General Ibrahim Babangida has explained the reason he annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.
Babangida said: They will kill me; they will kill the President Elect, Chief MKO Abiola if I went ahead with the election and announced the winner of the elections which we all know to be Bashorun, Chief MKO Abiola.
”I know so; I am not daft. He won; he tried. I feel bad about the whole matter. Professor, I do not see how they will spare you because they know you are my principal confidant. You think they do not know you? They know; they know you are with me now. They saw you coming in and they know you are with me now I cannot kill myself for the sake of what the country wants. I am sorry,” IBB lamented. It was astonishing to hear a General stating that he could not lay down his life for his country.
It was clear that General Babangida was in a fix as of June 21st 1993. I then proceeded to deal with the questions of who were these “they” and for what reasons would they want to kill the President and the President Elect if the June 12 election were allowed to go forward. He named them in military and in ethnic categories:
”Sani (meaning General Sani Abacha) is opposed to a return to civilian rule. Sani cannot stand the idea of Chief Abiola, a Yoruba becoming his Commander- in- Chief; Sani seems to have the ears of the Norhern leaders that no Southerner especially from the South West should become the President of the country. Sani seems to rally the Northern elders to confront me on the matter. He is winning; the Sultan and the Northern leaders are of this frame of mind.”
”Where do I go from here? They do not trust me. Without Sani, I will not be alive today; without the North, I would not have become an officer in the Nigerian Army and now the President of Nigeria I don’t want to appear ungrateful to Sani; he may not be bright upstairs but he knows how to overthrow governments and overpower coup plotters. He saw to my coming to office in 1985 and to my protection in the many coups I faced in the past, especially the Orkar coup of 1990 where he saved me and my family including my infant daughter.”
”Sani risked his life to get me into office in 1983 and 1985; if he says he does not want Chief Abiola, I will not force Chief Abiola on him.”
He also named Lt General Dongoyaro and Brigadier General David Mark as those who were against Chief Abiola. In fact, he quoted David Mark as saying: I’d shoot Chief Abiola the day NEC( National Electoral Commission) pronounces him the elected President!
‘To this day, many people in Nigeria think I killed him.’
That was the opening line in the riveting account of the last hour of the late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as told by Ambassador Susan Rice. She was one of the visiting American diplomats in whose presence the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election died on 7th July 1998. More significantly, Rice was the one who served Abiola the famous last tea. For the past 22 years, the former National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama has refrained from speaking on what exactly happened that day. But in her memoir, “TOUGH LOVE: My story of the things worth fighting for”, Rice recounts not only how Abiola died but also confirmed the street gossip about the last hour of the late General Sani Abacha.
In the memoir, Rice also recounts how she was conceived in Lagos during the two years her parents spent in Nigeria at a time her father was helping in the establishment of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) after independence. As the American diplomat with Africa as her brief, Rice also recalls many of the crises on the continent, especially the one that eventually led to the death of Col Muammar Ghadafi in Libya and the encounters she had at different times with African leaders, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo who on one occasion was “nonchalantly hurling well-picked chicken bones—much to our amusement—backward over his shoulders across the presidential suite.” Now, let’s begin with the story of one of the most momentous periods in Nigeria’s political history from Rice, a former US Ambassador to the United Nations: The death of Abacha and Abiola.
In early July 1998, I traveled to Nigeria with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Pickering, who was then among the most senior career Foreign Service Officers. As assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, I had gotten to know Pickering, my immediate boss, as a wise, fast-talking, and deeply knowledgeable diplomat. Having served as ambassador to six major countries and the United Nations, Pickering had seen and heard almost everything. The purpose of our trip to Nigeria was to encourage a responsible political transition. The nasty former dictator, Sani Abacha, had died a month earlier in the company of prostitutes. Viagra was reportedly involved. His interim successor was a moderate leader, Abdulsalami Abubakar, who hoped to shepherd Nigeria through a democratic election to select its new leader.
A primary objective of our visit was to meet the wrongfully imprisoned opposition leader, Moshood Abiola. He was the presumed winner of Nigeria’s 1993 election, but the results were annulled, and he was later arrested. We hoped to negotiate his freedom so that he could participate in the upcoming election.
Along with Pickering and U.S ambassador to Nigeria Bill Twadell, I met Mr. Abiola in an austere government guesthouse on the vast presidential complex in the capital, Abuja. A large and imposing man, Abiola came with his minder shortly after we arrived. Pickering, a former ambassador to Nigeria, knew Abiola from years past and greeted him warmly. Abiola, robust and happy to see us, sat on the couch and began to tell us how poorly he had been treated during his four years in prison. He was wearing sandals and multilayered traditional Nigerian dress. I noted that his ankles were swollen.
About five minutes into the conversation, Abiola started to cough, at first mildly and intermittently, and then wrackingly with consistency. He said he was hot, so I asked his dutiful minder, “Please turn up the air-conditioning.” Noticing a tea service on the table between us, I offered Abiola, “Would you like some tea to help calm your cough?”
“Yes,” he said, with appreciation, and I poured him a cup. He sipped it, but continued coughing. Increasingly uncomfortable, Abiola removed his outer layer, leaving one layer on top. I shot Pickering a worried glance.
The coughing became dramatic. I told the assembled men, “I think we better call for a doctor.” No one argued. The minder immediately placed the call. Abiola asked to be excused and went into the bathroom of our meeting room. When he emerged, he was bare-chested and sweating profusely, barely able to talk. He lay down on the couch writhing and then rolled facedown onto the floor. The doctor arrived promptly, took a quick look at him, and declared that Abiola was having a heart attack and must be transported to the hospital immediately. The men labored to lift the heavy Abiola into a small car, and we rushed to the nearby, rudimentary presidential hospital. I grabbed his eye-glasses off of a side table where he left them, his only belonging, thinking of his daughter Hafsat in the U.S whom I’d met before we left. The doctors worked on him, furiously, but within an hour they pronounced him dead.
We braced for violence. Abiola’s sudden and mysterious death would hit like a bombshell in Nigeria’s political tinderbox. Conspiracy theories would spread like metastatic cancer. Serious unrest throughout Nigeria was possible. Washington would hyperventilate, since it’s not every day a major figure drops dead with senior U.S officials. His family would need to be told. And, urgently, Nigeria’s acting president would have to hear directly from us, even though his minister was present at the hospital and knew how it went down.
Ambassador Twadell panicked and urged me and Pickering to rush to the airport and leave the country immediately. “Hell no,” we said. This delicate situation required deft management, not a hurried exit in a cloud of suspicion.
Right away, I called National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, my former boss, briefed him, and dictated a White House press release. Then we went to the Nigerian presidential palace to relay the entire drama to the acting president. We urged him to issue a careful statement to announce the establishment of an autopsy by international experts, in order to quell rife speculation and limit the potential violence. The acting president did both.
