Thursday 23 September 2021

The Life and Death of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Iyorshe

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aker Iyorshe captured during filming of the 1986 PBS series “The Africans: A Triple Heritage”

Iyorshe was a brilliant Nigerian Army officer who was implicated in an alleged conspiracy to overthrow the military regime led by (then) Major General Ibrahim Babangida. He was arrested in December 1985, sentenced to death in February 1986 and executed on March 5th 1986.

. Lt. Colonel Iyorshe was an infantry officer born of the Tiv ethnic group.

. He won the Sword of Honour at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) for achieving the best overall performance during his initial officer training.

. He came first in the officer promotion exams respectively for Lieutenant to Captain and Captain to Major.

. He was the best foreign officer at junior staff college in Canada.

. He attended senior officer staff training at Camberley in England where he excelled at fieldcraft

. As a Major he commanded a battalion at Birnin Kebbi in North Western Nigeria and then served as Brigade Major in the Brigade of Guards in Lagos.

. He was promoted from Major to Substantive Lieutenant Colonel with effect from September 20th, 1984.

. In 1984, he was appointed as a member of Directing Staff (DS) at the Command and Staff College in Jaji soon after the coup which brought Major General Buhari to power.

. Controversy still surrounds the alleged conspiracy which some refer to as a phantom coup. Others believe that general discussions which were critical of the Babangida regime were misconstrued as evidence of an intent to proceed with a plan to overthrow the military government.

. Iyorshe was perceived to be a non-political officer as was evidenced by his negative attitude to the 1983 coup which overthrew the civilian government of President Shehu Shagari. However, he is said to have had misgivings about the government of Babangida, a man who he described as a "master of intrigue".

. The following quote is attributed to Iyorshe:

"What I personally feel is that the nation itself needed a better deal. There have always been people whose only ambition is to lead, not serving any national interest. There has always been individual, tribal or business rights, never the rights of this nation to a better image; social, economic, political and military programs and plans. Nigeria deserves a group of people or leaders transparently honest enough to publish all their assets and liabilities on the pages of newspapers for the world to see. Not a nation where anybody will be allowed to have a foreign bank account let alone the millions stored away. The nation should be such that any Nigerian regardless of his tribe or religion will have the right to aspire to the leadership or rulership of the country. Nigeria was fast sinking to a state of despondency and anarchy. They never and still never trust their leaders. The anarchy at our airports characterises the state of the nation. Corruption is rife in this country and transcends all spheres of life. It is something the nation has to solve. Professional incompetence and mediocrity are rewarded whereas hard work is mocked.

Within the military, the situation was and still is very tense. The welfare of soldiers is totally neglected such that soldiers still live in batchers over ten years after the civil war; no uniforms, no drugs in the hospitals; soldiers are being subjected to too much guard duties, little or no chance to themselves and their families. The discipline in the army in particular was deteriorating rapidly as exemplified by the report of what happened in Lagos on August 27th, 1985 (Iyorshe was referring to the looting of Buhari's personal possessions from his home by coupists).

The question of leadership was not discussed quite seriously, but it was with one exception, felt that the army had always dominated leadership. This was not an issue anyway as there were no solid plans regarding such things, the method of operation and the question of finance. I never considered myself for any higher military or political appointments. In fact, at first, all of us believed that if we succeeded, some senior officers of honesty would be called to rule.

Personally up till quite recently, I never believed that coups solve any problem or else Bolivia would be paradise on earth. But then things seemed to get worse and worse."

. Iyorshe is said to have been calm at the execution stake and is claimed to have even directed some lighthearted words towards Major General Mamman Vatsa who was tied to the stake next to his. Both men laughed.

. Iyorshe was executed on the birthday of his only son.


. Both Iyorshe and his fellow instructor Lieutenant Colonel Moses Effiong were filmed performing their duties at the Command and Staff College in 1985. The footage appeared in Episode 6 of PBS-produced series The Africans: A Triple Heritage. The episode was titled “In Search of Stability”.

. Effiong, whose sentence was commuted to a term of life imprisonment, denied being a part of the plot and claimed that he was implicated by Iyorshe, with whom he had fallen out in 1983. Effiong’s wife died in a road accident while on her way to visit him in prison. He was released in 1993.

.  Effiong was pardoned in 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari whose military regime had been overthrown by Major General Babangida in August 1985.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2021)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Saturday 18 September 2021

Capitalism Has Not Served the American Economy Well But Nancy Pelosi Has Done Little To Ameliorate Its Effects

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Oil-on-Canvas by Rebecca Lazinger, 2020)

In a speech titled “State of American Democracy” at an event held at Chatham House, London on September 17, 2021, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that capitalism “has not served (the U.S.) economy as well as it should”. Yet Pelosi, who argued that “you cannot have a system where the success of some springs from the exploitation of the workers”, has over the years demonstrated her support for corporate interests over those of workers. She has also been a keen backer of the Military Industry and the National Security State in the wasteful wars of regime change which have hugely profited a few while costing her country trillions of dollars that could have been purposefully spent on alleviating poverty, tackling homelessness and giving young people a debt-free college education.

Pelosi’s statement will inevitably invite an examination of her record in confronting the excesses of capitalism in all its manifestations during her political career.

Where was she when the out-of-control investment banks were bailed out after bringing the US economy to the brink of ruin in the late 2000s? Pelosi voted to bail them out because they were "too big to fail". But more damming, Pelosi did nothing to save those who had their homes and properties foreclosed after being set up to fail by the financial institutions.

Indeed, she has accepted election contributions from the criminally-orientated Goldman Sachs which made a fortune by betting against its own clients prior to the aforementioned financial meltdown.

