“@Splurgeone: #June12 #June12Th I ponder on the way for #Nigeria #IRememberJune12 @Madukovich”
The above is a tweet I was “connected” to by a friend, and I felt to qwerty something about June 12, which is a significant date in Nigeria’s history. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t write anything based on promptings from people except I was totally convinced of the need for it, and of course the wind blowing my muse in that direction, but once I saw this tweet, what I needed to do became immediately obvious, though I doubt it will turn out to be what my friend had in mind.
Events of a few days ago at Nigeria’s House Of Assembly may have also made this all the more timely. Yes, I am talking about the event surrounding the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Nigeria’s Senate President and how it appeared to have gone some way (howbeit temporarily) in curtailing former governor of Lagos’ (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) burgeoning political power at the center, and undermining the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC’s hold/complete control over it’s members.
Bola Tinubu also referred to as The JAGABAN BORGU (a sort of title that one could get in Nigeria, when people have run out of titles to give, or when no title presently in existence seem to be able to fully relate to the greatness of the one to be so bestowed) has tasted power as governor of Lagos (before then, a Senator), and godfather not only of his successor governors but also of some of the governors in the Southwest, before midwifing the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari at the centre via the APC, before his attempt to ensure the installation of his “anointed legislators” in the leadership of both chambers met with a brick wall, despite his relocation from Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital to the administrative capital, Abuja for proper “hands on” monitoring of events.
Tinubu learnt well from, the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. He
was with him for the major part of the time between when the latter decided to run for presidency, to when he actually ran, and the troubled days that followed the elections of June 12, 1993, to his incarceration (by the military government headed by General Sani Abacha -that toppled the INTERIM GOVERNMENT set up after General Babangida annulled the results of the election and “stepped aside”- which many including the late Chief Abiola and his staunch supporters, thought will restore the latters’ mandate) and death while still under incarceration in 1998. I do not know what went on in Tinubu’s mind then, but I am certain that it must’ve crossed his mind once, the fact that having all the money in the world cannot and does not cut it, especially when and where POWER is involved. You can see it in the way he has tenaciously held on to, and pursued the expansion of his base and power over time.
Chief Abiola at one time in his life could be said to be Nigeria’s wealthiest, and when he ventured into politics, he became instrumental in deciding who should or shouldn’t hold power, though many of those during military rule. Besides his foray into politics, he was philanthropic to a fault, his reach ever so undiscriminating within and outside Nigeria. Unfortunately, when he sought power (which he had helped many far less than him to procure with his wealth) for himself, he paid the ultimate price. Hence, to the one that once asked me what else Tinubu could still want with all he has in terms of wealth, political influence and growing goodwill especially amongst the Yoruba (some of whom have begun to deify him, almost to the status held by the late Yoruba sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, fondly described by friends and foes as the President Nigeria NEVER had), it couldn’t be more obvious when you consider Abiola’s fate despite his wealth.
It is true that pursuing wealth is a pathway towards power, but it isn’t the sole path to it, or else the late Chief would’ve easily acquired it, especially with the support he garnered from allover Nigeria, even to the point of death of some protesters in the Southwest after further release of the 1993 presidential election results was ordered stopped, once it was clear that he was poised to win with a landslide. It is in this same Nigeria where Abiola died seeking presidential power, that a political nobody was raised and in just a few years waltzed into Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power, as president, while another ruled as military Head Of State and Civilian President in a democratic setting, before Buhari, the current president replicated the feat. Power appears to indiscriminately bestow upon those it wishes on its own whim, sometimes after it was actively chased and many a time, when no noticeable effort was made in acquiring it, and it’s use appear to be largely dependent on the bearer than on the conditions surrounding the procuring of such powers.
No one who witnessed the events of the period before, during and after the presidential elections of June 12, 1993, and the dramatis personae involved, as well as the way their lives turned out, will disparage the importance of power and how the holder of it influences the way the majority under it live. Therefore, if any of those witnesses were asked to choose between bountiful wealth and some form/level of power, I am sure that the lot will go for power than wealth. Power can assure one of wealth, while it isn’t a certainty the other way round.
The DEMOCRACY Nigeria enjoys today was on the back of the sacrifice made by the wealthy Chief M. K. O. Abiola, but unfortunately the number of states where the 12th of June is commemorated as the TRUE DEMOCRACY DAY has dwindled even to just about four states out of the six in the Southwest of Nigeria where he hailed from, while May the 29th is what is officially recognized as democracy day nationally, as it is the day the last military regime handed over power to a civilian one in 1999.
That is how a nation has chosen to (not) celebrate or remember an icon, to whom it owes so much. Abiola’s name even suffered some denigration when three years ago, during the Democracy Day Speech by former President Goodluck Jonathan, he announced a change of name for the famous UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS to Moshood Abiola University of Lagos, MAULAG to much umbrage and protests by the students, academic and non-academic staff of the University till the name change was reversed. Some of those who opposed the name change, from Abiola’s base in the SouthWest felt that it was a case of reducing Abiola’s legacy to a regional one, when he should be immortalized with a befitting National Symbol, veiling the actual intention they had of not wanting the name of their alma mater changed.
Another June 12 is upon us, and a few Nigerians will genuinely remember what it represents, others will – based on the attention the media, especially in the Southwest- will give to it, while many others especially children will think nothing of it, even in the few states where they will be away from school because of the public holiday, but yet some others will note how, with relation to that date, POWER was once again shown to be the ultimate, even over stupendous wealth!