MKO Abiola Deserves to Be Honoured, Not Exploited ~By Reno Omokri
Of course by now you must have heard or read that President Muhammadu Buhari has declared June 12 as the new Democracy Day when the nation’s democracy will be celebrated every year.
He has also honoured the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, Chief Moshood K.O. Abiola, a post humous award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
Ordinarily, this would be a good thing, but the antecedent of the President and the timing of his gesture leaves room for doubt.
Such an act, coming eight months to the 2019 elections, suggests that the President is playing on the sentiments of some Nigerians and selling them a dummy. How do I mean? Well, let us look at the facts and only the facts.
Last week, Nigeria celebrated nineteen years of uninterrupted democracy. But Nigeria, as an independent nation is 57 (58 this year). So, why are we not celebrating 57 years of uninterrupted democracy, as a country like Kenya or Tanzania will soon celebrate?
The simple answer is that democracy was twice interrupted by Nigeria, otherwise this year, we would have either celebrated 58 years of uninterrupted democracy or 39 years.
The fact that democracy is not so old in Nigeria is because of two men-Nzeogwu/Ifeajuna, who interrupted democracy in 1966 and Muhammadu Buhari, who interrupted it in 1983.
If then Major General Muhammadu Buhari had not toppled President Shagari, June 12 would never have happened and Abiola May still be alive and could have still become President through democratic means.
It was the military that Buhari brought into power that annulled June 12 and jailed Abiola till he died. Last week, instead of celebrating 19 years of democracy, it could have been 39 if Buhari did not topple Shagari!
By attempting to gain political capital from declaring June 12 Democracy Day, what President Buhari is doing is attempting to profit from his own criminality of toppling a democratically elected government and arresting the democratic and economic growth of Nigeria.
Think were we would have been had Buhari not overthrown President Shagari and installed a military junta whose medicine was worse than the cure.
But, it is not surprising. A man who gave dead people political appointments will definitely have no qualms in exploiting a dead man whose life he never added value to.
But whose death he wants to extract value from! While Abiola was in Abacha’s prison, Buhari was in Abacha’s parlour enjoying and preparing for Abacha’s self-succession!
Only two weeks ago our President revealed to us that Sani Abacha was his mentor. The man he most admires amongst Nigeria’s former rulers and most likes to be like.
One week he praises Abiola’s jailer, Abacha, the next week, he shows his hypocrisy by remembering Abiola.
Nigerians seem to forget that Buhari only accepted to serve in Abacha’s government AFTER Abacha jailed Abiola. That shows acquiescence to what Abacha did.
Do we have such short memories to forget that several persons in Abacha’s administration resigned the minute he threw Abiola in jail, such as Ibru and Onagoruwa?
Not only did Buhari still serve Abacha after he jailed Abiola, he continued to serve Abacha even after Kudirat was murdered! He continued to serve him after Rewane was murdered.
He even continued to serve him in death by saying ‘Abacha never stole’. I have never come across a man so desperate for power and yet he does not know what to do with it!
When Abiola was alive, you offered him no help whatsoever. You wined and dined with his tormentor. You watched as he destroyed Abiola’s business. You continue to celebrate Abacha in death and exploit Abiola in death.
How can you ‘honour’ a man whose life you dishonoured? You have forgotten when you were praising Abacha as the next best thing after sliced bread. Now Abiola is your best thing because of elections. We were born at night, not last night! We will not forget your Sai Abacha in 1998.
Buhari only ‘accepted’ to honour Abiola just BEFORE the 2019 elections for one reason and one reason only, he thinks the Southwest is gullible. To the Yoruba, I urge you to do what Bola Ige said in 1998-‘take their money but vote for who you want’.
The summary of the matter is that President Buhari is a joke. In desperation for the Southwest vote. Now that the election is months away he pulls this stunt. He forgets that the Yoruba are sophisticated voters!
Even the statement declaring June 12 as Democracy Day betrays President Buhari’s intellectual deficiency and proves he is surrounded by inept aides.
The Executive Order that he signed states as follows:
“The first time this (military handing over power to a democratically elected President) happened was on October 21st, 1979.”
Even a primary school student knows that the first time the military voluntarily handed over power to a democratically elected civilian President was on October 1st, 1979 not on October 21st, 1979.
Only two weeks ago Buihari revealed that Sani Abacha was his mentor. The man he most admires amongst Nigeria’s former rulers and most likes to be like. One week he praises Abiola’s jailer, Abacha, the next week, he remember’s Abiola.
How can a President with eight media aides and 4 speechwriters not know what a primary school pupil would know? This is what you get when you elect a man with certificates of dubious origins and location! In 2019, we need a President who is educated enough to spot such a simple error!
Here is a President who claimed Nigerian youths are lazy, yet he does not know what a Nigerian youth would know. I bet you that if you go to the nearest secondary school to you and ask them when the military first handed over power to civilians, they would give a correct answer. Yet Buhari and his eight media aides can’t!
President Buhari complained that Nigeria youths are lazy and illiterate, but how can he blame them? The President is himself the problem. How can Buhari inspire youths to go to school when he can’t even produce his school certificate?
A barefooted man cannot advertise shoes! And as for Osinbajo who said four years is not enough to deliver on the promises he and his boss made, I can only say that when an office is too big for you, you complain that four years is too small. A bad workman blames his tools. How long has Donald Trump been in office? Yet see all he has accomplished. Even 100 years is not enough for a clueless government.
But then again, even if you cannot fulfil all your promises in four years, at least you should be able to fulfil some of them. How can you be in office for three years and yet you can’t boast of one project that you have initiated, started and completed in three years! Really?
And that is why nobody in the Buhari administration is willing to take the #BuhariChallenge.
The only way the Buhari administration can take or even win the #BuhariChallenge and name one project that Buhari has initiated, started and completed in the last three years is if they include lying as a sport in the Olympics.
If they do, Lai Mohammed and Garba Shehu will win gold and silver for Nigeria! Other than that, I don’t see any reasonable possibility that this administration can take the Buhari Challenge.
And One Last Thing:
In his last interview before he died, Justice Mustapha Akanbi asked President Buhari and the EFCC to investigate those listed in my Looters List.
The best way to honour Justice Akanbi should not be an empty statement from an empty [government]. It should be by honouring his last known request.
Being focused on the past makes you waste your life fast. Always look forward to the future because that is where opportunity lives. There is no o in yesterday, but there are three o’s in tomorrow representing three opportunities!
Reno Omokri; Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies
First published in Reno Omokiri’s column, #TheAlternative, in Saturday ThisDay of June 9, 2018.