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Falomo: Buhari’s declaration will expose many hidden things

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FILES, NIGERIA – JUNE 11: Nigerian main opposition leader and presidential candidate Moshood Abiola votes in Lagos in a 12 June 1993 file photo. Abiola, the presumed winner of the elections, was placed under house arrest by police 11 June, one day before setting up a government of national unity. The 1993 vote was annulled by then military leader Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. PHOTO: FRANCOIS ROJON/AFP/Getty Images)


Dr. Ore Falomo, the personal physician and close confidante of the late Bashorun MKO Abiola, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to bestow on Abiola the highest honour of GCFR and recognize June 12, as Democracy Day is the beginning of a process to unravel many hidden things about the election and how Abiola was killed. He spoke to MUYIWA ADEYEMI, (Head, Southwest Bureau)

How will you react to the President’s proclamation on June 12,1993 election…?
I don’t think anything can assuage the feelings of Nigerians, because of the loss of Abiola. It is not possible. But, what President Muhammadu Buhari has done is part of those things that rekindle their hope. He has done what ought to have been done many years earlier, but it is better late than never.With that proclamation, Abiola is no longer a “presumed winner” of June 12,1993 election, the President of Nigeria has acknowledged that he won the election. He breasted the tape after the 100 meter. Call him ex-president, call him president-elect, call him president sleeping in the grave, what matters to us now is that he has indeed, been acknowledged as a President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Nobody should ever refer to Abiola again as the presumed winner; I want to emphasis this please. He was declared President of Nigeria. What has just happened appears that we are just waking up to the reality that we have robbed Abiola and the nation. Nobody can begrudge that it is starting now. Maybe this is the proper time God wanted it to happen, so let us appreciate somebody who started it. What can we say of the former Presidents before Buhari? He is the last President in the series since Abiola died. We have had interim president, we have had other three presidents, didn’t they see what Buhari saw. I think only President Goodluck Jonathan tried when he nameD the University of Lagos after Abiola, which was not commensurate with what Abiola did. And the whole nation objected to it and he let it lie low.

We may ask, why did former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not accede to many pleadings, especially that of Afenifere for six consecutive years to recogniSe the supreme sacrifice Abiola paid for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria, which he refused.

But, the proclamation for a posthumous award did not specifically say, Abiola won the election and THE Senate demandED that INEC should officially the result…
NO, he said so, he said Abiola won June 12, 1993 election, but he was not sworn in. With that proclamation by the President, we can begin to ask many things. That is why I said a lot of things would happen in the next few weeks. Even with this proclamation, the circumstances around the death of Abiola will be looked into. I am going to be one of sponsors of that investigation.

We have had an enquiry by the late Justice Oputa. But, a proper investigation must be done to unravel how he was killed. Now, we have a President in America, who said he was not following protocol and he is desired to have a change, I am taLking of President Trump. Let’s see what he will do, Wikileaks is still there. A lot will be revealed. America used to be the Police of the World, but Trump said, that era is gone, America first, he wants us to mind our business, while he faces the business of governance in America. He would be involved in reviewing roles played by Clinton and his Secretary of State, Susan Rice, as it affects the death of Abiola. I have a strong belief that we shall soon get to the root of the matter.

Does the honour beg the question and play to the gallery?
President Buhari just made the proclamation few days ago and I urge you to wait and see whether the protocol will soon address Abiola as a former President or President-elect. Buhari deserves all commendations to have started something 25 years after. He was not in government when it happened; he did not commit the crime, but has come to rectify the mistakes of the past.

Some say he was close to Gen. Sanni Abacha, who was allegedly instrumental to the annulment?
It was Babangida, who annulled the election. Buhari and IBB were never together. Some of the people speaking now knew little about Abiola, IBB and Abacha. I know more than those people talking now, because I was close to all of them at that time. And when it happened, I was involved with the American Embassy, I was involved with the British High Commission, I was the one who set up the autopsy panel, they were never together. Buhari did not collude with them, it was IBB that is responsible for it and he should continue to carry the burden. When we met him after annulment, he said he didn’t mean any evil.

