Date: Tue, 25 Apr 1995 19:31:22 UNDEFINED
Sender: Liberian Studies Association <>
From: Alpha Koroma <akoroma@MAILBOX.SYR.EDU>
Subject: Randall Robinson/Nigeria

Nigeria and Transafrica

By Ganiyu Jaiyeola

Hmmm, a letter of thought for Liberians. Quiet interesting. Read between the lines for yourself. This controversy has been going on for a while. Mainly discussed by Nigerians.

March 22, 1995

Mr. Randall Robinson, Executive Director
1744 R Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009

Dear Mr. Robinson,

It has been reported that your organization is urging the imposition of sanctions on Nigeria by the US government and other world bodies. I am aware of the noble work done by your organization in the restoration of democracy to South Africa and Haiti. Those are commendable. May I mention that the situation in Nigeria need to be handled rather differently.

The various "democracy" groups that you may have been talking with are not represenatative of the mainstream opinion in Nigeria. It needs to be mentioned that Chief Abiola is not at all comparable to Nelson Mandel or Reverend Aristide. The individuals or groups you may have met or discussed with have participated at one time or the other with the military to subvert the democratic process in Nigeria. The June 12, 1993 election was corrupted right from day one. That corruption led to the cancellation of the election and therefore no declared winner. It is on record that the election was stopped by a court order after a member of Chief Abiola's party petitioned a court for redress. The politician, Chief Arthur Nzeribe, is from southern Nigeria. The military had nothing to do with that. The military was pretty much forced to cancel the elections.

Chief Abiola is an individual that is best described as a civilian soldier. He has been a good friend of the military since the days of General Muritala Muhammed in 1975; in fact he supported them with his newspapers. Chief Abiola is one individual who can tell Nigerians how much a particular corrupt General or politician is worth. Things fell apart between him and the military after June 12, 1993; because he felt they denied him the presidency. Again, he never won the presidential election because the election was not even concluded. I personally believe that nemesis in its fair deal caught up with him and others, however, to the detriment of Nigeria. When the average Nigerian talks about Chief Abiola, the quick stories that come to mind is how much money he donated at a particular luncheon. Nobody tells you what ideology or progressive plans for Nigeria that Chief Abiola stands for. Chief Abiola was/is never known for his ideas but his unusual and rather eye-brow raising wealth.

Please do not be deceived by the likes of Wole Soyinka, Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi, and others abroad who are campaigning for sanctions on Nigeria. Dr. Akinyemi was General Babangida's foreign ministier for many years. Wole Soyinka praised General Babangida for years. All these individuals who should know better somehow got their hands and heart corrupted in their dealing with the military. Nigerian military is composed of Nigerians. Whatever they are doing today is coming from the encouragement and corruption that they got from civilians.

When General Babangida was forced to step down, he installed a civilian Chief Sonekan, to arrange another presidential election. Chief Sonekan is from Chief Abiola's hometown and a highly skilled bureaucrat. He wasn't a politician. He had spent a greater part of his careeer working for the UAC (Unilever) group. Chief Sonekan wasn't allowed to function effectively. Chief Abiola, Dr. Beko Kuti (NADECO), and some other key politicians colluded with General Abacha and General Diya to topple Chief Sonekan in a coup. Both the Federal and State assemblies were all functioning before Chief Sonekan was forcibly removed. It was General Abacha who dissolved those legislative bodies. He was praised all that time by Chief Abiola, trade union officials, and the so-called pro-democracy groups like NADECO. General Abacha was to later turn his guns on them too.

I was in Nigeria in December 1994. Nigerians don't want the solidiers in power; also they do not want the corrupt politicians as well.. What the average Nigerian cares about is good government. This explains why there were demonstrations in support of General Abacha's government recently when Nigerians were told that a coup was foiled. Nigerians are looking forward to a civilian government through a negotiated arrangement. The avenue for that now seems to be the National Constitutional Conference going on in Abuja, Nigeria's capital. Any group that cares about Nigeria should urge the Military to keep its promise to work with the Conference. Sanctions will run counter to any positive democratic future for Nigeria. It will very likely secure another coup and that means another military rule. I don't see a Nigerian General executing a coup and handing over to a civilian right away. That's very unlikely.

Reverend Jesse Jackson and Mr. Jimmy Carter seem to be in the right path. Only negtoitiation will assist Nigeria towards a democratic future. Not sanctions.

Reliable and unbiased information about Nigeria is available on naijanet and naijanews; both on internet. To subscribe to naijanet, please send a message to <>. To subscrib to naijanews, please send a message to <>, subject: subscribe (lower case subscribe only). I enclose some relevant postings from the naijnanet.

Mr. Robinson, your concern about Nigeria is very much accepted. I do hope you will take the time to learn more about Nigeria and its people. Nigeria is a very dynamic and, hopefully, will one day be the pride of all Africans and Blacks all over the world. The help that will assist Nigeria in the current political crisis is one that calls for negotiation. Many of the individuals that you will meet abroad are the privileged few that corrupted the economic, social and political life of Nigerians. The more Nigerians you meet abroad, and, more importantly, in Nigeria, the better the perspective you will have about Nigeria and its people. I urge you to have a dialogue with the members of the

National Constitutional Conference and the military. Nigeria, with its 100 million people, and about 250 ethnic groupings, is immensely diverse and rather complex. Nigerians, I must say, are very indepenedent minded and have always been known to strive for democracy.

Thank you.



Ganiyu Jaiyeola (Mr.)