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NIGERIA@60:The Incarceration Of Chief MKO Abiola And His Subsequent Death

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Chief MKO ABIOLA

 

Abbas Yushau Yusuf

As part of our Nigeria at 60 series of events, today we bring to you one of the historical issues that change and shape the political landscape of our nation.

The personality that has done that was late chief Moshood Kashimawao Olawole Abiola, the first Yoruba Man to have wide national acceptance when Nigeria was inching to civil rule in 1993.

 

Chief MKO Abiola won the June 12, 1993, Presidential elections on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP but was annulled by Military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.

Chief MKO Abiola’s travails began when he connived with the military to topple the interim government of Chief Ernest Shonekan in anticipation of returning power to him by the military he backed.

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Chief MKO Abiola kept waiting till 1994 when the military Administration of General Sani Abacha refused to honor the agreement it had with Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawole Abiola to install him as president as he had anticipated.

 

In June 1994, a year after the annulment of June 12, 1993, elections, Chief Abiola in utter frustration gathered his supporters at EPETEDO in Lagos and declared himself President of Nigeria which was widely acknowledged as the EPETEDO Declaration.

That thrown Chief Abiola into serious conflict with Head Of State General Sani Abacha.

Abiola was later traced to his home and arrested and was locked till his death on July 7 1998 barely a month after the death of the Head of state General Sani Abacha.

For over four years, Of Chief Abiola’s incarceration, there are important happenings in and around Nigeria which Chief MKO Abiola is not aware of.

According to Max Sillion in his book, Nigeria’s soldiers of fortune said when chief MKO Abiola was incarcerated for four years he was not provided with Radio or Television and has no access to Newspapers.

 

When General Abdulsalami Abubakar after succeeding General Sani Abacha decided to release him .a delegation of the united nations was sent to discuss the way forward for his release, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations was embarrassed when Abiola asked him who are you, Chief Kofi Annan replied that he is the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Abiola later Asked Kofi Annan on What happened to that Egyptian, referring to Boutrous Boutrous Ghali, Kofi Annan told Abiola that Boutrous Ghali has finished his tenure and another election was conducted.

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It was on that spot that Abiola was also informed about General Sani Abacha’s death, Abiola also retorted and wrote condolence later to General Sani Abacha’s family where he assured Abacha’s family of holding no grudge against the late Head of state.

 

History

24 Years After:Nigerians Remember Mysterious And Sudden Death Of Military Leader ,General Sani Abacha

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Late General Sani Abacha

 

On June 8th 1998 a Monday for that matter, the Nigeria’s military leader General Sani Abacha passed away inside the country’s seat of power Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

By then the social media was not existing, but before noon on that fateful Monday rumours about his death have circulated across the country.

Even foreign broadcast stations announced the death of the Nigeria’s helmsman based on speculation while awaiting the official announcement through radio NIgeria.

Finally before six PM the sign tune of radio Nigeria rented the airwaves and in a sympathetic tone the death of the head of Nigeria’s federal military government announcement was made.

Nigerians from the North received his death with remorse but in Lagos and some south western states went in jubilation about the death of Nigerian leader.

June 8 1998: Why Announcement Of General Abacha’s Death Was Delayed
General Abacha’s rule which began from November 17th 1993 ended on June 8th, the day he went back to his creator.

But before his death, the country was thrown into confusion as it remains two month to the general elections when the country’s president was about to be elected and the Head of state happened to be the only candidate of the five political parties.

The political parties that presented General Sani Abacha for transforming from Soldiers uniform to civilian are the United Nigeria Congress Party UNCP, Democratic party of Nigeria DPN, National centre party of Nigeria NCPN, Grassroots Democratic Movement GDM and CNC .

General Sani Abacha was buried on the same day at night at his residence located at Gidado Road Nassarawa GRA Kano after his funeral prayers led by the late Chief Imam of Kano sheikh Idris kuliya Alkali.

The Provisional ruling council PRC sat after the death and appointed the chief of Defense staff General Abdulsalami Abubakar as the new Head of state and on June 9th he assumed office.

