Remembering Chief Bola Ige - Punch Newspapers
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17 September 2021The posthumous birthday of the great Cicero, Chief Bola Ige, was celebrated on September 13, 2021. He was born September 13, 1930. I dug into my video archives and what I discovered nearly brought tears to my eyes.In the course of the research, I unearthed a lot of videos on the activities of the Nigerian Alliance for Democracy when I was the president of the group between 1993 and 1999. During those years, NAD was at the forefront of the fight against military rule and domination.
In one of those videos I unearthed, the late orator spoke passionately for 90 minutes in Atlanta about his intention to restructure the domineering Nigerian state the right way through regional autonomy.Hear him: “Restructuring is about devolution of powers and greater autonomy for the regions. They are matters of liberty and justice. It is the right thing to do, let us embrace it. Without liberty and justice, any hope for unity is an illusion.”
He continued: “For heaven’s sake, were powers devolved to the regions in Nigeria today, would the Yoruba nation be the only one to benefit? Shall the Ogoni, Edo, Urhobo, Efik, Igbo, Kanuri, Tiv not benefit from getting away from the overbearing federal might? Shall the Tiv, Fulani, Kanuri not be able to marshal local strategies to issues in their locality? Is that not what federalism is about?” headtopics.com
He uttered those immortal words before he fell under the brutal bullets of the assassins. One can’t but wonder if Chief Ige was killed by enemies within to extinguish his relentless push for the realisation of regional autonomy.Though he might have made some error of judgement during the Alliance for Democracy primary election ticket tussle with Chief Olu Falae, Chief Ige stood out as the voice of reasoning and restructuring. He lived and died for it.
When he resigned his position as Attorney General of Nigeria to prepare the ground to contest the Office of the President against former President Olusegun Obasanjo-Atiku led administration, he was going to make restructuring – regional autonomy- the nucleus of his campaign.
Indeed, he was the perfect candidate for Nigeria. Ige was raised in the northern part of Nigeria. He was proficient in speaking all the three major Nigerian languages like Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa.I believe so much that his death shall not be in vain. He is crying from the grave and saying that restructuring into regional autonomy must be realised for peace to reign in Nigeria.Read more: The Punch Newspapers »
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