How Abacha tried to bribe Kudirat with Oil Well over Husband’s arrest

Jamiu Abiola wants the World to read about the true story of his dad
“Instead of placing an embargo on Nigerian crude
oil, these world powers only recalled their ambassadors. What happened to all
their talk about promoting democracy and the rule of law?”
Kudirat was complaining
to someone. Ken Saro- Wiwa, a prominent Nigerian environmentalist, had just
been wrongly executed by the Nigerian military government. Kudirat was disappointed
at the reaction of world leaders, whom she felt owed more to the
environmentalist. This was the same way she felt about their reaction to the
plight of her husband, whose unlawful detention had lasted for over a year by
then.

The person she
was talking to laughed. “Oil; That is all
these developed countries care about when they are dealing with Nigeria. As
long as their oil companies are making profits from this country without paying
the taxes they ought to, their leaders will turn a blind eye … What am I
saying? They will turn two blind eyes and deaf ears to all the crimes committed
by the military government”
MKO & Kudirat Abiola; First Nigerian Couple to die for Democracy
“That can’t be true. I find it hard to believe that
people who can be so keen about upholding law and order in their own countries
can be intentionally indifferent about these same things in other countries,
simply because of oil or any other commodity. I disagree with you”
General Sani Abacha…Played 419 on MKO Abiola


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Kudirat did not really
believe her own words. She was no longer certain about anything. It was easy
back then to be cynical about western powers because there were so many
conspiracy theories. Many people accused the West of wanting Africa to
remain under corrupt military rule. Such insinuations were very painful to Kudirat
because the international community had become her only hope. Unlike before the
struggle, she now knew that bringing together the badly needed national
coalition that would topple the military government was impossible. The closest
that she and Moshood had gotten to that was the failed strike by petroleum
workers in the previous year.
“Many other brave personalities were also willing to
risk their lives for democracy. The list was endless. It included a noble prize
laureate named Professor Wole Soyinka,
a very influential senator named Mr.
Bola Tinubu
and his wife, Mrs. Remi Tinubu, prominent lawyers like Gani Fawheimi and Femi Falana, a former governor, who could be described as Moshood Abiola’s most loyal friend,
named Segun Osoba, brave activists
like Beko Ransome-Kuti and Joel Odurnakin and a young and very
charismatic journalist named Dele
Momodu”
.
General Abacha’s 2nd in command, Genere Oladipupo Diya (His Hands were tight on MKO Abiola’s Case)

Poverty was the
cause.

Poverty had
diverted the minds of Nigerians from the democratic struggle. More and more
people lived from hand to mouth under General Abacha’s corrupt government.
Survival thus became their priority despite their immense love for Moshood
Abiola
. Abacha saw the signs of this and the more people became engaged
with their daily lives, the harsher his government treated Moshood in detention.
MKO Abiola the Enigma
Propaganda was
another major factor. Moshood had won the elections in all
parts of Nigeria but after the crisis broke out, people from the south, who
have always been the most vocal part of Nigeria’s society, were the ones who
organized most of the rallies and protests. The people of the North, despite
their love for Moshood, hardly participated in rallies because their culture
encouraged them to adopt a calmer approach to life. The government immediately
took advantage of this difference in cultures and falsely claimed that Moshood
was a sectional leader.             
                                                           
With poverty and
propaganda playing such negative roles, and in view of the fact that Nigeria
had never witnessed a civil movement of this kind in its brief thirty-five year
history, Kudirat, who was almost forty-four years old by then, faced
a major challenge coordinating the struggle. But she was lucky that she was not
alone. Many other brave personalities were also willing to risk their lives for
democracy. The list was endless. It included a noble prize laureate named Professor
Wole Soyinka
, a very influential senator named Mr. Bola Tinubu and his
wife,
Mrs.
Remi Tinubu, prominent lawyers like Gani Fawheimi and Femi
Falana
, a former governor, who could be described as Moshood
Abiola’s
most loyal friend, named Segun Osoba, brave activists like Beko
Ransome-Kuti
and Joel Odurnakin and a young and very
charismatic journalist named Dele Momodu.
MKO Abiola…The Star Boy from Egba Land
These people,
and many others, marched in rallies against the government. They granted
interviews in which they criticized the government and they had meetings and
discussed issues that could have landed them in jail or in front of a firing
squad. Even though their activities were not powerful enough to bring the
government down, they became a thorn in the government’s flesh. Gradually the
government became less tolerant and went after them. Some, like Alfred
Rewane,
were assassinated. Others, like Wole Soyinka, were forced to flee
the country. Kudirat was advised by one of her children to come to the United
States
, where most of her children were studying, but she refused.

Sani & Maryam Abacha in their younger years before power came calling

“What will happen to your father if I leave?

Maybe you don’t know that it is the noise that I am
making here in Nigeria that is keeping him alive”
By that time,
toward the end of 1995, she had not seen him or heard anything about him for a
long time. The military had blocked access to him completely. He had complained
about his back the last time they had met but it had become impossible for her
to know whether he had been given proper medical attention or not. Kudirat
thus became convinced that the military government wanted him dead. She decided
to redouble her efforts by reaching out to the press on a daily basis, no longer
on a weekly one, and the international community through its embassies on a
weekly basis.
The Author Jamiu Abiola tells the GDA more story of how his father fell for Abacha’s dirty deal
Through the
press she tried to drum up support for her husband. She spoke to the government
directly, through interviews, and issued warnings that nothing must happen to
him in detention. She challenged the military ruler openly as if she was
talking to him face to face. She dared him and often refused to address him as
her country’s leader.
The government’s
first reaction to her new approach was to send emissaries to her. They offered
her money in dollars and when she refused they promised her oil blocks. This
time she did not only reject the offer, she increased her attacks on the
government. At that point the government put her under permanent surveillance.
It was during this period that a friend warned her to be careful because she
had been the subject of a long discussion at the military council.
Dignatories @ the Launching of ‘The President who Never Ruled’
But Kudirat
dismissed the warning with a wave of her hand then jokingly asked, “Even if I am eventually killed, will it
not be with a bullet? How painful can that be?”
She began
meeting diplomats and foreign officials to gather momentum for the struggle.
The government became more apprehensive. Anonymous callers threatened her. But
rather than being afraid, as her enemies had expected, she called their bluff
and increased the tempo of her efforts. General Abacha became paranoid.
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 How Kola Abiola fought Kudirat over Dad’s
detention
in
our next post on this blog)

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