By Chioma Gabriel
The clouds are gathering. The heavens are heavy with desire for mother earth. Very soon, it would grab her by the waist and make love to her, fertilizing her with seeds that would bear fruits.
I’m not sure what manner of fruits but its obvious something is about to happen. It is either the marriage or divorce of the gods.
he truth is simple. You cannot please every Nigerian. With a typical Nigerian, fair is foul and foul is fair.
2019 is staring at us and anything can happen now.
I started journalism at the sunset of the military regime when politicians were restless and bent on chasing the military back to the barracks.
June 12 1993 election had been annulled and politicians in the mold of Abraham Adesanya were ready to face the firing squad in their bid to have the result of that election restored.
Naturally, as a beginner, I found myself mingling with the elders.
I got familiar with elders like Ayo Adebanjo, Abraham Adesanya, Chief Olu Falae and the NADECO clan. I got familiar with trips to Ijegbu Igbo. I had the opportunity of meeting Chief Tony Enahoro at a meeting in Olu Falae’s house in Lagos. I learnt about Nigeria at the feet of the elders. I saw men take risks for Nigeria and also saw those who were part of the struggle for democracy betray the struggle. I was in the convoy of NADECO chieftains the day Chief MKO Abiola died and visited his house at Ikeja for condolence in the same convoy. I was squeezed in a car that took Olu Falae and Jerry Gana to Abiola’s house. I cannot remember the other passengers in the car.
The day Chief Abaraham Adesanya was shot at, I had hitched a ride in his car but along the way, he asked me to drop and join another vehicle. After he was shot at and I visited his house at Apapa the next day, he showed me where I was seated and where the bullets passed through. I asked him if he knew something was about to happen and he responded that I was still a child.
I saw some of those who gave everything for the struggle die. I was at Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, where I saw speaking publicly Kudirat the last time speaking. The next time I saw her, she was wrapped in a white cloth awaiting burial.
I covered the riots and saw bon-fires all over Lagos as Nigerians vented their spleen at the military authorities. I was a youthful journalist with a certain feeling of pain about what was going on in the country.
I got home every night and joined the family meeting where the family waited to hear what was going on in Nigeria and whether we should remain in Lagos or relocate to the southeast.
Eventually, it was decided that we remained in Lagos but if the push came to shove, we would enter Benin Republic as refugees.
My family had it all planned out because we heard and read and even knew some of the people who died on their way to escape to the southeast.
There were some elders I didn’t meet who were NADECO chieftains then; those who went on exile and who didn’t come home immediately when others started coming back. I saw Enahoro at Olu Falae’s house in Victoria Island and I saw Chief John Oyegun in the company of Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife somewhere at Ikoyi after they came back. I didn’t see Bola Tinubu but heard and read about him.
I saw the return of democracy with the formation of G34 and Afenifere became a very vibrant socio-cultural organ with a political orientation.
Besides MKO Abiola and Kudirat, there were many who laid down their lives for democracy including ordinary Nigerians who perished in the aftermath of June 12 crises.
There were many who went to prison and were charged for treason for belonging to NADECO.
Many members of NADECO lost everything they had at the period. These included die-hard Abraham Adesanya who was a citadel of wisdom, Tony Enahoro, Ralph Obioha, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dan Suleiman, Olu Falae, Wale Osun, Cornelius Adebayo, John Oyegun, Ndubisi Kanu, Kofoworola Akerele-Bucknor and a whole lot of them.
They paid heavy price.
There were many who struggled for democracy but they never belonged to NADECO: Olisa Agbakoba, Frank kokori and others who were severely dealt with.
The chickens have come home to roost.
Buhari has decided to honour the spirit of June 12 and the arrow-head of that election.
Whether he’s doing it for selfish political reasons or to spite Obasanjo and IBB who have been throwing stones at his second term ambition is not my concern. He has done it and should let it go round.
A compendium of all those who paid the price for the democracy we are enjoying today including Abiola’s wife Kudirat who was martyred as a result of the struggle should be honoured and compensated.
Children of the June 12 hopeful and all those who paid the heavy price should be considered for national honours and even political appointments where necessary.
They are the ones who planted what some strangers are reaping now.
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