Saturday 31 December 2022

He served: Corporal Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) of the Brazilian Army on sentry duty during his national military service

Private Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) on sentry duty. PHOTO: Revista Militar de 1960.

Pele was a veteran of the Brazilian Army, doing his military service in the 6th GAC (Santos Motor Artillery Group) in the late 1950s.

During his national service Pele played for:

.  his barracks team and

. the Brazilian army team.

He won two tournaments for the barracks team:

. The one for barracks in Santos and

. The one for the barracks of Sao Paulo.

He represented the Brazilian armed forces in the 1959 South American Military Championship in which Brazil faced the Argentine team in the final. Pele scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory to crown Brazil the South American champion of the Armed Forces.

Pele was sent off for the first time in his career for attacking an Argentinean player.

Pele also donned an army uniform in his appearance in the 1980 movie "Escape to Victory". He played the role of Corporal Luis Fernandez. His co-stars included the Hollywood stars Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone, as well as fellow footballers Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, and Kazimierz Deyna.

Descanse em paz, O Rei!

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Thursday 29 December 2022

Translated Arabic Short Version of a letter from Ottoman officials to Emperor Idris Alooma of Kanem-Bornu

Part of a series of letters sent from the Ottoman Empire to Mai Idris Alooma of Kanem-Bornu in around 1577.

This is the "Short Arabic Version".

Source: "Mai Idris of Bornu and the Ottoman Turks, 1576-78" by B. G. Martin in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 3, No. 4 (October 1972), pp. 470-490. Published by Cambridge University Press.


Translated Arabic Short Version of a letter from Ottoman officials to Emperor Idris Alooma in the paper "Mai Idris of Bornu and the Ottoman Turks, 1576-78":

“This is our noble, sublime, and sultan-like letter, our exalted, high, and khaqan-like message-may it continue to be effective and command obedience in [all] regions and districts, with the helpful assistance of the Unseen Benefactor! We have despatched it to the honourable person of amir's rank, the most great, the most noble, the most imposing, the most magnificent, glorious and perfect, the most eminent, the Imam-like and heroic, the patron of the ghazis and the participants in the Holy War, the upholder of kings and sultans, the person designed to receive a superabundance of divine favour, MALIK IDRIS, at present the wali of the wilaya of Bornu-May the Almighty prolong his happiness and make his endeavour successful by right guidance! Let him accept [our] best greetings and high praise!

[You] should be aware that your noble letter has arrived at our sublime threshold, where mighty sultans take refuge, and to which distinguished khaqans vaunt their connection, by the hand of your messenger, the exemplary and prominent al-Hajji... '-may his rank be raised! And he has explained to our lofty and illustrious presence what it contains of extreme friendliness, and an intensification of the sincere good will [existing between us]. He has mentioned your request that the bases of sincere friendship be reinforced, and the foundation of true amity strengthened, and that whosoever wishes among the goers  and comers of the population of your domains should pass into our wilaya, including merchants and visitors, so that [such traffic] may become a cause of the perfection of [our reciprocal] esteem, and an inducement to the growth of union and harmony.

[As to] what there is in addition to the matters [you have] mentioned, and the requests which remain, it has become clear and evident, and fully comprehended by our noble intellect, which has grasped the details of information [which you have supplied], both in quantity and in quality. Hence it should be known and understood by you, that our exalted and khaqan-line thresholds and our high and sultan-like portals are opened wide to the faces of friends and enemies, nor do we turn away loved ones and sincere friends who have taken refuge there. Indeed, our noble decrees and illustrious commands have reached our excellent governors, who guard the frontier fortresses and halting places, the protectors of all watering places and stages of the journey, not to hinder the coming of merchants and visitors, nor to prevent the entry into our well-guarded realms, of believers and well-intentioned persons.

And your aforementioned messenger has informed us of your petition, addressed to our noble person, that the fortress known as Quran should be ceded to you. You are well aware that it is not one of the precepts of our mighty forefathers, nor the custom of our generous ancestors, to cede any part of the citadels which have been in their hands, nor a foot's breadth of the lands and territories which have come under their rule, and which they have administered. Had it not been for this point, the thing claimed would have been handed over legally, for we have discovered that our mighty [ancestors] followed this same scheme.

