convention, NRC of Nigeria, should be made to serve this purpose in Nigeria as the only recognized National Islamic Party of Nigeria. These political parties so approved shall be the only ones to produce leading government (executive and legislative) functionaries. The NRC of Nigeria and other parties shall have their names changed to reflect Islamic nature of their purpose.” There seems to be a relentless determination by APC to take all the states in Nigeria, using all means possible. Is Nigeria facing the possibility of turning into a one-party state? Christian lawyers and media practitioners are requested to study the Taraba judgment and if there is any manipulation involved to speak out now. With the current changing of the name of Boko Haram to “Islamic State Province of West Africa”, the contents of the Abuja Declaration 1989 should not be trifled with.
While building up the intelligence services, the military also provided machinery to control the people and the economy. With respect to the people, transition from military rule was costly as it was mere Taqiyya, and the new breed politicians were selected to promote Sharia, protect the interests of the military ruler and their financial interest. We must not forget the Ukiwe affair whereby he was retired for challenging the method by which Nigeria become a member of the OIC. It became very clear that “Ukiwe was retired because he did not have a political support base in the AFRC”. There is need for Christians in political positions to have a Christian support base. When we, members, of the NCEF went to school in the 1950s cultism was unknown, we are however in no doubt that cultism was introduced by the Intelligence Services that also recruited Priests and Pastors, to turn against their fellow Christians when so instructed. Otherwise, how on earth could cultism spread at such a short time, to encourage Church leaders to be in alliance with Imams against their fellow Christians. Now that it is very clear that Democracy cannot be defeated by the customs of the ancient past, Christians need to unite in teaching and in action to protect their God given freedom.
Fear is dividing us, corruption is dividing us and, above all, sin is dividing us. This began with the Shagaya’s Committee, Siollun wrote: “By appointing a Christian to head the committee, Christian rage was demonized and Christians could not claim anti-Christian bias in the Committee's findings. The Committee reported back with a lukewarm and uncontroversial statement noting the FMG's "assurance that Nigeria had not become Islamic country and that Nigeria's Constitution forbade the government from adopting any Religion as a State Religion, this was Taqiyya. Babangida managed to ride out of the OIC crisis by simply refusing to comment on the issue until tensions fizzled out. Muslims were satisfied because he refused to withdraw Nigeria from the OIC, and he managed to keep a lid on Christian rage by declaring that Nigeria remained a secular state. This was an early demonstration that while Nigerians would always have their say, Babangida could always get his way.” [Soldiers of Fortune pgs 108 – 109] Now Christians have their say but the Islamists have their way.
Christian organizations later became second fiddle to the Imams and the Emirs and this continued to the extent that Muslim leadership has to decide the Christians that should head Christian organizations. It is the refusal of incumbent President of CAN to be dictated to that prompted the Security Service and their very vast clientele among Christians to mount a vicious and wicked propaganda against the person of His Eminence, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the former President Jonathan. Christians must ensure that the present Vice President, a Pastor is not vilified by the Intelligence Services for being a Christian. Christians must not forget that we once had a Christian as No. 2 man and how he was disgraced out of office. Once bitten, twice shy, we must give the Vice President, a Christian, the necessary political base. We cannot be neutral, we must support Democracy.
God Bless Christianity.