Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Meet the Real Man Who Killed MKO Abiola

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MKO Abiola the Enigma

By the beginning of 1997, I had fully settled back in the United States. Months had passed since I left Nigeria during which I had completed my undergraduate studies in political science at New York University. I became fully immersed in a self-learning Japanese program. I was indeed far away from Nigeria but my mind remained there, learning of events as soon as they happened and hoping to hear good news about my father. Good news that was sadly never forthcoming.
I realized as time passed that General Abacha was truly unstoppable, as I had concluded when I was in Nigeria. His growing power, which coincided with Nigeria’s rising poverty, meant that his plan to transform himself into a civilian president was something that would be easier than even he had envisaged. The ball was in his court for too many reasons. All five political parties in Nigeria had adopted him as their sole candidate. Aside from that, only General Abacha, members of his family and junta and their business cronies had access to real money in Nigeria. Another initiative that had further made General Abacha invincible was the failed bank tribunal, a scheme through which General Abacha had locked up influential bankers and debtors, and by so doing, put a large segment of Nigeria’s elite on its knees. He also investigated failed contracts with the intention, according to a widespread belief, of finding anything that would incriminate my father, but there was nothing. Not even with the drug enforcement agency. My father’s record was clean. The general could only rely on treason charges to justify his detention. In the meantime President Museveni and President Mandela continued to mount pressure on the Nigerian government to release my father as they had always done since his incarceration.
The Author, Jamiu Abiola with brother, Lekan (r) in a presidential encounter with President Yoweri Musoveni of Uganda

One day the general had a plan to do something that was unprecedented in Nigerian history. He made up his mind to sponsor a million-man march in which Nigerian youths would urge him to stay in power. The general would have the march televised so that it would serve as a moral justification to the international community for his planned transformation into a civilian president. The march was very controversial and poorly planned but that did not stop General Abacha from using it for his political propaganda.

“Nigerians had no way of finding out because General Abacha, who had mostly been absent from the public, had now completely disappeared. Some even joked that seeing a ghost was easier than laying eyes on the general. From the rumors, tales came to life of how a bedridden General Abacha had begged religious clerics to come to his aide and of how those clerics had told him to do a number of bizarre things if he was serious about staying healthy enough to rule Nigeria for many more years”
The Author; 'The President Who Never Ruled' Jamiu Abiola says 'The Best legacy i owe my father is to write this book'

Then in 1998, from out of the middle of nowhere, rumors that General Abacha was sick began gaining ground. Was there any truth behind them? Nigerians had no way of finding out because General Abacha, who had mostly been absent from the public, had now completely disappeared. Some even joked that seeing a ghost was easier than laying eyes on the general. From the rumors, tales came to life of how a bedridden General Abacha had begged religious clerics to come to his aide and of how those clerics had told him to do a number of bizarre things if he was serious about staying healthy enough to rule Nigeria for many more years.
MKO Abiola...The Star Boy from Egba Land
They had supposedly told him how he had to begin eating wild animals like lions to gain strength and that he also had to bury the uneaten parts of those animals around the presidential palace. They had also allegedly instructed him to find a virgin above twenty-eight years of age and to sleep with her only once. The list of their demands on the frail Abacha was endless and the fact that many people believed that he had complied with all their directives turned him into a laughingstock.
MKO & Kudirat Abiola; First Nigerian Couple to die for Democracy on a joint fate
As General Abacha’s health worsened, one thing became clear. He was not in control of power but power was in control of him. If not, how else could he have explained his unwillingness to travel abroad to attend to his failing health? He was afraid of a coup and once he placed power over his health his days were numbered. They finally came to an abrupt end on the eighth of June, 1998, four days after the anniversary of the death of Kudirat Abiola and four days before the anniversary of the election of Moshood Abiola. General Abacha, they say, died on that day in the hands of Indian prostitutes after eating a poisonous apple and taking a Viagra overdose.
Kudirat Abiola; The Woman who died for her husband in a Political Struggle

Some say it was the other way around. No one knows exactly how it happened and most people never bothered to find out. All they said was good riddance to bad rubbish. Once General Abacha was out of the way, another General named Abdulsalam took his place. Nigeria’s new ruler, who had been General Abacha’s defense chief, gained some instant credibility once rumors began spreading that General Abacha was about to sack him before his death. This rumor gave people the impression that he was different from the late despot. I believed he was as well, but after a short while I knew he was exactly the same kind of person as General Abacha.
General Sani Abacha...Played 419 on MKO Abiola

A few days into his rule, General Abdulsalam released all political prisoners except for my father. That was not all. He did not allow my family members to see him or for him to receive proper medical attention even though as a former defense chief of the late General Abacha, he must have been aware of my father’s numerous health problems.