On receiving our noble letter, you must continue to restrain the regions under your rule, to protect the frontiers, and to guard the existing fortresses within the compass of your wilaya, and make the greatest efforts, as is expected of you, [for your] aim is the regulation of the affairs of the poor and unfortunate, and the termination of the business of all travellers, following the utterance of the Almighty: 'Truly, the believers are brothers, so set matters aright among your brethren' [Qur'an, xLIX, io], and the hadith of the Chief of the Prophets-on whom the purest of blessings!-'All believers are brothers.' So be in accord with the peoples of these lands, the villages, and those who are in your districts from among the generality of the subjects and the entirety of mankind, and all the amirs, inasmuch as war and combat are inevitable. And if you require aid and assistance, supplies and support, it is incumbent on you to inform the amirs of  those regions and the walis of those districts and countries, so that they may set aside [supplies] for you, and make efforts on your behalf, and employ the greatest zeal and exertion [for you], and defend you and the rest of the land through good understanding and the most faultless harmony [against] the harmful tricks of the enemies of religion, and the cunning of the foes of the revealed.”

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Captain Reuben James Rawe: Veteran of the Normandy Landings and Nigerian Naval Pioneer

Commander Reuben James Rawe walks behind Commodore J.E.A. Wey, the Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, during a passing out parade of one hundred non-commissioned naval personnel in April 1967 (Still from a Reuters newsreel).

I have always wanted to piece together a sketch of the career of Reuben James Rawe, an expatriate English naval officer of whom I had only the skimpiest of memories from my childhood in Nigeria. But the memories have been lightened in recent years as I discovered old newsreel footage to do with the Nigerian Navy, an organisation within which my Father made a career and of which Rawe helped develop from its early years. Rawe, I have since discovered, was a participant in the Normandy invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, as well as a ship’s commander during the Nigerian Civil War. He also won a libel action against a prominent author who had referred to him in a book as a “swashbuckling mercenary.” In 2016, at age 90, Rawe was among the ever-decreasing number of World War 2 veterans who were honoured for their roles in the D-Day landings by receiving the Legion d'honneur medal.

The earliest record that I have of Reuben James Rawe is among the names of temporary Midshipmen contained in a list provided by the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). A Midshipman is the lowest rank of an officer, and Rawe, who would have been at least eighteen at the time, has his date of entry as January 20th, 1944. Less than five months later, First Lieutenant Rawe would serve as the navigating officer on a Mark IV Landing Craft Tank (LCT 977) during the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. His vessel had been earmarked to land at Utah Beach, a task that was fraught with great obstacles amid the chaos of war. He offered the following recollection to the National Museum of the Royal Navy in 2018:

As dawn broke, we moved to our allocated area. We had a Battalion of HQ Company of the US 12th Infantry on board commanded by a Colonel Luckett. As the first waves of troops started their dash to the beach the Colonel got reports of how easy it was but the beach control party had made a mistake. We were landing in the wrong place, between the beaches scheduled as Utah and Omaha. When we got to the final departure point 1000yds from the beach, landing was temporarily stopped. The beach was coming under heavy fire, but the Colonel decided he had to get in and find out what was happening. I heard later that out of the 180 men we landed, only 27 survived the first 14 days and Colonel Luckett took over command of the Division as the senior surviving Officer.

A photograph taken of Rawe soon after his return to Portsmouth from Normandy in HM LCT 1051 appeared in the Portsmouth Evening News.

Rawe stayed on in the Royal Navy until 1955 when he opted to find employment with the naval force of the British colony of Nigeria. The role of a naval officer in West Africa is one which appealed to some about-to-retire British naval officers and others who aspired to nautical careers. The young Graham Greene for one nursed alternate ambitions after completing his degree at Oxford University. One was to join the colonial service, while the other was to join the “Nigerian Navy.”

In the 1920s, the yet to be constituted Nigerian Naval Force was known as the colonial Marine Department of the Royal Navy which in 1959 was redesignated as the Royal Nigerian Navy. By 1960, the year Nigeria would obtain its independence from Britain, the nascent navy had few Indigenous officers. In his 2019 paper titled “Historicizing the Development and Intensification of the Nigerian Navy between 1956-1958” for the International Journal of History and Cultural Studies, Dr. William Abiodun Duyile notes that the navy had one Nigerian officer in the executive branch, three in the engineering branch and five in the supply branch. “The rest of the officers were retired Royal Navy officers.”

As was the case with the Nigerian Army, independence brought with it a policy of rapid “Nigerianisation.” But the necessity of foreign input through the secondments and training teams provided by Britain and India was a given. As a “military brat” I came to know some of these figures, officers such as Captain Ian Wright and Commodore M.P. Singh who were around in the 1970s. Prior to them was Captain James Rawe.

Rawe appeared not to be merely an expatriate on secondment but in fact, an integrated member of the more or less fully indigenised naval force which had dropped the “Royal” prefix when the nation became a republic in 1963. His promotions were announced alongside Nigerian Navy promotions within the Nigerian government's official gazette. For instance, he was promoted to the rank of Substantive Captain in June 1969 on the same day that Nelson Soroh was promoted to Substantive Commodore. This, incidentally, was the same day that my Father was promoted to Substantive Lieutenant Commander along with Ebenge Okpo and Alfred Diete-Spiff, the military governor of the old Rivers State.