Next, Pickering, Twadell, and I went with former Nigerian Foreign Minister Baba Kingibe to see Abiola’s wives and daughters. All of us walked in together, but soon I realized that I was effectively alone in the room with these distraught women. The men had hung far back and left the job to me—just like the pouring of the tea. I proceeded to explain that their husband/father was dead. He had died of an apparent heart attack that began in our meeting. The doctors did all they could to save him but could not. The ladies’ wailing was so intense, it haunts me to this day.
We briefed the press, and I returned to the U.S embassy to write the official cable to report what had happened. As a senior official, I almost never wrote up cables summarizing meetings but in this case there was no more efficient way to ensure we got this very important history straight.
As I was typing, I heard in the distance on the CNN a familiar voice of indignation. It was none other than the Reverend Jesse Jackson, then serving as President Clinton’s special envoy for the promotion of democracy in Africa. Reverend Jackson served capably in this role, and with good intentions, but on this occasion, I could have throttled him. He was riffling about how Abiola died under suspicious circumstances in a meeting with U.S. officials. I could not believe my ears—our own guy implying we were killers! Immediately, I placed a call to his longtime aide Yuri and asked them to shut the Reverend down. “Please, just get him off the set.” That happened, even as I was still watching the segment.
We stayed overnight in Nigeria to try to calm things, offer any needed assistance to the government, and make an orderly departure. Fortunately, despite deep public upset, no significant violence occurred. The autopsy eventually confirmed the cause of death as a heart attack. Nonetheless, it was Nigeria where conspiracy theories abound. The most popular, which still has currency over twenty years later, is that I killed Abiola by pouring him poisoned tea.
From that experience, I found that being a woman policymaker comes with unique hazards. The men would not have offered, much less thought, to pour the tea. They may have swiftly called for a doctor. They may not have been able to break the bad news to the wives. Not for the first time, it was I, not they, who took the public fall for a crime nobody committed.
NOTE: Rice also wrote a brief on her Nigerian connection:
Almost immediately after their wedding, my parents moved to Lagos, Nigeria, where Dad had been sent by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a research advisor to help establish the Central Bank of Nigeria in the wake of the country’s independence. Mom took leave from the College Board and worked for the Ford Foundation as an educational specialist for West Africa. Their two years in Nigeria, punctuated by travel around West Africa and Europe, were, by all accounts, enjoyable. They amassed an impressive collection of Nigerian art, including valuable sculptures that were a visual fixture of my upbringing. I was conceived in Nigeria. Toward the end of their stay, Mom became pregnant with me, and I have long amused myself with the hypothesis that my origins in Nigeria, combined with my Irish and Jamaican ancestors, explain a lot both about my temperament and attraction to all things international. (Factnote)
Former running mate to late Moshood Abiola in the 1993 Presidential election, Babagana Kingibe has explained that his decision to take a role in the late military leader, General Sani Abachas regime, was for the national interest which he put above his personal feelings.
Kingibe made this known to journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State, during a solidarity visit to Governor Babagana Umara on Sunday.
He said that his actions were in line with the teachings of the Muslim faith, which he professed that leadership comes from God which he accepted in good fate.
When we think of the collective good there are times when we have to sacrifice personal interest and join hands in rebuilding society and bringing peace and harmony to our people: I have addressed this issue of why did I join Abachas government and so on.
I know we won the elections on June 12, 1993, I know that injustice was done when those elections were annulled but there is always one guiding principle in my public life which is that the national interest supersedes any other consideration and all my actions have been informed by this consciousness of what is best in the national interest.
The former minister who is from Borno state said he was particularly happy with the magnitude of celebration that took place in his home state to mark the new democracy day, which signifies love and solidarity towards him as a son of the soil and a key player in the events of that year.
I dont think the celebration on the actual 12th of June 1993 was any greater than the celebration of the first democracy day on June 12; And for that I have to thank the Governor who gave the leadership, thank the people of Borno not only for celebrating June 12 as democracy day per se, but I know that they also had in mind that one of their own, their own son was also a critical player, I appreciate the confidence and love. (DailyPost)
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Today is June 12th, our nation’s Democracy Day and I have some home truths to tell. The struggle for June 12th was indeed a noble, worthy, cataclysmic and monumental one. It was also something of a nightmare which littered our fields with many corpses and soaked the very foundation of our nation with blood, sweat and tears.
I can confirm that because I was deeply involved in it and for many years I, along with many others, fought for it’s actualisation.
Many were martyred, many were jailed, many were tortured and many were compelled to flee into exile.
Great essayists, keen minds and profound writers and thinkers like Professor Adebayo Williams, Professor Wole Soyinka, Mr. Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, Justice Adewale Thompson and the great Chinwezu kept us going, fuelled our courage, stirred our passion, inspired our spirits and ignited souls with their powerful essays which we read eagerly and voraciously wherever we found ourselves in the world.
This was an intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological conflict and struggle and we threw everything that we had into it.
Chief MKO Abiola was our hero and leader. He was the symbol and rallying point of the struggle and both he and his wife Kudirat sacrificed their lives for it.
I commend the Buhari administration for naming June 12th as our nation’s Democracy Day and I believe that Abiola deserves it. Yet this noble gesture, as commendable as it is, may well be too little and too late.
I say this because the Nigeria of today is the Nigeria of Buhari and not the Nigeria of Abiola. And this presents us with a very different set of challenges which have resulted in a far greater existential threat to our country than the annulment of Abiola’s June 12th presidential mandate and his subsequent murder ever did.
Consider the following. In Buhari’s Nigeria the President is from the core Muslim north. The Senate President is from the core Muslim north. The Chief Justice of the Federation is from the core Muslim north.
Again in Buhari’s Nigeria every single security, intelligence, investigative, military and para-military agency in the country except for the Navy is headed by a northern Muslim.
This begs the question: do the southerners and indeed the Christians have any place or any meaningful stake in Buhari’s Nigeria?
Yet it does not stop there. In Buhari’s Nigeria the core north says “no” when we say stop the genocide. They say “no” when we say restructure. They say “no” when we say establish a federation. They say “no” when we say establish a confederation. They say “no” when we say stop the hegemony.
They say “no” when we say Nigeria is a secular state. They say “no” when we say stop the Fulanisation. They say “no” when we say stop the Islamisation. They say “no” when we say Nigeria belongs to us all.
They say “no” when we say the northern minorities can lead the nation. They say “no” when we say there are many in the south that can govern the country.
They say “no” when we say Nigeria is not an appendage of Saudi Arabia. They say “no” when we say we are equal regardless of tribe or faith.
