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Wednesday, 25 August 2021



When Ikeja Club was founded in 1966, it was an epochal event. Strangely, when the year started it provided little hint of the cataclysmic events that would engulf not only Ikeja but our entire nation in a matter of days.  It is of utmost importance to emphasise that the territory known as Ikeja had hitherto served as a sanctuary where serenity, tranquillity and peace were in vigorous competition for supremacy.

Decades earlier, my father Chief J.K. Randle and his older brother Chief R.A. Randle (the father of Chief Ayodeji Randle, President of Ikeja Club) had established themselves as probably the largest landowners in Ikeja.  While Chief Romanes Adewale Randle was entirely engrossed in savouring the rustic delights of his Ikeja (also known as Isheri) farmland which provided food and fruits in ample quantities; fresh fish plucked from rivers and streams; plus palm wine in abundance together with men and women who genuinely adored him for his down to earth posture, my father had a different vision.  Chief J.K. Randle who was then the Chairman of Lagos Race (Horse Racing) Club planned to build a huge sports complex dominated by horse and dog racing in Ikeja.  It would be the first and the best in Africa.  The first batch of greyhounds (dogs) arrived from Haringey, London, Britain in 1955.

Unfortunately, he died on 17th December 1956 at the age of 47 years.  He was the LISA (“Prime Minister”) of Lagos.  Both my dad and my uncle perfected their title to the land which was purchased directly from the Ashade family.  Furthermore, my uncle and his entire family lived on his property in Ikeja (Isheri).  He spared neither vigour nor time, regardless of risk of personal injury, in the defence of his proprietary rights. He and my father had engaged the services of a formidable lawyer, Mr. Victor Munis (an old boy of St. Gregory’s College) who opted to live in Ikeja even though he had to commute to Lagos on a daily basis to attend to court cases and also deal with clients in his office at Campos Square (in Central Lagos).  Ikeja was an elixir and an escape from the grime and pollution of the festering slums of Lagos.  Mr. Munis kept several dogs in his Ikeja home.

Indeed, the Chief Judge of Lagos, the redoubtable J.I.C. Taylor (ex-Cambridge University) dumped his family house on Victoria Street (now known as Nnamdi Azikiwe Street).  He preferred  to live in Ikeja.   There he was after the court had closed for the day.  He would don his “facing” cap and gloves; and drive at top speed in his immaculate MG sports car with an open roof all the way to Ikeja – to catch up with civilization.

As for my uncle “Jack” (Romanes Adewale Randle), Ayodeji’s father he took to living in Ikeja, which was somewhat desolate but rural, like a duck to water.  His mother Mrs Victoria Matilda Randle (nee Davies) was the daughter of Sara Forbes Bonetta, whom Queen Victoria had adopted and groomed.  Sara attended the exclusive girls’ school, Cheltenham Ladies College, England.

What was remarkable was that uncle “Jack” who was born  in 1893 had grown up as a playmate of King Edward V (when he was Prince of Wales) was at peace with himself looking after his large family on his expansive land with several wives and numerous children.  He died in 1977 and amongst his survivors is of course Ayodeji (insurance broker) as well as Wole (Chartered Accountant); Odunbaku (medical doctor); Adekunle (lawyer) and others who have distinguished themselves in various professions and other areas of human endeavour.

At a time when bustling and vibrant Lagos was considered the “Garden of Eden” by Lagosians, the folks in Ikeja kept their paradise a closely guarded secret !!  What was even more amazing was that late Prince Babatunde Shadeko, a distinguished surveyor (an Awori Prince and old Boy of King’s College, Lagos) was a dogged advocate for the creation of Awori/Ikeja State.  He argued with considerable vigour that Ikeja State was viable -  plenty of industries, agriculture, and most importantly its own airport (Ikeja Airport, which is now known as Murtala International Airport).  In those days of BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) the journey between Ikeja and London took three days by air with several refuelling stops (Kano, Tripoli, Adens etc.) en route. Hence, impatient passengers referred to “BOAC” as Better On A Camel !!

As Ikeja was sandwiched between Lagos and the Western Region, students whose origin was Ikeja had a choice of scholarships from Lagos State; Western Region and also the Federal Government.

We need not dwell too long on what the quality of our lives was in 1966 be it in Ikeja specifically or Nigeria in general.  A snapshot would readily provide evidence that Ikeja provided the exit route to the Western Region and beyond.  The roads were in good condition and armed robbery was virtually unheard of.  As for kidnapping, perish the thought.  It was no big deal on Friday nights for us to do a quick round of nightclubs in Lagos – “Maharani”; “Gondola”, “Kakadu” and “Empire” before setting off for “Paradise Club” in Ibadan – a journey of over a hundred miles in the middle of the night !!  We had the choice of spending the rest of the weekend in Ibadan or returning to Lagos  at any time of day or night.  There was nothing to fear.

I am obliged to disclose that on 13th of January 1966, I was a twenty-two year old student in London.  Two days later, Nigeria’s first coup d’etat took place.  The announcement came in the early morning of Saturday 15th January.  We shall come back to that later.

In the meantime let us pause to take stock of demography, statistics and data.  

