• Politics
  • Updated: March 31, 2024

Onanuga speaks on how journalists pushed out IBB, Abacha’s dictatorships

Onanuga speaks on how journalists pushed out IBB, Abacha’s

The Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has revealed how his efforts and those of some other journalists were instrumental to ending the military regimes of former dictators – Ibrahim Babangida and the late Sani Abacha.

Onanuga disclosed this in a programme titled ‘Mic On Podcast’ hosted by Channels TV presenter, Seun Okinbaloye. The video was released on Saturday.

It will be recalled that Babangida ruled Nigeria as a military dictator for eight years from 1985 to 1993 before Nigerian Ernest Shonekan succeeded him as the Head of the Interim National Government.

Shonekan’s interim government was later toppled by Abacha, who ruled from 1993 to 1998 before his death.

Onanuga worked as an editor at the defunct African Concord magazine before founding TheNews magazine.

In his interview, the presidential aide stated that his efforts, alongside others, were to help put the nation on the right path and pave the transition from military rule to a democratic system of government.

He recalled that they (journalists) began to question the ills of society during his time as an editor at the African Concord magazine, saying, “At that time, my journalism was centrered on looking at people at the centre point of issues rather than just looking at issues.

“So, if Babangida was messing up in those days, we tried to question him, not looking at issues.

“What we were doing in those days, we were trying to make sure that this country is put on the right path. That we were fighting for democracy, for the rights of all Nigerians, and at that time, we were ready to lose our own convenience and everything to make sure that this country was well-governed.”

He, however, noted that instead of the military, it was better “for us to have people that we elect out of our own free will and not for soldiers because they have the guns to govern our people.

“That was all we were doing at that time.”

Asked if he thought his aim was achieved as a journalist, Onanuga said: “Of course. I think at the end of the day when the military left power, even when Babangida left power in 1993, I think we were very happy that at least we succeeded in pushing him out.

“And when Abacha took over and we found that he wasn’t ready to allow democracy to reign, we also began a new round of struggle, and when he died, we were very happy that he died."

Onanuga noted that before Abacha’s death, some journalists, including himself had to run away, saying, “We came back to our country to continue to play our roles to make sure that this country enthrones democracy.

“And I think as a journalist, because of the crusade that we fought for at that time, I think I’ll say our crusade succeeded", he added.

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