They say “no” when we say free Leah Sharibu. They say “no” when we say we are not their slaves.
They say “no” when we say we demand a referendum.
They say “no” when we say we want to leave the marriage and break the union.
They say “no” when we say stop playing this dangerous music. They say “no” when we say stop indulging in this dance of death.
They say “no” to everything and to everyone that seeks to resolve our differences in a reasonable and peaceful manner.
And so it has been for the last 59 long and turbulent years of our existence as an independent state and sovereign nation.
Little did we know that in 1960 we had merely replaced our external British colonial masters with a new set of internal ones.
We locked ourselves into a strange and deceitful web and became enmeshed and entangled in a complex catalogue of self-induced and self-inflicted woes.
Today we are a people under occupation and our land has been desecrated by the precence of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of extremly violent, dangerous, well-armed, blood-lusting, blood-crazed and blood-frenzied terrorists and killer herdsmen who are just waiting for the signal from their masters before they unleash unimaginable horror, terror and hell on our people.
Must we wait until we are slaughtered like flies and buried in mass graves, like the Biafrans, the Bosnians, the Tutsis, the Jews, the Congolese, the Armenians, the Red Indians of North America, the Aborigines of Australia, the Incas and Aztecs of South America, the Ouigas of Mynmar, the Yazidis of Syria and Iraq and countless others, before our eyes open and we demand to leave this tinderbox?
Can anyone blame Prince Adekunle Odunmorayo when he said,
“The demand for restructuring is cowardly, useless and unachievable. Damn any restructuring. We want out of this charade. We want a new nation: we want Oduduwa”.
The Prince, who is my kinsman and a proud son of Ile-Ife, has spoken the minds of millions.
Yet it does not stop there. Permit me to add the words of one of the greatest, most moderate, most conservative and most respected leaders of our nation who fought to keep Nigeria together during the civil war, who has dedicated his entire life to that cause and who has had the privilage of leading the country on at least two separate occassions.
On 11th June 2019 former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the following to Premium Times:
“Now you have a situation where three top officials of Government will be from only two northern zones. Ahmed Lawan (who has been pencilled down as Senate President) is from the North-East, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria is from the north-east and the President of the country is from the north-west. They are all from what we call the core north. How can you have that kind of arrangement and then be absolutely insensitive to it?”
For a modeate and conservative man like Obasanjo to express his legitimate concerns in this way and for him, at an earlier date, to have confirmed the existence of the Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda, is noteworthy, significant and telling.
Given this only a compound fool, a village idiot or a delusional simpleton will dispute the fact that Nigeria is in trouble and that we are sitting on a time-bomb.
Frankly in my view the time for long debates and discussions about our sorry plight and deep afflictions are long over. And neither do I believe that our debilitating problems can still be fixed or rectified.
To those that still share the erroneous belief that we ought to remain in Nigeria I urge and challenge you to consider the following and reflect on our trying predicament.
Those that believe that they own this nation and that they were born to rule it have been insensitive, savage and unrelenting in their quest to conquer our space and they have boxed us in a suffocating and murderous corner.
Every attempt to build bridges with them and reach out to them in love and friendship has failed due to their insufferable arrogance, rappacious thirst for power and unquenchable desire to dominate every sphere of our existence and aspect of our lives. And this applies to every single ethnic nationality in Nigeria who they believe must bow and tremble before them.
What more do we need to see? What more do we need to hear? What more do we need to say?
From a great nation that was once blessed with so much potential, hope and promise we are now nothing but a blood-soaked and demon-infested enclave of sociopaths, meglomaniacs, power-crazed savages, godless barbarians, callous cow-worshippers and bestial cow-lovers. It is only in Nigeria that the life of a cow is more important than the life of a human being!
This begs the question: are we under some strange, inexplicable, mysterious, ancient and binding Luciferean spell?
Is this the work of satan? Have the conjurers of the dark path been at work? Has the Queen of the Coast done her worse? Have they tsken us to the forest in the dark caves of the village?
Are voodoo and magic at play here? Have we been enchanted by the Army of the Dead? Have we been bound by the Whitewalkers that reside beyond the great icy northern wall?
Have we been cursed by the wizards, witches, goblins and orcs of Mordor? Have we been jinxed and hexed by the dark winter forces of the evil Nightking?
Yet spell or no spell, what exactly are we still waiting for in this land of blood, carnage and shattered dreams that is known as Nigeria?
Will inspirational words of faith and hope about a better tomorrow and the gentle expression of lofty ideals about the beauty and power of national unity stop the southern march of the terrorists, herdsmen and hegemonists?
They have already conquered, occupied, pacified and enslaved the entire Middle Belt and the rest of the north. They are now well on their way to “dipping the Koran in the Atlantic ocean” whist flying the flag of their great patriach and forefather Usman Dan Fodio and galloping with fury on his ancient white war horse. Must we wait for them to arrive before taking our leave?
The solution to our problem is to chart one of two courses: to either roll over in submission and let them sodomise and enslave us until kingdom come or to dig deep, find our courage, stand up boldly, hold our heads up high, say “no more” and break out of this godforsaken gilded golden cage.
There is absolutely nothing sacrosanct about this godless and inequitable union and entity. The truth is that time is running out for Nigeria and there may no longer be any alternative to a break up.
They say where there is no justice, there can be no peace. How can there be peace and peaceful co-existence in Nigeria when there is no justice or equity?
What we have is the peace of the graveyard where everyone speaks in whispered tones or is too scared to speak at all.
What we have is the silence of two mighty armies facing and sizing up one another in the field of battle minutes before the onslaught begins and the chaos, turmoil, carnage, madness, savagery, butchery and barbarity unfolds.
What we have is the awkward and eerie silence, fuelled by years of latent hate and resentment, that reigns when brother is about to slaughter brother. These are indeed truly dangerous times as the clock silently ticks and d-day approaches.
Unless there is a divine intervention, at some point the break up that everybody fears is inevitable. And sadly, because no-one is ready to be reasonable and to talk, it is likely to be a very bloody one indeed. May God grant us peace and may He guide and help us all.
Happy Democracy Day!
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Chief Olabode George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised those calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the late Chief MKO Abiola as a President posthumously.
According to him, the move may result in a constitutional crisis. Despite giving the late Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election the highest title in the country, Grand Commander of Federal Republic (GCFR), and declaring June 12 as replacement for May 29 as Democracy day, there has been sustained call on President Buhari to declare Abiola as president.
Reacting, George urged those making the calls not to plunge the nation into crisis, saying President Buhari had done enough by immortalising the late Abiola.
He told Daily Independent yesterday: “Why are people talking like this? Is President Buhari the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)? So, President Buhari will now declare Abiola as a former President of Nigeria because he is President? We are throwing so many things into this issue.
