Thursday, 25 August 2016

How Abacha battled USA over Kudirat Abiola Street in New York


By on 14:05
Share this Post Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This


Jamiu Abiola wants the World to read about the true story of his dad
After the death of Kudirat Abiola, the domestic part of the Nigerian democratic struggle suffered a major setback. Her husband had initiated the struggle but it was she who had sustained it. Once she was gone, the loss of morale in the ranks of human rights activists in Nigeria could be likened to the loss of hope in the ranks of warriors in the past after the sudden death of their leader during battle. The anniversary of the election, whose results she had sacrificed her life to uphold, came only eight days after she had been killed. This time around, however, the anniversary was hardly noticed. Kudirat was no longer around to draw attention to it. It came quietly and left the same way.

Kudirat Abiola...Very disturbed with events in her husband's political career
General Sani Abacha...Played 419 on MKO Abiola

The international aspect of the struggle, however, witnessed a major boost. A new radio station called Radio Kudirat was established. This station aired the atrocities of the military regime. The military wanted to destroy it at all costs but was not able to because the station was based abroad. It was beyond its reach. Radio Kudirat became the voice of the opposition and remained active for a very long period of time. Dele Momodu, a prominent journalist who had gone on exile at that time, was in charge of all the Yoruba programs on Radio Kudirat.


MKO Abiola the Enigma

The battle between Kudirat and the military government continued after her death. The city of New York, just as it had once named the street on which the South African embassy was located after Nelson Mandela during his struggle against Apartheid, decided to name the comer of 44th Street on Second Avenue, where the Nigerian consulate is located in New York, after Kudirat Abiola in recognition of her heroic stance against tyranny. In reaction to this, a group known as Congress of Nigerians Abroad went to court to stop the naming. It claimed that it would be an embarrassment to the Nigerian government. The judge halted the naming temporarily and fixed a hearing on the matter.


“He argued in favor of the street being named after Kudirat, whom he described in the hearing as “the bravest, most uncompromising woman Africa’s human rights struggle has ever known”. He summarized Kudirat’s actions by saying that she “took up the leadership of the struggle, not only to free her husband from jail but to free all Nigerians from the jackboot of military rule. Kudirat was the opposition leader the Abacha regime feared the most”

The Nigerian government, which was rumored to be the force behind the group, launched a battle on many fronts against the naming once it got wind of it. Leading the government delegation in this initiative was Ibrahim Gambari, the Nigerian ambassador to the United Nations, and Mr. Awani, Nigeria’s acting consul general. They filed complaints to hinder the process, arguing against it at different hearings. The military government, according to rumors, had supported their efforts with millions of dollars budgeted to sponsor rented crowds that would demonstrate against the naming. In a related development, David Dinkins, a former mayor of New York City, and Wole Soyinka, a noble prize laureate, appeared during the hearings and defended the naming of the comer after Kudirat Abiola.


MKO & Kudirat Abiola; First Nigerian Couple to die for Democracy

In the middle of this heated debate, Walter Carrington, who had just completed his four-year tenure as the American Ambassador to Nigeria, decided to lend his voice to the debate in his capacity as an individual and not as a representative of the United States government. He argued in favor of the street being named after Kudirat, whom he described in the hearing as “the bravest, most uncompromising woman Africa’s human rights struggle has ever known”. He summarized Kudirat’s actions by saying that she “took up the leadership of the struggle, not only to free her husband from jail but to free all Nigerians from the jackboot of military rule. Kudirat was the opposition leader the Abacha regime feared the most”


MKO Abiola...The Star Boy from Egba Land

To give his audience a clear picture of the brutality of the Nigerian military government, which would have dispelled the false claims being made by Nigerian government officials that the activists were the ones responsible for the violence in Nigeria, Walter Carrington gave a vivid account of how security agents, acting on the orders of the military regime, violently disrupted a farewell event organized in his honor by “the human rights group which Kudirat Abiola championed.” He described this action as “in violation of all known diplomatic practices”.


General Abacha's 2nd in command, Genere Oladipupo Diya (His Hands were tight on MKO Abiola's Case)
The Author Jamiu Abiola tells the GDA more story of how his father fell for Abacha's dirty deal

After reviewing all the facts presented by both parties, the court ruled in favor of the city of New
York, naming the street after Kudirat Abiola, That was how the comer of 44th street in Manhattan was named after Kudirat, who died at the age of 44. This infuriated the Nigerian military leader, who in retaliation decided to name the street of the United States Embassy in Lagos after someone whom he felt was despised by the United States government. He made up a list of names that included Timothy Me Veigh and Mohamar Khadafi. He eventually chose Louis Farrakhan and named the street of the United States Embassy in Lagos after him. But by the time democracy finally returned to Nigeria a few years later, a democratic government changed the name of that street to Walter Carrington Street in honor of Ambassador Walter Carrington

The Book of MKO according to Jamiu Abiola

(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 What Son told MKO about IBB on his last visit to USA in our next post on this blog)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

0 comments:

Post a Comment