Friday, 1 July 2016

Buhari’s Coup & the MKO Connection


By on 10:30
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The GDA and the Author, Abdul-Jamiu Abiodun Abiola in rare display of the book during the interview

“There is no point sympathizing with us civilians now. We have had our chance and we blew it”
Moshood made that declaration with anger and he meant every single word. It was his response to a critic of the new military regime—someone who had felt that Nigeria was better off with the former civilian government than the current military one. But the man dismissed Moshood’s opinion with an assertive phrase that became popular among disenchanted Nigerians after the coup: “The worst civilian government is better than the best military one”.
Moshood, whose life had been much more interesting during democratic rule, could have been easily tempted to agree with him, but memories of the corruption of the previous democratically elected government were fresh on his mind. This new military government, under the leadership of General Buhari, wanted to clean out the corruption, and although Moshood was not in support of some of its strategies, so far it had been doing a good job.

General Muhammadu Buhari
Moshood
liked the fact that General Buhari wanted to bring order to the system, but what worried him about the new military government was its eagerness to settle foreign debts in a hurry. Describing this concern, Moshood once said, “Some of these loans were designated for supplies for foreign goods that were never shipped to Nigeria, even after payments were made to foreign companies”
 
General Ibrahim Babangida
Moshood never questioned the integrity of General Buhari. He had a lot of respect for him but he wanted him to be more careful about his government policy of reducing expenditures. Moshood, who had always supported austerity measures, was not optimistic about them at that point in Nigeria’s history. “Whenever there is a boom, government should, by all means, cut expenditure to keep inflation at check... But at times like this, during a recession, government should adopt the opposite policy by spending wisely to pull the country out of recession”
One area that really impressed Moshood, though, was the new government initiative against indiscipline. The government had tagged it “The war against indiscipline”. It was designed to crush disorderliness and it was extremely effective. Nigerians became more organized in the queues, in maintaining a healthy environment; and most civil servants, in a bid to avoid punitive measures, began coming to work early.

“With this in mind, Moshood shifted his entire attention to his numerous businesses. It was a long list that included Wonder Loaf, Abiola Farms, Concord Airlines, Concord Newspaper, Abiola Bookshops, and various stakes in corporations around the world. He had thousands of employees but that was not what made him stand out in the minds of Nigerians. It was his philanthropy”

MKO Abiola; The Star Child
Moshood
was also pleased by the fact that the new government was fighting corruption and winning the battle. One day he clarified his position on his occasional statements about the government, emphasizing that his words were neither criticisms nor condemnations, but simply advice. He encouraged all Nigerians to analyze things for themselves and make their views known when he said, “We have often failed to assess governments and their performances on a continuous day-to-day basis. Only after the worst has come to pass, when the most egregious blunders have been irremediably committed, and when one chapter of our national trauma has been supplanted by yet another, do we engage in postmortem exercises of severely limited value”
 
The GDA in a hearty chat with the Author, Abdul-Jamiu Abiodun Abiola
Just as things were taking shape and the policies of the new government were yielding some positive results, there was suddenly another military coup. The Buhari government was overthrown by one of its key members, General Ibrahim Babangida, the chief of staff of the army at that time.

General Babangida became Nigeria’s new leader. He assured Nigerians that his administration would be flexible. He became the first military ruler to adopt the title of president. With General Babangida’s growing popularity, Moshood knew that his personal wish to rule Nigeria soon was unrealistic. The general’s actions and body language made it clear from the onset that he was not in a hurry to give up power.
 
MKO Abiola; The Man who broke the Record for ITT in Nigeria
With this in mind, Moshood shifted his entire attention to his numerous businesses. It was a long list that included Wonder Loaf, Abiola Farms, Concord Airlines, Concord Newspaper, Abiola Bookshops, and various stakes in corporations around the world. He had thousands of employees but that was not what made him stand out in the minds of Nigerians. It was his philanthropy.
Being the largest donor of foreign scholarships to Nigerian students was not enough. Moshood joined the list of the biggest supporters of religious institutions. Universities were also not left out. He woke up one day and gave every Nigerian university thousands of dollars. In less than a decade, he had established over thirty-five libraries and sixty secondary schools. He had also built water projects in more than twenty states in Nigeria. It was during this period that people began to say that the letter M in the name Moshood referred to money.
 
MKO & Kudi Abiola
Moshood expanded his charities to the United States. His focus was on black Americans. He donated generously to universities dominated by them. He also worked closely with the congressional black caucus in the United States Congress on initiatives geared toward assisting black Americans. Describing him the congressional black caucus once stated, “We, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus salute him this day as a hero in the global pursuit to preserve the history and the legacy of the African Diaspora”
During this period Moshood acquired more than two hundred traditional titles in Nigeria. But his success had come at a heavy price. It took a toll on his family life. He now had four official wives and scores of children. His business and social commitments took up much of his time. At the height of this, he decided to start taking his children, in turns, with him to functions across Nigeria. But deep down, he knew that that was not enough. He felt guilty, and he always said it, because he wished he could have offered them more.
 
The Book that cleansed MKOAbiola's Political blemishes
(Excerpts from the book, The President Who Never Ruled by Jamiu Abiola; get copies in any book shop across the world or write Jamiu Abiola through jamiulinguist@yahoo.com. Read How MKO became a CIA Agent in our next post on this blog).

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