As if that was not enough, General Abdulsalam exposed my father, a sick man, to an emotionally rigorous political exercise by inviting global luminaries like Kofi Annan the then  secretary general of the United Nations, and Emeka Anyaoku, the then secretary general of the Commonwealth, to have meetings with him. My father, who had been very isolated for such a long time, believed that Boutros Ghali was still the secretary general of the United Nations.
General Abacha's 2nd in command, Genere Oladipupo Diya (His Hands were tight on MKO Abiola's Case)
These meetings must have overwhelmed my father. The government portrayed them as a means of finding a way out of the crisis between him and the Nigerian military government, although the government had refused to make any concessions. My father made it clear that he would not give up his presidential mandate, which must have jolted General Abdulsalam.
MKO's Scion, Lekan Abiola joined his brother and Author of the book, Jamiu Abiola to serch for Dad inside Abacha's gulag
Then all of a sudden, thirty-three days after the death of General Abacha, Nigeria’s new military ruler gave clearance for members of my family to see my father. I was still in the United States but my stepmothers, Mrs. Adebisi Abiola and Mrs. Doyin Abiola, and my father’s eldest child, Lola Abiola, were able to see him. They spent a long time with him and at long last our family knew that my father was still alive.
A few hours after that historic meeting, Moshood Abiola was summoned to another one. This time he was to meet Thomas Pickering, the United States Undersecretary of State, Susan Rice, and some American diplomats. The meeting started well then Moshood began complaining of pains and breathing problems. He went to the toilet then came out and moved restlessly around. He eventually collapsed and was rushed to the presidential hospital where doctors battled to save his life. He died ninety minutes later.
The Book of MKO according to Jamiu Abiola

Shortly after his death President Bill Clinton announced that he was certain that there was no foul play, and his statement was confirmed by an autopsy. It stated that the cause of my father’s death was most likely his heart that was described as diseased by the autopsy report. Many people had doubts about this report and said that my father had drunk a cup of tea that contained poison and that it was given to him by the Americans. I disregarded such claims, which I believe were sponsored by the military government to divert attention from General Abdulsalam. After all it was he who had refused to release my father for over a month after the death of General Abacha. He had even prevented his family from seeing him until hours before his death, which I suspect was designed to be a sort of cover-up for his assassination plan that was about to unfold.
The Author Jamiu Abiodun Abiola & Sister, Hafsat during Launching of 'The President Who Never Ruled'
Even if I want to be less dramatic, the mere fact that General Abdulsalam denied him medical attention made him liable for his death. Moshood was buried in his house after his body was transported back to Lagos. Once again, just like when my mother died, I was still in the United States when it happened. I could not attend his burial and had to watch the news of his death on CNN.
Jamiu Abiola wants the World to read about the true story of his dad

Once Moshood Abiola was out of the way, General Abdulsalam, who had been evasive about his government’s transition to civilian rule, finally announced that he would quit power in less than a year and hand the government over to a democratically elected president. He also praised my father, saying that he was just about to release him. Then he prayed for his gentle soul to rest in peace, which reminded me of how General Abacha had done the same thing when my mother had died even though he had sent his agents to kill her. The Nigerian military finally left power on the 29th of May, 1999.
Dignatories @ the Launching of 'The President who Never Ruled'
In honor of Moshood Abiola, they chose their preferred presidential candidate from Ogun State, his state of origin. Since then the military has stayed away from governance and democracy has flourished in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. That was how President Moshood Abiola, my father and the president who never ruled, and Kudirat Abiola, my mother and his most loyal supporter, won in death the battle that claimed both their lives.

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog


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