Urhobo Historical Society
DEFENDERS OF PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO'S INVASION OF BAYELSA


One of the most intriguing aspects of the debates surrounding President Obasanjo's invasion of Bayelsa State, in central Niger Delta, was the nature of defence mounted on his behalf by Nigerians at home and abroad. In its initial phase, this was mostly in response to Peter Ekeh's letter to President Olusegun Obasanjo that questioned the moral and legal grounds for the invasion. Apart from Taiwo Ayedun's early reply that expressed compassion for the predicament confronting Niger Deltans, most of the other replies based their defence of the President's action on the requirements of law and order. It is noteworthy that whereas, say, Americans would be appalled by the employment of a division of the Army to flush out some twenty criminals from a town of thirty thousand people, Nigerians have become so used to military operations that some of their intellectuals are willing to entrust domestic law and order problems to a military establishment that operates well above the law. What is reassuring, however, is that supporters of the President's invasion were in the minority. The views featured in the following selections do not necessarily represent the predominant position of Nigerian intellectuals and opinion leaders on this issue.

Political philosophers, or at any rate those inclined to matters of political thought, who read these entries may note that there is a Nigerian penchant for categorizing the behaviors of people in different regions in a way that blurs the distinction between individuals and their communities. There are frequent references in these entries to "hoodlums" and "criminal youth" in a manner that suggests that their misbehaviors justify mass punishment of their people. This is especially obvious from President Obasanjo's own defence of his action, as narrated by his formidable and apparently eloquent image maker, Dr. Doyin Okukpe, and in the similarly nuanced double memoranda from Eric Ayoola.

The entries here are arranged according to the dates of authorship and sequence of references to common sources.


TAIWO AYEDUN REPLIES TO EKEH'S LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBASANJO, EXPRESSING SYMPATHIES FOR THE BAD CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE NIGER DELTA
November 23, 1999
LEKE ADEOFE, WRITING IN NAIJANET, SUPPORTS OBASANJO'S INVASION AS A MATTER OF LAW AND ORDER
November 23, 1999
DR. NOSA EGIEBOR, A NIGERIAN LIVING IN THE US, REJECTS EKEH'S ARGUMENTS AND STRONGLY DEFENDS PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO'S ACTION IN THE NIGER DELTA
November 24, 1999
 COLLINS BABALOLA, LIVING IN CANADA, DISAGREES WITH EKEH'S REASONING AND STRONGLY SUPPORTS OBASANJO'S INVASION
November 24, 1999
 TAIWO AYEDUN'S REJOINDER TO COLLINS BABALOLA AFFIRMS THE URGENT NEED TO TAKE SOME POSITIVE STEPS IN NIGER DELTA
November 24, 1999
PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO DEFENDS HIS INVASION OF BAYELSA STATE AGAINST HIS CRITICS
November 30, 1999
 "THE IJAWS AND MILITANT AGITATION"
By Eric Ayoola
November 30, 1999
 ERIC AYOOLA WRITES EKEH REJECTING HIS ARGUMENTS AND DEFENDING PRESIDENT OBASANJO'S INVASION OF BAYELSA STATE
December 4, 1999



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