The media brawl ignited by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) severing ties with Bola Tinubu, Nigeria’s President-elect over grave allegations of massive election fraud has taken a new twist.
Tinubu opened fire on NADECO’s Executive Director in the United State, Lloyd Ukwu, for daring to fault the process that gave him his electoral victory.
Tinubu’s Special Adviser, Dele Alake, in a statement claimed that NADECO was disparaging and casting aspersions on the credibility of the 2023 presidential election, which according to him, was freely and fairly won by his principal.
Undaunted, NADECO says it is going to continue what it did on June 12, 1993, and that is to stand for free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria.
Quoting what a Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: “Change is the only constant in life”, NADECO said it will only advise Dele Alake to join it and stand for the truth and the Rule of Law – “to embrace our clamor for freedom and justice for the Republic of Nigeria.”
NADECO disagrees with Dele Alake where he posits with characteristic APC impunity that “there is absolutely nothing Ukwu and his ilk can do to change this fact of history.”
Returning the salvo, the group said, “NADECO can do something, and it is doing something. NADECO is pushing the truth forward and the truth shall set the people of Nigeria free.
“NADECO prevailed once before and enthroned true democracy in Nigeria. History is bound to repeat itself. Nigerians, especially the millions of young Nigerians, passionately yearn for true change. If given the opportunity to lead and change the generations-long imperialistic- faux democracy we witness today in Nigeria, the people of Nigeria will reverse the present status quo of the youths and the masses having no say.
“NADECO wants to see true tenets of democracy entrenched in Nigeria’s democratic processes, and Nigeria, being restructured with a Constitution approved by the citizenry and the 1960 dream of a true federal republic made real.”
In a response to the outburst of Tinubu’s aide, NADECO’s General Counsel, W. Bruce DelValle, said Dele Alake is a political operative on the payroll of Tinubu.
According to him, “I am not a political operative or a hired mouthpiece. I am a Constitutional and International Law litigator with many years’ experience on Nigerian matters. I am compelled to set the record straight on these issues, as follows.
“One of the foremost American presidents, Abraham Lincoln once averred, ‘you can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.’
“Obviously, such is the unfortunate underlying narrative inherent in the incoherent text of Mr. Henry Dele Alake seeking to dupe the Nigerian people as regards NADECO and its Executive Director, Mr. Lloyd Ukwu.
“Alake is a pawn of the Tinubu machine that has as little regard for the truth in this matter as his master Tinubu generally has for the proper counting of the years since his birth.
“First, for the record, NADECO USA is not a splinter group, nor is Lloyd Ukwu an impostor, as alleged by Dele Alake. Ukwu is the Executive Director of NADECO, USA in Washington, DC..
“This is a position he has held for years. This can be verified, both by Alake’s principal, Tinubu, the United States government and the District of Columbia’s government.
“Second, following the NADECO press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on March 8, 2023, NADECO would have been surprised if that event did not attract this type of buzz and of course response from Tinubu’s financially captive and enslaved media team.”
NADECO is accordingly urging Alake to bring forth factual data and evidence to support his NADECO claims, adding that he cannot counter NADECO’s facts.
“NADECO’s message is loud and clear to Nigerians, at home and abroad, and to the international community that the just concluded presidential election on February 25, 2023, that produced Tinubu as the president-elect, who happens to be one of our former members was shamelessly flawed, and short of NADECO’S democratic ideologies, and international best practices and standard.
“NADECO would have expected Alake to at least marshal his own version of the facts contrary to NADECO’s concise and clear factual narrative stated in its press conference.
“Instead, he didn’t even bother to stoop so low as to present alternative facts, he went lower. In the absence of any legitimate argument, Alake instead chose to tarnish the image of NADECO’s Executive Director, Lloyd Ukwu, and thus try to destroy the messenger because the message is unassailable.
“This tactic is an act of desperation indicative of nothing substantive to say. School boys use this argument when they have been intellectually disarmed because they have nothing else to say beyond stammering ad hominem attacks, sputtered in hopeless desperation”, says the pro-democracy group.
NADECO suggests to Nigerians and the international community that the continued attacks on it, and its leadership should be expected to dominate the media in the coming days and weeks.
Continuing, it says this poisoned style of journalism is Alake’s bought-and-paid-for modus operandi. The ad hominem attack style used by poor Alake in avoidance of the substance of the speech and instead criticizes the speaker is a classic logical fallacy, a last resort tactic of the intellectually unarmed.
Adding, it said, “this brutish and plebeian approach of winner takes all and win at all costs approach shorn of human decency and integrity is emblematic of Alake’s masters’ thuggish approach to politics – all issues are either their way or no way and their ethos has been shown to be that no act is too despicable or morally bankrupt in the quest to always win elections by any means necessary.
