Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
OWNERS OF NIGERIA
continued from http://www.dawodu.com/oduyela9.htm
September 20, 2004
Late Chief MKO Abiola meant different things to different people. To some he was a man they hate to love and love to hate, to others he was a generous man, kind, shrewd business man. By 1992, he won the hearts of many Nigerians, became their hero and idol. Suddenly he became a hero of democracy in Nigeria.
Many supported him for different reasons, some as a sign of their appreciation for his generosity, others because of what they needed from him, some because of a way to get even with him. A way of paying back.
No one has disputed that Bashorun Abiola won the June 12, 1993 presidential elections. This is a fact and the election remained the fairest and freest in the history of Nigeria. Then what happened? Was the election for a wrong candidate at the wrong time or wrong candidate at the right time or a right candidate at the wrong time?
It still remains a puzzle to many that a man with so much money and influence could win an election and such election annulled. Not even his friends in the military could stop it?
Chief MKO Abiola was not only important in Nigeria; he was around the globe, even in Uganda. At least he assisted Musevini to take over power in Uganda. He made his presence felt in all facets of life, business, sports, name it; but along the line, he made more friends as he made more enemies. I still remember what he said when he was honored with the Are Ona Kankanfo title in Oyo by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. The then governors of Oyo, Ogun and Ondo were not present but Babangida sent his representative, Abiola then referred to these governors as eaglet governors, because they ignored his coronation. One of the governors was General Adetunji Olurin who was in Oyo State then. I will touch on this when I get to Abacha.
He lost his mandate, freedom for four years and lastly his life; all to people he considered as friends. How did this happen?
When General Abdusalami Abubakar took over after the death of General Sani Abacha, many had thought that Abiola would be the first on the list to be released from detention, but no, it was their man, Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo came out of prison, did not make any move to get Abiola out of detention. He kept mute on Abiola, and some months after Abiola's death, he came out to announce his intention to run for Presidency.
Why would Abiola suffer such humiliation from these guys? What went wrong?
The answer is very simple. Chief MKO Abiola rode on the back of TIGER for many years and tragically ended in its stomach.
I came, like many other Nigerians, to know about the man Abiola through the ITT stuff. I am sorry I don't know the meaning of ITT except for the meaning late Abami Eda- Fela Anikulapo gave it; no other meaning could be more accurate-INTERNATIONAL THIEF THIEF.
ITT is a telecommunication company that got the contract to install telephone booths in Nigeria, I think in preparation for the FESTAC 77. What ITT supplied were refurbished telephone booths, mere decorations that never worked. This was the company Abiola represented. Late General Murtala Mohammed was the Federal Commissioner for Communications, then before he took over from Yakubu Gowon in 1976. A lot of other myths came up on how Chief Abiola became a top-notch of ITT, I don't have the details and I am not going to say what I don't know. But the fact was that he got the Federal government then to pay for the contract. For this long he has always been seen at the corridor of power. Wining and dining with the khaki guys.
In 1978 he was at the Constituent Assembly where he walked out because the likes of Baba Awolowo and others refused to include Sharia in the Nigerian constitution at the Federal level. It is on record that he did not sign the constitution of 1979 because of this. He became a strong member of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and did everything in Ogun State to upstage Baba Awolowo's Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). I saw most of his activities as a High school student at the Egba Odeda High School in 1978-1979. Many may not know that Concord Newspaper was set up then to fight Baba Awolowo and his party in the south west. We cannot forget so quickly that it was same Concord Newspaper that published the story of Dideolu Estate allegedly owned by Chief Awolowo to show that the late sage was not what he professed to be. It was intended to report that Baba Awolowo was not a socialist as he claimed but also owned property. How they got the document is another story.
But in 1983 when it was time for another election, Chief Abiola attempted to run and Alhaji Umaru Dikko told him that the Nigerian Presidency was not "for sale;" Alhaji Shehu Shagari got nominated again and MKO Abiola left politics.
He became more visible during the Ibrahim Babangida's 8 years of misrule. He was practically involved and became Babangida's spokesperson. He was an astute defender of Babangida's policies until after the annulment of June 12, 1993 elections. To show their closeness, Chief MKO traded his editor to Babangida as Chief Press Secretary. It is also no more news that he supported the coup against Buhari/Idiagbon. Bayo Onanuga left African Concord as Editor because he could not go and apologize to Babangida over a story published that led to the closure of the Magazine. Abiola had spoken to Onanuga to apologize and Onanuga preferred opting out to begging IBB.
He bought Sierra-Leone Airline, had Concord Airline, and had his largest farm in Dakar, Senegal, not in Nigeria. He had Summit oil etc.
After the annulment of the 1992 presidential primaries of NRC & SDP, Chief MKO Abiola indicated interest in running for presidency "after due consultations," but he had Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, former National Chairman of the party, and Musa Yar'Adua to contend with. Yar'Adua did not contest, but someone was representing his interest, Abubakar Atiku.
At the Jos Convention of the SDP, Abiola lost the first round to Babagana Kingibe, but because Kingibe did not make the simple majority, the trio of Kingibe, Abiola and Atiku had to go for run-off. This was where Yar'Adua came in, he disappeared, but through his father, he gave Atiku to Abiola to spite Kingibe. Abiola won the second round and he became the flag bearer of SDP. From this time on, Abiola's political naivety reared its head. He made some political miscalculation that later cost him his life.
After the primaries in Jos, Bashorun Abiola thought winning the ticket was enough victory, he did not know that in the school of power struggle, you win and consolidate your victory. This was his mistake number one.
