Home OPINION COMMENTARY The Day Abiola Declared Himself President, By Ipole Ogbeche

The Day Abiola Declared Himself President, By Ipole Ogbeche

late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola

On June 11, 1994, following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 by the Military President Ibrahim Babangida, the assumed winner, Chief MKO Abiola stormed the rustic settlement of Epetedo in Lagos state and declared himself president before a sizeable crowd.

In an address titled: ‘Enough is Enough,’ Abiola made case why he was doing so.

Excerpts of the speech:

“People of Nigeria, exactly one year ago, you turned out in your millions to vote for me, Chief MKO Abiola, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But politicians in uniform, who call themselves soldiers but are more devious than any civilian would want to be, deprived you of your God-given right to be ruled by the President you had yourselves elected.

“These soldier politicians introduced into our body politic, a concept hitherto unknown to our political lexicography, something strangely called the “annulment of an election perceived by all to have been the fairest, cleanest and most peaceful ever held in our nation.

“Since that abominable act of naked political armed robbery occurred, I have been constantly urged by people of goodwill, both in Nigeria and abroad, to put the matter back into the people’s hands and get actualise the mandate they gave me at the polls. But mindful of the need to ensure that peace continues to reign in our fragile federation, I have so far tried to pursue sweet reason and negotiation.

“My hope as always been to arouse whatever remnants of patriotism are left in the hearts of these thieves of your mandate, and to persuade them that they should not allow their personal desire to rule to usher our beloved country into an era of political instability and economic ruin. All I have sought to do, in seeking dialogue with them, has been to try and get them to realise that only real democracy can move our nation forward towards progress, and earn her the respect she deserve from the international community.

“However, although this peaceful approach has exposed me to serve censure by some who have mistaken it for weakness on my part, those whom I have sought to dialogue have remained like sores, neither stirred to show loyalty to the collective decision of the people of their own country; nor to observe Allah’s injunction that they should exhibit justice and fair-play in all their dealings with their fellow men.

“Appeals to their honour as officers and gentlemen of the gallant Nigerian Armed Forces, have fallen on deaf ears. Instead, they have resorted to the tactics of divide and rule, bribery and political perfidy, misinformation and (vile) propaganda. They arrest everyone who disagrees with them. Even the 71-year old hero of our nation, Chief Anthony Enahoro was not spared. How much longer can we tolerate all this?

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“People of Nigeria, you are all witnesses that I have tried to climb the highest mountain, cross the deepest river and walk the longest mile, in other to get these men to obey the will of our people. There is no humiliation I have not endured, no snare that has not been put in my path, no “set up” that has not been designed for me in my endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the mandate you bestowed on me one year ago. It has been a long night. But the dawn is here. Today, people of Nigeria, I join you all in saying, Enough is Enough.

“From this moment, a new Government of National Unity is in power throughout the length and breadth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, led by me, Bashorun M.K.O Abiola, as President and Commander-in-Chief.

“People of Nigeria, during the electioneering campaign last year, I presented you with a programme entitled “HOPE 93”. This programme was aimed precisely at solving the economic problems that have demoralized us all.

“We are plagued by periodic balance of payment crises which have led to a perennial shortage of essential drugs that has turned our hospitals and clinics into mortuaries. A scarcity of books and equipment has rendered our schools into desolate deserts of ignorance. Our factories are crying for machinery and spare parts and raw materials. But each day that passes, instead of these economic diseases being cured, they are rather strengthened as an irrational allocation of foreign exchange based on favouritism and corruption becomes the order of the day,

“I toured every part of Nigeria to present this programme to you, the electorate. I was questioned on it at public rallies and press conferences and I had the privilege of incorporating into it much of the feedback that I obtained from the people. Because you knew I would not only listen to you, but deliver superb results from the programme. You voted for me in your millions and gave an overwhelming majority over my opponent. To be precise you gave me 58.4 per cent of the popular vote and a majority in 20 out of 30 states plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.” [myad]