They distinguished themselves while serving their father land, long after their disengagement, despite the beehive of activities across the country, they are not being heard of now. ELEOJO IDACHABA in this piece wonders where they are now and what they are doing.
Chief Duro Onabule was the first journalist who rose to become the editor of the National Concord at a time journalism was a profession second to none in the country. Apart from that, he was also the chief press secretary to former President Ibrahim Babangida in-charge of the information machinery of the government under a president who was a military man. His tenure as presidential spokesman was, painfully, when the government gagged many newspapers and magazines with temporary proscription of others to make them conform to the code of conduct set up by the administration.
Chief Onabule, who was once on the board of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) in 2017 as the chairman, is said to be a controversial person, especially when it comes to asserting his belief on where he stands on any matter. For instance, even though he is a fellow Yoruba man from Ogun state, the home state of former President Obasanjo, he is not a fan of Obasanjo.
He once said of the former president, “It was always predictable that given his notoriety, it was a way of life for former President Olusegun Obasanjo to resume his pastime of undermining his military and civilian successors by making President Muhammadu Buhari his latest victim of attack. Amusingly, the rabble Obasanjo rouses on such occasions has dignified his deplorable tactics to a sort of distinction. There is this latent personality complex of striving never to be outshone or exceeded by any Nigerian living or dead. Hence, at the slightest prospect of being threatened, Obasanjo comes charging. Obasanjo’s major weakness of feeling superior to everybody is the cause of his running down contemporaries.”
Chief Onabule, a die-hard Buhari supporter, Blueprint Weekend gathered, is very much around, but not much has been heard about this London-trained journalist whose wealth of experience is worth tapping from by younger generations of journalists.
Until 2013, she was the minister of education under former President Goodluck Jonathan; a position she occupied in 2010. A university professor, she was at various times a commissioner in her home state of Jigawa. As commissioner, she said she was always ashamed when faced with the challenge of low enrolment of the girl-child in the state, and wondered why the state could not enrol more girls in schools.
During her tenure as education minister, she was noted for banning the use of mobile phones in secondary schools due to its distracting influence on students. Following the defection of seven PDP governors and dozens of lawmakers which split the party, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan relieved her and nine other ministers of their positions in 2013. Shortly, after she was relieved, she told journalists that she was going back to the classroom to teach.
“I am going back to resume my job as a professor of Curriculum Studies at the Bayero University Kano; that is where I came from on secondment. We should know that a time like this would come because if it does not, death is surely an end.”
Under her, there was a speculation that the University Matriculation Examination (UME) and the National Examination Council (NECO) were to be scrapped. She, however, denied any such move saying, “As far as I am concerned, it is a whitepaper based on the Orosonye committee but the whitepaper has not been officially communicated to me; so, I am not in a position to take any decision or pass any comment on that. For now, we are not in a position to say anything.”
She has not been in the public square since then.
Col. Daniel Akintonde (retd.) was the military administrator (MILAD) of Ogun state between 1993 and 1996. He served under the late Gen Sani Abacha while the latter was Head of State. He was, however, retired from the military in June 1999 by a presidential directive along with all officers who had occupied political positions and served in the capacity of ministers, governors or administrators during the Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar regimes, respectively. This was during the tenure of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as president.
One of the remarkable achievements of Akintonde as MILAD in Ogun was that in 1994, he re-named the state College of Education as Tai Solarin College of Education in honour of the late sage, Dr. Tai Solarin. Akintonde was, however, among military officers arrested for their alleged involvement in the December 1997 coup against the late Gen. Abacha.
On April 20, 1998, it was, however, announced that he had been cleared of the charges and he was retired in 1999. Unconfirmed reports had it that this former military officer on retirement later joined the clergy as a way of spending his later years in retirement, but no definite report of which church he pastors or serves.
One thing is certain, since he left public service despite the political developments in the country both at the state and national levels, he has not been seen to show any interest.