The Oasis Reporters
June 13, 2018
Before the 12th of June 2018, I did hold to be sacrosanct that age long dictum to the effect that you cannot eat your cake and still have same. The falsity of this assumption came clear on the June 12, 2018 when Ambassador Babagana Kingibe stepped forward and was bestowed with one of the highest honours in the land.
This date, June 12 which has become like the proverbial sphinx that arose from its own ashes has technically adopted a life of its own. First, it was on this day about 25 years ago that the historic election adjudged as the freest ever in the history of elections in this scourged land took place. For all the wrong reasons a cabal in the military with the Evil Genius as the vanguard annulled the election.
Secondly, this particular election fielded both Presidential and Vice-presidential candidates, all Muslims but even at that Nigerians who were confident with the character that Chief MKO Abiola represented did not read any negative meaning in this arrangement and so turned out in their millions to elect him. When it became clear that Chief MKO Abiola would become president, evil forces in the military and out of it conspired with Chief Arthur Nzeribe and the contraption hurriedly put together as Association for Better Nigeria led by Nwankwo Kanu came in handy as albatrosses.
From far away Calabar, a Justice Bassey Ikpeme was flown to Abuja and made available to legally disrupt the election.
By the reading of events from the conspirator’s standpoint pronounce the election inconclusive and therefore null and void l.
The decision to annul June 12 remains the worst decision any military regime ever took even when military rule was in vogue. The explanation then was that it was done in the interest of the nation, yet nobody came forth with an explanation as to the interest that needed to be protected.
If those who conspired to annul June 12 thought that their action was the end of the story, they were wrong because the annulment triggered a chain of events that led to some disastrous events which included the evil genius being shoved aside even as he claimed to have stepped aside. Chief Ernest Shonekan’s interim contraption was short-lived as the Dark Goggled One came marching in .
The unexpected happened when the Dark Goggled One suddenly died.
Chief Abiola too, mysteriously died under military custody in the hands of Gen. Abacha’s successor.
Even in death Chief MKO Abiola remained a formidable political icon and the ghost of June 12 could not be interred.
Though the gang that conspired to annul June 12 realised they terribly misfired, they lacked the courage to reverse their action. If they had done that, they would have saved the nation from political haemorrhage. A few notable attempts to my mind were made at appeasing the South-West the region to which Chief MKO Abiola was native notably the choice of Chief Ernest Shonekan to lead an interim government as well as the dredging up of Baba Iyabo who eventually was installed as President in an election which lacked the glamour and excitement of June 12. Had the Yoruba nation been allowed to present a candidate of their choice for that arranged election, you can bet that their candidate would not have been Baba Iyabo for many a reason to anybody who has followed the fractious relationship between Baba and his kinsmen. In the end, the strategy of appeasement did not work because the ghost of June 12 refused to rest.
Part of the reason this nation has stagnated is traceable to the annulment of June 12 by my personal assessment because no nation will ever make progress with such a huge moral burden. I have said it before and should repeat that I am applauding the courage of President Muhammadu Buhari for finally acknowledging the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about June 12 as well as the decision to posthumously honour late Chief Abiola with the highest honour in the land.
Finally perhaps the ghosts of both Chief MKO Abiola and June 12 could have been pacified. Lest we forget, the thrust of this post is on the fact that some people can eat their cake and still have it. This came true of Ambassador Babagana Kingibe who also received an honour on account of the fact that he was running mate to Chief MKO Abiola.in the June 12 historic vote .
I recall clearly that for the first time ever, a Presidential debate was to have held before the election but somehow only the Vice presidential candidates did debate. The verdict was that Ambassador Kingibe took the day. When eventually the votes were in, it was crystal clear that the SDP had won but shortly before the formal announcement, the coupist struck.
I cannot recall if Ambassador Kingibe had any worries about the annulment, if he had any, it was not widely reported. What has remained as true is that Kingibe technically had nothing to lose and so was not bothered to give chase of the fleeing mandate. He was thereafter rewarded or would you rather call it appeased with the appointment as foreign minister in the Gen Sani Abacha government for not making a noise over the annulment.
I really do not know how others interpreted this but I am convinced it was a clear case of perfidy. Chief MKO Abiola put up a dogged fight to reclaim his mandate but the forces arrayed against him were too powerful. They took away Abiola,’s mandate and later as was largely thought his life. I did not get to watching the investiture if it was streamed live because PHCN was as expected on duty. It would have been lovely to listen to Ambassador Babagana Kingibe if he had anything to say in response to the honour he received. Surely, the entire event must have been recorded and we shall get to knowing what was said if anything was said by the ambassador. Babagana Kingibe as it is usually said ” Hunted with the hound and ran with the hare “. This to me in concluding this post is same as eating one’s cake and having it.