Just after the primaries, the party conducted its National Executive Council election. Surprisingly, Bashorun Abiola did not sponsor a single candidate. Yar'Adua sponsored Tony Anenih and he became the National Chairman of the party; in actual fact most of the executive members were PDM men (Peoples Democratic Movement), Yar'Adua's political machine.
Number two error was his choice of Kingibe as Vice. But he could not have done otherwise. 14 out of 20 Governors of SDP then were sponsored by Kingibe when he was the National Chairman. These governors, including one from the south west had insisted on Kingibe or they would not guarantee SDP victory in their States. After 68 meetings, Kingibe was picked as Abiola's running mate instead of Atiku. This did not go down well with Yar'Adua, who had wanted to deal with Kingibe.
Number 3 error. Abiola did not have a political movement, unlike Yar'Adua, just like his town's man who is like a mercenary in PDP. Planted on the party by Babangida and Aliyu Mohammed Gusau.
These three fundamental errors made it easy for him to let the mandate given to him by over 14 million Nigerians slip. That was why it was easy for Anenih to accept the annulment and Interim government.
His final error was his alignment with the enemy even when the likes of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana, Olisa Agbakoba, and Bamidele Aturu were supporting the mandate, Chief Abiola was holding close door meetings with Arthur Nzeribe, the man who helped to put spanner in the wheel of the progress of June 12. He left Nigeria on the advice of Sani Abacha that Babangida was planning to kill him. He actually prevailed on Abacha to take over from Shonekan, when the court had declared Shonekan's Interim government illegal. Abacha lied to him, took over from Shonekan and Abiola recommended members of his party to Abacha as Cabinet members. He went to Dodan Barracks where Abacha was then on a courtesy visit. Before he could realize what was happening the underdog had gained power and it was late to fight back. All the noise about Epe declaration was after thought, belated actions.
This is not to say that I take delight in the assassination of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, no, far from it. And I detest the killing of Bashorun Abiola too, but the point is the case is a case of dog eats dog. I feel sorry not only for the Bashorun but also for his children just as I feel strongly too for the men and women who died during the June 12 riot leaving their children for no one to care for them. Some parents also lost their children, especially the under 12 girl that got killed by police stray bullet at Ojota. No one has asked for these kids, we are not bothered, because they are poor people. Their role was more significant than Bashorun Abiola's role. They voted for Abiola, and when their vote was disrespected by Abiola's friends, they came out again to defend their political power when the man they voted for left them for abroad for fear of being killed by his friends. We see them being butchered on the street of Lagos, along Ikorodu road and we call them miscreants, Area boys.
The question here is would Alhaja Kudirat Abiola and Bashorun Abiola have gone this far if another person had won the election and it was annulled? The fact and the truth of the matter is that Alhaja kudirat Abiola died defending her husband's mandate not democracy. She wouldn't have fought same way if Kingibe or Tofa had had their election annulled. This is a hard fact and the truth. I think the earlier we separate the person of Bashorun Abiola from the real issue of June 12 the better for us. June 12, to me is greater than any individual. It does not represent Bashorun Abiola, no it does not. It was a day Nigerians said SABENA- Such A Bitter Experience Never Again. But unfortunately, we have not come over it because we still mix sentiment with the truth.
We made them heroic fools! This is SAD. These are the real HEROES AND HEROINES of June 12. They laid their lives for what they believed and fought for their freedom and ours took their destinies in their hands, because there was no one to fight for them. What they fought for is not what we have today. They didn't die for this scrap called DEM ALL CRAZY, not this kleptomacracy, not this deceit and flagrant disregard for people's dignity, respect and genuine response to the people's need. During that time, I saw policemen, military men supporting the cause; infact some security operatives aided a lot of people to escape. The police, and the military also voted on June 12, we all, as a people, voted for a change, not from military to civil rule but a change from these OWNERS OF NIGERIA who have held us hostage for long. I think there was a sense in voting Bashorun Abiola, he was part of them, and we had expected that he would know how to clear the mess his co-OWNERS left for us. Just like Abami-Eda's song, we have unknown soldiers, unknown police, unknown students, these people are our unknown HEROES and HEROINES. We allowed the opportunity to slip, because many of us are afraid to die, but we now have many living corpse walking on our streets in Nigeria. Graduates without job, some underemployed. I think there is still another chance.
I believe that Bashorun though may have atoned for his past mistakes, was part of our problems in Nigeria. He played his part and became born again later, but in the spirit of fairness, we need to touch on this issue because we cannot talk about Babangida, Abacha and Obasanjo without mentioning Bashorun Abiola. The story will be incomplete.
It is also sad too that Abacha during Bashorun Abiola's incarceration was able to deal serious blow to his many businesses through the help of an enemy within. This time, it is not Lateef Sofolahan but one of the Bashorun's wives. Throughout the period of the Bashorun's incarceration, she was meeting with Abacha. Who was this woman? Did Abacha have an inappropriate relationship with her? I will not mention her name and will also not answer the second question too; all I will say is that she is among those women snatched by the Bashorun. This woman was around on the night of June 7 to the early morning June 8 1998 when Abacha died, she was lodged in the NICON Hilton Hotel Abuja. She escaped Mustapha narrowly that day. With his entire intelligence network, Al-Mustapha could not get her and the Ibo girl, the last girl Abacha slept with before he died at the Defense Guest House, otherwise known as House number 7. How? Let's leave that for now.
Who was this man? How did he maneuver himself to the top? What actually happened on January 15 1995? How many people died in that plane crash?
What role did he play in the Johnny Koroma's coup against Tedjan Kabba of Sierra-Leone?
Was he actually involved in Diamond deal in Sierra-Leone?
What killed him? Apple?
According to one of my very good pen friends- "Man Proposes, God Laughs"
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.