“There are many bigger problems in this country. We are going to use that as a red letter day. Have we learnt any lessons from the fall-out of June 12? Those are things we should celebrate. What has happened has happened, can we reverse anything by saying they should declare Abiola as a former president? (Thickmatch)
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**NASS passes Bill making it Democracy Day, public holiday
Magnus Eze, Enugu, Fred Itua, Abuja and Chinelo Obogo
The Federal Government has received kudos as the Bill recognising June 12 as Democracy Day scales the National Assembly hurdles.The Senate, yesterday, concurred with the House of Representatives on the passage of a bill to legalise June 12 as Democracy Day.
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan moved that the House bill which sought the concurrence of the Senate be read the second and third reading. The motion was unanimously carried and the bill passed.
If President Muhammadu Buhari assents to the Bill, May 29 that had been held as Democracy Day since 2000 will cease to be.
It equally means June 12 of every year will replace May 29 as Democracy Day if the bill is signed by President Buhari
In separate reactions, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Afenifere lauded the ratification of June 12 as a healthy development for the nation’s polity.
The apex-Igbo group said the election held in 1993 and annulled by the military government marked a watershed in the annals of Nigeria’s democratic experience.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Chief Chuks Ibegbu told Daily Sun that without June 12, there would not have been any further democratic milestone in the country.
He, therefore, urged the ruling class and all Nigerians to imbibe the lessons of June 12, even as he said what was currently going on in the country was political drama.
“Nobody can discountenance that June 12 was a watershed in this country. Without it, all these subsequent democratic journey wouldn’t have been possible. Anything done to make that day sacrosanct is laudable. The significance of June 12 should not be lost on the ruling class and all Nigerians.”
While the Afenifere also expressed happy that the date has got national recognition, it said until the tenets of democracy were upheld by the Federal Government, such recognition will be futile.
Spokesperson of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin told Daily Sun that the Federal Government has not embraced the principles of June 12, which is free and fair election.
“We welcome the decision of the Senate to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day and we are happy that the date has got official recognition. However, we are worried that if we are not careful, all that we are doing will amount to a mockery of June 12, if we do not embrace the spirit of June 12, which is free and fair elections. We just had elections in March; did that election reflect what June 12 stands for? All that June 12 stands for has been watered down, we are living with the spirit of annulment on the one hand, while we celebrate the date (June 12) on the other hand. So, until we live with the spirit of what June 12 stands for, it would appear that we are just playing games.
“If the president genuinely believes in June 12, we would not have gone into an election without amending the Electoral law. We did not sign the Electoral Bill and went into election only to ratify June 12 in order to validate the election. For us, it is not just about celebrating the symbolism of that date, it is about the nation accepting the spirit of June 12. That’s when we can clap our hands,” Odumakin said.
Reacting, Anthony Sani, Secretary General of the ACF said: “When President Muhammadu Buhari recognised June 12 as Democracy Day in honour of Chief MKO Abiola, we applauded the action and prayed that the gesture would go a long way to bring about healing of the wound inflicted by annulment of the election in 1993. And if the NASS has passed the decision into law, then it is heartening. Democracy Day is now legally on June 12 of every year”
President Buhari, had in June 2018, as a way to immortalise the late M.K.O Abiola, acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, declared June 12 as the new Democracy Day.
To give the Presidential declaration necessary legal backing, Edward Pwajok and Kayode Oladele sponsored a Bill in the House of Representatives last year.
The bill passed by the House in March, sought for an Act to amend the Public Holidays Act to declare June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria in view of current realities and exigencies of the modern time.
Pwajok who led debate on the bill, noted that before 1979, there were separate Acts regulating public holidays in the country.
The Plateau State lawmaker recalled that in 1975, a law was enacted to repeal all state laws on public holidays and to streamline the process of declaring holidays for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He noted that by law, the president may declare any day as a public holiday by public notice or Act through the Minister of Internal Affairs.
He added that by the schedule of the Act, some days such as New Year Day, National Day like October 1 and religious festivals were set aside for public holidays.
The lawmaker said in 2000, the National Assembly amended the schedule to declare May 29 as Democracy Day.
He noted that in May 2018, President Buhari announced June 12 as the new Democracy day.
Pwajok posited that for the pronouncement of President Buhari to become effective, there has to be an amendment of the Public Holidays Act.
The Federal Government had said President Buhari’s inauguration for a second term on May 29 will be low-key.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke to State House correspondents on the activities slated to mark the May 29 inauguration said a number of events slated for the inauguration will be held on June 12.
Mohammaed said the decision to have a low-key inauguration for the presidentwas taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council on May 8. He said invitations had been sent to world leaders to attend the ceremonies, marking the observance of Democracy Day on June 12. (The Sun)
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Alhaji Abdulrahman Mohammed is a former National Security Organisation, NSO (Now DSS) Chief and close ally of ex-military leaders: late Generals Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Sani Abacha and former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida. In this interview, he reveals deadly plots going on within the inner circle of President Buhari’s government, which will ultimately lead a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babagana Gingibe to succeed the President after the 2019 polls, which he claims will end inconclusively.
He spoke more on this and more in this interview conducted by KENNY ASHAKA in Kaduna.
Let’s talk about June 12. I know that some of you worked with former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida…
(Cuts in) And Abacha. I was very close to Abacha.
Okay, but what I know is that some of you were in the transition programme of Babangida…
(Cuts in) Definitely, definitely. I was the Adviser on Politics, Economy and Security to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed, the late Wazirin Jema’a.
Yes, and what happened that you couldn’t stop the annulment of a transition that was almost coming to an end at that time? Was it something that was beyond your powers?
It had already been…if you observed from what happened in the Jos SDP primary, it was something that has to do with Babagana Kingibe, Abiola and Atiku that brought about all the issues. You remember Pascal Bafyau, the NLC President who became a politician. He played a lot of Babangida’s game during that time, used NLC…you know it was an elongated transition programme that was designed if possible to make Babangida till the time he was going to…
(Cuts in) I don’t understand.
Now you know NLC has a lot of roles to play in supporting a government? Pascal Bafyau played the game for Babangida at that time just like Oshiomhole did. Pascal Bafyau was a pro-Babangida man. So Babangida tried to pay him back by insisting that he should be the presidential running mate of Abiola. So it was because Abiola refused to announce Pascal Bafyau as his running mate and chose Babagana Kingibe instead that caused the annulment of June 12. Abiola had been told by Babangida in my presence that if he did not take Pascal Bafyau…anyway we were following what was happening in Jos during the SDP primary on our satellite programme. We knew every move that was taken, everything that happened there because my boss, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was in SDP. You know he was my former boss. I worked with Yar’Adua as Security Detail in charge of International Security Surveillance. You know our predicament in Nigeria today is because they think that Nigeria is one local government that anybody can be president and manipulate the way you like. We are in the world. At the time America and Israel said they were going to deal with Buhari on certain issues that were happening to Christians in Nigeria I warned Buhari. I was on Facebook and Whatsapp. I warned some of the service chiefs that I know that the American and Israeli consortium will ensure they break Buhari’s government until Buhari will leave the place.