“It’s either their way or no way and we will win the election by any means necessary. Despite Alake’s frantic and wild-eyed hysterics, NADECO did not hold the press conference, according to Alake, ‘specifically to disparage and cast aspersions on the credibility of the 2023 Presidential Election freely and fairly won by the President-elect, Tinubu.’
“The press conference was primarily intended to put the facts, figures and circumstances surrounding the dangerously flawed February 25, 2023, Presidential Election to the international community, that even the visually impaired were aware of.
“NADECO does not underestimate how difficult it would be to wage a media war in the court of public opinion against Tinubu and the APC controlled organizations because they control a large chunk of the media in Nigeria and not surprisingly outside Nigeria, with a reputation of threats and intimidation of contrary voices and opinion.
They have public funds to throw around media houses, but NADECO does not. NADECO only has the truth.
“NADECO and Ukwu are not impostors, as alleged by Alake.
Alake however, said NADECO is “hellbent on hoodwinking unsuspecting Nigerians in the diaspora and the international community to further a sinister agenda on behalf of the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi.”
Responding, NADECO said, “Alake hyperventilating feverish babbling, while nearly incomprehensible, is immeasurably very far from the truth.
“NADECO’s only mandate is and always has been and always will be to maintain the NADECO legacy and tradition of nonpartisanship laced with zero tolerance for any ethnic affiliations in the singular pursuit and preservation of democracy and the Rule of Law in Nigeria.
“Ukwu, the Executive Director of NADECO does not know the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, or has ever met him, or had open/secret meetings with Peter Obi.”
NADECO is therefore challenging Alake to produce evidence of NADECO’s association with Obi.
“During the June 12, 1993, election in which Chief MKO Abiola emerged as the winner, NADECO fought to retrieve his mandate. Today, and 30 years later, NADECO is doing exactly what it did in 1993, to protect the people’s mandate.
“NADECO is brilliantly doing what it was formed to do, and is known for; which is to fight electoral injustice and impunity.”
NADECO says it finds Alake’s statement that the group is “attempting to fraudulently exploit the NADECO platform for Peter Obi”, very laughable and childish.
“NADECO is merely fighting to recover the Nigerian people’s mandate as it did in 1993, spitting in the eyes of would-be illegitimate unelected tyrants without regard to party, tribal affiliation, geographic region, or partisanship.
“Ukwu was not peripheral to NADECO. As a renowned and reputable attorney when he was practicing in the United States, Ukwu registered NADECO in the USA in 1995. The records are there at the District of Columbia Department of Regulatory Affairs which is the equivalent of Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“The Certificate of Incorporation was issued to Ukwu which is currently in the NADECO possession today. This is a fact, Alake’s principal, Tinubu cannot dispute. I wonder where Alake was then?
“The evidence of Ukwu’s visit, in company of Chief Anthony Enahoro, the late head of NADECO abroad, to the Canadian Foreign Minister, the Honorable Lloyd Axworthy, is there for public scrutiny.
“Ukwu’s presentation at the Commonwealth meeting in London where he represented NADECO USA and argued for the suspension of Nigeria as a member due to various human rights abuses is available for scrutiny.
“The interview that Ukwu granted to the BBC after the meeting in London could be dug up from BBC’s archives. So is the one granted to Voice of America (VoA) upon his return to the USA.
“The records of a series of meetings at the United States Department of State in Susan Rice’s office, including one held a day before she traveled to Nigeria to meet with MKO Abiola before his death, is also available.
“Upon Susan Rice’s return, she summoned another meeting where NADECO chieftains were in attendance, including Ukwu. At that meeting, Susan Rice presented Chief MKO Abiola’s glasses to Ms. Hafsat Abiola who was in attendance as well at the meeting.
“According to Susan Rice, when Chief MKO Abiola collapsed and fell to the ground, his glasses flew off his face. She picked the glasses up and symbolically brought them to the meeting which took place at the State Department. Ukwu can recount this touching historic narrative because he was there – as an eyewitness to history
“Ukwu worked relentlessly with the US Congress to arrange for the then Head of NADECO in North America, Chief Ralph Obioha to address the Congressional Subcommittee on Africa at the US Congress. The archived records exist to confirm this fact. As God would have it, the Congressional Staffer who Ukwu worked together to put together the hearing at US Congress, attended the NADECO press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“NADECO has no paymaster. Ukwu has no one bankrolling him. He did not have a pay master during the June 12, 1993, struggle then and he does not have now, but he has the truth.
