Former minister for Works Chief Tony Anenih said winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 election Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola would still be alive had he listened to his advice.
Anenih started this in his recently released autobiography, ‘My Life and Nigerian Politics’, said he advised Abiola against declaring himself president but he refused.
Anenih who was the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said Abiola went against the counsel of the party’s leadership.
“It is a pity indeed, that Chief Abiola kept the leadership of the party away from his arrangement with General Ababcha to take over from Shonekan. If he had brought it to the notice of the leadership of the party, he would have been advised well,” he said.
“In a similar but not exactly identical set of circumstances, I had advised Chief Abiola against declaring himself the president of this country when frustration arising from Abacha’s refusal to hand-over to him drove him into that extreme line of thought. I spoke to him on telephone pointing out that the army was not there to back him up. He had no police support, and not even the immigration or customs would back him.
“It was clear to me that the course of action to which Chief MKO Abiola was heading was not only going to be self-destructive, but also ruinous. He was play into the hands of the military and offer himself as a sacrificial lamb by delivering himself to those who for various and obvious reasons, very much wanted him out of the scene.
“Chief Abiola did not listen. The result of his line of action landed him in jail.”
“I wished he had listened to my advice not to declare himself president of this country. If he did, I believe he would, in all probability, still be alive today. Frustration arising from the collapse of his scheming drove him into extreme step which, in the end, set up a chain of events that ultimately caused him his life.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.