Abiola and Gani were humoured

By Azibola Omekwe on 20/06/2018

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One wonders why it took our president this long to make us happy as a country. President Muhammadu Buhari for once did something that gladdened our hearts all by recognizing late Chief M. K. O. Abiola as the beacon of democracy we savour today. He has gone ahead to bestow on him with the highest honour in the land. Like he did to Chief Abiola, he also to honoured late Chief Gani Fawehimni, the signpost of rights activism in Nigeria. 

Going head on, Nigeria indeed is unfortunate. Based on Buhari’s antecedents, it was believed he had the magic wand to turn things for good in the country. He won an election, which shortcomings continue to unravel by the day like the popular child voting. His opponent, a sitting president, had the ample opportunity to have doctored the process for his own interest. But remember APC said it was impossible for them to lose the election. If they do, Nigeria would be ungovernable. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan being obsessed with peaceful coexistence and especially for the sake of ordinary Nigerians decided to hand over peaceably. His goodwill is haunting those who did not want him at all cost. Anyway that is not the matter for here.

And having achieved his goal of electoral victory, President Buhari became contented and allowed Nigeria to slide into misgovernance. He has been at loss as to what to do. He has displayed crass ineptitude on governance. True to type, he abdicated responsibility to his cronies as he did in his days as PTF chairman, the ill-fated mini-Nigeria he chaired under late General Sani Abacha.

As a matter of fact, Buhari did not suffer to do anything special with this opportunistic action of mentioning Abiola and Gani, the latter being a defender of the rights of the masses. I tell you Buhari knows which Nigerians to honor to win 2019 election: Abiola and Gani. Nigerians are damn happy with them. Because of their personality we momentarily thought of Buhari as Abraham Lincoln. But it was just for a moment. We know him to have plunged this country into the abyss and the present carnage. The motive is clear.  What he did was a mere declaration geared towards hoodwinking timid voters who cannot afford food again to shore up his dwindling chances of becoming president come 2019. He must know that what he did to these patriots who died for Nigeria is already with us in our sub consciousness. They have written their names in gold and no amount of desperate decoration or humouring, especially from someone who never believed in their cause would surpass their sweat and blood for this country.

Recall that Buhari played a prominent role in late General Abacha’s government. Granted, that government did not cancel June 12, but it played a bigger role in sealing it. It had the ample opportunity to validate June 12. It chose to become its undertaker. Under Abacha, Abiola, his wife, Kudirat, and many activists clamouring for its validation were either killed or bundled into detention to obliterate anything concerning June 12. Where was our present president then? He was the most beloved personality to Abacha then. He was so influential that Abacha carved out a portion of Nigeria for him to run a parallel government under the banner of the dollar bloated Petroleum Trust Fund. That was an ample opportunity for him to honour June 12, but he elected to wine and dine with the goggled one.

Look at what a lover of June 12 did. In less than a month, Buhari praised Abacha and Abiola. Abacha’s regime represents a very dark side of our history. He partook in that government actively and was proud to say so. When he discovered a seething anger against his do-nothing regime, he decided to reinvent himself by associating himself with people of credibility. Praising Abacha was unconscionable. But praising Abiola was conscionable, an act of invention. As for Gani, he has surreptitiously captured the attention of the youth he denigrates.

Chief MKO Abiola was a great Nigerian who had laid down everything he had, his life inclusive, for good governance in Nigeria. Buhari, our president, should have identified with his values rather than using his name to propagate himself.

Let us look at how Gani lives on. Incidentally before Buhari’s pronouncement, a friend visited. He was once expelled from the university and went back to the village to loiter and be a motor park boy. Gani took up his case pro bono, flooring the university at the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal. The university readmitted him and today he is a graduate of Civil Engineering. He lived throughout his life not knowing how to tell Gani thank you. Before 2015, he supported Buhari. Now he regrets he ever did. He is so angry with Buhari for identifying himself with Gani. And there are so many Nigerians seething with the same anger since the pronouncement.

This government is doing a macabre dance on late Chief Gani’s grave. It is a tragedy that Gani’s family would thank Buhari for honouring their father and accepting a mere wooden plaque for him. While he was alive, all governments coveted associating with him but they all fell short of his expectations. Those were governments who even did better than this present one. If by his act of sacrifice, he didn’t leave anything for them, they should accept it as part of his obsession to nation building that he lived and died for.  They should not fellowship with a government that is against the masses. They should remember their father was the only Senior Advocate of the Masses Nigeria ever knew. Gani’s name has been honored already and no political GCON would upturn that.

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Let’s go back memory lane. The thought of the short-lived Shagari’s government would always provoke tears out of someone. That was a government that practiced true federalism. The state governments then did not know what federal allocation was. It was a beautiful journey until Buhari came with the guns to unseat it. Thank God Atiku Abubakar is preaching the gospel of restructuring and Nigerians are accepting it as a retrace to that beautiful journey. What we are advocating today, true federalism, which Atiku, a presidential hopeful, stands for was practiced to a great extent under the very government Buhari and his ilk sacked in 1984. Then we had 19 states and the federal government, the latter being unattractive in spite of its astounding developmental strides. Then there was Jakande in Lagos, Sam Mbakwe in Imo, Solomon Lar in Plateau, Abubakar Rimi in Kaduna, to mention a few. The president, Shehu Shagari, was even competing with them with his infrastructural strides. Painfully, Buhari sacked that government. With Decree 4, the junta he headed outlawed divergent opinions with a dreadful apparatus to checkmate the likes of Gani. Where would Nigeria be if Shagari with a retinue of 19 other ‘presidents’ had completed his eight years in power and civil rule had continued in 1993 with MKO Abiola? Sad Buhari sacked a government practicing true federalism to a large degree as opposed to the present governors who survive on bailouts. He should stop proselytizing what he does not believe in.

Some are already saying that Buhari deserves a second term for honouring MKO Abiola. They are political profiteers. For them, unemployment, hunger, carnage in Zamfara and other places is worth living again. To them, the bloodletting in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kogi, Southern Kaduna and the general insecurity in the land should be re-lived again for another four years. 

The good news however is that the Yorubas would not be deceived by this symbolic gesture but would continue to hold this government accountable to its unfulfilled promises. By making sure this government does not walk away from its responsibilities, they should save Nigerians from hunger, misery, pestilence, death from killer herdsmen and the incompetence and cluelessness that has become the order of the day. Abiola and Gani never befriended an incompetent government and would not do so in their grave. Happily, it is impossible to deceive the Yoruba people and indeed patriotic Nigerians across the country.

Hon. Omekwe is a former member of Bayelsa State House of Assembly and writes from Abuja and can be reached via azibolaomekwe@yahoo.com



Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on June, 20 2018

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