In 1966 when Ikeja Club was founded, these were the respective ages of:

Major-General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi -  died at the age of 42 years old

General Yakubu Gowon – was 31 years old when he was Head of State

General Babafemi Ogundipe – died at the age of 47 years old

Robert Adeyinka Adebayo

Brigadier-General Murtala Mohammed – was 33 years old when he was Head of state

General Olusegun Obasanjo – was 39 years old when he was Head of State

General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma

General Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

General Muhammadu Buhari – was 41 years old when he was first Head of State and now the President of Nigeria

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

It is very tempting to fact check the age back in 1966 of the following current office holder:

The President of The Senate

The Speaker of the House of Representatives

Chief Justice of Nigeria

Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria

National Security Adviser

Chief of Defence Staff

Chief of Army Staff

Chief of Naval Staff

Chief of Air Force Staff

Inspector-General of Police


It is a healthy demographic factor/fact that most of them are younger than Ikeja Club !!

The picture becomes even more fascinating when we extend the search to the Governors of the thirty-six States of Nigeria and the Minister for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

We should not make the mistake of excluding the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria along with the Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of the Commercial banks; Bank of Industry; Bank for Agriculture, AMCON (Asset Management Company of Nigeria); Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation as well as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Safety Authority (NIMASA).

It is the same pattern with the Chief Executives of Companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and/or FMDQ as well as the captains of Industry and Commerce – Aliko Dangote; Abdulsamad Rabiu; Mike Adenuga; Folorunsho Alakija; Tony Elumelu; Jim Ovia; Tunde Folawiyo.  The telecoms bosses – eager to be included are the Managing Directors/Chief Executives of MTN; Airtel; Globacom; 9 Mobile.  As for the Oil and Gas companies, we should start with Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and scroll down the list.  I make no reference to Obi Cubana !! His spectacularly lavish burial of his 75-year-old mother in Oba, Anambra State has become a global sensation (or embarrassment).

You may even opt to include Permanent Secretaries and heads of major government departments and agencies.  It is precisely because you are entitled to argue that age is not relevant that whatever prompted Ikeja Club to consider it worthwhile to celebrate its 55th Anniversary must be thoroughly interrogated.  In essence, Ikeja Club must present a sound and robust case to justify our attention at a time when the centre of gravity has moved in favour of those who are mostly younger in age than Ikeja Club but are now firmly in control of the commanding heights of our political infrastructure as well as the architecture of our economy/social fabric and ultimately our collective destiny.  In more serious countries, such a profound shift in power would be subjected to diligent research and thorough evaluation as a fundamental tool for grooming leadership and enthroning merit in the pursuit of excellence.

The crux of the matter is that when Ikeja Club was founded, Ikeja was the vortex of” Life More Abundant” which was the rallying cry of the Action Group (political party) under the visionary leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo who launched the industrial revolution with Ikeja as its epicentre.  Jobs were created in abundance and the quality of life was evidently on a trajectory to compete effectively competing with Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea etc.  That is the story Ikeja must deliver with eloquence, clarity and integrity.  It is also entitled to demand to know: “Where are we now and how did we manage to lose the plot?”  We have certainly lost it big time.

Ikeja was meant to be the industrial capital and launch pad for Nigeria.

In our index, we should also include the media moguls and the icons of the creative industry – films, music, theatre etc.

As for the Chartered Accountants, Engineers, Lawyers, Architects, Surveyorss and other professionals, permit me to plead for leniency on their behalf.  Honestly, never in our wildest imagination did we envisage that our beloved country could become the wilful victim of “The Road Not Taken” – banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, insurgency, drug trafficking etc have become the order of the day.

Yet, back in 1966 the Nigerian currency was convertible and was more or less at par with the British pound (sterling) and fifty per cent higher than the dollar.

Ikeja Club must explain it all to us or forever hold its peace.  The only other alternative is to chart the way forward and provide us with the platform for HOPE.  

We all have a collective stake in what has gone beyond a search and rescue mission. It has become a desperate plea for redemption.  If we fail, what are we going to tell our children and grandchildren?  Also, lurking in the afterlife are our ancestors who were fearless in their lifetime and incorruptible in the other place.

We must exercise patience rather than haste in recalling the tumultuous events of the early hours of Saturday 15th of January 1966.  Before the day was over the corpse of the Prime Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa provided the scoop that  catapulted Segun Osoba (then an intrepid 26-year-old reporter at “The Daily Times of Nigeria” newspaper) into the path to rapid promotion.  The victim had been kidnapped in his official residence at Onikan, Lagos (directly opposite Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall) by the mutineers and driven in an army vehicle to Ikeja for elimination.  By nightfall, the tally included the Premier of the Northern Region, Alhaji (Sir) Ahmadu Bello; and the Premier of the Western Region Chief Samuel  Ladoke Akintola as well as the Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh.  The coup plotters claimed that their targets were corrupt politicians but their dragnet consumed the top hierarchy of the military -  mostly northern officers such as Sandhurst trained Brigadier……………….Mai Malari; …………………………………….;…………………………….;………………….

Six months later on 29th July 1966, the northerners  led by Colonel Murtala Mohammed struck.

In Ibadan, the Head of State General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and his host Brigadier Adekunle Fajuyi were eliminated under gruesome circumstances.  According to Colonel Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, Ironsi was …………………………………………


The grainy photographs reveal faces that have been identified as Dixon………; Jerry Useni; Sani Abacha; and …………….(Gowon’s Walbe Aide-de-Camp).

Thirty-two year old Colonel Yakubu “Jack” Gowon was announced as the new Head of State followed by the cryptic official announcement: “The basis for Nigeria’s unity is no longer there” by the Head of State.

Hence, it was time for “Araba”.  The Northerners packed their wives and children into trucks heading to the North.  It was bedlam.  For three days Nigeria had no government.  In the meantime Gowon was ensconced in Ikeja Military Barracks.  He had survived the first coup because instead of staying in the hotel booked for him at Ikoyi, he spent the night with his Igbo girlfriend Miss Edith Ike who was then working for Guinness in Ikeja (and also living in Ikeja).

