How OBJ, Shagari & Others broke MKO’s heart

MKO Abiola, the Man who wanted to Rule Nigeria

Moshood was devastated
by the death of General Mohammed. He felt that the general’s dream of a
prosperous nation was about to drift away after he had put in so much work. But
that was not the only concerns that Moshood had. His businesses, to his dismay,
had suddenly fallen on hard times. Under the leadership of General Olusegun Obasanjo,
Nigeria’s new ruler, who had been a classmate of Moshood’s in secondary
school, ITT was being neglected.
The government
refused to honor its commitments to the company, which forced it to lay off
some of its workers. It was a tough period for Moshood and the fact that
things had changed so drastically over such a short period of time made the
situation all the more traumatic. That was when he made up his mind to
establish himself in the private sector in order to become immune to the
actions of any hostile government.

But despite the
hardship that his companies faced during this period, Moshood never bore any
grudge against the new military ruler, with whom he had a lot in common. They
were both born in 1937, they both came from Abeokuta, the same part
of Ogun
State, and when Moshood was the editor of The Trumpeter, his secondary
school journal; General Obasanjo was the deputy editor.

MKO & Kudi Abiola

In line with his
habit of analyzing rulers, Moshood scrutinized the policies of Nigeria’s current
leader and, after a thorough analysis, gave him a passing grade. He was
impressed that General Obasanjo, unlike many African
leaders, did not jettison the positive policies of his predecessor. “Just like General Mohammed, General
Obasanjo is keeping government expenditure low, which will stop inflation from
climbing through the roof. With him there is still hope for this country”

But it was General Obasanjo’s firm grip on the nation’s finances that
pleased Moshood the most. “He
believes in saving money, which means that Nigeria will have an umbrella for
the rainy days ahead”.
 

MKO Abiola; The Star Child

Moshood became more
interested in politics after General Obasanjo had made it clear
that he would ensure that the military transition to civilian rule, which had
been initiated by General Murtala Muhammad, would come to pass
in 1979. This was a date that Moshood waited for in anticipation
and preparation. General Obasanjo fulfilled his promise and handed over power to
an elected democratic government in 1979.

“But despite the hardship that his companies faced
during this period, Moshood never
bore any grudge against the new military ruler, with whom he had a lot in
common. They were both born in 1937, they both came from Abeokuta, the same part of Ogun
State, and when Moshood was the
editor of The Trumpeter, his
secondary school journal; General
Obasanjo
was the deputy editor”.

Moshood became active
in politics. He was a strong member of the NPN, the party whose northern
candidate, Shehu Shagari, won the presidential elections and took over
power from General Obasanjo. Moshood, who believed that the new
president would take Nigeria to new heights, played a very supportive role by
being one of the major sponsors of the political party that brought him to
power. Moshood also silently hoped that he would be the party’s
presidential candidate in the next presidential elections.

The GDA Speaks with the Author of the book, The President Who Never Ruled, Abdul-Jamiu Abiodun Abiola

But he was soon
disillusioned by the government’s policies. One of the key areas of his
discontent had to do with the federal government’s handling of local
governments. Moshood, who considered local governments as closest to the
people, was dismayed when he realized that the federal government had no plans
for allowing local governments to hold their own elections. Instead, it
preferred a system in which governors appointed local government
administrators. Voicing his opinion one day, Moshood stated bitterly, “The way they are treating people at the
grass root level is despicable. Denying them elections is akin to saying that
they are not relevant or wise enough to make their own choices. How will the
grass roots ever develop if things remain like this?”

Former President Shehu Shagari

That was not all
that bothered Moshood about the government. He was appalled by the large
scale of corruption, which he attributed to a deficient checks-and-balances
system. “The major organs of government,
which were empowered to scrutinize people’s actions and moderate excesses,
hardly rise up to that responsibility”

Umaru Dikko, The Man Shehu Shagari used to discredit MKO Abiola

But despite his
grievances, he remained in NPN because the UPN, the other viable political
party, according to him, was headed by someone who was “personally hostile” toward him. Aside from that, Moshood
nursed a presidential ambition that he hoped to realize through the NPN, where
he enjoyed enormous goodwill. His party would have to field a southern
candidate once the current president, a northern one, completed a single term
in line with an agreement in place. But this arrangement became impossible
after the current president unexpectedly indicated his interest in running for
a second term. Moshood did not give up, though. And that put him at
loggerheads with the president and also with a man named Umaru Dikko, a very
powerful minister at that time. The government launched a series of verbal
attacks against Moshood through Umaru Dikko

General
Olusegun Obasanjo

Moshood ignored Dikko.
He wanted to be president and he had no intention of backing down. But he
finally had to walk away after he suffered a humiliating defeat at the party
convention in Benue State. He returned home that day almost in tears. He had
actually believed that he would emerge as the party’s flag-bearer. Kudirat
rushed to his room. But before she could utter a word, he began
complaining. “Now they are saying that
the presidency is not for sale. Did I ever say it was? The original plan was
for the presidency to shift to the south after four years. Was I the one who made
and broke the rules?”
He stared out of the window in disbelief. “It is obvious that deceit runs in the blood
of some of our political leaders and that is why they always end up running the
country down”

General
Muritala Mohammed

Not knowing how
to console him, Kudirat resorted to a Koranic
verse and uttered it slowly. “You may
hate something and it is good for you and you may love something and it is bad
for you”
That was all she
said. She did not offer any interpretation because she was certain that he knew
what she meant. Moshood made up his mind on the following day to pay more
attention to his businesses. He regretted allowing politics to distract him for
so long and, although he was still very wealthy, he also regretted the fortune
that his involvement in politics had cost him. His immediate plan was to invest
in all sectors and to become completely independent of the government.

The GDA & The Author in a Rare Display of The Book

President
Shagari

was reelected for another four years. But within less than five months, his
government was overthrown by the military on December 31, 1983. General
Buhari
, a quiet and principled man from northern Nigeria, became
Nigeria’s new ruler. Many people believed that Moshood, as a result of
his rift with the Shagari government, was the one who had financed the coup. Moshood
denied the allegation vehemently although he was relieved that the government
had collapsed. Speaking of that government one day, he said, “The fact is now glaringly evident that
among the factors which contributed most significantly to the demise of the
Second Republic was the absence of any objective and critical assessment of its
workings while it lasted”.

The Book that cleaned MKO of all his Political attrocities

(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 Buhari’s Coup & the MKO Connection in our next post
on this blog)

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