Friday, 22 July 2016

MKO Abiola’s 5 un-used Economic Theories

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MKO Abiola on NTA Life Style Show with Late Livy Ajunuma and a lady presenter during his Hope 93 Campaign

“Why are you so worried? You knew all along that the association would end up in court. Or why else did you think that they claimed to be gathering signatures?”
Kudirat was talking to Moshood, who had decided to stay home after receiving the alarming news that The Association for a Better Nigeria had gone to court to stop the elections. Although she had rightfully said that he knew that this was the organization’s aim from the onset, it was now obvious that he had been holding on to a tiny ray of hope that the group might have jettisoned the idea since the elections were so close at hand. He did not respond to her question. So, Kudirat was quick to add, “But there is a military decree that you once told me about, the one that stops even the courts from halting the election. Have you forgotten about it? If it does exist, we have nothing to fear, right?”

MKO Abiola launches his HOPE 93 Campaign amidst pomp and promises

Moshood nodded his head reluctantly, and after a long while, he answered. “That decree does exist but that’s not the problem”.  He paused as if he was trying to arrange his thoughts. “Laws and decrees only carry weight in countries governed by law and order. Nigeria today is sadly not one of them. How can it be, with the sort of leadership it has?” His bitterness was obvious and frightening. She had never heard him sound that way. “That is why I have to make sure that even if I don’t become president, I succeed in putting an end to this regime”.

MKO Abiola; The Star boy from Abeokuta

His words stung. All along she had believed that she and her husband were on a political mission but all of a sudden, she realized that it might soon turn into a crusade. She had made enormous sacrifices for his political ambition. She had deployed her knowledge of the language and culture of northern Nigeria, the place of her birth and childhood, to his campaign efforts in that region and had spent millions of naira, Nigeria’s local currency, of her own money to fund some of his activities in the north. She took these actions against the stem advice of many of her close friends who believed she was making too many sacrifices for a husband who had other wives. But their remarks never had any impact on her.

Finding her voice, she asked, “So what is the worst-case scenario? And is there anything we can do to stop it from turning into a reality?”
She sounded different. Her tone was bold, confident, and defiant. He had never heard her sound like that before. He glanced at her in astonishment for a few seconds. “The answer to your second question is nothing. The government remains the alpha and the omega till the elections are held. There is absolutely nothing we can do for now”. He began to frown as an analytical look crept up his face. “But as for the worst-case scenario, there are many possibilities, the most awful of which is that the military will induce the court to rule against the holding of the elections then set up a panel to interpret the court’s ruling and decide whether the court erred in issuing it. Of course the findings of that panel will not be concluded and disclosed until after the election date has passed. Once again, this is just one example of a possible worst-case scenario. All we can at this stage is to think less and pray more”

The Author, Abdul Jamiu Abiodun Abiol

Kudirat did not like the sound of that. “Why are we so helpless? I am sure we can do more than just pray. After all, God helps those who help themselves”
Once again her defiant tone stunned Moshood. Although it gave him courage, he regretted telling her so much. He knew that she was a very sensitive woman. Holding her hands, he ended the conversation by saying, “God is in control. If it is my destiny to rule, no one can stop me. I hope and pray that it is my destiny, don’t worry ... Let me take a short nap”.

“Our biggest mistake has always been that we don’t connect corruption to armed robbery and other social ills. We have still not realized that corruption is the father and all these ills are merely its offspring ... Well, I recognize this link and will break and destroy it so that we can be liberated from poverty and backwardness”

They never spoke about the matter again. In the days ahead, Moshood shifted his focus to his campaign once more, focusing on issues to which he felt that he had previously not given enough attention. Some recent economic statistics had made him realize the daunting task ahead of him if he were to become Nigeria’s president. At that time in the nation’s history, Nigeria had become one of the fifteen poorest countries in the world. It also had a foreign debt that exceeded thirty billion dollars. Servicing this debt was costing too much and it made it difficult for the government to maintain the country’s basic infrastructure. The road network, electricity, state hospitals, and almost every other public amenity were falling apart. “To succeed, I will need the support of every single Nigerian,” Moshood once said to a gathering with an emotion-laden tone that sounded like a plea. “And when I say every Nigerian, I mean it literally”.

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

In an effort to reach out to ordinary Nigerians, he began speaking less about general issues like inflation and agriculture and put most of his attention toward topics that touched the daily lives of many people such as armed robbery and corruption. “A Nigeria free of armed robbery and corruption is not a dream or mirage, make no mistake about that” he once said to a crowd. “Such societies exist and are the norm and not the exception. Our biggest mistake has always been that we don’t connect corruption to armed robbery and other social ills. We have still not realized that corruption is the father and all these ills are merely its offspring ... Well, I recognize this link and will break and destroy it so that we can be liberated from poverty and backwardness”

MKO Abiola; The Enigma

Speaking further about corruption, he once said, “Even the recruitment of incompetent people into the police, simply because they were recommended by prominent personalities, is another ugly face of corruption. No background checks are conducted on these people who are meant to maintain law and order as if it is possible to create order from disorder... I will see to it that such practices are discontinued” After a loud applause he said, “Once again, ladies and gentlemen, this is not a dream or mirage. As I have said before, societies with such realities exist and abound all over the world. It is ours that is a sad exception.”
He also announced that extensive reform of the police was a vital necessity. He once said, “The police have to be decentralized to tackle crime effectively. Knowing that the local police boss in a community calls the shots will make its inhabitants feel safer and that is when you will see them sharing crucial information with the police. The absence of this type of cooperation has made it virtually impossible for us to battle crime” He paused briefly before adding, “A centralized police force only serves the selfish interests of despotic regimes”

The Book of MKO Abiola by Jamiu Abiola

Some of his close associates did not like what he had said. One of them confronted him. “How can you be a powerful leader if you give the police that level of autonomy? What if you initiate a policy that is not in favor of a particular community and its people go against you? How will you bring about law and order without having full control of the police?”
Moshood smiled then replied gently. “Democracy must be totally embraced to make it prosper. Power must spread out and be distributed. The decentralization of the police, division of power between the executive, legislative, and judiciary are all a part of that process, just like we see in the United States. The line between military and civilian dictatorships is much thinner than you think and I would hate to be the head of either of them”

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

With time his message became clearer. More people began believing in him. They saw his program as a vehicle for positive change. That was when issues like religion and tribe became inconsequential. The fact that he and his vice presidential candidate were both Muslims did not stop Christians from hoping that he would win. This was the first time that Nigerians had made up their mind to use competence.’ and not tribe and religion, as the only yardstick for picking their leader.
(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 MKO: HowBassey Ikpeme & Dahiru Saleh Killed Democracy on the eve of Hope in our next post on this blog)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

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