Let’s go back to the real subject matter of the June 12. Why was it impossible for those of you who were civilians working with Babangida to stop the annulment; I mean you were Adviser to a key figure in the government?
It was an agenda already promised that just happened like that because Babangida had already promised Abiola that if you don’t pick Bafyau…Babangida was not on our team. We have a record of everybody. You know that was where my section is. I was a security chief and now having served the defunct NSO as a Director in terms of security surveillance, in terms of interrogation I have to be involved in logistics. I made sure I had to advise them on logistics to make sure that there was no black sheep in the entire arrangement and it was necessary for me to be able to say what is right and what is wrong. It was necessary for us to have information on every human being that was a player in the national scene at that time.
So it was easily conceivable that I had to put on General Babangida’s table everything that was happening in Nigeria. I had to put a tab on Babagana Kingibe as an NSO director and I had to put a tab on Abiola because part of the Abiola’s successes in the North was because of me actually because I talked to the people in Kano to make sure that Abiola…because Babangida actually wanted Abiola to be president; I must tell you honestly. You know the reason why I played a very strong role in the June 12 issue…at least you were one of the reporters that got close to me at that time. Henry Ugbolue and Ojudu were always reporting me at that time. They were reporters close to me reporting everything I was doing at that time.
I am very interested in this next question because you have just said Babangida was interested in Abiola becoming the president.
Why did he annul the election that he (Abiola) was winning?
This is because Abiola refused to make Pascal Bafyau his running mate. But your answer now is contrary to what made the rounds then that some military chiefs were those who instigated Babangida to annul the election because they didn’t want Abiola.
That one came later. Don’t believe that. Are you talking of this Benue man who was in Minna, David Mark? Those were the people who were doing that. I was in charge of security. I and General Akilu were in charge of security; I as NSO chief and Akilu in charge of Intelligence. Don’t believe all these things. People try to say what they want to say because they have stepped out. That is why Babangida has told us that anything we can do to save Nigeria while in retirement we should please do it. I went to Yar’Adua straight and told him to support Babangida’s action that was about to come out because they had betrayed our cause because Babagana Kingibe can never be a Vice-President any day in Nigeria because he has betrayed Nigeria too much.
How did he betray Nigeria?
Because…everything he did was to break Nigeria for his own purpose. We knew this. We had this in our security file. I was in charge of Special Survey because you know like in America the CIA was in charge of Special Survey. That is the word I can use for it because we do not have it in Nigeria but we have it in Washington, in the Pentagon.
What did you find wrong with Babagana Kingibe?
Listen to me. This interview will not take too long. There is one interview that someone gave last week – the betrayal of Kingibe, how Kingibe betrayed Nigeria by Ray Ekpu. He had a full interview on the betrayal of Nigeria by Babagana Kingibe. Everything I can tell you now is there. I read it in the night because I got a phone call from Minna. I read it and made sure that it was alright. You remember Ayu, the Senate President and Ameh Ebute? These were people who were handling the National Assembly because we had a dual government. We had a Military President and a legislature that was operating like…It was when Babangida left that he told me to please guide Abacha very well. That was why the first thing I told Abacha was to dissolve the National Assembly. That’s why all Generals in Nigeria will tell you that Mohammed Abdulrahman was with Abacha when all these things happened. So we had to dissolve the National Assembly because it served no good.
I talked to Shonekan and Kuforiji Olubi. Kuforiji Olubi was my friend. You know the role she played; didn’t you?
What role did she play?
The Interim National Government. It was Shonekan who was president. Kuforiji Olubi was Minister for Interior, actually, Minister for Commerce and National Economy just like Okonjo Iweala was Minister in charge of the economy even though she was Minister for Finance. In our own time, it was Kuforiji that I called and I told her to get ready to make sure that the Interim National Government survived. That is why we decided with Aliyu Jem’a the Secretary to the Government to have a transition committee which was headed by this Jurist, Mamman Nasir from Katsina.
He headed the Transition Implementation Committee. Then, my foster father, Abdulrahman Okene headed the committee in charge of Devolution of Powers between Federal, States and Local Government. You remember that? So when we did all that and gave them their letters of appointment Aliyu Mohammed reported back to Babangida that we had already executed the issue and Kuforiji Olubi was doing our bidding. But when within the military hierarchy it was discovered that there were people who feel they had a dream to be president of Nigeria, Danjuma and Abacha were the only ones that were left out because Obasanjo, Babangida, all these people were in the same group and the same thing. I served all of them as the NSO component of the military regime. So, internally they had a plan that Abacha should become Head of State. We had no control over that plan because you can see that the coup that brought in Abacha was a quiet one, not even one that qualified to be called a coup. Abacha told me to keep faith with him.
That is why I was the closest security chief to him. All the messages…you know when Abacha almost died and he was very ill he sent me personally to Buhari. I went to Buhari, we sat down. He said we should eat, I said no. If the C-in-C sends me I don’t eat in people’s houses. But I made sure the NSO…sorry no more NSO because I wrote the document in which it was transited to SSS and other things to water it down for the civilian dispensation.
So I called the SSS chief in Kaduna to accompany me to Buhari’s house. He received me quite okay. I gave him the document with which Abacha was going to read the Vision 2010 national address because he was very ill. That Vision 2010 address was to make Buhari the Chairman of Vision 2010 so that if he made him the chairman at his best he could easily announce an Interim National Government and make Buhari the president.
Was that the plan?
That was the plan. Mohammed Abdulrahman is telling you today. I am the only one in Nigeria who can tell you that because I was in charge. So that was what we did and I told Abacha that Buhari gave me one week to come back that he was going to look into it. I cannot tell Buhari that we wanted to make him Interim National President. You know the reason we wanted to do that? We wanted Buhari to clean up Nigeria for us with his own handle because his presidency was truncated.
So we wanted to give him another chance. If it is true that he was actually going to deny it, he should leave the PTF and handle the Interim National Government. But I will tell you what happened. My operatives came up with results and findings that they were planning to make Buhari a president through this entire route of the CPC and…
I don’t understand that? Can you come again?
Okay, let me break it down for you. You remember that Ashwey became the Managing Director of Continental Merchant Bank at that time; the bank that was opposite Leventis? Because it was a strategic location Abacha had shown an intention to purchase the building. But Ashwey sold it to Salihijo Ahmad of PTF because they wanted to use it for Buhari for President Campaign Organisation. That is why Abacha told me to move against them.
