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     Nigeria/Africa Masterweb Special Feature

    Rejoinder To Chief Abraham Adesanya
    &
    Dr. Tunji Braithwaite on Assylum to Charles Taylor


    By Ogbeni Lanre Banjo,
    NCP Ogun '03 Gubernatorial Candidate


    (Thursday, August 14, 2003)

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    Ogbeni Lanre Banjo Events in Nigeria have nakedly exposed those who are leading Nigerians in various segment of the society and those aspiring to lead. It has also exposed why Nigerians are suffering and why many may continue to wallow in squalor of diseases, ignorance and poverty until their expirations. I am not baffled at Chief Adesanya's association with Obasanjo on the asylum granted Charles Taylor. As a matter of fact, I would have been disappointed has he changed and thought otherwise at his age. I would have been afraid that he must be seeing some angels warning him that where he would rest at his expiration requires atonement and there is a need to begin to gear up for atonement. I quite agree that Nigeria has a liberating role to play on the continent of Africa. I am proud that even though the administration of Obasanjo is deservedly wicked to Nigerians, it is able to intervene with the view to stop the fratricidal killings, pogroms and genocide in Liberia. However, the spirit of those innocent Nigerians, especially the Journalists ordered to be tortured and killed by Charles Taylor, would never pray for anyone giving him a red carpet welcome.

    Chief Adesanya's position does not surprise me because he is only being consistent with his insensitivity to the plights of Nigerians. General Abdulsalami Abubakar is his best friend today, because he opened the door to outsiders to come and poison Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola. An act that should have been deemed a treason in a sane society and therefore require the appropriate punishment for Abubakar and his associates. It would be recollected that some Northerners killed many Igbos because the Nzeogwu's coup of 1966 that killed the duo of Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello was viewed an Igbo Coup. In retrospect, some Yoruba elders became close friends of the killer of their own son. While General Abubakar ignored the Nigerians in Minna whose parents are so poor and could not afford to send them to schools, Chief Adesanya did not see anything wrong in Abubakar spending his ill-gotten wealth by establishing a foundation in Chicago, USA. While millions are yearning for the opportunity in Nigeria, Adesanya supported Abubakar's endowment by being in his entourage to give money to those who are not in dire need of it in the U.S. Given Obasanjo's eyesore records since 1976 to date, Chief Adesanya who paid a lip service to the evil of the government of Obasanjo on Chief Bola Ige's murder and urged Nigerians to fight the evil administration forgot a popular saying that "Charity begins at home." He did not ask his daughter to quit the evil regime to show that he means well for Nigerians. He advocates that Nigerians should fight while his wife is soliciting an appointment for his son in Gbenga Daniel's administration and his daughter is serving as an advisor to Obasanjo on how to deal ruthlessly with Nigerians who are fighting the evil regime. What a hypocrite! He condemned the PDP leaders for being immoral by allowing Iyiola Omisore who is being tried on the murder of Chief Bola Ige to secure a ticket on its platform, yet he supported the asylum to Charles Taylor based on the laws of Nigeria. What a contradiction! Based on the laws of Nigeria too, Omisore has the right to contest from the gulag and rigged in until proven guilty in the court of law. If Taylor ordered the killing of the citizens of other country and any of those country decides to grant him asylum, that is that country's headache. Chief Adesanya argued that "if the former warlord were that bad, prominent African leaders like Thambo Mbeki would not have identified with him openly." The first question here is whether Mbeki would have seen it fit for Taylor to be granted asylum had Taylor ordered the South African Embassy in Liberia bombarded the same way the Nigerian Embassy was bombarded in Liberia. Would Mbeki have granted him asylum or be with him have South Africans civilians including journalists been ordered tortured and killed by Charles Taylor. Further, if Mbeki decided to call a mad man "oko iyawo" - a groom so that the genocide of Liberians would discontinue and Liberia would be peaceful, should that be viewed as an endorsement of Taylor as a man worthy of granting asylum and giving a red carpet welcome in Nigeria?

    Dr. Braithwaite on his part just demonstrated the kind of President he would have been. His argument is nauseating. Braithwaite argued that Nigeria as a leading country on the continent of Africa reserves the right to grant whoever it likes refuge at any point in time. Are we supposed to be leading by offering our citizens for murder without any recourse? How does he expect the relatives of the innocent Nigerians ordered tortured and killed by Taylor to feel? Is Braithwaite saying that because none of those Nigerians ordered tortured and killed by Taylor was attorney general, we should still honor the killer? When the investigation of those who shot at Iyabo Obasanjo's convoy and killed two beautiful children revealed that they were associates of Shina Rambo of Republic of Benin, President Olusegun Rambo on the loose in Nigeria ordered the borders between Nigeria and Benin Republic closed. He asked Benin President Mathieu Kerekou to arrest and prosecute them without proof. Perhaps if Shina Rambo has dealt with other Nigerians he would have been granted asylum in Nigeria. If President OO reacted because of the imminent danger to his daughter, shouldn't Braithwaite expect him to react to the ordered killings of Nigerians by Charles Taylor who up till today refused to apologize or express any regret of the evil action?

    I therefore call on Nigerians, especially gentlemen of the press, to shun Chief Adesanya, Braithwaite and others who have no respect for the lives of Nigerians by ensuring that Taylor does not enjoy his time in Nigeria, especially when he has no regret for his order to torture and kill Nigerians in Liberia. If Taylor were to have ordered the torturing and killing of Americans, Chief Adesanya, Dr. Braithwaite and many other shortsighted Nigerians would have labeled him a terrorist, declared him not wanted in Nigeria and would have thus treated the American lives more than the Nigerian lives. I pity my country.

    Signed
    Ogbeni Lanre Banjo
    NCP Gubernatorial Candidate 2003, Ogun State


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