Abiola and the maze of history
In finally giving some official recognition to Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the 1993 Presidential elections, the president sought to lay the ghost of an extraordinary injustice to rest and propitiate the living and the dead.
It would have been a profound appeasement of history and hearts were it not for the fact that it was probably the starkest example of bolting the stable door after the horse has bolted ever seen.
MKO`s family, importuned by counsel and social convention, graciously accepted the award and even apologised for the supposed failings of a man denied fate`s appointment by the malice of a military government some of whose active players are still alive.
The first family Nigeria never had also lost its matriarch to the cyclopean injustice.
The irrepressible Kudirat Abiola who was finally repressed by a bullet. In rendering a painfully misplaced apology, and effusive gratitude for an award mined from the darkest dungeons of political hypocrisy, MKO`s daughter swapped roles with the killers of her parents who owed her family apology and gratitude.
Thankfully, Nobel Laureate and world renowned literary icon Wole Soyinka was at the hastily and deceitfully convened occasion. He had some choice words for the clan of hyenas.
Nigeria can never pay MKO or his family for what they lost at the hands of a most brutal military government.
That it took so long for successive Nigerian governments to officially recognize MKO was salt rubbed into festering wounds.
That it came with crucial elections on the horizon further impugned the credibility of a recognition frozen for so long by a country too ashamed to clean up its vomit.
Nigeria has done so little for all those who have made sacrifices for it. Some gave up their lives in defence of its integrity.
Some have brought international recognition it has milked for its use. Some others have given up their lives in its service.
Yet, it has been a litany of ignored families, unpaid benefits and unacknowledged pain.
It`s national awards and other such contrived recognition have been blighted by familiar stains of ethnic and religious politics.
History has shown itself a proud owner of a long and luminous memory.
With coruscating lucidity, it will always remember Abiola as the colourful winner of Nigeria`s 1993 Presidential election.
It will remember him as the historic choice of historic polls brutally ripped away from Nigerians.
History will also reserve its most wretched pages, dripping with opprobrium, for all those who linked leprous hands to annul the 1993 Presidential Election and bludgeon the conscience of an entire country.
Kene Obiezu wrote from Abuja.