 

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History

Civil War:Did Awolowo Betrayed Secessionists

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Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo

 

Frederick Forsyth in his 1969 book “The Making of an African Legend: The Biafran Story,” argues:

Chief Awolowo had just returned from a visit to Colonel Ojukwu in Enugu and he had been able to witness for himself (which others scrupulously refrained from doing) the depth of feeling in the East. According to Colonel Ojukwu, Awolowo had asked if the East would pull out, and the reply had been it would not until and unless it was absolutely offered no other alternative.

After seeing the situation for himself, Awolowo sympathized with the sufferings of the Eastern people, and asked that if the East was going to pull out, he be allowed twenty-four hours forewarning and he would do same for the West. This he was promised. Later he got his forewarning, but by that time he had been swayed round by other attractions, and failed to fulfil his intent. From the point of view of the Yorubas it was a pity, for if Awolowo had stuck to his guns the Federal Government, unable to face two simultaneous disaffections, would have been forced to fulfil the Aburi agreements to the letter.

Biafran Civil War: How Ojukwu executed Ifeajuna

Had it done so, Nigeria would probably be at peace today, not as a unitary state of twelve provinces, but as a Confederation of quasi-autonomous states living in harmony.
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Note:
On 1 May 1967 at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meeting in Ibadan, Awolowo listed as one of his four imperatives for peace in Nigeria that: “If the Eastern Region is allowed by acts of omission or commission to secede from or opt out of Nigeria, then the Western Region and Lagos must also stay out of the Federation.”

Defending Awolowo in his 2009 book “Awo: Unfinished Greatness,” Olufemi Ogunsanwo posits:

Chief Awolowo has defended his conduct as far as the accusations against him on the ‘Biafran question’ was concerned. What was the main grouse against him as perceived by the avarage Igbo at the time? First, it was claimed that after the Igbos, led by Ojukwu, seceded from Nigeria, Awolowo refused to follow suit by taking the West out of the federation in May 1967. Instead of doing so when he had declared in Ibadan that if the East was pushed out, the West would quit the federation, he added the weight of his political acumen and expertise in managing the economy to help Gowon’s administration to subdue the secessionists…

Chief Awolowo has refuted all these charges as a “blatant misrepresentation of the facts”. First, he denied luring anybody to secession and war. He said his speech at the Yoruba Leaders of Thought meetin in Ibadan in May 1967 “could not and was not an invitation or a goading to secession or the dismemberment of the country”. He stated that his ‘Four Imperatives’ speech contained nothing to suggest secession. All he said was that the East should not be bullied out of the federation. Was the East forced out? Awolowo argued that: “It insults the intelligence of the Igbos as a group to imply that they were heartened to opt for secession on the basis of my speech.” On the contrary he had advocated on the eve of the war that: “The Eastern Region must be encouraged to remain [as a] part of the Federation”.

He did not stop with mere admonishment and platitudes in his caution. He took the risk of travelling by road to Enugu in the middle of the crisis to lead a delegation to plead with Ojukwu to relent and take the cautious road to save precious lives on the battlefield. Ojukwu refused.
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Obafemi Awolowo was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council in the Gowon government during and immediately after the civil war.

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History

Nigeria’s SG Ikoku,Who Aligned With Zik For The Struggle Of Nigeria’s Independence

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Late SG Ikoku

 

Born to Alvan and Grace Ikoku, Mazi Samuel Goomsu Ikoku was a trade unionist and politician. in 1946, As a student at University of Southampton, he supported Nigeria’s independence movement led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, writing articles printed by the West African Pilot.

He was popular for famously defeating his father, Alvan at the March 15, 1957 South Eastern House of Assembly elections.

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Dr. Alvan Ikoku lost the election with 59 votes.
Alvan heavily frowned at it but later gave his son his full support to carry on and even provided funds for his re-election in 1961.

Alvan Ikoku is the man whose face is on the ₦10 note

They hailed from Arochukwu in Abia state.

Samuel Goomsu Ikoku died on 2nd April 1997 in Awka, Anambra State.

SG Ikoku is the author of Nigeria’s Fourth coup D’etat a collection on the overthrow of Shagari’s regime by soldiers on the 31st December 1983

 

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