In order to put matters into perspective, it is worth placing on record that it was Chief Romanes Adewale Randle who built the first two-storey building in Ikeja.

Also, my late aunt Mrs. Abigail Majekodunmi bought a large parcel of land at Ikeja (the area known as “Mogambo”) and it was not until recently, after thirty-three years of litigation that her estate was able to perfect her title.

Ikeja was so serene and peaceful that it had no prison.  Indeed, there is no cemetery there as confirmation that no one was expected to die !!

In 2001 when bombs exploded at Ikeja military cantonment and there was pandemonium all over Lagos while everyone ran for dear life, even the blind and the crippled (some of them in wheel chairs) who had congregated at the traffic lights on Ikeja Airport Road/Maryland intersection took to their heels !!

Also, the then Head of State who visited the cantonment declared on television:

“I don’t have to be here.”

He was on his way out of the country.  His comments did not go down well considering that hundreds of lives were lost in the nearby Oke Afa Canal as the stampede gathered momentum while those at the back did not realise that those ahead of them had perished.

As for my uncle “Jack”, he and his family lived without any fear of snakes or any other reptiles.  His house was not only his palace, the sprawling farmland served as his dukedom.

The decade that preceded the founding of Ikeja Club, Ikeja witnessed rapid  industrialisation which was being driven by visionary politicians (Action Group) who formed a formidable and strategic alliance with astute businessmen such as Chief Alfred Rewane; Chief S.O. Shonibare; Alhaji S. O. Gbadamosi etc.  The plea of the politicians was, “we want you to do for the party what you have done for your own business enterprises.”  The chemistry was great and the result was huge success as evidenced by the likes of Ikeja Textile Mills; Cadbury; Nigerian Bottling Company (7-Up); Coca Cola; Dunlop.

The strategy being pursued by the Western Region Government was to create the Ikeja Industrial Estate and provide land at concessionary rates for foreign companies and indigenous entrepreneurs.  Also, the Action Group under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolow had sent a delegation consisting of Chief Alfred Rewane; Chief S.O. Shonibare; and Chief Ayo Rosiji to United Kingdom, United States of America and Israel in order to explore options regarding funding of the party.  Their report showed that each country had its own unique methodology for addressing the problem.  Consequently, the Action Group set up NIPC (National Investment and Property Corporation) and …..?   to borrow fund for investment in profitable companies, ventures and property development.

It is instructive that when the Governors of seventeen Southern States met on 11th May, 2021 to deliberate on the alarming security situation and other critical issues afflicting our fragile democracy, they chose Ikeja as the venue.

Had they invited the President of Ikeja Club to welcome them, it would have been an excellent opportunity to remind them of the outstanding credentials and contribution of Ikeja to the economic development of this part of Nigeria and our nation in general.

Back in 1966, the cost of living in Ikeja was only about fifty per cent of what prevailed in Lagos.  Rent was cheap and there was food in abundance.  Besides, there was steady supply of electricity and clean drinking water (from Iju Water Works which was close by).  Corruption in the civil service was rare even though the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew who had attended the Commonwealth Conference in Lagos from  10th January to 12th January 1966 had made grave allegations in his book:  “From Third World To First World” against our Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh.

Also, “Nigerian Tribune” had published photographs of the mansion built by the Minister of Aviation, Chief K.O. Mbadiwe in his hometown Arondizuogu, Orlu, Eastern Region, Imo State.  The Prime Minister, Alhaji (Sir) Abubakar Tafawa Balewa attended the grand opening of what the owner tagged as the “Peoples Palace”.

Ten years (on March 6, 1956) before the founding of Ikeja, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered a radio broadcast to Americans.

“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that it is moral, then it is  not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”

Perhaps that explains the zeal and zest with which the Action Group pursued its chosen cause:  “Life More Abundant” of which Ikeja was a grateful and formidable beneficiary.

It went a long way to counter the slander delivered by Pieter Willem Botha, President of South Africa in 1988:

“Black people cannot rule themselves because they don’t have the brain and mental capacity to govern a society.

Give them guns, they would kill themselves. Give them power, they will steal all the government money.  Give them independence and democracy: they will use it to promote Tribalism, Ethnicity, Bigotry, Hatred, Killings and Wars.”

Nothing could have prepared Ikeja for the role it was forced to play as war zone and crime scene (as part of the Western Region).

A riveting eye-witness account has been provided by Chief Simeon Olatunde Oloko in his book:

“And The West Went Wild (Aftermath of the Action Group Party Crisis 1961/1962)”

“One of the questions I try to find an answer to in this book is how the Western Region, the foremost, the wealthiest, and the most dynamic of the three regions that made up the country at that time became a political football and object of derision and contempt by those that hitherto used to look up to her as a model.  Was it merely a failure of management leadership or a mismatch of economic and political variables? Might events not have turned out differently if the resources of the region had been better husbanded and the cart had not been put before the horse?  Was it just a coincidence that the crisis broke out at the time the region was broke? What a lesson in human management and control of resources can the future generation learn from the catastrophic events that plagued the region”

Just a casual and random flick through the newspapers of this week (and last week) reveals that the Governor of Ondo State, Okunrin Rotimi Akeredolu S.A.N. has been celebrating his 65th birthday.  The first lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun is celebrating her 55th birthday.  Others are the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who is celebrating sixty years on planet earth and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Emmanuel Udom who is celebrating 58.  The Minister of works and Housing, Alhaji Babatunde Raji Fashola S.A.N is also celebrating his 58 birthday.