Also, whereas British military officers recommended to receive medals on the British honours system were referred to as been “on loan to the government of the Federation of Nigeria”, the award of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) to Lieutenant Commander Rawe at the beginning of 1964 referred to him as an officer of the Royal Nigerian Navy, while the 1967 award of the Ordinary Officer of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order (O.B.E.) to Commander Rawe referred to him as an officer of the Nigerian Navy.

Newsreel clips capture Rawe’s service at various official and ceremonial engagements usually shadowing the Chief of Naval Staff, Commodore (later Vice Admiral) J.E.A. Wey, to whom my Father served as Flag Lieutenant. There is film of Rawe as part of the entourage greeting Lord Mountbatten, then the Chief of the Defence Staff, while on a visit to Nigeria in October 1964. Another piece of footage shows Rawe accompanying Wey during a passing out parade of a hundred non-commissioned naval personnel in April 1967, and in October 1968, Rawe was part of the ceremony surrounding the award of the Nigerian Navy its first colours by the head of the Federal Military Government Major General Yakubu Gowon.

But Rawe’s tasks were more than ceremonial. He engaged in steering the development of the military capabilities of the navy during politically volatile circumstances of the 1960s. Although the navy was not involved in the violent uprisings of January and July 1966 which were the fruit of conspiracies within the army, the navy gave legitimacy to the military governments formed respectively by Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi and Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon.

With its personnel largely drawn from the south of the country, the navy was not subject to the intense rivalry between army officers and men from the Eastern Region and the Northern Region. Nonetheless, the wider tensions in the country brought about a policy of separating sailors of Igbo origin who began to be suspected of planning a mass defection to the about-to-secede Eastern Region. Acts of sabotage were committed on onshore equipment, as well as on electrical and electronic equipment on almost all the ships in April 1967, with most Igbo personnel defecting that month.

Commander Rawe was involved in the commencement of and the maintaining of the naval blockade instituted by Federal Nigeria against the secessionist state of Biafra which was headed by the former military governor of the Eastern Region Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. He took command of NNS Penelope, a survey ship, which performed reconnoitring duties. And given his experience during the Normandy Landings, it is likely that he would have been a key advisor to Lt. Colonel Benjamin Adekunle, Commander of the Third Infantry Division, prior to the seaborne assault on the oil terminal town of Bonny. The subsequent amphibious landing in July 1967 was the first of its kind ever to be attempted by African troops.

Rawe was awarded a series of medals for his services between 1966 and 1970. They include the General Service Medal, the National Service Medal, and the Defence Service Medal. He would also receive the Tenth Anniversary of the Republic Medal, the Independence Medal, and the Forces Service Star Medal.

Rawe retired from the Nigerian Navy in 1970. The Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (No.46/Vol.57, published in August 1970) records his leaving the employ of the Ministry of Defence on March 25th 1970. On returning to England, he joined the Probation Service in Oxfordshire in the early part of 1971. The Justice of the Peace (Vol.135/Iss.47-53, Page 847) records his appointment as the Principal Probation Officer at Henley Magistrates' Court. 

In April 1974, Captain Rawe won damages and costs from the author John de St. Jorre and Hodder and Stoughton Publishers. De St. Jorre’s book, The Nigerian Civil War which had been published in 1972, suggested that Rawe “walked around with a heavy pistol strapped to his thigh”. The implication that he was a soldier of fortune, or as the Sunday Telegraph report of Tuesday, April 30th, 1974, put it “a swashbuckling mercenary", offended Rawe who showed the court that he had been a member of the Royal Nigerian Navy and the successor Nigerian Navy for many years prior to the war. He was represented by the barrister Leon Brittan, who later became a prominent Tory government minister during the administration of Margaret Thatcher.

He has lived a long life and it must have been personally gratifying for him to have received the Legion d'honneur medal from Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador to Britain, a few days before the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, during a ceremony at the French embassy in Kensington, London.

It would be an honour and a delight to speak with him if he is still alive.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday 14 December 2022

YouTube has removed my appearance on RT's Worlds Apart titled "Impeding by misleading?"


YouTube has removed my appearance on RT's Worlds Apart which I uploaded onto my channel.

No strike against my channel.

I will be appealing.

This is a blow to free speech and the Enlightenment values to which I referred at one point during my interview with Oksana Boyko which was titled "Impeding by misleading?"

I challenge anyone who espouses the mainstream narrative to a debate on any specific issue of fact or analysis which I proferred during the interview.

