Saturday, 12 July 2014

Title: Frank Kokori: The Struggle for June 12

Title: Frank Kokori: The Struggle for June 12
Publisher: Safari Books Limited, Ibadan, 2014

Author: Frank Kokori

Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe
THIS voluminous book is the autobiography of Frank Kokori, the iconoclastic labour leader and hero of democracy. As a memoir, The Struggle for June 12 showcases the gladiators who helped attain democratic governance in Nigeria but have been neglected in present day Nigeria. As a ranking member of the campaign for the actualization of June 12, Kokori named 82 others among whom are Professor Wole Soyinka, General Alani Akinrinade and Senator Bola Tinubu.
  To someone not versed in Nigerian history and politics, it would be necessary to explain June 12 as the day Moshood Abiola was elected President of Nigeria in 1993. Unfortunately the election was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida, the military president at the time. Aside of the foreword, which was written by the eminent senior advocate of Nigeria – Femi Falana, the text comprises 22 chapteres, an epilogue, the index of 12 pages and spanning 344 pages. It is cleanly printed with beautifully illustrated paperback pictures of Kokori’s heroes of democracy. The author also had 16 pages of photographs stacked into it.
  Frank Ovie Kokori got into fame as the General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers (NUPEG). That was in the Babangida era 1985-1993. Then, President Babangida wished to takeover NUPENG, but Kokori rebuffed him. For his transparency, Kokori became highly respected as a trade union leader. Unlike other labour leaders, he could not be compromised by bribery.
  Though he was forbidden by law to play politics as a unionist, he believed that the demand for humane working conditions under military rule could not be divorced from the struggle for democracy and justice, so Kokori decided to take part in the political transition programme of General Ibrahim Babangida. At both the Constitution Review Committee and the Constituent Assembly where Kokori represented the Nigeria Labour Congress, he made his mark by representing freedom and democracy. He was a member of the caucus that established the Nigeria Labour Party.
  But with the refusal of Babangida to register the Labour Party, the NLP merged with the centre left Social Democratic Party, which successfully sponsored Chief Abiola who later won the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Unfortunately, Babangida annulled the election, which was won by his friend and fellow Muslim, an heresy in Islam for which Babangida ought to have been excommunicated. But no one cared, a decision with horrendous implications in the future.
  The NLC condemned the annulment but did not act on it. For NUPENG and the Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) however, going on strike for the rule of law was the norm. They jointly went on strike. Added to the strikes were mass protests from the human rights groups. The crisis forced Babantida to relinquish power to Ernest Shonekan who was hurriedly installed as head of an Interim National Government (ING).
  Thereafter, Kokori joined Abiola to fight for the actualization of the June 12 electoral mandate. Although he was disturbed to learn that General Sani Abacha was compiling a list of ministers with his plan to sack the ING for a democratically elected government to be headed by Abiola. When Abacha ousted Sonekan, he offered Kokori a ministerial post. However, Kokori rejected the offer, insisting on the inauguration of Abiola as the winner of the June 12 election. Not long after, Abacha consolidated power to the chagrin of Abiola’s mandate.