More recently, Pelosi was not active in attempting to extend the moratorium of evictions caused by the prevailing circumstances of the covid-era. Nor has she vigorously sought to extinguish student loan debt.

She is a great supporter of the US National Security State and its financial and morally costly policy of regime change. She stood up and applauded the C.I.A. stooge Juan Guaido when President Donald Trump pointed him out at the State of the Union Address during which Pelosi theatrically tore up her copy of Trump’s speech.

Pelosi's support for Guaido, whom the US was using as the figurehead of an opposition movement designed to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela, is not surprising given that she has received campaign money from powerful elements within the Military Industry such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

This sheds light on the hypocrisy of so-called "liberal" support for interventionist wars on the grounds of "humanitarian bombing". It explains why Pelosi the "liberal" not only supported the decade-long endeavour by the United States and its regional allies to overthrow the government of Syria, she opposed Trump's policy of getting out of Syria (the eastern part of which the U.S. illegally occupies), and continues to support the harsh regime of sanctions against the Ba'athist-led nation which after frustrating the concerted effort to destroy it, is in desperate need of all the resources it can muster from reconstruction. In 2019, Pelosi had even tweeted that Trump's anti-Syrian sanctions package was not strong enough.

Today, the wealthiest corporations get away with paying minimal or no tax at all while making tens of billions in profits. That lost revenue together with the trillions lost through futile efforts made at effecting regime change and nation building such as in Afghanistan (described as a “wealth transfer from U.S. taxpayers to military contractors”) could be better spent at alleviating poverty, tackling homelessness, and providing young people with a debt-free college education.

Pelosi is a wealthy woman. If she was genuinely left-wing, she could be described as a "Champagne Socialist". As things stand she perfectly captures the appellation of what is pejoratively termed a "Shitlib".

© Adeyinka Makinde (2021).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Africa Speaks | "So What is New in Africa?" | September 14, 2021

Tuesday, September 14th 2021.

A dialogue with Steve Mulindwa on his programme “Africa Speaks”. We will be discussing issues related to the present and future of the African continent including regional insurgencies, secessionist movements, ethnicised politics and the role of women in politics and national reconstruction.


.  Adeyinka Makinde

The host was Steve Mulindwa.

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021.

Original Programme Link

© Omega Live TV (2021).

Monday 13 September 2021

Forthcoming Interview on "Africa Speaks"

I am scheduled to join Steve Mulindwa tomorrow for an interview on his programme “Africa Speaks”. We will be discussing issues related to the present and future of the African continent including regional insurgencies, secessionist movements, ethnicised politics and the role of women in politics and national reconstruction.

It will be streamed live on OMEGA Live on YouTube and Facebook on Tuesday, September 14th 2021 between 7.30PM and 8.30PM British Standard Time.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2021).

Adeyinka Makinde is based in London, England.

Wednesday 1 September 2021

Do Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley have a Legally Binding Contract to Rematch?

The recent boxing match between the much-followed YouTuber Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley, a former welterweight champion of the UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, ended in a split decision victory for the 24-year-old Paul over the 39-year-old Woodley. During the post-fight interview conducted in the ring, Woodley demanded an immediate rematch and Paul responded by extracting a promise from Woodley to have the words “I LOVE JAKE PAUL” tattooed onto his body. But given Paul’s evident reluctance to pursue a rematch which included his 25-hour ‘retirement’ from the sport and Woodley’s reluctance to get a tattoo until he “sees some paperwork”, the question is whether both men already have a legally binding agreement.

United States contract law is similar to that of England's.

To establish whether there is a legally binding agreement, there must be an element of bargain. This is known as 'consideration'. A promise for a promise or a promise for an act would suffice.

So, applying this to their post-fight exchange, both men appeared to make unequivocal promises to the other:

Paul: "If you get the tattoo 'I LOVE JAKE PAUL', I'll run it back"

Woodley: Bet. Let's go!"

Then Paul follows up by saying "deal".

Paul's initial words could be construed as an unequivocal statement indicating a willingness to be legally bound, while Woodley's riposte can be construed as an unequivocal intention to be legally bound by the terms of the offer. In other words, an acceptance of an offer. Both men consolidated the exchange with a firm handshake.

An agreement has been reached.

Now, the saying goes that "All contracts are agreements, but not all agreements are contracts". There must be serious intent; that is, an intention to create legal relations.

This can be a problem where both parties are related (by consanguinity or affinity) or are friends. Thus, agreements made within a commercial setting, here in the ring after a prize fighting contest, are more likely to be construed as legally binding than those which are made in a social or domestic setting.

Evidence of the seriousness of intent is arguably solidified by Jake Paul's brother Logan's eye-socket popping reaction of disbelief in the background when Woodley accepts the condition.

If Paul reneges on the agreement, Woodley ought to have grounds to enforce it in court where an order of specific performance could be reached, that is, Jake is ordered to stage another prize fight, or an order for the payment of damages to Woodley, in lieu of a fight.

Might Paul have a defence?

Paul might argue that as Woodley had already agreed to the idea of affixing a tattoo at a pre-fight conference if he lost the bout, Woodley would only be performing his side of an earlier bargain.

That might somewhat murky the waters although Woodley might want to argue that the nature of their exchange in the fight’s aftermath was enough to create a fresh set of obligations that are legally enforceable.

Ultimately, the existence or non-existence of a contract would have to be determined presumably under the jurisdiction of the laws of the state of Ohio.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2021)

Adeyinka Makinde is a law lecturer who is based in London, England.