Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Day MKO got Yar Adua, IBB angry in Jos


By on 16:26
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MKO Abiola launches his HOPE 93 Campaign amidst pomp and promises
“Finally the day has come. The moment that 1 have waited patiently for. .. So how do I look?”
Moshood sounded casual. He was speaking to Kudirat early in the morning of the 27th of March 1993, the day of his party’s presidential convention. He had always had a way of hiding his anxiety, which was what he was doing so skillfully that morning in front of his wife. Deep down, he was uncertain of victory but he was determined to keep that to himself.

Sensing his fears, Kudirat replied reassuringly. “You look powerful, very powerful-and maybe even too powerful. It is not just the outfit, it is you”
Such motivating words from her had become frequent in the last couple of weeks. Ever since Moshood had told her that he wanted to be president, and that there was no going back, encouraging her husband, whose emotions had been swinging like a roller coaster, was all she ever did. But as the convention drew closer he had become calmer because the military president had shown clear signals of his intention to leave power.


MKO Abiola; The Star boy from Abeokuta

He had proven his commitment to ensuring credible elections by funding the activities of the National Electoral Commission continuously. He had approved and enforced the implementation of the Option A4 system, which mandated parties to conduct conventions with only presidential aspirants who had won earlier primaries at their wards, local governments, and states. He had empowered a transitional council to supervise the smooth transfer of power to the civilians and he had approved the modified open ballot system. With all these facts fresh on Moshood’s mind early that morning, he went to his party’s primaries gallantly. He was ready to give the convention his best shot.

“He discovered, before the primaries began, that key politicians who were meant to make contact with party delegates on his behalf had not done so. They had deceived him and were throwing their weight behind his rivals. To save his almost lost presidential ambition he, Kudirat, and a number of his close collaborators swung into action, lobbying the candidates and making concessions”

The Author, Abdul Jamiu Abiodun Abiola tells the GDA the Story of Dad's rise from nothing to something

MKO & the Convection Theatrics
He reached the convention center with a large entourage. The atmosphere was rowdy as people, both invited and uninvited, struggled impatiently to gain entrance. Then all of a sudden there was a lot of panic when rumors spread that security agents, had apprehended some men who had tried to enter the building with weapons.


The Author and The GDA in a rare pose with the book 'The President Who Who Never Ruled'

Once the tension was reduced, Moshood shifted his attention to the primaries. It was going to be a fierce contest because the Option A4 system, which had produced him, had also led to the emergence of two other charismatic contenders. They were Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, a politically savvy diplomat turned politician; and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a wealthy businessman and former customs official. Atiku had the backing of Alhaji Shehu Yar’adua, the guru of Nigerian politics at that time.

There were hitches in the accreditation of the delegates, which caused a long delay before the contests could finally begin. That was Moshood’s first shock but another one—a more unsettling one-awaited him. He discovered, before the primaries began, that key politicians who were meant to make contact with party delegates on his behalf had not done so. They had deceived him and were throwing their weight behind his rivals. To save his almost lost presidential ambition he, Kudirat, and a number of his close collaborators swung into action, lobbying the candidates and making concessions. Time was not on their side but they tried their best.


Dignatories @ the Launching of 'The President who Never Ruled'

Even after so much effort, when the primaries finally began Moshood was still not able to win in the first round. Kingibe, who enjoyed the support of fourteen governors, turned out to be his major rival. Those governors had felt indebted to Kingibe because they had emerged as their party’s gubernatorial candidates when he was the party chairman. They were thus influencing delegates from their states to vote for him.


MKO Abiola; The Enigma

Alhaji Shehu Yar’adua, who supported Atiku Abubakar, was not happy about this. By the time Atiku came in third in the first round, Yar’adua had persuaded him to step down from the race and pave the way for Moshood’s victory in the second round. His hope was that Moshood would appoint Atiku as his vice- presidential candidate once he emerged as the winner.

With this development, Moshood was able to win the second round. He defeated Kingibe with just 227 votes. But to Yar’adua’s dismay, Moshood did not pick Atiku as his vice- presidential candidate because the party governors threatened that they would not support him in the general elections if Kingibe was not his vice president.

The Book of MKO Abiola by Jamiu Abiola

After a lengthy negotiation Moshood conceded and chose Kingibe, which angered Yar’adua and caused a deep rift between both him and Moshood. But there was another bigger crisis that unfolded at the same time. Moshood had received word from very reliable sources before picking his vice- presidential candidate, that General Babangida, the military president, wanted him to nominate Pascal Bafyau, the president of the Nigeria Labor Congress, as his vice-presidential candidate. Moshood did not even contemplate that option because it would have spelled doom for his political career. He would have lost the support of his party’s governors and infuriated Yar’adua even more. He remained settled on Kingibe and this marked the official beginning of his problems with the military government.

 (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 MKO’s Hope versus IBB’s Confusion in our next post on this blog)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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