  Abacha who had ostensibly seized power to placate Abiola, eventually ditched him with Abiola’s supporters. Then, Kokori adjudged Abiola’s declaration of himself as President had come too late in the day to have effect. But as soon as Abiola declared himself President, NUPENG and PENGASSAN started an indefinite industrial action. Then both unions and the NLC were proscribed, but the strike continued. Kokori then went underground. He was arrested at Yaba, Lagos, brutalized and taken to Abuja.
  For four years thereafter, Kokori was detained in Bama Prison, Borno State. In spite of the poor conditions in prison, he confronted his assailants audaciously. His enemies were forced to admire his courageous commitment to principle in adversity. He did not regain his freedom until June 16, 1998 after the sudden death of the maximum dictator, Sani Abacha.
  This paperback text contains the entire history of June 12 by an eye witness. He tells of the formation of the two government parties: Social Democratic Party with Babagana Kingibe as chairman and Tom Ikimi as Chairman of National Republican Convention (NRC). As the Natioanl Financial Secretary of the SDP, Kokori knew how money flowed into the covers of the party. He averred that the parties were well-funded. Each party was given N500 million at the time in 1990 when it was N10 to the US dollar.
  Kokori credited the proper funding of the parties to wise advice from Professor Omo Omoruyi, chairman of the Centre for Democratic Studies. He told the story of the parting of the ways between godfather Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and his son – Babangana Kingibe. Kingibe’s ascendancy to the chair of SDP was owed to the grace of Yar’Adua, who funded Kingibe’s election. Though the age difference between Yar’Adua and Kingibe was not much, Kingibe willingly accepted Yar’Adua’s tutelage.
  All the while, Yar’Adua the strategist, used Kingibe as a front to help work his own crowning as Nigeria’s chief executive. But in this he underestimated Kingibe. The godfather underestimated human nature. Since Yar’Adua never expected Kingibe to be nothing more than a puppet, he failed to understand that Kingibe could have ambition. Then Kingibe’s SDP executive organized presidential primaries in which Yar’Adua was returned. But rumour had it that the primaries were cancelled by Babangida based on reports by Kingibe that Yar’Adua heavily monetized the SDP primary. Besides, Kingibe and Tom Ikimi of NRC had their own ambitions as well as the channels of privately meeting Babangida. Moreover, these party executives had access to Babangida more than Yar’Adua whom Babangida regarded as a threat to his political future.
  Thus, Yar’Adua was bitter for the cancelled primaries and he held Kingibe responsible for it. Though, Kingibe ranked in the second primaries as runner-up to Abiola, the repercussions might be the eventual annulment of June 12 election. This book is the candid memoir of Kokori, an alumnus of the University of Ibadan and former NUPENG General Secretary. It exposes the hidden facts about the chilling events before, during and after the June 12 election and the political brouhaha and the debilitating experience thereafter. It is a text on the political economy of betrayal and deprivation. I commend it onto your perusal and enlightenment.