I cannot understand why YouTube can be allowed to circumvent the free and fair exchange of ideas which for an American registered company amounts to an abrogation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

We are living in Orwellian times.


My interview can be viewed on the following platforms:

. Rumble

. Odysee

Full message:

"We wanted to let you know our team reviewed your content, and we think it violates our Community Guidelines. We know you may not have realized this was a violation of our policies, so we're not applying a strike to your channel. However, we have removed the following content from YouTube:

Video: Adeyinka Makinde Interview | RT | Worlds Apart | Impeding by misleading? | December 2022

We realize this may be disappointing news, but it's our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all. If you think we've made a mistake, you can appeal this decision - you'll find more details below.

What our policy says

Content that violates YouTube's Terms of Service or that encourages others to do so is not allowed on YouTube. This includes posting content previously removed for violating our Terms of Service; or posting content from creators who are currently restricted or have been terminated under our Terms."

© Adeyinka Makinde

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer and law lecturer with an interest in history and geopolitics. He is based in London, England.

Tuesday 13 December 2022

The 2022 FIFA World Cup: Morocco and the Question of Sports and Politics

There is no doubt that sports has often mixed with politics. The sportsman may choose to promote a cause or a military or civilian politician may choose to exploit the success of their sportsmen for political capital.

So far as the history of the World Cup is concerned, several countries expressed reservations about Argentina holding the 1978 World Cup because it was being ruled by a right-wing military junta which came to power in 1976. The junta, led by General Jorge Videla, was criticised for human rights abuses including carrying out assassinations and running a torture programme.

There were no national boycotts but the West German defender Paul Breitner refused to go to the tournament.  It was also rumoured that Johann Cruyff of Holland had boycotted the tournament for political reasons.

At the time, Breitner identified as a Maoist and the Argentine military junta was not only targeting violent Marxist guerrillas, it was also persecuting ordinary Argentines whose views spanned the spectrum of the political left. But Breitner was accused of a certain level of hypocrisy because in 1974, he had signed with Real Madrid of Spain, a team intimately associated with the Francoist government.

As for Cruyff, whose transfer from Ajax Amsterdam to FC Barcelona in 1973 began an emotional attachment to the region of Catalonia which because it had been a bastion of Spanish republicanism had been victimised and marginalised by the Francoist dictatorship after the Spanish Civil War, the long standing belief that his retirement from international football had a political motive came to be largely dispelled when it came to light that his family had faced serious kidnap threats.

Pelé was criticised by some for failing to use his status as the world's premier player to criticise the right-wing military junta which ruled Brazil from the 1960s to the 1980s. Although Diego Maradona, a player who expressed an admiration for left-wing figures such as Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, took Pele to task, he himself played for his country while under the rule of a junta which like that of Brazil was notorious for its use of state violence.

As Socrates the Brazilian star once noted: "Our players of the 60’s and 70’s were romantic with the ball at their feet, but away from the field absolutely silent. Imagine if at the time of the political coup in Brazil a single player like Pelé had spoken out against all excesses?"

The Brazilian military junta, as did its Argentinian counterpart in 1978, milked the achievement of the World Cup-winning team of 1970.

So with the world's attention fastened on the Moroccan national team which has broken the proverbial glass ceiling by becoming the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup, the question is could a political gesture be made by a member of the squad or the team as a whole?

It is possible that such a gesture could be directed at Morocco's political past or to one enduring geopolitical phenomenon in the Middle East.

So far as the former is concerned, what if a Moroccan player chooses to rehabilitate the memories of reformist-minded military officers such as Colonel Mohamed Ababou and his brother Lt. Colonel M'hamed Ababou who attempted to overthrow King Hassan II through the "Skhirat coup" of July 1971? Or that of Lt. Colonel Mohamed Amekrane who led another abortive anti-Hassan coup in August 1972?

That, perhaps, is unlikely despite the sentiments of younger politically aware Moroccans who view the likes of Amekrane and the Ababou brothers as martyrs.

So far as gestures are concerned in the geopolitical sphere, it is unlikely that a Moroccan player could protest against Moroccan policy towards Western Sahara over which the Moroccan state claims sovereignty.  Most of its people support this claim.

However, the issue on which the national football team as a whole may find unity in promoting would be in relation to that of Palestine: The 2019-2020 Arab Opinion Index records that 88% of Moroccans oppose the recognition of the State of Israel by their government.

As is the case with a number of Arab states such as Egypt which has a peace treaty with Israel, the sentiments of the mass of people in Morocco markedly deviates from their leaders.

And with the World Cup being held in a Middle Eastern country, there is every reason to believe that the Moroccan national football team would in all likelihood dedicate a victory in the World Cup final to the Palestinian people presently living under military occupation.