So it does not require rocket science to work out how old these celebrants were in 1966 when Ikeja Club was founded.

Perhaps it would suffice to share the following nuggets with them:

“Memoir of Mixed Blessings” – by Theophilus Oluwole Akindele

(Director/Head of Communicating).

“There were rumours that there had been a coup, this time in Ibadan, but we were unable to verify these stories. Brigadier Olufemi took a taxi to my house in Surulere late that evening, wearing a T-shirt and shorts. According to his narration of events, he said he couldn’t contact Ironsi who had gone to Ibadan the night before.

Brigadier Olufemi had then decided to send a group of officers to secure Ikeja airport, so that the Head of State could land safely. The soldiers were ambushed between Oshodi and Ikeja and were totally annihilated.

He then asked for another formation to be sent, and decided to change the route, so that the same fate would not befall them. Brigadier Olufemi said he was astounded when a Private shouted out, “We won’t go!” he quickly realised that a mutiny was simmering.

Showing no signs of the turmoil he was inwardly experiencing, he said he calmly asked them to await further instructions whilst he went inside to consult others.

He then went inside the State House and got out of his army uniform. Now suitably disguised in khaki shorts and a T-shirt, the Chief of Staff, the highest ranking army officer, ran through the grounds at the back of the State House, scaled the wall, and ran along the Marina, looking for a taxi, that will take him to safety.”

“1966 Coup Plotters Planned To Make Awolowo Head of State” – His Royal Highness, Oba Retd. Major-General Olufemi Olutoye.

“The coup was led by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. He was a Major in rank and of course, I was a Major then too but I was his senior. So I knew about that coup. I can say that now but I could not say that then because, in the army, the mere knowledge of a coup is a problem. We were together in India. So, he informed me about it and I enquired more on how he hoped to carry out the plot. When he told me that it would involve killings,  I told him to count me out. I told him that I did not join the Nigerian Army to kill Nigerians.

Was he the one that personally approached you to inform you about the plan?

Yes, he personally came to inform me about it in 1964 when we were in India and the coup was carried out in 1966. There are few other things that happened which we cannot say now until the time is ripe.

Did he specifically tell you that the coup was going to be bloody?

Yes, that was why I told him to count me out. When I joined the Nigerian Army it was called West Africa Frontier Force. We were part of the Colonial Army. I did not join to kill fellow Nigerians. So, I told him I would not be a party to any military exercise that would result to loss of lives of any Nigerian. So, that was why I did not participate in the coup.

The coup seemed to have been targeted at military officers from a particular part of Nigeria and it was also tagged, ‘Igbo Coup’.  Why?

It later turned out to be so, although all the six majors who plotted it  were Igbos except one — Major Adegboyega from Remo, Ogun State. I want to assure you that, that was not Nzeogwu’s intention. As I told you, the coup was planned as far back as 1964. Maybe between 1964 and end of 1965, he changed his mind. I can’t say why he did so but those that showed interest in the coup turned out to be Igbos. Even his utterances when the coup took place on January 15, 1966, showed that he didn’t mean it to be an Igbo affair but unfortunately, it turned out to be so that an Igbo man could also become the Head of State.”

The story of Ikeja cannot be complete without devoting a chapter to Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola the winner of the 1993 Presidential election.  While much of the turmoil and turbulence that ensued after the annulment of his victory is in the public domain, his house at M.K.O. Abiola Crescent, Opebi, Ikeja, Nigeria, Off Unity Street/Allen Avenue deserves preservation as a historic monument – to his guts and patriotism as well as the theatre for treachery, betrayal, intrigue by trusted allies and ultimately assassination of his wife Kudirat by the goons of President Sani Abacha.  However, the real story began long before then when Abiola a chartered accountant became a multi-millionaire from his massive bonus on account of securing juicy contracts for his company (ITT).  He was promptly promoted to Vice-President, Africa and Middle East.

At the age of only thirty-seven years, his sprawling mansion was easily the largest house in Ikeja with ample accommodation for his several wives and numerous children plus sufficient space for a football field.  He was larger than life and it was inevitable that Ikeja would be too tiny a pond for him.  Most of his businesses – Concord Press; Concord Airline; Concord Bakery etc. were located in Ikeja.

It was somewhat uncanny how over the past fifty-five years (since the founding of Ikeja Club), Ikeja has proved to be the unwilling graveyard of political tragedies.  Following the 1961 elections in the Western Region, massive riots erupted and spilled over into Ikeja which was then part of the Western Region.  The violence that ensued was monumental and eventually led to the coup d’etat  of January 15, 1966 followed by the counter coup of July 29, 1966.  Amongst historians, there is firm consensus that the events that conferred the status of war territory on Ikeja would ensure that its role in the civil war that engulfed our beloved nation from 1967 to 1970 would not leave it unscathed.  Ikeja had been too close to the fire to miss the fireworks.

A Yoruba officer walked up to Mr. Oladipo Diya at the height of his 1997 crisis with his boss, Mr. Sani Abacha.  “Sir, what is happening?”  The very senior officer, (Diya) looked away from the colonel and told him there was nothing.

“Sir, did you say there is nothing?”  The officer asked with a tone of rhetoric and switched to deep structure Yoruba.  “Sir, to owo ko ba se san mo, a a ka l’eri ni” (if you can no longer swing your arms, fold them on your head).

