Day MKO got Yar Adua, IBB angry in Jos

MKO Abiola launches his HOPE 93 Campaign amidst pomp and promises
“Finally the day has come. The moment that 1 have
waited patiently for. .. So how do I look?”
Moshood sounded casual.
He was speaking to Kudirat early in the morning of the 27th of March 1993,
the day of his party’s presidential convention. He had always had a way of
hiding his anxiety, which was what he was doing so skillfully that morning in
front of his wife. Deep down, he was uncertain of victory but he was determined
to keep that to himself.

Sensing his
fears, Kudirat replied reassuringly.
“You look powerful, very powerful-and maybe even too powerful. It is not just
the outfit, it is you”
Such motivating
words from her had become frequent in the last couple of weeks. Ever since Moshood
had told her that he wanted to be president, and that there was no going back, encouraging
her husband, whose emotions had been swinging like a roller coaster, was all
she ever did. But as the convention drew closer he had become calmer because
the military president had shown clear signals of his intention to leave power.

MKO Abiola; The Star boy from Abeokuta

He had proven
his commitment to ensuring credible elections by funding the activities of the National
Electoral Commission
continuously. He had approved and enforced the
implementation of the Option A4 system, which mandated parties to conduct
conventions with only presidential aspirants who had won earlier primaries at
their wards, local governments, and states. He had empowered a transitional
council to supervise the smooth transfer of power to the civilians and he had
approved the modified open ballot system. With all these facts fresh on Moshood’s
mind early that morning, he went to his party’s primaries gallantly. He was
ready to give the convention his best shot.

“He discovered, before the primaries began, that key
politicians who were meant to make contact with party delegates on his behalf
had not done so. They had deceived him and were throwing their weight behind
his rivals. To save his almost lost presidential ambition he, Kudirat, and a number of his close
collaborators swung into action, lobbying the candidates and making
concessions”

The Author, Abdul Jamiu Abiodun Abiola tells the GDA the Story of Dad’s rise from nothing to something

MKO & the Convection Theatrics
He reached the
convention center with a large entourage. The atmosphere was rowdy as people,
both invited and uninvited, struggled impatiently to gain entrance. Then all of
a sudden there was a lot of panic when rumors spread that security agents, had
apprehended some men who had tried to enter the building with weapons.

The Author and The GDA in a rare pose with the book ‘The President Who Who Never Ruled’

Once the tension
was reduced, Moshood shifted his attention to the primaries. It was going to
be a fierce contest because the Option A4
system, which had produced him, had also led to the emergence of two other
charismatic contenders. They were Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, a
politically savvy diplomat turned politician; and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a
wealthy businessman and former customs official. Atiku had the backing of Alhaji
Shehu Yar’adua
, the guru of Nigerian politics at that time.
There were
hitches in the accreditation of the delegates, which caused a long delay before
the contests could finally begin. That was Moshood’s first shock but another
one—a more unsettling one-awaited him. He discovered, before the primaries
began, that key politicians who were meant to make contact with party delegates
on his behalf had not done so. They had deceived him and were throwing their
weight behind his rivals. To save his almost lost presidential ambition he, Kudirat,
and a number of his close collaborators swung into action, lobbying the
candidates and making concessions. Time was not on their side but they tried their
best.

Dignatories @ the Launching of ‘The President who Never Ruled’

Even after so
much effort, when the primaries finally began Moshood was still not
able to win in the first round. Kingibe, who enjoyed the support of
fourteen governors, turned out to be
his major rival. Those governors had felt indebted to Kingibe
because they had emerged as their party’s gubernatorial candidates when he was
the party chairman. They were thus influencing delegates from their states to
vote for him.

MKO Abiola; The Enigma

Alhaji
Shehu Yar’adua
, who supported Atiku Abubakar, was not happy about
this. By the time Atiku came in third in the first round, Yar’adua had persuaded
him to step down from the race and pave the way for Moshood’s victory in the
second round. His hope was that Moshood would appoint Atiku
as his vice-
presidential
candidate once he emerged as the winner.
With this
development, Moshood was able to win the second round. He defeated Kingibe
with just 227 votes. But to Yar’adua’s dismay, Moshood
did not pick Atiku as his vice- presidential candidate because the party
governors threatened that they would not support him in the general elections
if Kingibe
was not his vice president.

The Book of MKO Abiola by Jamiu Abiola

After a lengthy
negotiation Moshood conceded and chose Kingibe, which angered Yar’adua
and caused a deep rift between both him and Moshood. But there was
another bigger crisis that unfolded at the same time. Moshood had received word
from very reliable sources before picking his vice- presidential candidate,
that General
Babangida
, the military president, wanted him to nominate Pascal
Bafyau
, the president of the Nigeria Labor Congress, as his
vice-presidential candidate. Moshood did not even contemplate
that option because it would have spelled doom for his political career. He
would have lost the support of his party’s governors and infuriated Yar’adua
even more. He remained settled on Kingibe and this marked the official
beginning of his problems with the military government.
 (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 MKO’s Hope versus IBB’s Confusion in our next post
on this blog)

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