‘The presidency is right in the centre of everything. My wealth is decreasing because my charities are increasing. Aside from that, Nigerians are not only poor as they were before, they are becoming poorer.’ ” my charities will not eliminate poverty but my presidency will.” Those were the words of Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, in a discussion with his closest friend from whom he received advice whenever he was distraught.
He was the largest donor of foreign scholarships to Nigerian students, the biggest supporter of religious institutions, benefactors to numerous universities and thousands of blacks in diaspora were not left out in is reparation schemes. Universities libraries gulped thousands of dollars from his monies. Moshood’s level of charities is yet to get equalled by any dark skinned man.
He adopted the slogan FAREWELL TO POVERTY, little did he know that he had just launched pay-off to his own life – FAREWELL TO FREEDOM. He named his campaign office HOPE ’93; sadly, retrieving his mandate turned HOPELESS.
To prove his level of acceptability, MKO floored TOFA in his Kano ward(his homestead); Bashorun was accepted across all religions and ethnic groups in the country.
Alas! The worst happened, the cannon was fired from General Ibrahim Babangida: He declared the elections annulled on 26th June 1993. He gave excuse such as election malpractices, rigging etc. Nigerians were sad, street protests upsurged, chaos took over as a result of the evil genius pronouncement of the annulment.
Afterwards, Babangida bowed out as a result of national and international pressures; Sonekan was fixed as the interim head of government with the dark-glasses Army General, Abacha, as its stabilizer. He saw it as his opportunity: he knew the interim leader was weak, he pounced on him and took over leadership of the country from him.
Struggle for the actualization of people’s mandate went unabated, people got jailed whenever they get hailed. If you were people’s mouthpiece in those days, you had rather get ready for persecution of all sorts, with an option of incarceration in most cases.
To his tragic and inhumane end, Abiola sets to take his mandate; he couldn’t allow his mandate got robbed off him, thus watch his people’s voice discarded. He saw it as unpatriotic and chaotic-breeding.
By this view, on June 11, 1994, he declared the government of National Unity at Epetedo in Lagos in a speech entitled; “Enough is Enough”. It marked the beginning of his end. He was hunted, hounded and eventually arrested.
Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola’s sun suddenly and forcefully sets. Democracy got imprisoned, democracy got clubbed to death and democracy is never heard of again in Nigeria, till date.
Kudirat Abiola was a devoted wife, she stood by her husband, she gallantly fought the evil despot behind her husband ordeal. She turned an activist and her activities were put to an end. Her blood watered the earth, she was assassinated and her children got orphaned.
Where corruption thrives, everything is possible, including a breakdown of all norms and practices – Nigeria is on a meltdown. Interestingly and tragically, no alien spirits have come to pull down our structures. You and I are responsible for this decay.
The crises and problems facing Nigeria, as a microcosm of the world, are rooted in corruption which is launched on the springboard of religion and ethnicity masked by the masses’ illiteracy. We have learnt so much but we have not unlearnt the wrong things we have accepted as a fait accompli. We have all been fed with lies by mind manipulators that we hold pervert opinions and wickedly negative views of one another, which all result in strife, tension and conflict enveloping our dear nation.
We have allowed divisive politics, ethnic-chauvinism and religious bigotry to divide us so far that the young ones are becoming increasingly the most heinous and despicable.
However, life is not just for the survival of the fittest but of all since everyone has a role to play. The end also does not justify the means, it is the means that justifies the end and no one should be under the illusion that any evil done by man to man will go unpunished, if not now, surely later, to paraphrase the late Dele Giwa.
Cumulatively, the June12 saga has proved to be a potpourri of betrayal of trust/friendship as demonstrated by the Abiola-Babangida relationship; Of ethnicity as evinced by the prevention of power shifting from the Northern to the Western zone.
Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was the president who never ruled. I like him. He had the intellectual acuity to take this rudderless nation to its promise land. The political savvy was there, he was a business mogul, his philanthropy was exemplary. He really deserve laudation for his munificence. In spite of his movement from a humble background to becoming a moneybag, he remained humble, he didn’t fumble, he granted people assistance and never grumbled.
I like him. Continue to Rest In Peace, our very own #AareOnaKakanfo.
I’m Folorunso Fatai Adisa