As NADECO member, I suffered a lot for Nigeria’s democracy, says Akintola

Adeniyi Akintola

Foremost constitutional lawyer, Chief Niyi Akintola, has said not too many Nigerians know that as a member of Nigeria Democratic Coalition (NADECO) group, he went through many pains and harrowing experiences in the hands of the military in order to enthrone a lasting democracy in the country.

Chief Akintola, in an interview with The Guardian, added that he went in and out of jail during the military era as a member of the much-hated NADECO group.He also made a case for his candidacy for the Oyo State governorship race, saying that among the lot that have expressed their interest in the Agodi State House, he is the candidate to beat, because of his experience and wide spread acceptance and connections among the people of the state and the party structure.

The APC member, who has been credited with many victories in the party’s many electoral cases, said he went through tutelage under the late former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Bola Ige and Chief Ahmed Tinubu, a chieftain of the party.

He also flaunts his closeness to the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as one of the factors that will bode well for his candidacy for the state’s Government House.

According to him, his convictions that Nigeria must have an enduring democratic legacy encouraged him to join others in the formation of NADECO. He added that he, alongside Chief Moshood Erubami and Comrade Gbenga Awosode, held the fort for the pro-democracy group in Oyo State.

He spoke about his experience in the hands of the military oppressors at the time and his sojourn in the stormy political terrain of the pre- June 12 days.‘’We were going and coming out of the DSS detention camp in Alalubosa, Ibadan so many times, but we were not fazed. We gave them (military) hell during the period.

“I also represented and won many victories for the party in so many cases. I was actually one of those who drafted the original constitution of the PDP, together with Chief Bola Ige, Prof. Tunde Adeniran and Uncle Yemi Farounbi.

“However, we pulled out of the party to join APP, but we met some characters there, like the late Chief Lamidi Adedibu that Uncle Bola Ige felt we couldn’t work with, so we decided to form another party under the leadership of Abraham Adesanya.

“The following day, we went to Ijebu-Igbo and put together the AD (Action for Democracy).”On his pedigree as a politician, he hinged his confidence on the various landmark election court cases victories that he has given the party, which he believes will now help him to garner enough respect and goodwill for his party’s nomination for the governorship slot.”

He said: ‘’My experience as the Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly means that I have seen it all. Don’t forget that the late Chief Bola Ige trained me.
‘’Also, the great talent hunter, Chief Tinubu, identified some of us in 2000 and I became one of his boys since then.

‘’He assigned one of his boys, Opeyemi Bamidele, a former House of Representatives member to me and we went to the court many times and claimed many victories for the party. We went to court 13 times before we could knock out one Ibarapa man, Akintaro, in a case.

‘’I later handled the Oshiomole case, which we won, the Fayemi/Oni case in Ekiti, which we also won. Together with some of my colleagues, we also won the Mimiko case against the late Ondo State governor, Chief Segun Agagu. We also won the Governor Ibikunle Amosun case and the Oyo State case between Ajimobi and Chief Bayo Akala. The Imo State Governor case followed and we ensured the victory of Owelle Rochas Okorochas. The Danjuma Goje and Andy Uba cases in Gombe and Anambra followed this. However, you need to realise the fact that I handled some of these cases pro-bono most of the time, for you to appreciate my contributions.”

On the Zoning arrangement in favour of Oke Ogun area of the state, which Governor Ajimobi has been largely quoted to favour, even publicly, the member of the Constitutional Conference under former President Goodluck Jonathan, said that some people were just being mischievous when they have latched on to the Governor’s speech at a particular public function to trumpet this assertion.

“There was a caveat by the governor in his speech, but some people just decided to conveniently block this out. The Governor said that the Oke Ogun people have to work with people of other zones in order to achieve this and we are ready to work with them to achieve our ambitions, but that does not preclude others from contesting.

“My time has come. I have never struggled for elective positions in my life, even when I was offered the post of Attorney General, I turned it down.“When Chief Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo State, predicted that I will one day contest for the state governorship, I just laughed it off. I have been in this struggle together with Femi Falana and Akeredolu, as progressives for a long time and we have always supported strong democracy.

‘’We rallied round Chief Rashidi Ladoja when he was impeached. After the Ajimobi/ Akala case, I was advised to leave town by the then Commissioner of Police in the state. I relocated to Lagos and only returned to the state effectively on 2011. Thank God for Governor Ajimobi, who brought me back.“We are ready and working hard to realize our ambition. We have been going round the state for consultations and we have been well received everywhere we have been. This have given us the courage to be hopeful,” he said.

Glo congratulates Muslims on successful completion of Ramadan. In commemoration of the end of the holy month of Ramadan, data grandmasters, Globacom has congratulated Nigerian Muslim faithful on the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan and appealed to them to inculcate the lessons learnt during the sober period to create a positive impact on the society at large.

Globacom, in a press statement issued from its head office in Lagos on Friday, called on all Muslims to use the opportunity of the celebration of the Eid-el-Fitri to pray for the peace, unity and development of the nation, and to fully imbibe the tenets of Islam as taught by Prophet Mohammed.

“We wish all our Muslim brethren a very happy Eid-el-Fitri and we pray that the Almighty Allah will grant their prayers for the peace and progress of Nigeria. It is a season of charity, peace-making and forgiveness. We must use this season to remember to care for the poor and the needy in line with Allah’s injunction to be our brother’s keeper”, Globacom said.

The holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar in which the Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan is the fourth pillar of the Islamic faith and it involves 29 or 30 days of fasting by Muslims.

The company said it would provide a platform for all Muslim subscribers on its network to enjoy this year’s sallah through its Islamic value-added offerings like the Glo Adhan, Daily Prayers, Daily reflection, Islamic Digest and Hausa Islamic Services.

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NADECONiyi Akintola


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