…there were widespread credible reports that the provisions of Decree Two were not always followed by police and security officers, who routinely forged detention orders. In the aftermath of the April 22 coup attempt, the Federal Military Government detained more than 100 civilians for statements critical of the government or possible association with suspected coup plotters.
In January 1990, the Federal Military Government amended Decree Two, shortening the time a person may be detained without charge from six months to six weeks; it named the chief of the general staff, Admiral Augustus Akhabue Aikhomu (1939-2011) as the only authorised signatory of detention orders and created a review panel to make recommendations for the release or continued detention of detainees. Ministry of Justice officials stated that Decree 24, issued late in 1990, transferred those authorising powers to the civilian vice presidency, the office that replaced the CGS in August. The Decree had not been made public at year’s end, causing some civil rights attorneys to criticise its issuance as an effort to sidetrack wrongful detention suits pending against the Federal Military Government. Modifications notwithstanding, many Nigerians considered Decree Two a threat to their basic freedoms because the Decree’s judicial ouster clause encouraged arbitrary detention, with impunity for the arresting officers.
Additionally, there were widespread credible reports that the provisions of Decree Two were not always followed by police and security officers, who routinely forged detention orders. In the aftermath of the April 22 coup attempt, the Federal Military Government detained more than 100 civilians for statements critical of the government or possible association with suspected coup plotters. Some were detained under Decree Two, others without being charged. Among the prominent detainees were former presidential candidate, Tunji Braithwaite; Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) vice president, Jolly Tanko Yusuf; former minister of Mines, Power and Steel, Paul Unongo; and several university professors and student leaders. Their periods of detention ranged from a few days to over three months for Professor Obaro Ikime.
On May 19, 1990, General Ibrahim Babangida lifted the three months ban on political campaign and on May 26, 1990, ward elections were held in the 5,575 wards in the country.
On June 8, 1990, The PUNCH newspaper was closed down for three weeks by the Federal Military Government and thereafter the publisher of Newbreed magazine was detained.
On July 25, 1991, the national conventions of the two political parties were held in Abuja. Chief Tom Ikimi defeated Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu to emerge as the chairman of the National Republican Convention. Chief Tom Ikimi is from Igueben in the present Edo State. He was born in Kumba-Southern, British Cameroons (modern-day Cameroon) to John Onile Ikimi and Victoria Isiemoa Ikimi, both from Igueben. In the Social Democratic Party, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe defeated Mohammed Arzika. Ambassador Kingibe from Maiduguri, was former head, current affairs and features department, Northern Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation (now Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria) between 1970 and 1972; external affairs officer, Ministry of External Affairs, Lagos, Nigeria, from 1972 to 1975; senior counselor, Nigeria High Commission, London; Nigerian Ambassador to Greece,with accreditation to Cyprus, 1981-1984; Nigerian ambassador to Pakistan, 1984-1987; and secretary, Constituent Assembly, Abuja, Nigeria, 1988-1989.
On March 27, 1991, the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) opted for a open ballot system for all elections in the country. And on June 15, 1991, delegate elections into local government and state congresses were held throughout Nigeria. On August 27, 1991, General Babangida created nine new states, namely: Abia, Anambra, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Osun, Yobe and Taraba…
In later years, Tom Ikimi and Baba Gana Kingibe became ministers under General Sani Abacha, while under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Arzika became minister for Communications and Ibrahim Mantu became deputy Senate president.
On December 8, 1990, elections were held into local government councils with voters’ turn out estimated roughly at under 20 percent nationwide. The SDP won 53 percent of the local government chairmanships and local counsellor positions.
On March 27, 1991, the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) opted for a open ballot system for all elections in the country. And on June 15, 1991, delegate elections into local government and state congresses were held throughout Nigeria. On August 27, 1991, General Babangida created nine new states, namely: Abia, Anambra, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Osun, Yobe and Taraba; as well as 47 new local governments. On September 23, 1991, General Babangida created 89 local governments, while on October 19, 1991, governorship primaries were held in all the States. On October 6, 1991, SDP held elections in 10 States, while the NRC held its own on November 9, 1991. Also, on November 15, 1991, the NRC presented governorship candidates to the National Executive Council meeting.
Equally, on November 25, 1991, the government disqualified 12 governorship aspirants, including Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Bala Takaya, from nine States, and ordered fresh elections in those States. On December 2, 1991, General Babangida disqualified prominent politicians and detained them, including Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Alhaji Maitama Yusuf, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, Chief Jim Nwobodo, Chief C.C. Onoh, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Arthur Nzeribe, Chief Olusola Saraki, Mr. Solomon Lar and Major General (rtd.) Musa Shehu Yar’adua. On December 18, 1991, General Babangida released the detained politicians and threw open the presidential race.