Title: Apples of Gold

Book Review:
Title: Apples of Gold
Publisher: Ceenai Multimedia Limited, Lagos, 2014
Author: Attah Ogbole
Reviewer: Bayo Ogunmupe
THE book, Apples of Gold is the inspired thoughts of Attah Ogbole as compiled by Segun Aderogba. The book is subtitled – Courage for your journey. That means life is seen as a journey. Thus, Ogbole carefully presents his inspired thoughts from his experience in his walk with God as a pastor. This book also showcases priceless quotations from the scriptures. It is a frank, prophetic and motivational volume filled with the Godly values that will guide you to make the right decisions in your journey through life.
  Apples of Gold has 10 sections, which touch on attitudes, character, service, relationships, diligence, purpose and patience. These are the qualities of champions who soar high in life. If practised, the truths in this text can generate superlative results that cause you to stand out in a crowd.
  Section one is on Attitudes and Diligence. It covers managing anger, following God’s purpose for you and keeping the right attitude. This section also treats issues as being grateful, character building, pride, service and enjoying God’s gifts to you. The desire for material gain and pride have beclouded visions of people. Paul captured this picture when he said: ‘‘…those whose god is their belly, whose glory is their shame, who set their minds on earthly things,” Philippians 3:19.
  On keeping the right attitude, Ogbole has the following to say: ‘‘If you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small, Proverbs 24:10. Also, the Bible says: ‘‘The swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all,” Ecclesiates. 9:11. Then, are you complaining? ‘‘The things that happened to those people are examples. They were written down to teach us, because we live in a time when all these things of the past have reached their goal. But you can trust God, who will not permit you to be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, He will also give you a way to escape so that you will be able to stand it,” 1 Corrinthians. 10:11, 13. God will sort you out, put your trust in Him.
  Also, the author urges you to set apart a time today, to thank Jehovah for every Christmas, Sallah or Easter you have enjoyed so far and leave the rest to Him to organize. On comparing yourself to others, 2 Corinthians 10:12 says comparing yourself to others is foolish because you are unique. God made you to be you. You are an original being, don’t end up a carbon copy. Because you will always get someone doing better than you, which will make you unhappy, so never compare yourself with others.
  Moreover, past failures would not stop God from using you as arbiter of the Nigerian peace. Many leaders of the Bible did not have stellar records. Moses was a murderer, David was an adulterer and murderer. Jacob stole the family inheritance from his brother Esau. Paul was a religious terrorist. Jehovah uses people with checkered past because as humans, we are not perfect. God uses average, ordinary, dysfunctional people, for if He used only perfect people, what would get done in this world? It does not matter where you are coming from. What matters is the direction you are heading to.
  For Section Two, Being led by God and Move Against your fears look more relevant than ever. The fact is: you must get direction from God before you act. Sadly, many people relocate to foreign lands because others are doing so. Many buy cars or adopt other professions because others have done so. You must get real motive for any decision you make. ‘‘Then, Joshua issued instructions to the leaders of Israel to tell the people to get ready to cross the Jordan River,” Joshua 1: 10-11. There comes a time when you have to move against your fears. This was what Joshua made the Israelites do. In order for them to get to Canaan, they had to cross River Jordan which was 100 feet wide and 20 feet deep. Without a miracle, it was impossible to cross to the Promised Land. The Bible tells us in Joshua 3 that God dried up the river 17 miles upstream. This means they had to go 17 miles of water before they reach dried land.
  The spiritual leaders led the journey. They stepped in up to their ankles and nothing happened. They walked further in with water up to their hips and chests. But God’s timing is perfect. The waters receded, and they were able to walk across the Jordan River and capture Canaan.
  What must you do when you know what you ought to do but you are afraid to do it? You must do it anyway. To move against your fears, you must do the very thing you fear the most.
  In section three, I shall treat focus. ‘‘But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said: ‘It is enough! Now Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1 Kings 19:4. Discouragement drains you of the strength to achieve your vision. Discouragement thrives among unbelievers. If you have faith, facts peddled by it pale into insignificance for with God all things are possible. Watching what you see and hear will put you in the right perspective.
  Look up to God, read the scriptures, meditate, ‘‘And Wisdom and Knowledge will be the stability of your times,” Isaiah 33:6. Always focus on God, your purpose and with prayer and supplication, you shall conquer. Laying the Right Foundation is my concluding aphorism. ‘‘Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other,” Ephesians 4:2. In the same vein, recently, the Rosicrucian Order concluded in a symposium that the road to world peace is the pursuit of silence, humility and tolerance. Aren’t they saying the same thing as Paul? Indeed, they are!   Thus, Ogbole’s thoughts are spiritually inspired. Which was why he was called to serve humanity as architect and pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
 Attah Ogbole is married to Bolanle and they are blessed with two children: David and Angel.