That is why we interviewed Salihijo. We called him in and investigated PTF. After leaving our place for debriefing, Salihijo went to his office and said he was going home because he had a headache and the wife told him to go to the hospital and see the doctor. He was waiting to see the doctor when he slumped and died.
When I investigated and got my facts right, we first of all detained Ashwey and we debriefed Salihijo. That is why he died. We don’t debrief anybody and he stays alive. I am telling you this because we had enough spiritual powers to back our official power to make sure that anybody who lies to us or lies about us does not live in this world again because we wanted to deliver Nigeria properly. And the ritualists and liars were too many. We had to even invite some of the Israeli security to help us plan what we were going to do at a certain stage. I am sure you heard at that time that Abacha had already forgiven Israel and started a relationship with the Israeli government. I was the one who went to Tel Aviv with a group of top military officers and some civilians to negotiate our recognizing Israel. We felt that was good for Christians and we recognized OIC at the same time. That was what we did to balance it.
We did for Christians and did for Muslims. So the issue is this. I called Ray Ekpu for releasing the betrayal of Nigeria by Babagana Kingibe; that he should never have been in the list of this June 12 thing that Buhari did. Whether it is wrong now or not, I am not going to say it.
Posterity will judge that and Nigerians will react to it. There is the excitement of course because Abiola was badly treated. And Abiola talked to me. You know I was the intermediary between Abiola and Aliyu Mohammed, Wazirin Jema’a, the Secretary to the Government and Wazirin Jema’a, the Secretary to the Government was the intermediary between Abiola and Babangida. What I deliver to Aliyu is what he discusses with Babangida on Abiola because we didn’t want a direct link that the media will look into concerning the relationship and communication between IBB my boss and Abiola. You understand. I hope you are getting it now? So the issue is very simple. We did not expect Babagana Kingibe to be running mate to Abiola because…and of course he betrayed him. Have you read some of the things that happened between the June 12 annulment and now from Babagana Kingibe?
He stood by Abacha. I was there with Abacha.
Babagana was there with us with Abacha. Buhari was there with us with Abacha. After they had refused to work with the document that I delivered to him from Abacha when I came back the following week with the SSS director of Kaduna, he escorted me, he gave me back the document and said he was not interested.
Buhari who we wanted to make the Interim President. He was waiting for us maybe we will tell him we wanted to make him Interim President. My style is not like that. That was why you heard what happened that he jumped over his fence into the valley around his house and escaped in the night when security took over his house and disarmed all the SSS people that were serving him and broke into his sitting room. By that time he had already jumped over his fence into the valley there. You didn’t hear that?
Who jumped over the fence?
Buhari. Yes in his house on Sultan road.
Why would he do that and why were they after him?
Because he had refused Abacha’s proposal to be president. Nobody refuses Abacha. Even when Buhari was in power nobody refuses him. Hakimi Sokoto died because Buhari refused to allow him to have access to medical attention when Buhari was in power. I am talking of Wazirin Sokoto then. That was why when Buhari was in detention and his mother got sick and died they refused to allow him to go.
But when the mother died they released him. Now, what are your thoughts about this recognition given to Abiola by Buhari?
It was ultimately going to happen, my brother. All the presidents that have passed… Goodluck Jonathan asked for my opinion on this when he was president. I told him to call Abiola’s son and discuss with him. Then he called Kola Abiola. You know I was in retirement and was not a member of Goodluck Jonathan’s government. Was it not your paper that treated about five pages of what happened with ACF and Northern Traditional Leaders on my exposition on the paradigm shift that we profiled to make sure that Goodluck Jonathan becomes president? Didn’t you interview me at that time? The issue is very simple. If Buhari doesn’t play ball in his own government he shouldn’t expect anybody to play ball in their own government. Now, the June 12 issue. There are legal and constitutional procedures, which he has flouted. My old colleague because he is much older than me, himself, Pius Okigbo, Rotimi Williams, all of them we were together. I was the youngest on the Committee of Concerned Citizens. You have the list of the committee members with Yadudu, Hamza Zayyad. Justice Bello, former Chief Justice was once the Chairman, Rotimi Williams, Akintola Williams were all in the 32-member team that they said was going to save Nigeria. I was the youngest of them all.
So how illegal is what Buhari has just done?
After this interview, I will search my IT library what this man, that legal luminary, Ben Nwabueze who was also a member of the Concerned Citizens Committee said. Nwabueze gave a treatise on Buhari’s mistake.
I have it. You must have read it too.
So what is the mistake?
I will send it to you in the next one hour.
Read it and incorporate it into this interview if you want to because there are procedures on all these issues. Look the first problem that Buhari has in dealing with the issue of June 12 is that when Buhari came to power he was excited. He rolled out decrees to make sure that even Journalists that even reported the truth was going to face a death sentence. Do you remember that? In that decree, there were some that had to do with making sure that all actions taken by his military regime cannot be undone.
Buhari is the one who promulgated that decree and I had the privilege of seeing Idiagbon tell him to be careful and that what Buhari has done was going to catch up with him.
Alhaji please address this issue squarely, particularly the one that touches on the illegality of his action. What has this decree got to do with the issue of June 12?
I said he has offended the constitution and his own decree. That is why I am saying there are procedures. There are certain things that cannot be undone and he cannot amend that decree today. He has no right to do so.
But that decree is no longer in force
Ah! No. It is. If you read the decree again you will see it. It is in force forever. The only possibility of changing that Decree is if there is another military coup, certainly not a civilian government. These are the things. And Babagana Kingibe who is now the official cabal that is controlling Buhari through the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, they intentionally did it to make Buhari unpopular. That is what Ray Ekpu is saying.
How would that make Buhari unpopular?
By doing the wrong thing for the right reason. You can do the right thing for the wrong reason. So Babagana Kingibe’s style of betrayal is this; only intellectual and intelligent people can see it because it cannot fly. You think the recognition of changing Democracy Day to June 12 is going to show? There is nothing in the world that says he has powers over Decrees and constitutions and out of excitement we must all lose our heads. Why I am not going to say more is that some things are likely to happen in Nigeria in due course and I don’t want anybody to say that I knew beforehand that it was going to happen. So if you are really my brother let’s leave that aside I cannot tell you more.
Is what Buhari has done on this issue of June 12 positive as far as you are concerned especially when you think of the 2019 election?