“The public must be made aware, and the record is extant in support, that Ukwu put his life on the line too. Ukwu was declared persona non grata by the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.
“He could not attend his mother’s burial in Nigeria. Ukwu’s younger brother who attended the burial from Washington, D.C. was arrested and held at the Lagos airport because of his close resemblance to his elder brother, Ukwu. It took the intervention of the United States’ embassy before he was released.
“Against the United States embassy’s advice, Ukwu’s brother insisted he must attend the burial.”
The General Counsel said neither NADECO nor Ukwu are agents of the Labour Party, PDP, NNPP, among others, pointing out that NADECO is an agent of the Nigerian people, especially the youths who want to see a better Nigeria.
“Alake seems obviously to be in another world when he said that the ‘majority of Nigerians have spoken loud and clear that Tinubu is their choice to lead Nigeria from May 29, 2023.’
“It might interest him to know that The EU and US Election Monitoring groups, Chatham House, and other reputable international groups think otherwise.
“Further evidence that Alake is blissfully oblivious and unconcerned with the realities of the Nigerian 2023 political and electoral crisis and in another world when he says that a ‘majority of Nigerians’ voted for Tinubu to lead is the simple and clear fact obvious to anyone that can do simple math that only approximately ten percent (10%) of Nigeria’s registered voters voted for Tinubu – if INEC’s dubious results are proved. Clearly math, like truth, is not a strong suit of the Tinubu Camp.
“And let us be perfectly clear, all NADECO demands is proof that the announced INEC results in conformance with existing Nigerian law and International Human Rights Article 25 norms of free, fair, transparent, and safe elections.”, NADECO said.
Chief Obioha, NADECO Chieftain
For them, equal rights and justice beget peace, stressing that Alake should note NADECO’s message: Good Governance and credible elections in Nigeria through the Rule of Law and true democracy.
Arguing, it added, “if Alake cannot embrace this mandate, then let the leopard skulk back into the shadows having shown his true spots.
“NADECO believes that the pathway to brotherhood, peace, tranquility, love, justice and freedom is obvious and before all Nigerians. Let us all take the first steps together.”
Also spitting fire, Chief Ralph Obioha said, “in my capacity as a NADECO chieftain and it’s former Head in North America, and having read this diatribe by Alake and being aware of the ignoble intentions behind it, I make bold to say that Prof Wole Soyinka was never a member of NADECO.
“At the time, he had contemporaneously formed his own group which he called NALCO and which, according to him, was aimed at forming a Nigerian Government in Exile.
“Soyinka’s role in NADECO was limited to occasional collaborations because NADECO saw him as someone who was generally pursuing goals somewhat similar to that of NADECO.”
On Ukwu, he said he was a major pillar in the NADECO struggle, especially in the American continents, comprising the United States, Canada and some South American countries.
“When NADECO had no kobo, Ukwu sponsored three air tickets to Ottawa, Canada, one to Haiti and funded costly outreaches to many countries, includingTaiwan. Initially, Ukwu donated a befitting office space for NADECO in the prestigious Georgetown area of Washington DC, USA and he went on to later secure an exclusive-use office for NADECO directly opposite the headquarters of the FBI.
“This was deliberately done to ensure that NADECO and its principal officers like myself are completely protected by our proximity to the seat of the United States apex security agency.
“Aleke is a johnny-come-lately who does not have any factual knowledge of what he is talking about in the said press statement. He cleverly but clumsily avoided talking about me, even as it is in the public domain that I was the head of NADECO USA and Canada.
“He did not even have the basic decency of mentioning Chief John Oyegun who, like Lloyd Ukwu, played a diverse mix of pivotal roles”, Obioha said..
Alake allegedly minimized the major roles of the heroes past, such as Chief Anthony Enahoro, Rear Admiral Ndublsl Kanu, Air Commodore Dan Sulueman, Chief Ralph Uwaechie, etc.
“For the record and because Alake was indirectly playing the ethnic card, let me state that Ukwu is married to a Yoruba lady by name of Remi, a prominent pharmacist in the United States.
“His children are therefore half-Yoruba. It is a gross injustice to the contributions of Ukwu to our noble struggle to enthrone civil rule in Nigeria to suggest that he or NADECO, as presently constituted, are working for Peter Obi.
“For the record, we worked for and are still working for enthronement of true democracy in Nigeria based on the popular will of Nigerians, as expressed through free and fair elections”, Obioha said, pointing out that Ukwu is legitimate; his NADECO activities and credentials are legitimate; and he has the inalienable right to hold his political opinion, especially when geared to helping Nigeria’s democracy to flourish through a credible electoral process.
“We indeed need more activists like him”, Obioha adds.