Was Abiola an International Drug Baron?
The late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was indeed a famous powerful distinguished Nigerian who unfortunately suffered state terrorism for his dogged insistence on actualising his June 12 1993 presidential mandate criminally usurped by the military cabal in power led by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Chief Abiola was allegedly beaten to death in detention after Gen. Abacha suddenly died while playing the game of intimacy with imported love-peddlers which constituted one of his hobbies.
Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, the man who headed the electoral commission that flawlessly organised the June 12 poll has told us recently what transpired during those tensed days before, during and after the clean poll. According to the magniloquent professor of political science MKO Abiola won the presidential election without any 'wuru-wuru' or 'mago-mago' which sadly characterised the April 2007 electoral exercise.
Bashorun Abiola, in the consciousness of millions of Nigerians remained the best president Nigeria never had after the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. MKO Abiola's rag-to-riches story was widely known. As a child of destiny he was said to have sold firewood to be able to sponsor his elementary education having been born to poor parents.
Before the June 12 martyr met his tragic death in the Abacha gulag he had famously become one of the celebrated richest Nigerians, a benevolent billionaire whose business empire included the defunct 'Concord' media group, Abiola bakery, Abiola bookshops, Abiola farms and other industrial investments at home and abroad.
This treatise was motivated by an article entitled "Nwosu, June 12, Two Party System" published Thursday, 19 June 2008 online, and authored by one Dr Abayomi Ferreira. Nothing really was wrong with the piece but one of the registered respondents with a moniker "Ocnus" had raised a serious issue in his reaction which must not be ignored.
Dr. Gary K. Busch alias 'Ocnus' had the following to say about June 12 and late Abiola: "At the risk of annoying people I shall point out again that while it is no doubt true that IBB voided the June 12 election and precipitated a national emergency the truth behind that has never been fully understood by the Nigerian populace. The Nigerian military were adamant that the Babangida government should never allow Abiola to run for office. The basis for this was the information being circulated in Washington, London and Lagos of Abiola's alleged ties to the drugs business. The US, in particular, had expressed its strong opposition to Abiola as President; not because of his politics or allegations of corruption, but rather for the evidence they felt was correct about Abiola's alleged drugs connections.
This was raised in the Military Council on three occasions and Babangida was warned. He refused to take a decision until it was almost too late. When he did he precipitated the crisis of June 12. His friends in the military supported him but were let down by IBB's lack of decisiveness. US Ambassador Walker and others visited IBB and told him but he dithered which made the impact worse."
Ordinarily one should have dismissed the 'Ocnus' submission as a wild claim or
a weird speculation of a distant observer struggling to be recognised and heard but given Dr. Gary K. Busch's many published exposés on the dog-eat-dog politics of the Nigerian military -- something crucially profound that investigatively cast him aside (much like Mr Max Siollun) as either a well-paid foreign spy or a confidential insider in the Nigerian power house -- the drug-running connections to which the late Abiola was linked must not pass without raising interesting questions.
Was MKO Abiola an international drug baron? Or was that pinned on him by his local and foreign enemies as grounds to deny him his deserved electoral victory? It is often said that behind every great fortune there's a great crime but in MKO's case behind his vast fortune Nigerians had thought rightly or wrongly that he meritoriously worked for it and took time out to narrate how it all began, how he had dreamt and pursued his dreams and ideas of overcoming poverty.
Again one is obliged to ask: was the drug-running connections the major reason behind the annulment of Abiola's presidential poll triumph? Or better still was that what IBB explained away to the assembled high-profile traditional rulers from Yorubaland led by the Ooni of Ife during the June 12 national political crisis after which Ooni Sijuwade told a bewildered nation that "Babangida was making some sense"? He never told us the kind of sense Babangida was making?
Well 'Ocnus' must throw more light on this subject-matter since he appears to know more and possess more classified documents and infos that are not in our possession. Dr Busch is presumably an American who knows the Nigerian military power game more than many of us. No one is begrudging him for that deep knowledge of the inner workings of our depraved generals but he needs to come forward with more facts in support of his statement.
Abiola was no saint! Like many other successful Nigerians of his generation he had his shortcomings. Nigerians however never needed America to tell us that Abiola was a murderer, a chronic polygamist, an ITT fraudster or a drug baron before we voted for him en masse. We chose him because we believed in his humane qualities and demonstrated ability to change our society for better. Americans had voted in Presidents whose character portraits were nothing much to write home about. We never decided for them in such situations nor questioned a Clinton for 'Lewinskygate', a Nixon for 'Watergate' or a W. Bush for 'Iraqigate'.
The June 12 controversial presidential poll and its incontrovertible outcome was annulled by a military cabal warring over succession. Gen. Babangida must have reached some oral agreement with late Gen. Abacha that power would be surrendered to him after his reign. But succumbing to both local and international pressure (having guilefully manipulated and manipulated times and times again his handover date) IBB sought to undo the oral accord but met a brickwall in the dark-goggled one and his military cabal.
Having helped to stabilise Babangida's regime in all loyalty for eight giddy years Abacha, then power hungry and desperate, could not understand or come to terms with why Babangida should not reward him and reciprocate the loyal military gesture. Allowing an Abiola presidency would have put paid to the Abacha ambition but the dead duo would have possibly been alive today.
Alas Bashorun Abiola and June 12 became the sacrificial lamb. And Nigeria the principal victim of this military poisoned politics of the coup-plotting generals. And Nigerians are still paying a huge price for the rot the military left behind.