The Nigerian Civil Society groups have scheduled a public lecture in honour of the past renowned human rights activists and pan-Africanists such as late Tajuddeen Abdulraheem, Abubakar Momoh and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The late trio stand out as Activists, pan-Africanists and Gender Advocates who lived fighting for human causes and therefore deserve periodic remembrances to inform and inspire young Africans who are able to learn from the experiences and uncommon struggles of these trio.
It is on this note that CSOs in Nigeria are working round the clock to commemorate Tajuddeen, Abu and Winnie during a commemorative annual lecture with a theme “PAN-AFRICANISM, GENDER & AFRICAN LIBERATION: REFLECTIONS ON TAJJUDDEEN ABDULRAHEEM, ABUBAKAR MOMOH & WINNIE MANDELA.” This year’s memorial lecture will be delivered by the respected African Scholar on International Peace and Justice, Horace Campbell, at The Electoral Institute on the 25th of May 2018.
Below is a brief on the trio activist.
Abubakar Momoh was a prominent Nigerian civil society leader, activist, scholar and humanist.
Momoh obtained his Ph.D in Political Theory and started his Lecturing career in 1988 at the Lagos State University where he rose to become the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He took a sabbatical from the University when he was appointed as Director General of The Electoral Institute where he served until his death on Monday 29, May 2017.
As a cerebral and distinguished scholar and academic, Momoh’s research and teachings traverse many universities in Africa, Europe and North America where he taught as Fellow, Visiting Scholar and Researcher including Institute of Development Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland; Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden; Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, among others. He served as External Examiners at various times to the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan and University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa; and also has served on various Boards and scientific committees including those of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the African Association of Political Science (AAPS). As a young academic, Momoh’s irrepressible mind saw him emerge as the National Treasurer, of the respected Academic Staff Union of Universities from 1991-1995 where he participated in many actions to improve teaching conditions across Nigerian universities.
Momoh’s contributions to national development will not be forgotten soon having served on several government technical committees in Nigeria, including as member and coordinator of “Foreign Policy” Subcommittee of Federal Republic of Nigeria “Vision 20:20.” He served on several technical teams of the African Union Commission (AUC) and most recently was involved in designing the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and Elections Bench-marking framework for the African Union. In his pursuit of a truly democratic Africa, he participated in several election observer missions in Nigeria and several African states and in Europe on behalf of ECOWAS and the African Union. He was appointed as Director General of The Electoral Institute, an independent research and knowledge development arm of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission where he worked tirelessly to revive the vision of the body and raise the role of learning and experience in elections planning and management in Nigeria and across the continent.
Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, who died in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya, dedicated his life to the Pan-African vision and the peaceful unification of Africa. A thinker and writer but above all a mighty speaker and orator, Taju- as he’s fondly called, inspired and influenced a whole generation of Africans and Africanists through the mixture of a contagious passion and humour. It is ironic that he died on 25 May – Africa Day of Liberation.
While he used humour and charm to win over those who were usually the targets of revolutionaries, Taju reserved his rage for the Kleptocratic rulers of Africa and their corruption, greed and incompetence. As he once wrote, “this ruling class only looks at the welfare of the minority rich and powerful, at the expense of the impoverished and powerless underclass.”
He was the founding chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Development and helped found “Justice Africa”- a platform for intellectual reflections and collective action for a free and prosperous Africa. Taju’s position as Secretary General of the Pan-African movement gave him international status and access to African leaders, but little protection from the rulers in his own country. Back in Nigeria, Taju campaigned against despotic military generals who had seized power and ruled and robbed the country for most of his life. In 2002 he was arrested as he was trying to return to London and had his passport confiscated. But the best illustration of Taju’s Pan-Africa’s struggle happened in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian authorities decided to relax the country’s visa conditionality for Africans because Taju told the late Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, that Ethiopia could not be hosting Africa yet be barring Africans via stiff visa conditionality. In fact, Taju told Meles Zenawi to his face that Africans should be given visa at the airport in Addis Ababa, which was exactly what the Prime Minister announced and committed the country to.
Taju later took a job with the United Nations in Nairobi to promote, advocate and mobilise support for the UN’s Millennium Development Goals throughout Africa. Throughout all this, he kept lecturing and writing – always signing off his emails with: “Don’t agonise, Organise!”
At the time of his death, Taju was was the Deputy Director, Africa Office of the UN Millennium Campaign, but as in a classic case of a jack of all trades who mastered all, he was hands on throughout the effort to build domestic support for the MDGs, speaking with governments, private sector, civil society leaders and development partners across the continent.
Armed with a First Class degree in Political Science from Bayero University, Kano which he got in the mid-80s, Taju left the shores of Nigeria in 1983 to be the First Rhodes Scholar from Northern Nigeria at the Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Taju left behind a wife, Mounira Chaieb, and two daughters, Ayesha and Aida.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela; 26 September 1936 – 2 April 2018), also known as Winnie Mandela, was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, and was married to late Nelson Mandela. She served as a Member of African National Congress where she headed the Women’s League. Popularly known as “Mother of the Nation” by her supporters, Winnie was a major force in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa.
Born to a Mpiond family in Bizana, and a qualified social worker, she married anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg in 1958. They remained married for 38 years and had two children together. In 1963, after Mandela was imprisoned following the Rivonia Trial; she became his public face during the 27 years he spent in jail. During that period, she rose to prominence within the domestic anti-apartheid movement.
Nelson Mandela was released from prison on 11 February 1990, and the couple separated in 1992; their divorce was finalised in March 1996. Winnie visited Nelson during his final illness. As a senior ANC figure, she took part in the post-apartheid ANC government, although she was dismissed from her post amid allegations of corruption. In 2003, she was convicted of theft and fraud which led to her temporary withdrawal from active politics before returning several years later.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director of CISLAC