June 12: Hope For A New Nigeria Still Shattered By Sheyi Babaeko
Posted On Jun 12, 2017
“Where are the memories that held us together? Where are the dreams that were yet to come? I’m afraid to be happy. I Shouldn’t be happy. If I’m happy without you does that mean that I’ve told you goodbye?” – Donna Lynn Hope.
Today, I Join the Abiola Dynasty, Union leaders across the globe, the entire political and business associates of the late sage, fellow Nigerians, and other citizens of the world to remember the the painful annulment of the freest election in Nigeria which affirmed the victory of a political colossus, philanthropist, and business meister Chief Moshood Abiola.
It is imperative therefore to re-examine what the Are Ona Kakanfo stood for before, during, and after the elections which was conducted and annulled some 24 years ago.
As a student of history, the “Hope ’93” election was the best in anal of our political history. Abiola’s manifesto was issue-driven and promised lots of developmental advancement for Nigeria. It resuscitated the hope of an average Nigerian who witnessed the election because the electorates convincingly believed and trusted late Abiola’s promise to alleviate abject poverty in Nigeria.
However, the annulment of Abiola’s victory by the then military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda (IBB) shattered the hope of actualizing a new Nigeria that would have transcend beyond religious crisis, underdevelopment and a divided nation.
In fact, Chief M.K.O Abiola was later charged for felony by Gen. Sani Abacha, who seized power after the annulment of the election, because he (Abiola) declared himself as the lawful president of Nigeria after Babaginda dubiously annulled the elections. He allegedly died of poison on the very day he was supposed to be released from prison on July 7th, 1998.
The fact that Moshood Abiola was able to secure a national mandate freely and fairly remains unprecedented in Nigeria’s history but Gen. Ibrahim Babangida still went ahead to cancel the election when he realized that Chief Abiola overwhelmingly led his opponent, Bashir Tofa.
It is worrisome, painful, agonising and pathetic that 24 years after the annulment of the most credible election in Nigeria, things have continued to go from bad to worse judging from the outcomes of subsequent elections in the country which produced and continue to produce selfish, hungry, callous, unfit, clueless, attention-seeking and noisemaking leaders. The woes befalling us today is not unconnected to the fact that our elections of today are producing politicians who are not ready and committed to serve the country as M.K.O Abiola wanted to before the undemocratic government of IBB thought Nigeria was not yet ready to have a good leader.
The youths are now facing the challenges of unemployment while Nigeria as a country cannot boast of motorable roads of up to 1,000 KM free of potholes or road bandits. Insecurity remain the major problem of our country and our hospitals are under equipped even to the extent that the number one citizen of the country, President Mohammadu Buhari had to fly out of the country for medical attention which his country cannot provide. Our leaders forget to realize that only few Nigerians could afford to fly out of the country for medical treatment. So what is the fate of the over 90% of the common man who cannot afford to eat three course meal a day not to talk of traveling overseas for medicals.
Our tertiary institutions are underfunded and still not listed among the top 1000 universities in the whole world. Many universities remain closed. LAUTECH students are still worried about the continued guillotine of academic activities in their school owing to the insensitivity of the government of two states: Osun and Oyo. This explains why I argue that since the annulment of Abiola’s victorious election, Nigeria has been producing unfit leaders. If two governors couldn’t manage the affairs of just one school properly, are we not right to call them unfit leaders. Why are the two governors declaring public holiday to mark the annulment of the election when both of them have refused to imbibe the spirit in which Abiola was willing to serve Nigeria?
I won’t like to go further for now because our country is now a very lawless society where those in government only go above the law to witch hunt those they perceive as political enemies. Although I fear less their imminent treats but I will urge our leaders to rather emulate late M.K.O Abiola and not just declare public holiday alone for nothing. What is the use of the public holiday if those who declared it are not of Abiola’s school of thought?
There are many more are the major problems facing us as a Nation today despite the fact that Abiola was the great grand architect of the democracy that we are enjoying (though on paper) today.
It is quite regrettable that things are far worse today than what the situation was. Many Nigerians today do not have access to drinkable water,
the Youths are now dumping education because of job scarcity to become armed robbers, militants, terrorists, kidnappers, rapists, cultists, cyber criminals, PIMPs, human traffickers, prostitutes, drug addicts, ritualists, fake pastors, quack doctors and nurses, and they are wasting away because our government and its leader are not bothered about the menace.
Remembering 1993 elections should go beyond the declaration of public holiday by attention-seeking governors who have refused to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements. I argue further that what is the essence of a holiday without edifying monuments befitting enough in the name of M.K.O Abiola. It is high time the Federal Government stated to correct the Nigerian history by including Chief M.K.O Abiola as one of the former Presidents of Nigeria and all entitlements given to all ex presidents should be given henceforth to the family of the late winner of the 1993 general elections.
More so, Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda must be compelled to issue an open apology to all Nigerians for annulling the best election so far in the history of Nigeria and for putting this country in the hands of political vegetables.
If the contributions of our heroes past should not be in vain, late M.K.O deserves to be honoured with a presidential status and an Ideological Centre for Political Reorientation should be built across the thirty six states of the federation so as to raise youths political consciousness with the view of educating them on the need for issue-driven politics and political, religious, and social tolerance.
May Olodumare continue to give late Chief Kashimawo Abiola peaceful rest!
…And as for Mr. Kola Abiola and other members of late M.K.O Abiola’s family, I sincerely share in your pain as you remember the inglorious annulment of the election that gave your kingpin the people’s popular mandate.
May God Continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Sheyi Babaeko, is a Social Commentator, Policy Analyst and Counter-Terrorist Strategist. He writes in from Leeds, U.K.