it is wrong to Honour Abiola and Admire Abacha who tormented him: Soyinka tells Buhari
Professor Wole Soyinka, who was invited to the June 12 event to honour late M.K.O Abiola with the posthumous award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) has spoken against President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent public defence of former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, saying it was impossible to praise Abacha while honouring the late Chief MKO Abiola.
Abiola was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election described as Nigeria’s freest and fairest election, but which was annulled by the then military dictator, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
For his refusal to renounce his mandate, Abiola was incarcerated in 1994 by the late General Sanni Abacha who had taken over government for Chief Ernest Shonekan, who was handed over to by Babangida as head of the interim national government.
Sadly, on July 7, 1998, Abiola died in custody under suspicious circumstances, and a month later Abacha also died mysteriously.
Soyinka, who had earlier praised President Buhari for his recognition of the June 12 mandate given to Abiola, frowned at President Buhari’s defence of Abacha, advising him to stop his “professional loyalty” to Abacha.
The Nobel Laureate who described Abacha as Nigeria’s worst dictator told Buhari that it’s impossible to hold Abacha and Abiola in the same high regard.
Soyinka said,“I’ll like to make a request, Mr President, that you manage to stop creating confusion in the minds of Nigerians. It is not possible to honour MKO Abiola in one breath and then admire his tormentor in another breath.
“Loyalty is all very well, but it can become perverse if that loyalty is retained to an individual if he were alive today would be before the international court of crimes against humanity, one who broke the laws of Nigeria and international law, pauperised this nation, and committed crimes against humanity.
“It is confusing if professional loyalty is carried so far as to be accorded to such an individual,”