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Sunday 4 December 2022

"Impeding By Misleading": My interview with Oksana Boyko on RT's Worlds Apart

Preamble: "A few days ago, the Merriam-Webster dictionary selected 'gaslighting' as its word of the year for 2022, defining it as "the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage" and noting that usage of the word increased by over 1,700% throughout this year. How does geopolitics play into this? To discuss this, Oksana is joined by Adeyinka Makinde, Visiting Lecturer at Westminster Law School."

(c) RT.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

My interview can be viewed on the following platforms:

Saturday 3 December 2022

Karma and the Nigerian Soldier: A brief note on how tragedy befell those who themselves instigated tragedy

Photostill of Major Timothy Onwuatuegwu (d.1970) looking on as his colleague Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu was being interviewed at the First Brigade Headquarters in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria after the military coup of January 1966 in which he was a key participant.

. Major Chris Anuforo executed Lt. Colonels Yakubu Pam and Arthur Unegbe, as well as Colonel Kur Mohammed, and the Federal Minister of Finance, Mr. Festus Okotie-Eboh during the army coup of January 15, 1966. Anuforo was murdered in revenge by Northern-origin soldiers in August 1966, after the coup of July 29, 1966. In Benin City for a funeral, they discovered that he was being held in a local prison for his role in the January uprising.

. 2nd Lt. James Dambo along with 2nd Lt. Bukar Suwa Dimka, assassinated Lt. Colonel I.C. Okoro, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion, during the “revenge coup” of July 29, 1966. Dambo is claimed to have been the first Nigerian Army officer to have been killed after the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War in July 1967.

. Major Chukwuma Nzeogwu, one of the leaders of the January 1966 coup, who assassinated the Sardauna of Sokoto and who also summarily executed several soldiers during the putsch was killed in action during the Nigerian Civil War while fighting for the secessionist army of Biafra. Nzeogwu was ambushed near Nsukka on July 29, 1967.

. Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna who assassinated Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari during the army coup of January 1966 was himself executed by firing squad as a Lt. Colonel of the secessionist army of Biafra for plotting to overthrow the government of Lt. Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu in September 1967.

. Major Timothy Onwuatuegwu who shot Brigadier Samuel Ademulegun to death on January 15, 1966 was himself murdered soon after the end of the Nigerian Civil War in January 1970. The exact circumstances are shrouded in mystery. One account has him being tricked into a meeting with Nigerian officers in a hotel at which he was shot, while another has him being ambushed by soldiers of the First Division near the Cameroon border. One of those who supposedly ambushed him may have been Lt. B.S. Dimka. Still another version of Onwuatuegwu’s demise has him summarily executed by Brigadier Hassan Katsina while being held in detention at a prison in Lagos.

Onwuatuegwu also killed the wife of Brigadier Ademulegun and Colonel Ralph Sodeinde was killed during the operation overseen by Onwuatuegwu.

. Major Ibrahim Taiwo, the officer of the 2nd Infantry Division who has been identified as one of two officers responsible for ordering the execution of civilians in Asaba during the Nigerian Civil War in October 1967, was himself abducted and assassinated by dissident soldiers during the abortive coup of February 13, 1976. Taiwo, at the time of his death a Colonel and the military governor of Kwara State, had been in command of troops whose ultimate commander was Lt. Colonel Murtala Muhammed who as a General and military head of State was also assassinated during the coup. 

. 2nd Lt. B.S. Dimka who assassinated Lt. Colonel I.C. Okoro on  July 29, 1966 and who as a Lt. Colonel ordered the ambush of General Murtala Muhammed during the abortive coup of February 13, 1976, was executed by firing squad in May 1976.

. The NCOs I.B. Rabo and Clement Dabang, both of who are claimed to have been among the soldiers who kidnapped, tortured and assassinated Major General Aguiyi-Ironsi, the military Head of State, during the “revenge coup” of July 1966, were also involved in the abortive coup of February 13, 1976 when Majors. While Lieutenant William Seri opened fire at General Muhammed, Rabo was commanded by Lt. Colonel Dimka to shoot Muhammed’s aide-de-camp Lieutenant Akintunde Akinsehinwa. Both Rabo and Dabang faced a firing squad in March 1976. 

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Unsolved Mystery: The kidnap and murder of Johnson Banjo at the Nigeria-Biafra Peace talks in Kampala, Uganda in May 1968

Caption from A Decade of Crises in Pictures by Peter Obe: "Peter Obe (holding camera) in Enugu with (Lt.) Colonel Yakubu Danjuma. Extreme right is Mr. (Johnson) Banjo. He was kidnapped and murdered while on duty with the Federal delegation in Kampala during one of the abortive peace talks with the rebels." Circa 1967.