The General looked away; the colonel  left, That was on December 13, 1997.  Nine days later, Diya fell from everything called power.  He also lost his freedom – and almost his life.  It was like a journalist who reportedly asked Mr. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa at the Lagos Airport what he would do with the political fire raging in the Wet.  The prime minister reportedly looked around and declared:  “Ikeja is part of the West and I can’t see any fire burning.”  That was less than a month to the January 15, 1966 conflagration which consumed the leader who said there was no fire anywhere.

We cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that allegation of corruption by politicians was a major factor in the events that led to the Coup d’etat of January 15, 1966.

Here is the text of the broadcast by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu announcing the first military coup:

“In the name of the Supreme Council of the Revolution of the Nigerian Armed  Forces, I declare martial law over the Northern Provinces of Nigeria. The Constitution is suspended and the regional government and elected assemblies are hereby dissolved.

All political, cultural, tribal and trade union activities, together with all demonstrations and unauthorised gatherings, excluding religious worship, are banned until further notice.

The aim of the Revolutionary Council is to establish a strong united and prosperous nation, free from corruption and internal strife. Our method of  achieving this is strictly military but we have no doubt that every Nigerian  will give us maximum cooperation by assisting the regime and not disturbing the  peace during the slight changes that are taking place.

I am to assure all  foreigners living and working in this part of Nigeria that their rights will  continue to be respected. All treaty obligations previously entered into with  any foreign nation will be respected and we hope that such nations will respect our country’s territorial integrity and will avoid taking sides with enemies of  the revolution and enemies of the people.

My dear countrymen, you will hear, and probably see a lot being done by certain  bodies charged by the Supreme Council with the duties of national integration,  supreme justice, general security and property recovery.

As an interim measure  all permanent secretaries, corporation chairmen and senior heads of departments  are allowed to make decisions until the new organs are functioning, so long as  such decisions are not contrary to the aims and wishes of the Supreme Council.

No Minister or Parliamentary Secretary possesses administrative or other forms  of control over any Ministry, even if they are not considered too dangerous to  be arrested.

This is not a time for long speech-making and so let me acquaint you with ten  proclamations in the Extraordinary Orders of the Day which the Supreme Council  has promulgated.

These will be modified as the situation improves. You are hereby warned that looting, arson, homosexuality, rape, embezzlement,  bribery or corruption, obstruction of the revolution, sabotage, subversion, false alarms and assistance to foreign invaders, are all offences punishable by  death sentence.

Demonstrations and unauthorised assembly, non-cooperation with  revolutionary troops are punishable in grave manner up to death. Refusal or  neglect to perform normal duties or any task that may of necessity be ordered by local military commanders in support of the change will be punishable by a sentence imposed by the local military commander.

Spying, harmful or injurious publications, and broadcasts of troop movements or actions, will be punished by any suitable sentence deemed fit by the local military commander. Shouting of slogans, loitering and rowdy behaviour will be rectified by any sentence of incarceration, or any more severe punishment deemed fit by the local military commander.

Doubtful loyalty will be penalised by imprisonment or any more severe sentence. Illegal possession or carrying of firearms, smuggling or trying to  escape with documents, valuables, including money or other assets vital to the  running of any establishment will be punished by death sentence.

Wavering or sitting on the fence and failing to declare open loyalty with the revolution will be regarded as an act of hostility punishable by any sentence deemed  suitable by the local military commander. Tearing down an order of the day or proclamation or other authorised notices will be penalised by death.

This is the end of the Extraordinary Order of the Day which you will soon begin  to see displayed in public. My dear countrymen, no citizen should have anything  to fear, so long as that citizen is law abiding and if that citizen has  religiously obeyed the native laws of the country and those set down in every heart and conscience since 1st October, 1960.

Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low  places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent; those that seek to keep the  country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or  VIPs at least, the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds.

Like good soldiers we are not promising anything miraculous or spectacular. But  what we do promise every law abiding citizen is freedom from fear and all forms  of oppression, freedom from general inefficiency and freedom to live and strive  in every field of human endeavour, both nationally and internationally. We  promise that you will no more be ashamed to say that you are a Nigerian.

I leave you with a message of good wishes and ask for your support at all times, so that our land, watered by the Niger and Benue, between the sandy wastes and gulf of guinea, washed in salt by the mighty Atlantic, shall not detract Nigeria from gaining sway in any great aspect of international endeavour. My dear countrymen, this is the end of this speech.

I wish you all good luck and I hope you will cooperate to the fullest in this job which we have set for ourselves of establishing a prosperous nation and achieving solidarity.”

Here we are fifty-five years later and we are still dealing with the same problem of endemic corruption.

A case in point which has gone viral comes with the following headline on the front page of several international newspapers – “Financial Times”; “New York Herald Tribune”; “Wall Street Journal” etc.


“A former Glencore Plc trader who said he was part of a bribery scheme to win oil contracts from Nigeria transferred $300,000 of company funds in 2014 to an intermediary who had requested the cash to benefit a senior government official in the nation’s elections, US court filings show.

Anthony Stimler, who left the Baar, Switzerland-based commodity giant in 2019, pleaded guilty in New York on Monday to corruption and money-laundering charges, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Prosecutors described in court filings how Stimler and others paid millions of dollar in bribes between 2007 and 2018 in several countries, including to officials at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, on behalf of Glencore.

According to the US, a ‘co-conspirator’ notified Stimler by email in September 2014 that a ‘high-ranking Nigerian official’ who was not identified had set conditions for companies wishing to secure crude shipments – NNPC’s customers ‘are giving in advance ($300,000) each month/cargo plus a certain amount which varies at the moment’.  

