Buhari’s Coup & the MKO Connection

The GDA and the Author, Abdul-Jamiu Abiodun Abiola in rare display of the book during the interview

“There is no point sympathizing with us civilians
now. We have had our chance and we blew it”
Moshood made that
declaration with anger and he meant every single word. It was his response to a
critic of the new military regime—someone who had felt that Nigeria was better
off with the former civilian government than the current military one. But the
man dismissed Moshood’s opinion with an assertive phrase that became popular
among disenchanted Nigerians after the coup: “The worst civilian government is
better than the best military one”.
Moshood, whose life had
been much more interesting during democratic rule, could have been easily
tempted to agree with him, but memories of the corruption of the previous
democratically elected government were fresh on his mind. This new military
government, under the leadership of General Buhari, wanted to clean out
the corruption, and although Moshood was not in support of some
of its strategies, so far it had been doing a good job.

General Muhammadu Buhari

Moshood liked the fact
that General
Buhari
wanted to bring order to the system, but what worried him about
the new military government was its eagerness to settle foreign debts in a
hurry. Describing this concern, Moshood once said, “Some of these loans were designated for supplies for foreign goods
that were never shipped to Nigeria, even after payments were made to foreign
companies”

 

General Ibrahim Babangida

Moshood never
questioned the integrity of General Buhari. He had a lot of
respect for him but he wanted him to be more careful about his government
policy of reducing expenditures. Moshood, who had always supported
austerity measures, was not optimistic about them at that point in Nigeria’s
history. “Whenever there is a boom,
government should, by all means, cut expenditure to keep inflation at check…
But at times like this, during a recession, government should adopt the
opposite policy by spending wisely to pull the country out of recession”
One area that
really impressed Moshood, though, was the new government initiative against
indiscipline. The government had tagged it “The war against indiscipline”. It
was designed to crush disorderliness and it was extremely effective. Nigerians
became more organized in the queues, in maintaining a healthy environment; and
most civil servants, in a bid to avoid punitive measures, began coming to work
early.

“With this in mind, Moshood shifted his entire attention to his numerous businesses. It
was a long list that included Wonder Loaf, Abiola Farms, Concord Airlines,
Concord Newspaper, Abiola Bookshops, and various stakes in corporations around
the world. He had thousands of employees but that was not what made him stand
out in the minds of Nigerians. It was his philanthropy”

MKO Abiola; The Star Child

Moshood was also
pleased by the fact that the new government was fighting corruption and winning
the battle. One day he clarified his position on his occasional statements
about the government, emphasizing that his words were neither criticisms nor
condemnations, but simply advice. He encouraged all Nigerians to analyze things
for themselves and make their views known when he said, “We have often failed to assess governments and their performances on
a continuous day-to-day basis. Only after the worst has come to pass, when the
most egregious blunders have been irremediably committed, and when one chapter
of our national trauma has been supplanted by yet another, do we engage in
postmortem exercises of severely limited value”

 

The GDA in a hearty chat with the Author, Abdul-Jamiu Abiodun Abiola

Just as things
were taking shape and the policies of the new government were yielding some
positive results, there was suddenly another military coup. The Buhari
government was overthrown by one of its key members, General Ibrahim Babangida,
the chief of staff of the army at that time.
General
Babangida

became Nigeria’s new leader. He assured Nigerians that his administration would
be flexible. He became the first military ruler to adopt the title of
president. With General Babangida’s growing popularity, Moshood
knew that his personal wish to rule Nigeria soon was unrealistic. The general’s
actions and body language made it clear from the onset that he was not in a
hurry to give up power.
 

MKO Abiola; The Man who broke the Record for ITT in Nigeria

With this in
mind, Moshood shifted his entire attention to his numerous
businesses. It was a long list that included Wonder Loaf, Abiola Farms,
Concord Airlines, Concord Newspaper, Abiola Bookshops, and
various stakes in corporations around the world. He had thousands of employees
but that was not what made him stand out in the minds of Nigerians. It was his
philanthropy.
Being the
largest donor of foreign scholarships to Nigerian students was not enough.
Moshood
joined the list of the biggest supporters of religious
institutions. Universities were also not left out. He woke up one day and gave
every Nigerian university thousands of dollars. In less than a
decade, he had established over thirty-five libraries and sixty secondary
schools. He had also built water projects in more than twenty states in
Nigeria. It was during this period that people began to say that the letter M in the name Moshood referred to money.
 

MKO & Kudi Abiola

Moshood expanded his
charities to the United States. His focus was on black Americans. He donated
generously to universities dominated by them. He also worked closely with the
congressional black caucus in the United States Congress on
initiatives geared toward assisting black Americans. Describing him the
congressional black caucus once stated, “We,
the members of the Congressional Black Caucus salute him this day as a hero in
the global pursuit to preserve the history and the legacy of the African
Diaspora”
During this
period Moshood acquired more than two hundred traditional titles in
Nigeria. But his success had come at a heavy price. It took a toll on his
family life. He now had four official wives and scores of children. His
business and social commitments took up much of his time. At the height of
this, he decided to start taking his children, in turns, with him to functions
across Nigeria. But deep down, he knew that that was not enough. He felt
guilty, and he always said it, because he wished he could have offered them
more.
 

The Book that cleansed MKOAbiola’s Political blemishes

(Excerpts from
the book, The President Who Never Ruled by Jamiu Abiola; get copies
in any book shop across the world or write Jamiu Abiola through
[email protected]. Read How MKO became a CIA Agent in our next post
on this blog)
.

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