It is a good time to recall that Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola did not die under the terrible regime of General Sani Abacha. In fact, Abiola died on 7th July 1998, barely a month after Abacha himself died under unexplainable, strange and suspicious circumstances.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar had assumed power as head of state immediately after Abacha died, and he immediately began making pragmatic effort towards the much awaited return of Nigeria to democracy. Naturally, one would have expected that the pending swearing in of M.K.O Abiola will be the first thing he will do instead, but things had changed permanently.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, then Commonwealth Head and Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, had earlier met with Abiola before Abacha died, where they impressed upon him that enacting a 4 year-old election mandate would be almost impossible, so he should forget any hopes of governing Nigeria even if he was released from prison by Abacha. It was reported that Abiola felt dejected after that meeting. Of course, he got the point, but it would appear that all he had sacrificed, all he had risked to claim his stolen mandate would be for nought.
It was this same aura he carried into the day he must have heard Abacha was assassinated; and for a second it would feel like his dreams could actually come true, but the powers that be had a different plan for his life.
It is no more news that Abiola was taken out of the way, in a classically concealed plan to silence him. Susan Rice, the then U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Africa as well as Thomas Pickering, U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, were reported to have been the last set of people to visit M.K.O Abiola in prison before he died. These two were said to have had in possession a flask of tea which was served to Abiola. Abiola was said to have started coughing after he drank from this cup.
The only other last person who witnessed a part of this operation was ASP Zadok. Zadok was Abiola’s security detail and he was always with him, but on this day and particular occasion when Susan Rice and the ambassador were meeting with Abiola, Zadok was suspiciously sent on an irrelevant errand by military officers loyal to General Abdulsalami Abubakar. He returned to M.K.O’s side only to find him writhing on the floor and almost dead. Abiola eventually died some minutes after without any serious medical help and no witness to what actually happened.
So could it really be that it was the tea Abiola was given to drink that was smartly poisoned? Why and to what incentive some people in Nigeria may have wanted to kill Abiola has already been insinuated. Some powerful Nigerians did not want a renewed confusion and chaos to stem from Abiola, had he been offered the presidency, when the 4th republic would take over in 1999. Others had sworn he would never be Nigeria’s president.
But the possible involvement of the United States and it’s security agencies in such a sting operation is baffling still. Did the United States feel threatened about some of the demands Abiola could have placed on them if he had become Nigeria’s civilian president, that they had to get General Abdulsalami‘s permission to take him out of the way, now that Abacha too was dead? Knowing the many collusions in which the CIA has been involved in worldwide, in political circles, one would not be surprised that this is actually the plausible turn of events.
The few times that individuals and authorities have contacted Susan Rice for comments on the matter, she has absolutely declined any information on the subject. Even Abiola’s personal physician, Ore Falomo, as well as Major Al-Mustapha, who was largely responsible for Abiola during Abacha’s time, screamed foul play at the way his autopsy was handled.
As always, we can only answer certainly to matters we are privy to, but when theories and hypothesis add up most times, they should not be ignored as potent facts.
Investigating these facts which led to Abacha’s death, in the first place, and then culminating into a largely sorrowful passing of M.K.O Abiola, could shine more light on the jinxes which has been following Nigeria from inception and thus, help us to forge a lasting solution to our problem of leadership.