I also went to see IBB when Abiola was locked up, because I remembered what Dr. Beko said. Before the election, Beko, Abiola and myself were together and Beko asked Abiola if IBB would ever allow him to rule if he won the election. Abiola said if IBB disappointed him, it would cost lives.

Do you subscribe to Senate decision that INEC should release the result?
Where was the Senate before the President made the proclamation? I am sure that will also happen. Why the rush? What the President did is good and we must commend him. He is not my friend at all. He banned the NMA, when I was its leader, I was the one who fought him to a stand still, at that time, and he didn’t see a Doctor to mean anything. Now, after seing what doctors have done for his life, he agreed Doctors are very relevant in the society. He never had a personal physician. I was the one who said, if Buhari has not gone into the Army, he would have been one of the herdsmen. I said it and he agreed, because that was his life. But, when somebody did something that is good, let us all commend him.

With this action, he has told Obasanjo, who was his senior in the Nigerian Army, that he has misled Nigerians to adopt May 29 as Democracy Day. He told him October 1, 1979 had once been celebrated as a Democracy Day being the day of our independence, but what informed May 29, it has no relevance in our political history. He has corrected his so-called senior. Obasanjo had to mislead the whole nation, because he wanted the swearing in before June 12 and this is treachery. Obasanjo has ever been jealous of Abiola, because Abiola was more brilliant than him in secondary school. Both of them came from Egba, I am also from Egba and I know that the envy has always been there. But, while he was doing all those things he did against Abiola, he did not remember tomorrow and that tomorrow is catching up with all of us now.

For those of us that had the privilege of witnessing the events in the past and, now alive to see what we almost lost hope for in our lifetime, we are grateful to God. Our hope has been rekindled, whatever needs to be done shall be done, Buhari meant well and we should allow him. Buhari acknowledged June 12,1993 election to be the fairest and freest in the history of Nigeria, even more credible than the one that brought him in as President. Is that not noble? Has anyone done that before? What he said must have been written in the archives of the Federal Government. And I am waiting to see any past President who can challenge him on this, then he will release more.

With what he did, he has plainly told IBB if he didn’t believe in the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, we believe in him. Gani was a staunch supporter of June 12. I am a Doctor to his chambers, the first and the only one, because the chambers have been disbanded. I was close to his wives and children and I know the sacrifice he paid, he was killed, so also Beko.

Do you think Babagana Kingibe deserves the honour having been the first to trade off the victory to Abacha?
I am surprised that some people don’t want to admit the truth; is there any President without a Vice President. It doesn’t matter whatever he did or did not do after the election. They won the election together and they were never installed. Yes, Abiola died, but Kingibe is alive. If we acknowledge the fact that Abiola won the election, we must admit that they won the election together. It was a joint ticket.

But while Abiola fought till the end for the revalidation of the election, Kingibe turned his back on the struggle?
He took part in Abacha’s government, because Abacha deceived them. I was there. Don’t forget Abiola also named his own cabinet. Abacha told them he has come to repair things and he would not hold on too long before handing over power. But, after he established himself, he did something else by starting five political parties known as five fingers of a leprous hand. Don’t blame Kingibe, he once told me that he had never been a businessman or politician, but a civil servant serving government. I was privy to the meeting Abacha held with Abiola and Kingibe.

Abacha was not just my patient, but also a friend. We met in 1982 through Lt General U. S. Yaro, he was coming from Lebanon on a Peace Keeping assignment, and we first met in London. I was very close to Abacha, and IBB. When Abiola was locked up, I went to Abacha to allow me see IBB in Minna, which he obliged. I only went there to tell IBB that he betrayed his friend and I told him Abiola did not deserve it. He is still alive.I heard some people say Abiola would not have done anything better, if the position was changed, they said everything IBB did, Abiola would have done worse, but my response was to let us leave it to God.

What could you say caused the bitter acrimony between Abiola and Obasanjo?
Ego! Don’t forget the humble background of Abiola. Both of them attended Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), Abeokuta.


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