The payments were to be made ‘in connection with a then-upcoming political election’ in the country, the prosecutors said in summarising the c0-conspirator’s email.  The court filings didn’t explain how the money was to be used in the election or if it was spent for that purpose.

In October 2014, Stimler had a Glencore subsidiary wire $300,000 to the Cyprus bank account of an unidentified intermediary company, which US officials said was used to ‘pay bribes to Nigerian officials’.

Stimler then followed up with an email to two co-conspirators saying that managers at the Glencore subsidiary had authorised the payment and asked them to ‘please please make sure on your side, NNPC perform(s)’, court filings showed.

Legislative and presidential elections that took place in March 2015 resulted in the defeat of the People’s Democratic Party.  The PDP had held power in Nigeria, Africa’s largest crude producer, since the restoration of democracy in 1999.

“The claims are historic” and “Glencore is no longer our partner,” a spokesman for NNPC Kennie Obateru, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.  The company’s current leadership ‘has eliminated such practices’, he said.

The international news agency and Glencore declined to comment on the specific claims about money sought for use in Nigeria’s election, adding that a US lawyer representing Stimler didn’t respond to a request for comment.

It said Stimler had been permitted to remain free in the UK on a $500,000 bond.

Court filings describe several other payments Stimler made including a March 2014 transfer of $500,000 to an international company, with the intent to ‘pass on a portion of the payment to a foreign official in Nigeria to assist’ Glencore in ‘obtaining business advantages, including eligibility to purchase oil cargoes from the NNPC’.

In May 2015, Stimler had a Glencore subsidiary wire about $50,000 to an intermediary company as an ‘advance payment’ against delivery of a June crude oil cargo, after a co-conspirator had offered in April  to pay a bribe to a Nigerian official to secure the shipment, court records showed.

US prosecutors identified Stimler’s former employer only as ‘a commodity trading and mining company with global operations’, but Glencore has confirmed the ex-employee’s plea bargain.”

It is not clear which came first – corruption or incompetence.  At any rate, by way of contrast we should avail ourselves of the vision of Lee Kuan Yew, the late Prime Minister of Singapore:

“And I was dead serious when I said on the eve of the National Day get our ablest and our best into politics.  One key requirement is let’s avoid hypocrisy and let’s do this thing honestly approximate to the market rate.  Try and get the government on cheap and you end up with cheap government and you will be sorry for yourself.  What does the government have to do to keep up enthusiasm because somebody else has started something new and you got to chase it.”

While pondering on the grotesque turn of events and the circumstances in which we  now find not only Ikeja but our entire nation, how come Ikeja Club insists on being an oasis of peace and tranquillity as well as serenity?

Philosophy and literature have combined to provide an answer.  In Latin, we have “anarchia” and in Greek we have “anarchos” which both translate into “having no ruler” or “without  a ruler”.  The records are there for all to see.  In all its fifty-five years has never indulged in leadership vacuum.

This is not a matter to be glossed over.  It lies at the root of the remarkable progress Ikeja  Club has recorded over the years.  These are the lessons Nigeria must learn from Ikeja Club.  

However, the story does not end there.  There is also a spiritual dimension:

“Ubi caritas, ibi Deus”

(Where love is, there is God).

Hen Luc summed up matters as follows:

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.”

Perhaps rather than delve into those intellectually fascinating issues, we should first contend with the brazen contradictions of our corecard – humongous profit raking against a background of spectacularly failing public policy as evidenced by grinding poverty instead of economic emancipation.

It was Fidel Castro (1926 to 2016)) of Cuba who pressed the alarm bell:

“A nation that is not given to reflection, that does not take stock of its past activities and is not inspired by its aspirations and hope for the future cannot realistically plan for its greatness.”

In the meantime, we have been stopped dead in our tracks by the front page headline of “Daily Sun” newspaper of August 18, 2021:



“Governor Aminu Masari has urged Katsina State citizens resident in areas prone to activities of bandits to acquire weapons and defend themselves.

Masari noted that it is morally wrong for people to submit cheaply to the bandits without any attempt to defend themselves, according to a statement by his Media Aide, Malam Abdu Labaran,

The governor said this during his visit to Jibia town to condole with the families of 10 people that were recently crushed by operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) through reckless driving.

According to him, security is everybody’s business, pointing out that it is not the responsibility of the government alone.

“It is the people’s meek submission that emboldens the bandits to continue with their heinous activities with murderous frequency.

“People must divorce their minds from the mistaken notion that security is government’s sole responsibility alone,” Masari said.

Meanwhile, the Special Task Force charged with maintaining peace in Plateau and environs has warned against any protest over the attacks on commuters in Jos on Saturday.

“In the interest of peace, youths planning any protest over the incident should shelve that plan. There is a curfew in place; no one should attempt to violate it,” Maj. Ishaku Takwa, the Media Officer of the task force, said in a statement  in Jos. He said that information at the disposal of the task force indicated that the protest is proposed to commence from the Jos Central Mosque axis to the State House Assembly premises.

Takwa warned that the 24-hour curfew imposed by the state government in Jos North Local Government Area had not be lifted, hence anyone found wanting would be decisively dealt with.

“Our attention has been drawn to a message circulating on social media calling on Muslim youths to embark on  peaceful protest slated for Wednesday, August 18.

“The message stated that the demonstration is expected to commence from Jos Central Mosque to the State House of Assembly Complex.

