The Movement for National Reformation (MNR), has elected Sen. Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo as National Chairman, and others to run its affairs.
In a Press Release made available to The Guardian, the General Secretary of the movement Dr Philip Idaewor gave a historical background of the movement as well as its rebirth.
In 1992 Chief Anthony Enahoro, the founding leader of the MNR enlisted the support of other co-founders – Papas Alfred Rewane and Abraham Adesanya, Chiefs Olaniwun Ajayi, Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu, Dr Olu Onagoruwa, Sen. Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo to start the Movement. Sen. Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo, the newly elected chairman was its first General Secretary. National and State leaders mainly from Mid-West, South-South, and South-East, joined the movement at its official launch in Benin.
Following the demise of its founding Chairman, Chief Anthony Enahoro, on the 15th of December 2010, the organisation became less active for some time.
In his acceptance speech, the new chairman eulogised and celebrated the memory of the founding leaders who had the foresight to start the movement and others who joined later, but who, sadly is no longer alive today. Chief C.O. Adebayo went down memory lane stating that the founders were ‘the architect of change who set out to plant a Tree and not a grass’. He calls to mind the founding aims and objectives of the movement:
“A non-partisan, non-governmental Think-Tank whose aims and objectives are to conduct an in-depth analysis of and research into the socio-economic and political problems facing Nigeria, its ethnic nationalities and citizens and actively mobilise the people and work towards the resolution of the identified challenges. Work for the Convocation of a People’s National Conference (PNC) to address the National Question and for a National Referendum on the Recommendations of the Conference.”
“Propagate the ideals and practices of democracy and the promotion of a democratic culture in Nigeria. Work for the int
egration of the best values of indigenous cultures with the ideals and process of democracy.”
While reiterating the achievements of MNR for championing and achieving some success in these areas, he reminds the members whom he called the “Apostles of change” that quite a lot are still left undone, saying: “The previous challenge was that because of her problems, Nigeria as a country was making very minimal developmental gains by the day. But today, any conscious political observer would realise that we have moved further dangerously towards a fragile state status.”
He also observed that: “The urgency and scope of Nigeria’s unfinished political liberation were aptly captured by Chief Enahoro in his remarks made at the send-off banquet organised in his honour in New York City on the 11th of November 1999, when he said:
“In my time, our country has been liberated from the direct external rule, but the liberation of our people is as yet incomplete. We of the MNR believe that the next step in the true liberation of our people is the recognition and empowerment of our nationalities, the establishment of true democracy within the nationalities, and the prescription of equitable relationships between the nationalities which choose to live under one flag.” Chief Enahoro went on to call on MNR members:
“Let us dare to conceive, let us dare to contrive and strive and let us dare to hope.”
Such is and is the spirit of the MNR movement.
Chief Adebayo further noted that “It is this realisation that has motivated this revival of the MNR with the hope that we can re-energise the vision, mobilise the manpower and the organisational capacities to catch up with the lost time more so as the problems have worsened.”
In concluding his remarks, he calls on members to “work and stay tenacious and undistracted by political short-term gains or losses and ensure that our undertaking on restructuring can become a topical and mainstream issue in Nigeria’s politics starting from debates and discussions during the 2023 election campaign.
Other officers elected at the event are as follows: Vice Chairman: HRH Sam Onimisi; General Secretary: Dr Philip Idaewor who will also be Head of the organisation’s Secretariat Directorate; Director of Research and Strategy: Professor Igho Natufe; Director of Mobilisation & Organisation: Mr Taiwo Akinola; Director of Public Relations: Comrade Faruq Chukwumah; Legal Advisers – Professor Aduche R. Wokocha, Barr Manni Ochugboju; Women Leader: (Acting): Dr Taiwo Olunuga; Director of Youth Affairs: Comrade Obinna Osuagwu; Director of Diaspora & International Affairs: Dr. Aisha Nonye Obodoeke; South West Coordinator: Professor Ezekiel K. Ogundowole.
In its examination of the state of the nation, the MNR observed that Nigeria, a developing, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural country is faced with many developmental challenges; such as poor infrastructure, lack of adequate manpower, ethnic balance of power struggles for power and influence, poorly educated citizens, lack of financial facilities, etc.
However, 60 years after obtaining its independence from Britain, it has somewhat comparatively underperformed below its potential and similar underdeveloped countries, overwhelmingly because of its poor management of its ethnic diversity challenges.
These challenges were already emerging over 30 years ago, which compelled the founding leaders of the MNR to call for urgent reformation of the Nigerian superstructure to hasten national maturation towards a more balanced and equitable country.
Clearly, Nigeria with over three hundred composite ethnic nationalities remains subject in the existential threat of failure;
• Incapable of delivering to its population a stable and consistent improvement to the quality of life,
• Perfecting an image of political immaturity and moral fragility, and;
• Most tragically Nigerians today live under more dire strait and the pillars of a modern state are collapsing in Nigeria.
MNR said it considers this situation an aberration
Therefore, the revived MNR aims to work with all patriots and nationalists in a non-partisan framework or context to provide the moral and political guidance and drive to ensure that the Nigerian experiment becomes a federative socio-economic success in post-colonial Africa south of the Sahara.
About The Chairman:
CHIEF Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo was born on February 24, 1941, in Igbaja in Kwara State. He studied at The Provincial Secondary School, Ilorin, from 1956–1961.
He became a Lecturer at the University of Ife 1969/73, before moving to Kwara State polytechnic and becoming, Head, English Dept KWARATECH 1973/75
Chief Adebayo was Kwara State Commissioner for Education and was responsible for launching UPE. He later served as Commissioner for Information and was responsible for Kwara state’s contribution to FESTAC ‘77, and the Commissioning of State TV.
He joined the UPN and was elected to the Nigerian Senate in 1978/83. Sen Adebayo was elected Governor of Kwara in 1983, before the 1983 Military Coup.
He later turned down a ministerial appointment by Gen. Sanni Abacha through the nomination of Chief M K O Abiola. And when the military crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners began he was picked up in Papa Enahoro’s Sheraton Hotel Room with the Chief and Gen. Alani Akinrinade. He was detained with Chief Enahoro for a few days in Lagos before they were later flown to Port Harcourt, where Chief Enahoro was detained, and Adebayo was flown to Calabar, where he was in Prison for almost six months.
His release was ultimately facilitated by Chief Enahoro’s intervention when he was offered release on Gen Gowon’s and Archbishop Okogie’s intervention. He insisted that; “the young man who was arrested with me in my hotel room in Lagos and was detained with me before we were flown out and I was detained in Port Harcourt while he was taken to Calabar prison must be released as well. You can’t release me and leave him in prison”
In 1996, after finding that he was going to be arrested again by the same Abacha regime, he sneaked into the Benin Republic, as earlier done by Chief Enahoro, later moved to Togo and finally into Cote de Ivoire, where it took him almost two years to obtain Canadian Visa to enable him to escape to Canada, where he was selected by NADECO to establish and run a branch of NADECO-ABROAD.
He secured Canadian citizenship after four years and returned to Nigeria where he was appointed Chairman of the Afenifere Political Committee.
General Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006, sought permission from Pa Abraham Adesanya to have Chief Adebayo join the Ahmed Joda team to help him screen his Second -term potential cabinet member. Chief Adebayo was appointed Minister of Communication by President Obasanjo.
Under his watch, Nigeria became the world’s fastest-growing telecom network.
In 2006, he was moved to the Ministry of Works and later made Minister of Transportation covering air, land and water transportation, supervising three ministers of state. (Aviation Works and Transport).