Johnson Banjo, a Nigerian civil servant who was serving as a confidential secretary at the Nigeria-Biafra Peace talks in Kampala, Uganda in May 1968, disappeared on May 23rd soon after his arrival as part of an advance party.

Banjo had access to confidential papers and was last seen entering an elevator at the hotel where the Nigerian party was staying. He left behind a jacket, his passport and personal papers.

The Nigerians denied that he had defected to the Biafran side and Chief Anthony Enahoro, the leader of the Nigerian delegation, announced that he had insisted on getting clearance from the Federal government before continuing with the talks.

The Ugandan police offered a reward of $2,400 for information on his whereabouts. A nationwide hunt was declared and Uganda sealed its borders.

During the search, the police had questioned an Israeli citizen, one Jehuda Potok, an engineer with the Israeli Water Development Corp. ("Jehuda" is the Nordic spelling of "Yehuda").

Hotel records showed that Banjo had telephoned Potok shortly before his disappearance. Potok, who worked for 3 years in Ibadan, denied any knowledge of his disappearance.

Banjo's body was discovered in a swamp on the outskirts of Kampala on June 7, 1968 by a helicopter search party. 

The identification needed confirmation given the state of human decomposition and it was not until early September 1968 that the Ugandan authorities announced that the body found was definitively that of Banjo who was 35-years-old at the time of his murder.

The mystery of his kidnap and murder has yet to be resolved.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Yakubu Gowon: From Military Dictator to Politics Student

Yakubu Gowon speaking to a gathering of the student union at Warwick University on October 16th 1975, three months after his overthrow in a bloodless coup. Photo credit: The Warwick Boar.


From The Warwick Boar -

Under the glare of television cameras, General Gowon, ex-head of state of Nigeria stole the limelight at the first union meeting of term last Wednesday.

After calling the meeting to "Order!" 40-year-old Yakubu Gowon took the platform and delivered a short speech of thanks:

"I would like to say a big thank-you for summoning me into your midst. I have come here not to create a lot of trouble to you. 

"I want to be an ordinary student."

Uproar arose when a motion "condemning" the ex-general's arrival at the university was quashed.

In an emotional speech Deputy President Pete Walter declared: "I don't think this is the right time or place to attack General Gowon." It was agreed that the motion "be not put".

In the confusion that followed, a motion "embargoing" the press was passed enthusiastically after one no-confidencing the Deputy Chairman, Rob Campbell was narrowly defeated.

The original motion, brought by IS members Donny Gluckstein and N. Clarke, read: "This Union condemns the invitation of General Gowon to this university.

"Though sympathising with the fate of the un-employed, we fail to see why we should be burdened with out-of-work British puppets such as him." It went on to contrast the ex-general's condition with that of many overseas students whose fees have recently more than doubled.

Gowon, who has attended his first lectures as a first-year Politics student, is at the moment living in Leamington."

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

February 13th 1976: The Abortive Coup Led by Lt. Colonel Bukar Suwa Dimka

Lt. Colonel B.S. Dimka being tied to the execution stake. Photo Credit: Estate of Godfrey E M Denedo.

Photo and Newspaper document of the infamous abortive coup d’état led by Lieutenant Colonel Bukar Suwa Dimka on Friday, February 13th 1976.

Dimka led the ambush in which the military Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed, was assassinated while being held up in traffic. He had been making a short journey from his residence to Dodan Barracks, the seat of government in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Dimka would visit the British High Commission in Lagos to request that he be put in contact with the exiled General Yakubu Gowon, who had been overthrown in July 1975 by Muhammed.

The request was refused by the High Commissioner Sir Martin LeQuesne.

Dimka and his cohorts took over the National Broadcasting Corporation building from where his coup speech was broadcast to the nation. Among the grievances held against the government of Murtala Muhammed was the policy of demobilising large numbers of soldiers, promotions granted to senior figures in the junta and Nigeria's perceived tilt to the political left by supporting the Soviet-backed MPLA in Angola.

Dimka escaped from broadcasting house when his men were overpowered and was on the run until early March. A wave of arrests followed his interrogation and "confession" in which he implicated many officers including Major General Iliya Bisalla, the Federal Commissioner for Defence.

Bisalla was among the first batch of officers and men executed on March 11th, 1976.

The Federal Military Government (FMG), now headed by Muhammed's successor, Lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo, called on General Yakubu Gowon to return to Nigeria from British exile to face questioning.

Gowon emphatically denied any prior knowledge or involvement in the coup and offered to provide written answers to questions or to answer the questions on neutral territory.