On January 2, 1992, all the elected governors of the 30 states were sworn-in and the entire federal cabinet was dissolved. The governors and their deputies were: For Abia – Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu and Clement Nwankwo; Adamawa – Alhaji Sale Michika and Mr. Lynn Nathan; Akwa Ibom – Obong Akpan Isemin and Etim Okpoyo; Anambra – Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Dr Chidi Mwike; Bauchi – Alhaji Dahiru Mohammed and Alhaji Umaru Ahmed; Benue – Reverend Father Moses Adasu and Yakubu Agda; Borno – Alhaji Maiji Lawan and Alhaji Hassan; and Cross River – Clement Ebri and Cecilia Ekpeyong.
The following people served as ministers under General Babangida: General Sani Abacha, Lt-Colonel Ahmed Aboki Abdullahi, Air Commodore Hamza Abdullahi, Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar, Prince Bola Ajibola, Lt-General (rtd) Julius Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, Alex Akinyele, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Clement Akpamgbo, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, Professor Jubril Aminu, Alhaji Mamman Ankah, Lt-Colonel Abubakar Tanko Ayuba…
Also, Delta – Felix Ibru and Samson Ebonka; Edo – John Oyegun and Reverend Peter Obada; Enugu – Okwesilieze Nwodo and Dr. Icha Ituma; Imo – Evan Enwerem and Dr. Douglas Acholonu; and Jigawa – Alhaji A.S. Birmikudi and Alhaji Shehu Kwafalo; Kaduna – Alhaji Mohammed Lere and James Mugaji; Kano – Alhaji Kabiru Gaya and Alhaji Ahmed Usman; Katsina – Alhaji Saidu Barda and Alhaji Abdullahi Amidu; Kwara – Alhaji Shaaba Lafiagi and Prince Ojo Fadumila; and Kebbi – Alhaji Abubakar Musa and Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed.
In Kogi – Alhaji Abubakar Audu and S. Ola Akande; Lagos – Michael Otedola and Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu; Niger – Dr. Musa Inuwa and Alhaji Jibo Garba; Ogun – Olusegun Osoba and Alhaji Rafiu Ogunleye; Ondo – Bamidele Olumilua and Dr. Olusegun Agagu; and Osun – Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke and Clement Adesuyi Haastrup. Morover, in Oyo – Kolapo Ishola and Alhaji Ahmed Gbadamosi; Plateau – Fidelis Tapgun and Alhaji Bala Usman; Rivers -Rufus Ada-George and Dr. Peter Odili; Sokoto – Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkarim and Alhaji Ahmed Gusau; Taraba – Reverend Jolly Nyame and Alhaji S.D. Gani; and Yobe – Alhaji Abba Ibrahim and Alhaji Goni Bura.
The following people served as ministers under General Babangida: General Sani Abacha, Lt-Colonel Ahmed Aboki Abdullahi, Air Commodore Hamza Abdullahi, Alhaji Ahmed Abubakar, Prince Bola Ajibola, Lt-General (rtd) Julius Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, Alex Akinyele, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Clement Akpamgbo, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, Professor Jubril Aminu, Alhaji Mamman Ankah, Lt-Colonel Abubakar Tanko Ayuba, Major–General Domkat Yah Bali, and Professor Gordian Ezekwe. Also, Professor Emmanuel Emovon, Eyoma Ita Eyoma, Professor Babatunde Fafunwa, Chief Olu Falae, T.O. Graham-Douglas, Air Commodore Lamba Deng Gwom, Alhaji Abubakar Hashidu, Zakari Ibrahim, Olawale Ige, Air Commodore Anthony Ikhazobor, Air Vice-Marshall Nuradeen Mohammed Imam, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, and Major-General Mamman Tsofo Kontagora. Furthemore, Rear Admiral Sebo Patrick Koshoni, Major-General Yohanna Yerima Kure, Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, Air Commodore Adebayo Hammed Lawal, Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman, Brigadier David Bonaventure Mark, Alhaji Lawal Mala, Major-General Abdullahi Bagudu Mamman, Alhaji Ismaila Mamman, Prince Tony Momoh, Alhaji Bunu Sheriff Musa, Dr Shetima Mustapha, Major-General Muhammadu Gado Nasko, and Major-General Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu. More so, Dr. Chu Okongwu, Air Vice-Marshal Anthony Okpere, Dr. Tunji Olagunju, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, Air Vice-Marshal Ishaya Aboi Shekari, Senas Ukpanah, Lt-Colonel Anthony Ukpo, Alhaji Abubakar Umar, Brigadier Jeremiah Timbut Useni, Major-General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, Professor Tam David-West and Alhaji Ibrahim Zakaw.
Eric Teniola, a former director in the Presidency, Writes from Lagos.