How Abacha battled USA over Kudirat Abiola Street in New York

Jamiu Abiola wants the World to read about the true story of his dad
After the death
of Kudirat
Abiola
, the domestic part of the Nigerian democratic struggle suffered
a major setback. Her husband had initiated the struggle but it was she who had
sustained it. Once she was gone, the loss of morale in the ranks of human
rights activists in Nigeria could be likened to the loss of hope in the ranks
of warriors in the past after the sudden death of their leader during battle.
The anniversary of the election, whose results she had sacrificed her life to
uphold, came only eight days after she had been killed. This time around,
however, the anniversary was hardly noticed. Kudirat was no longer
around to draw attention to it. It came quietly and left the same way.

Kudirat Abiola…Very disturbed with events in her husband’s political career

General Sani Abacha…Played 419 on MKO Abiola

The
international aspect of the struggle, however, witnessed a major boost. A new
radio station called Radio Kudirat was established. This
station aired the atrocities of the military regime. The military wanted to
destroy it at all costs but was not able to because the station was based
abroad. It was beyond its reach. Radio Kudirat became the voice of
the opposition and remained active for a very long period of time. Dele
Momodu
, a prominent journalist who had gone on exile at that time, was
in charge of all the Yoruba programs on Radio Kudirat.

MKO Abiola the Enigma

The battle
between Kudirat and the military government continued after her death.
The city of New York, just as it had once named the street on which the
South African embassy was located after Nelson Mandela during his struggle
against Apartheid, decided to name the comer of 44th Street on Second Avenue, where the Nigerian consulate
is located in New York, after Kudirat Abiola in recognition of
her heroic stance against tyranny. In reaction to this, a group known as Congress
of Nigerians Abroad
went to court to stop the naming. It claimed that
it would be an embarrassment to the Nigerian government. The judge halted the
naming temporarily and fixed a hearing on the matter.


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“He argued in favor of the street being named after Kudirat, whom he described in the
hearing as “the bravest, most uncompromising woman Africa’s human rights
struggle has ever known”. He summarized Kudirat’s
actions by saying that she “took up the leadership of the struggle, not only to
free her husband from jail but to free all Nigerians from the jackboot of
military rule. Kudirat was the opposition leader the Abacha regime feared the
most”

The Nigerian
government, which was rumored to be the force behind the group, launched a
battle on many fronts against the naming once it got wind of it. Leading the
government delegation in this initiative was Ibrahim Gambari, the
Nigerian ambassador to the United Nations, and Mr. Awani, Nigeria’s
acting consul general. They filed complaints to hinder the process, arguing
against it at different hearings. The military government, according to rumors,
had supported their efforts with millions of dollars budgeted to sponsor rented
crowds that would demonstrate against the naming. In a related development, David
Dinkins
, a former mayor of New York City, and Wole
Soyinka
, a noble prize laureate, appeared during the hearings and
defended the naming of the comer after Kudirat Abiola.

MKO & Kudirat Abiola; First Nigerian Couple to die for Democracy

In the middle of
this heated debate, Walter Carrington, who had just completed his four-year tenure
as the American Ambassador to Nigeria, decided to lend his voice to
the debate in his capacity as an individual and not as a representative of the United
States
government. He argued in favor of the street being named after
Kudirat
, whom he described in the hearing as “the bravest, most uncompromising woman Africa’s human rights struggle
has ever known”.
He summarized Kudirat’s actions by saying that she
“took up the leadership of the struggle,
not only to free her husband from jail but to free all Nigerians from the
jackboot of military rule. Kudirat was the opposition leader the Abacha regime
feared the most”

MKO Abiola…The Star Boy from Egba Land

To give his
audience a clear picture of the brutality of the Nigerian military government,
which would have dispelled the false claims being made by Nigerian government
officials that the activists were the ones responsible for the violence in
Nigeria, Walter Carrington gave a vivid account of how security agents,
acting on the orders of the military regime, violently disrupted a farewell
event organized in his honor by “the human rights group which Kudirat Abiola
championed.”
He described this action as “in violation of all known
diplomatic practices”.

General Abacha’s 2nd in command, Genere Oladipupo Diya (His Hands were tight on MKO Abiola’s Case)
The Author Jamiu Abiola tells the GDA more story of how his father fell for Abacha’s dirty deal

After reviewing
all the facts presented by both parties, the court ruled in favor of the city
of New
York, naming the
street after Kudirat Abiola, That was how the comer of 44th street in Manhattan
was named after Kudirat, who died at the age of 44. This infuriated the
Nigerian military leader, who in retaliation decided to name the street of the United States Embassy in Lagos after
someone whom he felt was despised by the United States government. He made up a
list of names that included Timothy Me
Veigh
and Mohamar Khadafi. He
eventually chose Louis Farrakhan and
named the street of the United States
Embassy
in Lagos after him. But by the time democracy finally returned to
Nigeria a few years later, a democratic government changed the name of that street
to Walter Carrington Street in honor
of Ambassador
Walter
Carrington

The Book of MKO according to Jamiu Abiola

(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 What Son told MKO about IBB on his last
visit to USA
in
our next post on this blog)

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