Brigadier Shehu Yar'Adua, the Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, was particularly keen to place Gowon in front of his accuser, Dimka, and for this reason Dimka was not executed in March. However, with the prospect of Britain extraditing Gowon in the manner that it had extradited Chief Anthony Enahoro to face treason charges in the early 1960s diminishing, the Supreme Military Council took the decision to execute Lt. Colonel Dimka and six others. Executed alongside Dimka was Mr. Joseph Gomwalk, a Police Commissioner who had been a military governor. A kinsman of Gowon (most of the alleged Coup plotters including Maj. Gen. Bisalla and Dimka were from the Christian Middle Belt), Gomwalk had been tried and acquitted by a military tribunal but, in defiance of the "double jeopardy" principle, was retried and convicted.

General Gowon was stripped of his rank and pension and placed on a fugitive list which ironically included his Civil War opponent, Lieutenant Colonel (General of the army of secessionist Biafra) Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Gowon was pardoned and allowed to return to Nigeria where he had lived since completing his doctorate at Warwick University, England.

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Wednesday 2 November 2022

The Yoruba Cultural Value System

The Yoruba value system consists of 7 segments.

1. The first is làákà’yè: The application of knowledge, wisdom & understanding.

Ogbón and ìmò òye.

2. The second is Ìwà Omolúàbí: integrity.

Integrity is combined with iwa (character), which is regarded as Omolúàbí.

3. The third is Akínkanjú or Akin: Valour.

4. The fourth is Anísélápá tí kìíse òle: Having a visible means of livelihood.

A person must be identified with a visible means of livelihood that guarantees a lawful income or sustenance. His or her profession or job must be open and legally approved by society.

5. The fifth is Ola: Honour. Yoruba people place a premium on the gait with which individuals carry themselves and public reputation.

Word of honour translates as "ọrọ ti ola" and "koodu ti ola" means code of honour.

6. The sixth is Ogun rere: Leaving a good legacy behind. This can be achieved by striving to be a role model during your life.

7. The last in the Yorùbá value system is owó tàbí orò: Money or wealth.

The accumulation of wealth is not supposed to supercede the first six values.


I adapted this from a post at Asa Yoruba Facebook page.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a London-based writer.

Sunday 23 October 2022

August Agboola Browne: The Nigerian who became a Polish Freedom fighter during World War 2

August Browne (centre) in a still from the Polish film Zolnierz Zwyciestwa/Soldier of Victory (1953). Source: Fototeka.Fn.Org

The son of a migrant longshoreman from Lagos, Nigeria when it was part of the British Empire, Browne became a successful Jazz percussionist in Poland during the inter-war years.

It has been claimed that he was the first Nigerian to have recorded a jazz album which was released in 1928 on the Syrena Record label. However, there is difficulty in confirming this given that the label’s factory and archives were destroyed in 1939.

Browne is believed to have taken up arms to fight the forces of Nazi Germany during the Battle of Warsaw and the subsequent Warsaw Uprising during which he was attached to Major Georg Antoczewiszka’s 2nd Battalion.

Codenamed “Ali”, he fought as a member of the Polish Underground (the Iwo Battalion which was known as the Armia Krajowa or Home Army) for the duration of the war and remarkably survived.

Browne would later act in a 1953 propaganda movie about the World War 2-era resistance in Poland which was titled Zolnierz Zwyciestwa (Soldier of Victory).

He migrated to England with his second Polish wife in 1958 (some sources put the year down as 1956) and lived quietly in London until his death at the age of 81.

A memorial stone unveiled in his memory in Warsaw in 2019 reads:

In honour of Augustine Agboola Browne, nom de guerre “Ali”, a jazz musician and a participant in the Warsaw Uprising of Africa origin. Poland was the country he chose to live in.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday 12 October 2022

October 12, 1936: The famous confrontation between Spanish philosoper and writer Miguel de Unamuno and General Milan Astray

Miguel de Unamuno (left), and General Millan Astray

The debate at Salamanca University took place in front of Carmen Polo de Franco, the wife of the leader of the Nationalists, General Francisco Franco.

The content of the debate is now disputed, but it is generally accepted that Unamuno, the Basque rector of the university, told the nationalist audience that while they would eventually conquer Spain by brute force, their victory would not have convinced everyone of their cause: "You will win, but you will not convince".

An enraged Astray, the officer who founded the Spanish Foreign Legion, is said to have denounced Unamuno and called for the "death to all intellectuals".

Known as "Glorioso Mutilado" because of war wounds which claimed one of his eyes and an arm, Astray uttered his famous phrase "Viva La Muerte!"

