*It’s confusing for Buhari to honour Abiola and keep admiring his “Tormentor-in-Chief” – Soyinka
* Soyinka not completely right by his insinuation – Respondent
*Insists, “We refuse to believe Obasanjo’s story of Abacha”
*“Abiola’s real “Tormentor-in-Chief is still alive, PMB never admired him”
By Kemi Kasumu, General Editor
“Nigerians just because of Abacha’s toughness are believing what Olusegun Obasanjo’s civilian administration told them about his wealth. Nobody has proved up till today from which account did the money Obasanjo said Abacha looted was taken from. Yet we know which account Obasanjo in eight years and Jonathan later looted. If any of Obasanjo, Babangida or Abdulsalami dies today, any sitting government can decide to make Nigerians and foreign nations believe what it wants them to believe about his wealth.”
Given the opportunity of the microphone at Tuesday investiture at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, said it was confusing for President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola while at the same time admiring his ‘tormentor-in-chief.’
Soyinka said this, even as he acknowledged the fact that the President had done greatly well, by his latest decision and promised his support for him in taking further steps.
While Abiola was conferred with posthumous award of CGFR, another posthumous award of GCON was also conferred on late Gani Fawehinmi and while the surviving holder of the Abiola’s mandate, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, was conferred with GCON at Aso Rock event.
Though Soyinka did not mention who the Tormentor-in-Chief was, but his words pointed to the late brutal dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha who Buhari had been praising in recent times.
President Buhari, like some other profoundly thinking Nigerians, however has never hidden his thought about the fact that the personality of Abacha may have had different sides to different people.
A Respondent, trying to figure out why those holding Soyinka’s position and those holding opposing views to him are both right, told The DEFENDER Tuesday that “Nigerians just because of Abacha’s toughness are believing what Olusegun Obasanjo’s civilian administration told them about his wealth. Nobody has proved up till today from which account did the money Obasanjo said Abacha looted was taken from. Yet we know which account Obasanjo in eight years and Jonathan later looted.
“If any of Obasanjo, Babangida or Abdulsalami dies today, any sitting government can decide to make Nigerians and foreign nations believe what it wants them to believe about his wealth. While we admit that Abacha was tough and hard, yes, but we cannot believe that he was exactly what Obasanjo told us he was and that is why nemesis is now catching up with him right in his own life time. You don’t slander the dead,” he said.
According to Soyinka, 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.
Soyinka described the Tormentor-in-chief as one of the worst dictators in the history of the country, who should be facing international court for his crime against humanity, saying it was sad that Buhari had something to do with such a man.
He explained that at a private meeting he had with the president, he raised concerns over how Buhari could be saying his administration was fighting corruption, whereas a major road in the Federal Capital Territory is named after a “corrupt former leader.”
Soyinka stated that he was not okay with the response he got from the president, while urging Buhari to consider establishing a Hall of Shame for those who had wronged the country.
Another respondent, who like the first also did not want his name in print, however expanded the scope of the statement by the pioneer boss of the nation’s Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Soyinka, as he said although he used a singular but compound word “Tormentor-in-Chief”, but that talking about who had tormented MKO Abiola, “you also have Ibrahim Babangida.”
But, he argued further, “because he has used also the class ‘keep admiring’, since Buhari never admired Babangida and, even though he has admired Obasanjo in recent times, Obasanjo cannot pass for a major tormentor of Abiola although he is one of them. So, I believe, Soyinka’s ‘Tormentor-in-Chief’ actually refers to Abacha,” he said but, like the first respondent, he did not agree with the Nobel laureate that Abacha was the Truly Abiola’s “Tormentor-in-Chief”.
He said, “The real Abiola’s ‘Tormentor-in-Chief’ has never been admired by President Buhari and the he will never admire him. Was Abacha’s name ever mentioned in the over 1,000 stories that have been told about how June 12 was annulled?
“I even had it on a trusted and reliable account that Abacha’s intention was not to have Abiola punished if not that some people who, along with the Hope ‘93, formed his military cabinet where they made Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Chief Ebenezer Babatope and even Baba Gana Kingibe join the Abacha government to cooperate with him so that he would hand over to Abiola after 18 months, were the people who made Abacha become the tough man that he became.
“This is the fact of what happened. Those who were NADECO were very brilliant Nigerian leaders fighting hard for the actualization of June 12. Although the Ngbati Press has been making it look like the June 12 struggle is Yoruba struggle, but we have many Igbo leader including Papa Sam Mbakwe, who were members of NADECO fighting for June 12 and we have them from the North including the late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and more of them.
“The question is, and because you the media people sometimes choose to behave as if you do not see whereas you do, why was it that the NADECO people barely after six months were the same people that started war against Abacha? No press man has ever asked. Only Bashir Adefaka who interviewed Senator Biyi Durojaiye few years back had ever done something close to the truth of Abacha and MKO Abiola’s issue. Durojaiye agreed that “we were actually the problem so much that I had to back out at a point when OPC was established as security department of NADECO”, I cannot quote him correctly but go to Vanguard Newspaper you will see that interview or you google it against Bashir Adefaka’s name.
“These are the issues. So, why are we now handing this June 12 problem on Abacha leaving out the main person who actually was the chief tormentor; he gave Abiola the assurance he should go ahead with the presidential contest. Or are you telling me that Abiola did not confirm from Babangida before he ventured into the June 12 thing? And again, don’t forget the many elections that Ibrahim Babangida had conducted and cancelled. Recall that where Chief Olu Falae had contested in the primaries. Recall the other one which primaries was contested by late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua. At the tail end of everything he would cancel it. That was what led him to annulling the June 12, 1993 but, unfortunately for him, after it had been perfectly concluded.
“So this is the truth of the thing. Let my learned professor, Baba Wole Soyinka think over it again. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was the person who accompanied Abiola to Alhaji Jakande’s Bishop Street, Ilupeju’s home to beg him to accept the offer to work for Abacha being that the ‘Abacha government is for us’. The first question Jakande asked Abiola was, ‘What about June 12?’ and Abiola said they will be there just for 12 months. It was Tinubu who corrected him that they will rule for 18 months.
“Was that 18 months complete when they started pushing Abiola to stage a good fight for his mandate? Was it not the NADECO war and later the Abiola’s Epetedo Declaration that worsened the whole problem? Which Head of State, especially military, will fold its arms and let some people even with their OPC bring them his government?
“This is the fact of the situation but we do not need to talk much about it because what President Buhari has done now is not to reopen the wounds of the past but to reconcile and bury the problems leading to our disunity and hate once and for all. Talking about it now will make the enemies of the country who are unhappy with the happiness of the moment think they have opportunity. No. We won’t give them the chance. They have failed and there is no other word for their failure.
“I thank the President for this. Don’t forget that Buhari himself knows that Abiola sponsored the Babangida coup against him. For him to have done this, he should be seen as greatly magnanimous and Almighty God will never stop to make him a great man even his name has moved near that of the founding fathers of Independent Nigeria and we will continue to be grateful to him,” the source who insisted on strict condition of anonymity took his time to take The DEFENDER down the memory lane because he said the statement he was responding to came from an intellectual weight like Wole Soyinka.