“While we will not want to join issues with the organisers of the planned protest, it  is instructive to state that in view of the fragile nature of peace on the Plateau, this protest is unnecessary and uncalled for. We are fully aware that religious leaders have distanced themselves from the planned message. They have categorically stated that they are not in support of the peaceful demonstration. We are, therefore, sending a strong warning to those planning this demonstration and the originators of  the message to have a rethink.”

On the assumption that Ikeja Club is keen to provide us with the compass with which to navigate the future, we are entitled to cast a backward glance at how we got here – via politics.  From the tributes paid to flamboyant Senator Ibrahim Mantu, former Deputy Senate President who died on August 16, 2021 we ar able to glean some unique insights.

On the front page of “ThisDay” newspaper of August 19, 21, Samuel Ajayi reminded us:

“His last days in the Senate were marked with allegation of financial impropriety and he was running from pillar to pole while he appealed to his colleagues to let him have a safe landing and be allowed to run out  (serve) his term till 2007.  He did and he never returned to the Senate again as he lost out in the 2007 nomination and subsequent elections.”

He was a man of great candour.  He used to be one of the fiercest critics of President Olusegun Obasanjo in the Senate before he became the Deputy Senate President.  According to his witness statement:

“I was never a fan of Baba (Obasanjo) before.  I used to criticise him and ensure that nothing he brought to the Senate would be passed.  But one day, he sent for me and we discussed and you could see that he really loved Nigeria and that if he had to put his head into the guillotine for Nigeria to work, he was ready.  That was the day I decided to support him.”

It was left to Abdulaziz Abdulaziz to deliver the bombshell on the front  page of “Daily Trust” newspaper of August 18, 2021.


“In April 2018, Mantu emerged out of oblivion to spark another controversy, this time he did the unusual – confessing his ‘sins’ as a long-term election fixer. In a Channels TV interview, the former deputy Senate president owned up to participating in rigging elections, saying he had abandoned the old way as he advocated for Nigeria to turn the leaf.

“Yes, yes, I did. But I am now confessing the truth. What do I mean? I didn’t have to go and change the election but you provide money. You give money to INEC boys to help; that is, they see any chance they should try and favour you. You provide money for the security. In all our elections in the past, I’ve been in the game for about 20 years.

“And I tell you each time it is not necessarily when I am contesting an election but when my party sponsors a candidate I would like that candidate to win the election. What we used to do before, we make provision for INEC, we make provision for security, we make provision for even agents of other parties so that they would not raise any objection to what we are able to get. Whether I rig myself or not, but when I provide those resources to the officials, I am rigging election.”

Alhaji Mantu died at the age of 74 but he had a reputation for being a “wily politician”.  He held no prisoners.  He also had a great sense of humour.  I remember how he had been lampooned by one of his adversaries or benefactors that he loved money so much that if you put half-a-million dollars in the mouth of a lion, Mantu would make a grab for it. Cartoons depicting him as a dare-devil politician were all over the place.

As fate would have it, I sat next to him shortly afterwards on an Emirate flight from Lagos to Dubai, when I asked him if he felt offended by the allegations and cartoons, he laughed merrily.  He insisted that it would take more than half-a-million dollars.

At least two million dollars might persuade him.  By the time we handed in Dubai, he told me that on further reflection he had raised the stakes to five million US dollars!!

Over the last fifty-five years, Ikeja has been the unwilling participant in our nation’s orgy of wasted lives and destroyed victims (of collateral damage).

On 23rd August 2021, “Nigerian Tribune” delivered a powerful reminder with its front page editorial.



“Twenty-nine years after some 151 middle-level Nigerian  military officers perished in a plane crash, their surviving widows are still pleading with the authorities to honour the promises made to them. It will be recalled that on  September 26, 1992, a Nigerian Air Force Lockheed C-130H Hercules crashed three minutes after take-off from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, killing  all 159 people on board, including eight foreign nationals, when its three engines reportedly failed. The disaster happened during  the regime of the self-styled military president, Ibrahim Babangida.

Unfortunately, the fact that the widows are still visiting government offices, 29 years after, begging for the fulfillment of the official commitments made to them, is not only bringing back the sad memories; it is also, in a sense, unwittingly strengthening the rumour that the flight was sabotaged, even though there has been no evidence to substantiate the claim. Truth be told, the present predicament of the widows has the similitude of unending punishment for their husbands. When you treat people who died in the line of duty and laid down their lives in this way, nobody will be committed to this country. This is so, especially in the military where total loyalty, dedication and commitment are major and invaluable ingredients of service. It is, therefore, imperative that the leadership learn to treat the citizenry with dignity.

It is most  uncharitable that official behaviour and conduct have tended to suggest disdain for the memories of the military officers who sacrificed their lives to ensure the unity of the country and the protection of its territorial integrity. Such a tendency is unhealthy, counterproductive  and insidious. It may  discourage serving officers from giving their total commitment to their usually hazardous duties, having seen the fate that befell the families of their deceased colleagues. In light of the embarrassing delay in settling the official commitments to the widows of these deceased officers, quite a few questions arise: where were the coursemates of these deceased officers all these years? What did they do to help the widows of their dead coursemates?  Or did the slain officers cease to be beneficiaries of  esprit-de-corps because they are dead?  Of what value are the colleagues of these people who failed to do anything about their colleagues who died?

