Says “Buhari has caught me in his net”
Chief Dotun Adegbola is a political chieftain in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government area in Lagos. The ex-media practitioner-turned-politician who will mark his 70th birthday on June 25th, 2018 spoke to Juliet Ebirim on the June 12 saga,among other interesting issues… read on…
By Juliet Ebirim
Talking about the June 12 issue, there are certain things I’m not particularly happy about. When MKO came, we all rebuffed him as a friend of the military. His first coming was like an anti-Awolowo thing, so we all rejected him. His wife lost an election in Abeokuta. I think he now discovered that it was better to have honour in one’s home. Of course, he eventually settled with Chief Awolowo. When he came out again, some people were still not ready to forgive him, but some of us younger elements saw in him a liberator because as young as I was then I had the opportunity to sit down with Abiola. I saw in him a determined person, someone who had seen everything in life and who was bent on becoming the president. It was at that point that I became excited about MKO Abiola’s candidature.
When the election went down, some of us asked MKO “You’re going to win Sir, there’s no doubt about it, but is your friend going to leave?” And he said “Ibrahim (IBB) told me that he’s not going to disturb me if I win that election. But he thinks I’m not going to win. Ibrahim has set obstacles for me not to win. The report he gets everyday is that MKO is not going to win”. This was about twenty-five years ago, so we can discuss it now. MKO told us that the security people were feeding IBB with a very gloomy result for MKO, so he was rest assured that MKO would lose. That was why when MKO started winning everywhere, he got angry and stopped the whole thing, but before then the results were already all over the world.
One afternoon, I was in City Hall with Dr. Waheed Dosunmu of blessed memory, Demola Adeniji Adele of blessed memory, when somebody very close (I don’t want to mention her name) said “See what this man has done. He has annulled the election”. And we said “Which election?”. And she said “Wait for the next announcement”. It was Nduka Irabor (Media aide to Aikhomu) who signed that the election had been annulled. Everyone got angry and went home.
Immediately that happened, a lot of people, of course Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was already a senator on the platform of SDP, as well as the leader in the group that I was. Of course a lot of us had access to him, but he had started a war with them and was already in police custody. While people were still trying to figure out how to handle the situation, the man disappeared. He had told his story on why he had to disappear, but that’s not the issue. A lot of people drifted abroad to form NADECO and internationalized the struggle, but we were here. Dr. Wahab Dosunmu now became the head of the militant group of what I refer to as the ‘Home NADECO’ if there was anything like that.
Our Baba and his Afenifere played some games that didn’t really augur well with us. Some of them felt it served him right, while some came up and were like “No, this isn’t about Abiola. This is about our democracy and this is an insult. We must not allow it go especially because we’ve heard rumours that it would happen”. The division did not last before everybody ganged up to say ‘June 12 must be. Abiola won the election. We won’t take this annulment.’
Baba Adesanya, Baba Adebanjo, Baba Dawodu – they’re elderly people. Dr. Wahab Dosunmu, Demola Adeniji Adele, myself, Aro Lambo, Sen, Adefuye and a lot of other people who felt we should fight it here, decided to work out a way to fight it.
The military now brought their tricks. Abacha called Abiola and was saying “Chief, we just want everything to calm down, you will run your government. You won your election…”. While that was going on, they also asked Abiola to allow some of our people to serve that cabinet. I was not there, but about three of them, Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory, Alhaji Jakande and Ebenezer Babatope; all of them said it was Abiola who said they could go and work with Abacha since Abacha was ready to hand over. But Abiola also said that what he said was he could not stop anybody from doing whatever they felt they wanted to do. But those people who served became isolated for some time. It so happened that Abacha tried to divide our ranks at that time, because some people had started working with the government and others were still fighting.
In the interim, some other people like … Suleiman, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Adebanjo were putting pressure on the military to validate that election. At a point, the military decided to bare their fangs and so they were picking people up.
We knew that our own brother, Olusegun Obasanjo was not ready to hear about anything June 12. He went to South Africa where Abiola was invited and told Mandela that Abiola was not the Messiah that we wanted. He said it and everybody knew. Obasanjo was indifferent to the people.
Most people think President Buhari has bought the South West by honouring MKO Abiola and declaring June 12 as Democracy Day…
Why didn’t Jonathan do that? The primary job of a politician is to get the people on his side. So if that is Buhari’s mission, he has caught me in his net. I’m with him, hook, line and sinker because the greatest insult to the South-West is this issue. Awolowo won the election in 1979, I was in NTA then. Obasanjo voted NPN, our cameramen followed him to the polling booth. He now went to a corner and worked twelve-two-third of thirteen states and said Awolowo didn’t win, that it was Shagari who won… Then this one again, for no good reason, it was annulled. And somebody from that part of the country has now come to say… Late President Yar’Adua of blessed memory told everybody that the election that brought him to power was seriously rigged. He said that his own election that made him president was heavily flawed. Who did that? It was Obasanjo. But for death, Yar’Adua would have made a recompense, to appease people because he knew he was sitting on a damaged mandate.
When Babangida says he was snubbed by the people surrounding him… What is the meaning of Commander-In-Chief? As Commander-In-Chief, you’re the last authority. There’s nobody you can’t put in the cell. They had agreed that they would share power and it was now his turn to give Abacha his due. So they had to put Chief Ernest Shonkan as Interim man and told Abacha to push him out after some days which he did. How could Ernest Shonekan have resisted an Abacha?
What we are saying now is Buhari has come a a second time to right all wrongs including those ones he himself committed and we are now seeing that if he is allowed to do a second term, with the foundation laid, corruption will be reduced drastically in this country.
They say Buhari wants the South West. When they went to Jonathan, he said he would restructure, he didn’t. They went to him about Abiola, he renamed UNILAG, they called it MAU (Moshood Abiola University). What is the meaning of that? It was rejected. Abiola who was funding all the universities in this country at a point. The Abuja stadium was to have been named after him… If Buhari now comes to say Ok, these are the people worst hit by their political alienation and I’m going to put them on the centre spot has he not done well?