The issue is very simple. It’s a good thing in terms of jubilation, but Ayo Opadokun phoned me and asked what does Babangida and now Abacha is dead, I am the voice of Abacha, that what do we think about this issue of Buhari and this June 12? And he said that he smelt a rat. So I told him yes Babagana Kingibe is the rat and that the agenda of Babagana Kingibe is that he wants Buhari to mess up so that he would fail woefully in 2019 election. If post-election violence and anything takes place in Nigeria, Babagana Kingibe wants the money they have thrown on service chiefs and all that to make it possible for an Interim Government to be put on June 12 because there will be no election. The election will be inconclusive so that Babagana Kingibe can be Acting President. For God’s sake, look at that. So I told Opadokun to tell my people because my wife is from Abeokuta…
How would the advice by Babagana Kingibe cause post-election violence?
Put this off record. I am also recording (divulges information to this reporter) That is why I said we should put this information off record.
I asked you how the action taken by Buhari about the June 12 will affect him in the 2019 election. Will it be positive?
It will dislocate Buhari because he is not going to win the 2019 election.
What did you see? What are the indices?
The Yoruba and everybody have decided to ditch Buhari in the election. They called Abiola’s daughter to write a big issue about Buhari. She sent it to me yesterday, but not that I believe in Buhari. I have had cause to help Buhari many times, but he is on his own now. How can a 78-year-old man want to continue to be president of Nigeria when there are younger people?
Is that the reason Opadokun and others will not want him to continue?
No, June 12 is not enough. They know Buhari’s antecedent. They have worked on him. They have known him since his government; they have known him since his machinations in PTF. I am sure you have read the PTF story?
In all sincerity where do you think the southwest will be in the 2019 election? I want you to use your experience as someone who is a former security expert. Some people have said his action is a masterstroke from a master strategist.
It is not a masterstroke anything. He did it for himself. He did it to increase his popularity because his popularity and acceptance have waned. It has gone down terribly. We measured it. America measured it. My Israeli friends measured it and told me about it. So he is trying to beef up his acceptance. Babagana Kingibe is very intelligent. In all the forces in Nigeria, there are not up to three that are the best hands insecurity. Babagana Kingibe was an operative in the NIA.
Do you have any problem with the GCFR and GCON given to Abiola and his running mate, Kingibe respectively?
No, what he gave to Abiola is just fine but it is not done. There are procedures to be maintained, please. You don’t just do things as if it is akara (beans cake) that they are frying on the way. The constitution is our guide. That is why there is no anarchy on our streets. Buhari must obey that constitution because he is an employee of the taxpayers. He is not a president for life. He is not our God. He is a human being. So the positioning and grandstanding of his supporters are meant to destroy him. So, southwest will not vote for Buhari in 2019.
Understand that; they will not and whatever southwest does is what the Igbo will do. Have you not started noticing the body language in the eastern region about what is going on in the present Buhari government? Some of them have started calling on each other not to be sympathetic to Buhari’s 2019 positioning.
And some people have told them Buhari can never be the kind of person in the world that will make it possible for an Igbo presidency in 2023. I am checking all the documents every day even though I am in retirement so that the day anybody thinks he can tell me nonsense if my spirituality is not enough to destroy them I have enough documents to make sure they are caught off guard. Buhari is deceiving them. Please understand that. And let me say this before you call off this interview; you see anything you call anti-corruption actually started from Abacha. During Abacha, PTF was our first call. Immediately Buhari refused to accede to that document that Abacha asked me to take to him we broke down PTF. We wanted PTF to have eastern, south-south, south-west and northern desks because a lot of people started complaining that the PTF was mismanaged. That is why the documents I raised at that time, Buhari’s PTF and the great betrayal that happened under Buhari was put on Facebook recently. I have it. The issue is this. After finishing with PTF our next call was Nigerian Railways. Nigerian Railways was a strong money guzzler. At that time the Yeriman Zazzau, Muniru Ja’afaru was the Managing Director of the Nigerian Railways and General Gumel was the Chairman. So he came to me and told me about the $30million bribe money that the Chinese people gave railway officials. So Muniru Ja’afaru came to me and reported to me. So Abacha said we should debrief Gumel. Unknown to him, Muniru had already told me everything about it. When he finished then I told him what I knew. Then he broke down crying. He went home, had a heart failure and died. So Buhari is not doing a new thing. (The Sun)
Shina Ogunyale is a lawyer and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He speaks on the posthumous awards bestowed on the winner of June 12 election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and others.
President Muhammadu Buhari has honoured late Abiola and others in recognition of their role in nurturing the country’s democracy, how would you describe this development?
In my own view, it is a welcome idea. It is long overdue. It is a very good initiative in a good direction. This reminds me of the words of my late mentor; Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) that June 12 is symbolic. May 29 is not symbolic because May 29 is just like October 1st; May 29 is just a mere hand-over day from military to civilian and nothing more.
What made June 12 symbolic was because that was the only day that we had a free and fair election, well-conducted with over 40 million Nigerians across tribe and ethnic divide, went out to elect Abiola as their president. You will agree with me that we have never witnessed that type of election before and even now, an election where Abiola won across all the geopolitical zones. He even won in the hometown of his major contender, Alhaji Bashir Tofa of National Republican Convention (NRC).
The step to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day ought to have been taken since, but Chief Obasanjo may have refused to do this out of petty jealousy for the person of Abiola. Imagine a Yoruba man from the same state as Abiola failing to recognise him, but a Fulani man from Katsina has done it.
But some Nigerians have insinuated that President Buhari took this step for political reason to get the votes from South-West and spite Obasanjo. Do you agree?
I agree with them. In politics, you must be smart to outwit your opponent. That means the opposition is not smart enough to take the right step at the right time. With this, every average Nigerian will vote Buhari for removing shame from their faces. It is a thing of pride to us that our late son has joined the league of past head of state, a thing Obasanjo would have done but couldn’t out of hatred and jealousy.
Come to think of it, (Goodluck) Jonathan tried to immortalise Abiola by naming Unilag after him, but enemies of democracy scuttled that arrangement. In fact, I commended President Buhari for using executive order instead of consultation. Consultation would have run into the same hurdle that ruined Jonathan’s initiative on Abiola. I can assure you that more political moves to lure the South-east, South-south and other geopolitical zone is underway.
Were you surprised that the Late Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) also got an award?
No. The award bestowed on Gani is a well-deserved one. Remember that the award was given to him by the late Yar’Adua and he rejected it. Why? If Abiola had been honoured by Yar’Adua, Gani would have followed suit. So in this case, President Buhari honoured Abiola, Gani and others who fought for democracy and I am sure if Gani was to be alive today, he would accept the award wholeheartedly.
Do you think Kingibe deserves that award?
Looking at his political antecedent, maybe he should not have been honoured but by the virtue of the fact that he was the vice president-elect to Abiola in that election, so automatically he should enjoy all the benefits that go with that office.
But the Southeast is saying, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, the then electoral umpire should not have been left out of the honour’s list, what’s your take on this matter?
