Friday, 26 August 2016

What I told MKO about Power while on Visit to USA — Jamiu Abiola


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The Author Jamiu Abiola tells the GDA more story of how his father fell for Abacha's dirty deal
 I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. I knew this was going to happen from the very beginning. I had just returned to Nigeria thirty-nine days after my mother, Kudirat Abiola, had been killed. I was not alone, thank God. My immediate elder brother was with me. His name is Lekan. That day the dilapidated international airport in Lagos and its lifeless-looking officials were a reflection of my mood. I was depressed and did not bother hiding it. To make matters worse, it was extremely hot and the entire airport was in total disarray. By the time I left, I was relieved.

MKO Abiola the Enigma

On the drive back home, I could not help but recall the day my father had told me and my brother of his presidential ambition. Coincidentally I was also in a car with Lekan when it happened. But unlike now, we were not leaving an airport; we were going to one. On that day, just over three years ago, my father had come to the United States. He came often so his trip was not a big deal. It was the fact that he was leaving that same day that was a big deal. “I have to be in London in the next eleven hours. Something has just come up so I have to leave”


MKO Abiola...The Star Boy from Egba Land

 He realized that I was not happy he was leaving. He looked at my brother then made a suggestion. “Why don’t you drive me to the airport? We can talk on the way. Besides, I have something important to say and I would also like you both to see my new plane”.
My brother and I stood up, eager to go. In less than five minutes we were in the car. My father was looking very excited that day. He must really like his new plane, I had said to myself, but once we were headed to the airport, he said the last thing I had expected to hear. “I am joining the presidential race and this is not a wild goose chase. General Babangida is serious about leaving power this time ... This time the coast is unmistakably clear”.

Mama Alhaja...Alhaja Kudirat Abiola's mother. She was disturbed and tried advising MKO against picking a fight with government over his mandate

The way he had said “this time” the second time gave me the impression that he was trying to convince himself of the truth of what he was saying. I immediately reacted without thinking. “Sir, I doubt that General Babangida will hand over power.  ... I really doubt it because power is something that no one wants to give away”.
Till today I don’t know why I made that statement or from where I got the courage to make it. All I know is that I regretted it shortly afterwards. It was insensitive because I should have known that it would spoil his mood. By the time he spoke, it was clear that he was upset. “What do you know about power? Your knowledge of it and of politics is limited because you are still a child. Maybe if I was your age, I would have made such a careless remark”


“It was the same house I had grown up in but it seemed very different. It did not take me long to discover why. It had been abandoned. It was hard to believe that this was the same house that people had struggled to enter, some even threatening to jump across its walls whenever they felt that they had unjustly been denied access. Where was the crowd now?
Would all this have happened if my father had taken my words more seriously and pulled out of the presidential race?”

I did not know how to respond or if I should. I was scared because the last thing that I wanted was to say something that would make things worse. “On second thought, sir, since
General Babangida has been in power for so long, he might be tired of it by now. He might indeed be willing to hand over power to someone else”

General Abacha's 2nd in command, Genere Oladipupo Diya (His Hands were tight on MKO Abiola's Case)

I knew that my words sounded clumsy. But then I felt that even if I had composed a better reply, it would not have changed the fact that I had ruined my father’s mood. He did not say a word after that till we arrived at the airport. He was about to get out of the car when he said, “All I know is that nothing will help Babangida enter heaven. Not money and not power” He stepped out of the car then added, “Let’s walk to my new plane so that you can both tell me what you think of it”

My thoughts returned to the present as the car pulled into my father’s house in Lagos. It was the same house I had grown up in but it seemed very different. It did not take me long to discover why. It had been abandoned. It was hard to believe that this was the same house that people had struggled to enter, some even threatening to jump across its walls whenever they felt that they had unjustly been denied access. Where was the crowd now?


General Sani Abacha...Played 419 on MKO Abiola

Would all this have happened if my father had taken my words more seriously and pulled out of the presidential race?
I suddenly remembered that he was still alive, something that was hard to believe since no one had seen him for more than a year. I consoled myself by thinking that this tragedy could still have a better ending since he was still alive-and when there is life, there is hope. As I was thinking and walking, I realized that I had gotten to my mother’s grave subconsciously.


Jamiu Abiola wants the World to read about the true story of his dad

All of a sudden, a stern-looking uncle came out from the house. He was wearing a traditional Nigerian cap and a kaftan. He saw me praying so he waited for me to finish. Afterward I smiled at him and greeted him warmly but his response jolted me. “What is the purpose of this trip?”
I flared up. “What is the purpose of that question? And who gave you the right to ask it?”
It did not take him long to realize that things were about to get out of hand so he quickly softened his tone. “I am worried about you and your brother. Your mother’s enemies are still around and if we take chances, they might just end up-”
I cut him off. “They might end up doing what? What can they do that they have not done already? Those foolish people who only know how to hit in the dark; I am not afraid of them and I never will be”

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

He paused for a while then hugged me, which was what I had expected him to do when I saw him. That was when I cried for the first time since I arrived. I went to my room immediately after and in less than two hours, I was fast asleep. The following day I woke up at 4:30 a.m. I was surprised that the first thing that I asked myself was my uncle’s question: what was the purpose of my trip?
(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’s Kids searched for him inside Abacha’s gulag in our next post on this blog)


The Book of MKO according to Jamiu Abiola

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