Throwback: How Awolowo predicted June 12!


Obafemi Awolowo

Nigerians who were around as at 1986 may not witness real democracy in their lifetime.

Read below excerpts from Obafemi Awolowo’s Letter to Professor Samuel Cookey Commission (otherwise called Political Bureau) in 1986. Awolowo sent the letter in response to an invitation from the Bureau set up by the Babangida Regime to design a new political order for Nigeria. Awolowo refused to partake in the political discourse because wisdom suggested to him it was all a sham and it was indeed an unmitigated fraud – it ended with an annulment of the best election ever conducted in Nigeria.

“I received your letter of February 28, 1986, and sincerely thank you for doing me the honour of inviting me to contribute to the national political debate.

“The purpose of the debate is to clarify our thoughts in our search for a new social order.

“It is therefore proper that all those who have something to contribute should do so.

“I do fervently and will continue fervently to pray that I may be proved wrong.

“For something within me tells me, loud and clear, that we have embarked on a fruitless search.

“At the end of the day, when we imagine that the new order is here, we would be terribly disappointed.

“In other words, at the threshold of our new social order, we would see for ourselves that, as long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical, and idealistic can work with them.

“And Nigerians will remain what they are, unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels and in all sectors of our political, business and governmental activities, are exorcised.

“But I venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched, unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude to life and politics or, unless the dialectic processes which have been at work for some twenty years now, perforce, make us perceive the abominable filth that abounds in our society, to the end that an inexorable abhorrence of it will be quickened in our hearts and impel us to make drastic changes for the better.”

Then Awolowo predicted that if Nigerians refused to take his advice, they will have “To succumb to permanent social instability and chaos.” I am just wondering whether this 33 year-old prediction has come to pass.

Importantly and interpretively, Nigerians – who were ‘around’ as at 1986 – may not witness real democracy in their lifetime.

Credit: Omoniyi Ibietan