Honestly speaking, Prof. Nwosu is one of my mentors. Like I said when he was appointed NEC chairman then, I had confidence in his ability to deliver. He deserved to be honoured. We will continue to speak with President Buhari to see the reason why the former NEC boss should be honoured. He didn’t compromise. If he had compromised, he would have stopped the announcement of the result. But he stuck out his neck to announce all the results. For this singular reason, I think he deserves to be recognised. June 12 is symbolic just like Prof. Nwosu. So without him, Abiola’s mandate wouldn’t have been realised.
As the person who organised that election don’t you think IBB too deserves mention?
If there is anything IBB deserve, it is to retrieve the GCFR from him because of his act of cowardice. In many of his interview, he said he annulled the election because of fear of young officers in the military who threatened to kill him if Abiola becomes the president. So such person doesn’t deserve the honour of valour at tall.
Using Agbara Community in Agbara Igbesa LCDA, would you say APC has done well in the past three years?
In fact, I am ashamed to identify myself as APC member in my community because our people are disappointed in the leadership style of Senator Ibikunle Amosu for his gross negligence of Ogun West senatorial district. Today roads are in bad shape and economy of the people in the area has come to a halt.
Is Senator Olamilekan Adeola still in the governorship race?
As a member of APC and a member of Yayi forum, I am telling you that Senator Olamilekan Adeola is in the Ogun governorship race. Recently he addressed his supporters in Abeokuta where he reaffirmed his stance to run for the governorship race in 2019. The news that Yayi is no longer in the race is from detractors and come 2019, he will prove his worth at the poll. (The Sun)
Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop admiring and displaying loyalty to an unnamed individual whom he referred to late MKO Abiola’s “Tormentor-in-Chief.”
Some are of the opinion that he had referred to the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who clamped the business mogul to jail for about five years.
Abiola died in prison.
Although Soyinka did not mention Abacha’s name specifically, the Nobel laureate said it was confusing for Buhari to honour Chief Moshood Abiola on the one hand and be admiring the late politician’s “Tormentor-in-Chief” on the other.
He wondered why President Buhari will continue to display loyalty to a man he described as “one of the worst dictators in the history of the country” and who should be having his days in court for crime against humanity.
Soyinka said that in a private meeting with Buhari, he had also raised concerns over how the President could be saying his administration was fighting corruption, whereas a major road in the Federal Capital Territory is named after a “corrupt former leader.”
He said he was not satisfied with the response he got from Buhari.
He called on the President to consider establishing a Hall of Shame for those who have wronged the country, just as he puts up Hall of Fame for the nation’s heroes. (Punch)
• Nobody can buy Yoruba race –Lamido • It’s Greek gift –IPOB
Ismail Omipidan; Billy Graham Abel; Yola and Geoffry Anyanwu, Awka
Former adviser to former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Umar Ardo, has described the planned conferment of national honours on the late MKO Abiola, Babagana Kingibe and Gani Fawehinmi as illegal.
He vowed to institute a court action to demand compliance with the provisions of the constitution in the award of the said national honours if the government goes ahead with the investiture ceremony without abiding by the due process of law.
“It is important, however, to state that I have absolutely no objection to the president conferring such national honours on the late Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, and indeed that they richly deserve such awards and much more, but it is only right to do the right thing rightly. My current call and possible court action are solely motivated by the obligation to enforce the rule of law and constitutionalism in the process of governing this country,” Umar Ardo explained.
Citing from the Constitution, he pointed out that President Muhammdu Buhari has no power to confer national honours on anyone without first seeking for and obtaining the approval of the National Council of State.
Ardo, in statement yesterday, said: “Pursuant to the powers of the Council of State in section 6(a)(iii) of Part 1 to the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to advise the president on the matter of awarding national honours, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately convene a meeting of the National Council of State to deliberate and advise him on his decision to award national honours to the late Chief MKO Abiola, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi before performing the planned investiture ceremony on Tuesday. This is simply to comply with due process of law.”
To determine whether the president’s decision to confer the said national awards followed due process of law, Ardo said he telephoned and asked a former president and a serving member of the Council of State whether the issue had at any time been raised in any of the meetings of the Council of State and the advice of the said Council sought and obtained.
“He informed me and I verily believe him, that it was never ever raised nor the advice of the Council ever sought or obtained. Therefore, to go ahead and perform the investiture ceremony as planned is to indulge in flagrant illegality.”
According to him, having campaigned on, sworn-in and is on oath to govern the country in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and due process of law and to defend and protect the said constitution, the president cannot confer national awards on Abiola, Kingibe, Fawehinmi or anyone else without subjecting his decision to the advice of the Council of State as stipulated in the constitution. To do so is a breach not only of the constitution but also of the oath sworn to by the president and that is unacceptable,” he said.
Meanwhile, former National Secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), the platform that produced late Chief Abiola as the winner of the June 1993 presidential contest, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has cautioned against making political capital out of the June 12 struggle.
This is even as he said the Yoruba race is a unique one that cannot be easily bought over, “with a pot of porridge,” insisting that there was nothing anyone could do to placate the Yoruba race politically when the issues centre on the late Chief Abiola and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to him, regardless of what anyone does, the Yoruba race would always remember the role played by the newspaper owned by the late Abiola to “denigrate, demonised and exposed” late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In the same vein, he said the Yoruba race is yet to forgive Obasanjo for not handing over to Awolowo in 1979.
“So when you people say ‘Oh, it would placate the Yoruba,’ I asked how? The Yoruba people are too politically sophisticated to be placated with a pot of porridge or something,” Lamido said.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, Lamido, a former Foreign Affairs minister, described June 12 as a story of the high power play, treachery and political civil war.
“Let me, however, add that, if the government declares him the winner of the election, they should pay him all his entitlements, including the N45 billion debts which they owe him. They said the reason they annulled the election was because of the huge debts they owed him,”Lamido said.
However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, yesterday, described President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and conferment of highest national honour on Chief Abiola as a Greek gift.
IPOB said the move of Buhari was cynical, insisting that it was not for good that he had to make such pronouncement a few months to the general elections.
The group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, urged Nigerians, especially the people of South-West, to view the president’s pronouncement with circumspection.
IPOB stressed that Buhari’s move was specifically designed to destroy the glowing handshake across the Niger wherein the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones had made “formidable progress” to change the old order of northern oligarchy.
“It’s a cynical move designed to truncate any East/West alliance or understanding with regards to a renegotiated Nigeria before 2019.”
“IPOB is the authentic voice of the people of the East, their next best move is to gain the confidence of the West in order to checkmate the rising influence of those that have come to forge an alliance strong enough to rattle the status quo,” the group said,
IPOB expressed confidence that the people of South-West would be able to “detonate Buhari’s time bomb due to their high level of education.” (The Sun)