Babangida, Obasanjo and Abiola
Not a few Nigerians will be surprised about the grenade that former President Olusegun Obasanjo hauled at the camp of one time Nigerian leader, General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB, for style). That was on behalf of the late Chief MKO Abiola whose 12 June 1993 presidential election victory was annulled by IBB. Obasajo said IBB cancelled the election as a result of “bad belle”, a Nigerian coinage that means wickedness, envy or putting a wedge on somebody’s road to success.
Obasajo attacked IBB on Sunday, 11 April 2021 in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital. That was during his investiture as a Trustee and Abiola as Vice Patron, posthumously, of the Abeokuta Club, a sociocultural organisation of Egba people of Ogun State. That day, the club was marking its 46th President Party at the secretariat of the Ogun State Capital.
While acknowledging that he and Abiola were mates at Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, he added that Abiola richly “deserved the award bestowed on him.”
“I want to thank Abeokuta club for this honour being bestowed on me and the honour being bestowed on my school mate MKO Abiola which he richly deserved,” Obasanjo stated.
“Normally when you win a cup three times, you keep that cup. Isn’t it? If not for bad belle, Abeokuta would have produced President of Nigeria three times, in which case we should have kept it permanently.
“But be that as it may, we have a great heritage and we should be proud of our heritage.”
“I want to say this, I will continue to contribute my quota to the development and growth of this club and by extension, the development and growth of Abeokuta, of Ogun State, of Nigeria, of African and indeed the of the world in whichever way I could.”
Why did Obasanjo who once said Abiola was not the Messiah that Nigeria needed, the same retired general who allegedly wanted to be an Interim President himself, sound as if he was among those at the barricades to actualise June 12?
Could it be because President Muhammadu Buhari gave Abiola posthumous honour and recognition, something which Obasanjo did not do when he was in charge for eight years? Was it not the same Obasanjo who allegedly said his government did not build the Abuja National Stadium because of Abiola?
Is it that as an old man whose biological clock is ticking fast, he too wants to be on the good side of history and not its scrap heap?
These will be questions for analysts as they research on the Obasanjo, Abiola relationship.
IBB and Abiola’s election: Obasanjo’s quest for good mention in history