A Spanish-Argentinian film on Unamuno at the time of the military rebellion that led to the Spanish Civil War was released in 2019. It culminates in the debate involving Unamuno and Astray.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Monday 10 October 2022

Wole Soyinka: His Satire Extended To Song

Wole Soyinka Featuring Tunji Oyelana & His Benders. “Unlimited Liability Company”. Album cover designed by Ajayi K. Mokwenyei.

Wole Soyinka, the acclaimed novelist and dramatist who during his life has played the role of social activist and political agitator, once took a leaf out of the book of his musician cousin Fela Kuti to compose a satirical song lamenting the condition of his country, Nigeria. As with Fela’s “International Thief Thief” (ITT) which had been released three years earlier in 1980, “Etike Revo Wetin?” (popularly known by the lyric “I Love My Country”), focused on the corruption of Nigeria’s political elite.

The song is performed by Tunji Oyelana and the Benders with Soyinka adding harmonies during one segment of the chorus. It was released in 1983 on Ewuro Records.

In 1996, Soyinka was charged with treason by the Nigerian military ruler, General Sani Abacha and fled into exile, while Oyelana, who had been involved in the production of Soyinka’s play “The Beatification of Area Boy: A Lagosian Kaleidoscope”, was forced to remain in exile in England where he was serving as both musical director and actor (acting in the role of a minstrel). The play focused on the character of Sanda, the leader of a protection racket in Lagos, and explored themes related to the post-oil boom era of Nigeria including the corruption which thrived under military rule. It earned the ire of Abacha.


I love my country I no go lie,na in side am I go live and die, I know my country I no go lie na him and me go yap till I die.

I wan begin with history that war we fight in recent memory wey music wey come from barrel of gun.

I get cancer for me eye that's the reason why, cause when I look na two I see make I explain I think you go ‘gree.

I love my country I no go lie na inside am I go live and die, when e turn me so I twist am so, e push me I push am I no go go

Make you no worry both nations be friends, even when they fight they soon make amends when one back dey itch am, the other go scratch, when one lay egg the other go hatch, eggs na eggs but some are rotten, but make I tell you some are golden. I tell you my country no be one, I mean not to yesterday I born.

I love my country I no go lie na in side am I go live and die, I know my country I no go lie na him and me go yap till I die.

One go proud the other so meek, one go hide, the other go seek, one country go slap, the other go turn cheek, and assume dey are playing hide and seek. The lovely twins of whom I speak, Mr. Country hide and his brother seek. Country hide 2.8B he tell country seek, brother carry on, seek from Turkey to China sea, the more you look, the less you see.

You thief one Kobo dey put you for prison, you thief 10M na patriotism, dem go give you chieftaincy and national honour, you thief even bigger den go say na rumour. Monkey dey work baboon dey chop sweet-pounded yam, someday e go stop.

I love my country I no go lie na inside am I go live and die, when e turn me so I twist am so, e push me I push am I no go go.

One time we stack groundnut so high, like pyramid nearly reach the sky, palm oil dey flow from here to London. Cassava, plantain our fruits be champion, our cocoa compete with that of Ghana, mouth dey water to do the banana ... yam wey big like wrestler's thighs.

Which rice get fame like Tappa rice, but now to eat na half my budget, food dey cost like golden nugget, the rain wey flow from open sky e only float presidential rice.

...Where all this food disappear; my belly dey rumble abi you no hear…

I love my country I no go lie na in side am I go live and die, I know my country I no go lie na him and me go yap till I die.

The day dey bring green revolution, country seek say e get salvation. It give out shout, e think at last with green revolution e go end him fast. Education is good for me and you, so let's give praise where praise is due.

Green revolution was most educative and coincidentally most lucrative, education alone chop one quarter of the budget to teach the farmer what e never forget, posters left, and right and centre. Green revolution by government printer.

I love my country I no go lie na inside am I go live and die, when e turn me so I twist am so, e push me I push am I no go go.

But that was nothing but chicken feed; a nation in need is my friend indeed. Summon the chief chemical analyzer to tell us the magic of fertiliser. Country seek hear, I no be miser, billions dey hide for fertiliser.

I love my country I no go lie na inside am I go live and die, I know my country I no go lie na him and me go yap till I die.

© Wole Soyinka 1983.

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Saturday 8 October 2022

Annual Boxing Memorabilia Fayre (2022)

I was back at London’s Boxing Fayre which was held at the Dick Collins Hall in Camden, North London on Saturday, October 8th 2021. On display at my stall were copies of my biographies respectively on Dick Tiger (Dick Tiger: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal) and Frankie DePaula (Jersey Boy: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula). Also displayed was the Cambridge Companion to Boxing for which I contributed two essays: “The Africans: Boxing and Africa” and “Jose Torres: The Boxer as Writer”.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is an author and writer based in London, England.