June 12 And The ‘419’ Within
…Glamis Hath Murdered Sleep and Therefore Cawdor Will Sleep No More
By Tom FredFish |
Who doesn’t recall the date June 12 as the historic ‘419’ date when the former military President Ibrahim Babangida, (Rtd.) dribbled Nigerians who after undertaking a series of democratic process, woke up to realised that their votes were meaningless?
Emphatically dubbed as Nigeria’s “Maradona” IBB, as he is fondly called, orchestrated a military to civilian transition programme which remains the best ever – a two party system: the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and the National Republican Convention, NRC, without any intention of handing over to a civilian government.
IBB’s legerdemain didn’t start or end with June 12. The manner in which he played gullible Nigerians in an attempt to institutionalize himself politically earned him the name Maradona, with June 12 as the masterpiece referrer.
According to Chief Olu Falae former SGF who worked with IBB for years, the name Maradona was coined from IBB’s inability to say no to people. Falae noted that “the only problem I had with him was that he never liked to say no to anybody, he tended to say yes to everybody. That’s why he is called Maradona”.
Another Maradonic act of IBB was his role in fueling crisis between former president Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice, Atiku Abubakar – manipulating OBJ to do away with Atiku in order to get leeway for his presidential ambition in 2011. The Guardian of UK had in a report in 2006 described IBB as “a shrewd political player whose past political dribbling of opponents earned him the sobriquet ‘Maradona’.”
The accumulated resultant of IBB gamesmanship of political intrigue, his vaunted mastery of manipulative craft led to the annulment of June 12, 1993 elections won by MKO Abiola.
Specifically, June 12 is being used by Nigerians in their daily conversation to express dishonesty. For instance, “Tola did not bring the book I lent him last week as promised, I hope this is not June 12, (419)?”
Many years after that episode, another June 12, (419) has resurfaced. This time around, an incumbent president, M. Buhari who is desperately desirous to win the 2019 presidential election did not only awoken sleep; has also murdered sleep – just like Macbeth did in the book Macbeth.
He has in an attempt to gain political relevance, popularity in the country and sway the minds of voters in the south west declared Mko Abiola hero of democracy, winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and proclaimed the date as the authentic National Democracy Day. All these are coming on the heels of a growing dispassionate of his administration by prominent Nigerians and a running battle with the National Assembly who has threatened to apply constitutional means to checkmate executive rascality if not curtailed.
PMB latest moves has exposed his desperation to win second term by every means possible using executive orders to drive his ambition. There is no justification to advance the June 12 action of Mr. President order than to score cheap political goals. In the first place, who supervised the arrest, intimidation and lock-up of MKO Abiola other than Abacha, President Buhari long time hero and admirer. The Abacha regime incarcerated Abiola for 5 years, his wife Kudirat Abiola gruesomely murdered, limbs maimed, his businesses and properties worth millions of naira perished.
That same Abacha who perpetuated all these evil is PMB well known hero.
Speaking after a remembrance prayers to mark 10 years of the death of Abacha on June 8, 2008, in Kano, Buhari said that the late military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, did not loot the national treasury contrary to the general impression.
Also at the time when billions of dollars looted by Abacha were being repatriated back to Nigeria from the Swiss Bank, PMB speaking at the Presidential Villa in Abuja recently, was quoted to have praised Abacha that “I don’t care about the opinion you have about Abacha, but I agreed to work with him and we constructed roads from Abuja to Port Harcourt, Benin to Onitsha and so on. We also touched education and health institutions”, all in an attempt at self-glorification.
Ironically, the man who incarcerated Abiola is the same man that PMB continues to hold in high esteem leaving him with three heroes on different sides: the good – Abiola; the bad – Abacha; and the ugly – Obasanjo, who he acknowledged possitively before 2015.
Pertinent questions have risen from PMB’s action. How can you glorify the man who initiated the destruction of what you are honouring? Is president Buhari sincere in his June 12 moves? If Buhari truly wants to genuinely honor heroes of democracy, what about Kudirat Abiola who lost her life fighting to sustain the mandate of her husband, why didn’t he honour her? Another ruminating question also is, if PMB is sincere, why didn’t he avoid impending controversies by waiting to get second term in 2019 before declaring MKO hero of democracy? Afterall having waited for three years, nine months wouldn’t have hurt him. Was June 12 part of PMB many unfulfilled campaign promises in 2015? Why is Buhari now so much in a haste?
The answer is simple. June 12 is another staple in the hands of PMB and his herds of fortune tellers who imagined that the west will fall for another gimmick. Though few Nigerians has hailed the decision of Mr. President, many has condemned and question the timing. No good intentions done to attain pecuniary gains is worth any accolades.
To prove that PMB has just lunched another June 12, 419 is the declaration by the presidency that June 12 will not be a public holiday or a new date for hand over as the May 29 democracy day still stands, thus the president is not only making June 12 irrelevant, he is confusing the polity by maintaining two democracy days with one standing as his instrument of political gains for 2019.
There is no doubt that PMB has more jokers such as the June 12 postcard in his sleeves and Nigerians should expect more quality policy statements in the days ahead. He has already asked that beneficiaries of Npower be absorbed into he federal civil service, increased the maternity leave of pregnant women to four months, signed the not-too-young to run bill, grant autonomy to State House of Assembly and the Judiciary without asking questions.
All these are just before the 2019 elections. Believe me, there are more from where all these came from.
I wouldn’t be surprised if president Buhari decides to declare free education in the country, start the process of restructuring the country, increase the allowance of Corp members to fifty thousand naira and roll out hundreds of caterpillars to the south east to construct “overnight” roads. There is absolutely nothing that reelection can’t do.
But Mr. President has erred. Nigerians are now very enlightened and awake – they say once beaten, twice shy. They will keep on applauding PMB to do more but they will never forget where they kept their PVCs. PMB has all of sudden found speed to work. Pray he sustains the tempo of his newly found feet and attitude to work but in all, he got these and many others wrong.
He has murdered sleep, and sleep he will see no more because Nigerians are resolute more than ever to vote him out in 2019.
_Tom FredFish is a public affairs analyst._