I am not bothered that while he was in the military it was said that he had his hands in the planning of some coups or that he eventually became military president after staging a military coup against those he had earlier assisted in overthrowing a democratically elected government. I am also not bothered that while he was military president, there were violent attempts to overthrow him from the seat of power based on some intriguing
allegations, including a coup that was said to be phantom, but which all resulted in the execution by firing squad of many soldiers and some civilians.
Neither am I bothered that it was during his reign that a journalist was killed using a parcel bomb for which he denied culpability and used every means to avoid prosecution by a civil rights activist now deceased who had mounted several legal campaigns to secure his trial.
Come to think of it, I am not bothered that during his watch USD12 billion earned by Nigeria from high crude oil prices as a result of the Gulf War grew wings and flew from government accounts and that though the Pius Okigbo report points in the direction of his government nothing has been done.
If I wanted to be bothered it would have been for his annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election won by MKOAbiola, which is regarded as probably being the best elections conducted in Nigeria and which would have cemented the democratic status of Nigeria.
I would also have been bothered that the annulment came after he had taken the nation of Nigeria on a meandering and twisting political transition program that eventually resulted in his stepping aside as military president but leaving in charge a contraption called Interim National Government.
I surely would have been bothered that his decision to annul the June 12 election, while seen in some quarters as an act of bravery or cowardice depending on who you are asking, has not up till date been explained away other than his general acceptance of responsibility.
No, let me not add that following from that annulment Nigeria was plunged into political crises that resulted directly and indirectly in the killings of hundreds of people, the fleeing into exile of many others and the incarceration of hundreds of others, not to mention sever dislocations to the nation’s economy.
Let us pretend that the general with dark goggles who supposedly was strategically left behind to shore up the interim government only to emerge as Nigeria’s leader did not rule for five years, subjecting its peoples to untold atrocities, while the man whose actions had brought this about kept mum.
Space would not permit me to mention how during his eight years of rule, corruption assumed the status of a national ethic and the propensity to practice evil became a natural characteristic of the Nigerian people, but I am not bothered by all these things because they are in the past.
What really bothers me is that even if we have to endure four more years of this man’s rule as he is promising, we would be confronted with the certainty of him at some point presiding over State and National elections that would be conducted under his watch as president.
That would mean he would be the one laying the foundation of the political process that would take Nigeria into the next 50 years, and this is what should bother Nigerians who between 1985 and 1999 witnessed firsthand the consequences of the actions of a man who says he is an evil genius.
kingsley Omose <firstname.lastname@example.org
“We must be the change we want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi