Wednesday, 27 July 2016

June 24: MKO Abiola’s worst day ever

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MKOAbiola, the Man who wanted to Rule Nigeria

The die had been cast. The lines had been drawn. Moshood looked calm outwardly but deep down, he was a volcano that was about to erupt. To make matters worse, despite his previous claims of being unstoppable once he had a legitimate claim to power, he now doubted whether he had the courage to battle the Nigerian military. Regardless of the divisions and confusion that had split the army, it was still West Africa’s most powerful institution, which made him feel that his success in regaining his mandate would largely depend on luck.

Later on that night, after his few guests had left, he stood in front of the mirror, staring at himself attentively as if he was bidding farewell to an old image that was about to evolve into something else unrecognizable. As usual, Kudirat was with him. It was she who broke the long silence when she said, referring to General Babangida, Nigeria’s leader, “Now if that man, general, or whatever he calls himself was ever a friend then the word enemy should be erased from every dictionary in the world ... God will judge and teach him a bitter lesson”

The Author of The Book & The GDA in a rare pose with the book, The President Who Never Ruled

Moshood agreed. “You are right, God will certainly judge. To defend himself, I hear he is saying that his actions were taken in defense of ‘Nigeria’s unity’ because he has once fought for ‘Nigeria’s unity’ and is still willing to make sacrifices for ‘Nigeria’s unity,’ as if it is not his actions that threaten to destroy Nigeria’s unity”
Since then he always mockingly referred to General Babangida as “the man who believes in Nigeria’s unity” whenever he made fun of him to Kudirat. Moshood had never been so bitter in his life. After a long pause, he concluded, “I blame myself for getting involved in this phantom transition program ... But never mind. I will be the one who laughs last. Just wait and see”
His voice lowered but the threat in it was clear. Hoping that her husband was not planning to violently overthrow the government, Kudirat uttered, “The only language that works with soldiers is force, but I hope that is not your plan”

“Who am I doing all this for, if not my children? why should they grow up in a country where things as precious as presidential mandates are shamelessly stolen in broad daylight?” He looked at her sharply as if he expected her to say something. Not done, he added aggressively, “Aside from that, I would never have come this close to water if I was afraid of getting wet”

MKO Abiola; The Star Child

Moshood shook his head. “Of course not; you know that I have never believed in violence. What I meant is that I am the elected president of this country and that in itself is a powerful fact that carries enormous weight. Let’s not forget that the results are out on the streets and that international observers have declared that the process was free and fair. Let’s just take it that he and his enemies of progress are living in denial as they always have. The masses will help me to reclaim my mandate”

Kudirat was on one hand relieved and on the other apprehensive. “It is like things are about to really get bad. These kinds of struggles are not easy because one puts in so much and never knows what will come out of one’s efforts. It might be too costly a gamble for someone like you who has so many children and so many ...”
Moshood cut her off, but his words were not assertive. He sounded like he was trying to convince himself about what he was saying. “Who am I doing all this for, if not my children?; why should they grow up in a country where things as precious as presidential mandates are shamelessly stolen in broad daylight?” He looked at her sharply as if he expected her to say something. Not done, he added aggressively, “Aside from that, I would never have come this close to water if I was afraid of getting wet”

The Author, Jamiu Abiola & The GDA after an Encounter

There was silence. She knew that he was not pleased about her remark. The air was tense. After what seemed like eternity, she softly consoled him. “I am here whenever you need me. I look forward to playing a completely supportive role for my mother once said that a wife who is scared of helping her husband in need has the heart of a woman who can abandon her own child indeed”  She held his hand. “Wherever this quest takes you is where it will take me”

To her dismay, Moshood disapproved. “What are you saying? Do you think this is a picnic? Listen, even if I ever need you in this struggle, ignore me unless it is only advice that I seek. There will be no active role for you to play in this struggle. It is meant only for men”.  She wanted to object but he carried on. “I remember that you warned me against politics and even one of your sons cautioned me from the onset. I will sort myself out, is that clear?” He sounded like a father scolding his daughter. “I know these people and what they are capable of doing. Don’t think you will be spared because you are a woman”

MKO & Kudi Abiola

His words hurt her deeply. The support that she had offered was advisory and no more. She had no intention of getting directly involved in his plans. “I never planned on giving you more than advice but even if I did want to give you more than advice, what is the big deal? Is that not what Khadija, the prophet’s wife, did for him to spread Islam? Is that not what Winnie Mandela did for her husband?”
The room became tense. A sudden apologetic look appeared on Moshood’s face as he defended himself. “Don’t get me wrong. I deeply appreciate your concern. It is just that encouraging your direct involvement, which is what I thought you meant, would not only have made me an irresponsible husband but an inconsiderate father as well”
She nodded her head gently and remained silent. The age gap of fifteen years between them had instilled a lot of respect in her toward him. It sometimes seemed as if she was afraid of him. She quietly bid him farewell and retired to her own room. Once she was gone, Moshood began making phone calls. That was how he spent most of his time recently whenever he was alone. He wanted to woo world leaders, Nigerian kings, allies in the Nigerian army, diplomats and foreign journalists to his side. He had been warned that his lines were bugged but he did not care. He was desperate and frustrated.


After a couple of days, he shocked Kudirat when he asked her to accompany him on a trip to Abuja. They had an appointment to see Nigeria’s military president for the first time since the crisis. Kudirat had found it hard to believe that he was the same person who had wanted her to keep her distance from the political scene just a couple of days ago. She rushed into her room to get dressed and returned to him in less than five minutes. After a short while, they were ready to go to the airport but some of their supporters had their reservations. Addressing Moshood, one of them said, “The general should be the one coming to your house and not the other way around.
After all, he is the past and you are the present and future”. Moshood laughed, “He who wants to take a sword from someone else will first approach him in a friendly way in order to grab the sword from the handle. That way it ends up in his hands and not his stomach”.

The Book which cleaned MKO's Political blemishes

After a general laughter, another man said. “Well, go if you have to go, but no eating or drinking allowed”. There was another general laughter and Moshood and Kudirat were off in the company of two other family members.
It was true that General Babangida had been friends with Moshood for more than a decade but things were different now. Moshood not only considered him as an enemy but a bitter foe. If only the general had hinted to him that he had no plans of leaving power, he would never have wasted so much time, money, and energy. But it was too late to turn back the hands of time.

(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 Read Day MKO tongue lashed IBB inside Aso Rock in our next post on this blog)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog


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