Again, what have the service chiefs, in particular, been doing all these years? One reason being bandied in the official circles for the protracted and shameful delay in fulfilling obligations to the families of the deceased is the alleged discrepancies in the records of the officers. But how and why should anyone be talking about discrepancies and delay in settling the entitlements of these widows 29 years after? Yes, it is important to follow due process and procedures in the handling of official assignments so as to operate within the ambit of the law. But if there was sincerity and official commitment to doing what is right and expedient, following the rules shouldn’t have translated into an endless wait by these widows to get their husbands’ entitlements. And of course, there can be no contesting the importance of systems, but while systems are good, it is axiomatic that it is people that make systems: what were those concerned doing all these years?

The posers are literally endless but they all boil down to the characteristic but unwholesome collective amnesia in the official circles regarding the contributions of those who served the country and the levity with which leaders often treat the memories of the nation’s past heroes, especially those who did not hold any political office. It is particularly saddening in this instance that the trio of the Federal Government, the state governments, and the respective services of the slain officers all allegedly reneged on their promises to take care of their families.  Nonetheless, there was cheering news  last week when the Minister of Defence, retired Major-General Bashir Magashi, pledged to support the widows. Magashi reportedly made the pledge when he granted audience to their representatives led by their National Coordinator, Ogale Jude.

The minister promised to address the issues that led to the delay and discrepancies in paying the entitlements of the widows. Though he did not  give any time line to address the issue, it is hoped that Magashi will make good his promise speedily. For it is in the interest of the military and indeed the country at large that the Minister of Defence honours his promise to support the widows because if the memories of the dead heroes are not treated with the deserved honour and respect, it would be a matter of time before the society is bereft of living heroes.”

As a young telecommunications engineer, Alhaji (Eng) Adeniji Raji was thrilled and fulfilled when he built his first house in Ikeja.

However, in his book “Sheer Providence” he provides damning evidence of our nation’s insatiable appetite for shenanigans:

“I remember one time the government, without seeking technical expertise, went ahead to buy a satellite  system, not knowing how they were going to integrate it into the network.  The system merely ended up providing TV signals instead of being able to provide telephone connections to the network system.”

On 17th August 2021, former military Head of State/President of Nigeria General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida celebrated his 80th birthday.  What made front page headline was his assertion that compared with the present government, his own regime was that of “a saint” in terms of corruption.  All hell was let loose.  Somewhere along the liens, the debate veered off in a totally different and somewhat unexpected direction.

General Babangida’s reference to “saints” (or sainthood) was extra-stretched to suggest that his cabinet was studded with saints compared with those who now call the shots.  In advertently, my name came up amongst a host of others.

Maybe, I should explain for the umpteenth time that as far as I am concerned what we should be celebrating is not 17th August but 27th August (the anniversary of Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Babangida’s 1985 coup d’etat against his boss, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari).

It was Brigadier Olaseinde Ishola-Williams the Director of Training and Doctrinaire ( TRADOC) who conveyed IBB’s invitation to me to deliver a paper at the Chief of Army Staff’s Conference which was scheduled to hold in Minna, Niger State where Colonel  David Mark was he Military Administrator/Governor.  I was actually already in London on my way to the United States of America.  Brigadier Ishola-Williams would not accept no for an answer.  Reluctantly, I returned to Lagos (Ikeja Airport) and there was a plane ready to take me to Minna.  There were only two other civilians at the conference – Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Professor  Isawa Elaigwu, who was a Lecturer at the Nigerian Defence Acadamy in Kaduna.

Colonel David Mark was the perfect host while Colonel Anthony Ukpo conducted the ceremonial aspects of the conference.  What is relevant is that the conference was only a smokescreen for finalisation of the plans for the coup that was launched on 27th August 1985 while Buhari’s number two and “strongman” Major-General Tunde Idiagbon was away on pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

From a private residence in Ikoyi, the quarlet of Colonel Sambo Dasuki, Colonel John Madaki; Colonel Lawan Gwadabe; and Lieutenant Colonel Abdulmumi Aminu set forth to arrest Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.  There was hardly any resistance.

Before the day was over, jubilation took over on radio and television.  It was when (on the 9 O’clock news) that I saw most of the participants at the conference jubilating at the Bonny Camp Cantonment, Victoria Island that it dawned on me that had the coup failed, I would have been rounded up and executed along with the coupists.  I cannot speak for Chief Abiola or Professor Elaigwu but I knew absolutely nothing.  Innocence would not have save me !!  I was only forty-one years old at the time.

What the hell was I doing in the midst of the likes of Major-General Babangida, Brigadier Joshua Dongoyaro, Colonel John Shagaya, Colonel Tanko Ayuba, Brigadier Sani Abacha, Colonel Haliru Akilu etc.

My case would been further worsened by what Colonel Dotun  Gbadebo (now His Royal Highness Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, the Alake of Egba Kingdom) who was the Principal Staff Officer to Major-General Tunde Idiagbon, confirmed recently.  I was perceived as the Chief promoter of Major-General Ibrahim Babangida as the next Head of State !!  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

In any case, when Babangida became Head of State, I was only a member of the “saintly” kitchen cabinet headed by Chief (Dr.) Ernest Shonekan (Chairman of UAC of Nigeria).  Other members were late Alhaji A.O.G. Otiti; Deputy Governor of the Central Bank; late Mrs. Francesca Emanuel, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Commerce; late Navy Commodore Wole Bucknor; Chief Joe Obuseh from the Police; Chief Maan Lababidi; Chairman of Crown Flour Mills and others.  What I must emphasise is that to the best of my knowledge, none of us was rewarded with juicy contracts, ministerial appointment, Chairmanship of lucrative Boards not to talk of import licence, oil blocks, banking licence, telecommunications licence, land in Abuja or whatever.  Maybe, that was our qualification for sainthood !!.

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