Decide Upon Your Main Purpose

On The Path Of Winners

Decide Upon Your Main Purpose

SUCCESSFUL people fail more often than unsuccessful people. Successful people try more things, fail, pick themselves up and try again until they succeed. Unsuccessful people try a few things, if they try at all and give-up, to go back to their normal routine. For the champion however, his purpose will give him the focus to win. The more you think of your purpose, how to achieve it, the more you activate the Law of Attraction in your life. There and then, you begin to attract the people, opportunities and the circumstances that will help you accomplish your purpose.
  A definite purpose also activates your subconscious on your behalf. Any thought, plan, or goal that you can clearly define will immediately start to be brought into reality by your subconscious. Your main purpose may be defined as the one goal that is most important to you. Usually, it is the one goal that will help you achieve more of your other goals. However, the main question you should ask yourself was: What major thing would you dare to dream if you know you could not fail? If you could be guaranteed of successfully achieving any goal, what one goal would it be? If you could write down your answer, you can achieve it. From then on, the only question remaining is: How? Your only limit is how badly you want it and how long you are willing to work for it.
  My only Nigerian hero is Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature. I met him while he gave the First Daily Independent Lecture in 2002. He was the guest speaker at the event. He was very punctual which forced me to ask if he believed in African time. He answered that lateness to events is caused by poor preparation. Of course, I hailed him as the only Nigerian to win the coveted prize among 150 million people. He told me that when he started his academic career after serving apprenticeship in the theatre in Britain, he decided he wanted to make a contribution in Literature. That was his major goal. He focused on it for more than thirty years. Eventually, he was successful, the first African to be so honoured. He told me: ‘‘I was happy when it happened but it was not a surprise.” Yes, it could not have been a surprise since he applied for it.
  You want to be a billionaire. The question is whether you can provide the necessary, investing all the years required to achieve that financial goal. If you are willing to pay the price, then, there is nothing that can stop you. You must think about your goal all the time. Choosing a definite goal with your decision to concentrate single-mindedly on that purpose, overcoming all obstacles until it is achieved will change your life for the better than any other decision you ever make. Whatever your definite purpose, write it down and begin working on it from this moment on. King David of ancient Israel says: ‘‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he, Proverbs 23:7. That means you always act based on your beliefs and convictions about yourself. Jesus said: ‘‘According to your faith, it will be done unto you,” Matt 9:29. Here he is saying that your beliefs become your realities.
  In: Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill said, ‘‘Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.” You are better than you know. Programme your greatness into your subconscious. If you believe that you are destined for greatness, you will walk, talk and act as if all that is happening to you in life is part of a great plan to make you successful. That is how great people think. Also, within every difficulty is the seed of an equal or greater advantage. With this attitude you benefit from whatever happens to you. Your job is to mentally create what you want to be in life.
  The three keys to achieving your purpose are commitment, completion and closure. A firm commitment to achieving your goals puts aside all excuses. Completion as an ingredient in peak performance doing your tasks hundred per cent instead of ninety per cent. For closure, it is the difference between an open loop and a closed one. Bringing closure to an issue is absolutely essential for you to be happy engendering a sense of accomplishment. Lack of closure meaning incomplete action on an issue is a major source of dissatisfaction and failure in life. Whereas, nothing will propel you to greatness faster than developing a reputation for getting your tasks done quickly, well and on schedule. Always write your goals down. A goal without a deadline is merely a discussion. Don’t be afraid to set a deadline. If you failed to meet a deadline, set another. If you want to fastrack your career, listen to inspirational radio programmes, take additional courses of study whenever you can. These investments in knowledge will propel you unfailingly into greatness. If financial freedom is your goal, from today begin to question every single expense. As your income increases, increase the amount you save. Become a learned man by reading a book a week.
  Our champion this week is Abraham Harold Maslow, the American psychologist and philosopher best known for his self actualization theory of psychology which argued that the primary goal of psychotherapy should be the integration of the self. Maslow was born on All Fools Day April 1908. He died in 1970. He studied psychology at the University of Winsconsin and Gestalt psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Then, he joined the staff of Brooklyn College in 1937. By 1951 he had become head of psychology department of Brandeis University, Massachusetts, where he remained until 1969.
  Maslow’s major works were: Motivation and Personality (1954) and Towards a Psychology of Being (I962). Maslow argued that each person has a hierarchy of needs that must be satisfied ranging from the requirements to love, esteem, and self actualization. As each need is satisfied, the next higher level dominates conscious functioning, thus people who lack food and shelter are unable to express higher needs. He believed that truly healthy people satisfied needs and were self actualizers. His papers published posthumously, were issued in 1971 as The Further Reaches of Human Nature.