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Now that Abiola has been honoured

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MKO Abiola

When I saw that certificate of honour signed by President Muhammadu Buhari honouring Chief MKO Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential election, I was happy that it was a dream come true for us as a nation.

I was happy for the Abiola family. I was happy for the masses of Nigeria who came out en masse on that fateful June 12, 1993 and lined up warmly and voted for their own choice of a leader.

I was happy for the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as well as for the Lagos State government and the entire South West for a dream come true because despite that it took a long time to achieve this recognition, it is better late than never.

Finally, after all these years MKO Abiola has been given his rightful place in the Nigerian polity despite all the irreparable injustices done to him and the entire masses of Nigeria all these years.

Now Abiola will smile in his grave not only because he has been honoured but if and only if he sees that the life of an average Nigerian has improved and not deteriorated.

Abiola will only be happy if he sees that the current crop of leaders in Nigeria do better than what he planned to do for Nigeria before his mandate was stolen by some selfish cabals.

But these people who stole Abiola’s mandate, then locked him up and eventually killed him thought they were doing evil to Abiola but they never realised they were doing greater evil to the entire Nigerian people and generations yet unborn.

For several years successive Nigerian governments have ignored talking about or recognizing Abiola.

But can we write the history of this country without dedicating a special chapter to Abiola?

Absolutely no! It is now clear to even the uninformed that Abiola played a pivotal role in the history of this country despite how successive governments refused to recognize him.

But for how long can they suppress the will of the people? Can evil triumph over good? No way!

But where are all those who conspired against Abiola? Where are they now?

Do they think they will go scot free? Do they think they will escape God’s judgment? No way.

But these people thought they were conspiring against a single individual, but no, they actually conspired against the corporate existence of Nigeria.

For over two decades since that coup against the Nigerian people, has Nigeria recovered from that brazen theft of the will of the people?

Has Nigerian been able to make any meaningful headway? How have we fared as a people?

Have we not all suffered the inexplicable consequences of the careless decision of a select few decision makers whose indiscretion has plunged us into this avoidable cesspit of inglory as a nation?

But really where are these people who put us into this backwardness?

Are they supposed to be smiling and enjoying themselves now when Abiola who paid the ultimate price by laying down his own life for Nigeria rots in the grave?

These people who conspired and stole the people’s mandate from Abiola and ended up putting Nigeria through several years of hardship should be shamed and made to face the public condemnation and the law.

They should be put in their rightful place in history because they are thieves for stealing the people’s mandate.

They should not be honoured because they don’t deserve such honour because they have put Nigeria and the masses of Nigeria to shame.

They should tender a public apology to Nigeria and be put in their rightful place in the minds of the people.

For too long the will of the people has been subverted in Nigeria.

For too long the will of the people has been swept under the carpet but we say enough is enough because power ultimately belongs to the people.

It is not enough to honour Abiola, what matters is how the people he so much fought for are faring.

If he were alive, would Nigeria be the way it is now? If he were alive, would Nigeria still remain backward the way it is now?

If the people’s mandate given to Abiola was not aborted by these enemies of Nigeria and he was able to lead Nigeria for at least a term in office, would Abiola not have transformed Nigeria by now or at least laid a solid foundation for Nigeria?

Would he not have solved a lot of problems for us instead of these crops of incompetent and clueless leaders foisted on Nigeria over the years and who have ended up creating more problems for Nigeria?

It seemed like yesterday but no, twenty-five years have just passed away since that people’s mandate was given to Abiola.

A child born that year by now should have perhaps graduated from the university and now working, yet it seems like yesterday and it still seems to me like a dream that our popular will was stolen and our messiah killed to suppress the wishes of the Nigerian people.

But let’s live with the consolation that he has been recognized at last. Let us hope that as he has been so recognised, the ideals he lived for would propel us to greater heights as a nation.

Let us hope that one day God will give us a messiah greater than Abiola who would turn Nigeria around for good.

Let us not give up as a nation for if Abiola could make so much impact on the Nigerian polity from his grave even when he never actually lead Nigeria even for a day, then imagine what he would have done if he were alive and if he were able to preside over the affairs of Nigeria?

This is a great lesson for us as a nation.

Never again should we allow a select few selfish and greedy individuals determine the affairs of this country. Only the wish and the will of the people should prevail.

For me it is not enough to give honour to Abiola when the bulk of the Nigerian masses live in abject poverty.

It is not enough to honour him when the lives of the people whom he so much fought for and died for have not improved the way Abiola would have loved if he were alive.

Abiola was a man of the people. If he were alive he would have given his last kobo to make sure a hungry man on the street does not go hungry.

He would not fold his arms and do nothing when he hears that Nigerians are committing suicide for lack of food. He will rise to the occasion.

Demola, a human rights activist, wrote from Lagos.


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