Never trust the man who tells you all his troubles, but, keeps from you all his joys. (Jewish Proverb)
Beware of one with a honeyed tongue and a sword in the belly. (Chinese Proverb)
Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence. (Spanish Proverb)
It is easier to talk than to hold one’s tongue. (Greek Proverb)
A man ruins lies in his tongue. (Egyptian Proverb)
Do not bathe if there is no water. (Shan Proverb)
his article will be based on ThisDay Newspapers report of Sunday, October 21, 2007 captioned: How Abacha Was Killed, By Uba Ahmed. In all sincerity, I overlooked and dismissed the story with a wave of hand and never read it at the first instance, because, knowing who Uba Ahmed was, I thought he had nothing new to say. Not until a lady from Houston, Texas (a well wisher) asked for my comment on the publication. Then I decided to go back to read the report. At the same time, two of my closest friends in Germany asked me to endeavour to read it as Uba Ahmed made interesting points.
Uba Ahmed might have made some very serious allegations and points like Bakassi, Liberia and Sierra Leone issues, but, the damages that people like him brought upon Nigeria are greater than those “issues”, he pointed out. If he has started the blame game, let him carry it to the end by blasting himself first and foremost as one of the problems of Nigeria. He’s just playing to the gallery, trying to find ways to become relevant whereas he is being schemed out into inconsequentiality.
I will try to decipher that publication point by point as far as I can go, but, for a start, let’s look at who is Uba Ahmed and why he is talking now?
Uba Ahmed is talking now because he is no longer in the corridors of power, he’s been left out of power equation, otherwise nobody would have heard a whisper from him. He is now in a pathetic situation and has started singing on his own volition, to whip up cheap sentiments he never deserved. I wonder why Uba Ahmed is holding forth for Abacha and trying to paint that devil as a saint. He is almost in penury now, but, how did he spent the fortunes he made during Shagari and Abacha´s era respectively too soon? I would like Uba Ahmed to explain to the whole world why Abacha broke the world record as the greatest looter of all times? Uba Ahmed don’t have to sell Abacha postmortemly to Nigerians, because, we all knew him well and the scars he left on our psychics is yet to go away. We are still suffering the havocs Abacha wrecked on our intelligence; it is an affront on all of us to hear anybody trying to make him look good now. Abacha “raped” Nigeria front and back using all styles you can think of. If Nigeria is a breathing thing, it wouldn’t have recovered uptill now from the looting onslaught Abacha unleashed on it. So it is disgusting to hear an accomplice to the unspeakable crimes committed by Abacha against Nigeria to start claiming moral high grounds, portraying that dead madman in a good light. Nobody is buying that from him.
Uba Ahmed was so powerful during the Second Republic that he was one of those calling the shots as they hijacked the machineries of government from the hands of Shehu Shagari right from the beginning of that government. The same thing is happening with the present government as YarÁdua is loosing control of his government just like Shagari and we should all be concerned about this, because, nobody knows where this present inept ruler and his hijacked government will take Nigeria to. Uba Ahmed is singing, but, his tone is sour and did not go deep enough. Uba Ahmed is yet to tell us how he and his colleagues then in NPN looted and embezzled our commonwealth during the Second Republic? How he and people like Umaru Dikko (the billionaire in a crate fame) depleted the foreign reserve handed over to Shagari´s government by his predecessor, General Obasanjo, in a twinkling of an eye? Uba Ahmed hasn’t told us which of the termites (Shagari´s ministers and officials) wrought the biggest damage on our commonwealth? He is yet to tell us how Abacha won the title of the world biggest looter and who helped him to wire out all the money to foreign accounts, because, Abacha as a dunce of the highest order couldn’t have carried out such feats himself alone?
On a lighter mood before I continue, Uba Ahmed, when he was the Secretary of NPN had a Chairman called Chief A.M.A Akinloye (who passed on recently). Since Akinloye is dead, we want Uba Ahmed to tell us how Akinloye had champagne made in his name called “A.M.A Champagne” and where the money used in buying that trade mark came from and how many other party and government officials then had one thing or the other made in their names? Since Akinloye loved champagne when he was alive, I suggest that people pour as many bottles of champagne as possible on his grave; maybe, he will resurrect when the champagne aroma gets to his lifeless body or skeleton. That shows you how politicians now and then pilfered our wealth for nonsense.
Now to the report by the Newspaper:
The paper wrote that Uba Ahmed is now operating from political sidelines. That he now lives a life on the fringe - financially and materially, which means he is living a life of deprivation. That’s why he is talking now. That ill-gotten wealth he amassed has depleted tremendously, he is becoming irrelevant in the political landscape, he is making furore in order to see if he will be taken into reckoning again.
Uba Ahmed was the person that frustrated Chief M.K.O Abiola out of NPN by telling him that “the presidency of Nigeria was not for sale”. Abiola, based on the agreement reached in 1979 was supposed to take over from Shagari (who was anyway a reluctant candidate just like YarÁdua and might be the reason why the later is very incompetent like the former). When the time came to honour the agreement reached, the NPN top hierarchy renegaded, telling Abiola to go to hell as he will never be the president of Nigeria. That was when Uba Ahmed made that silly statement. He then added salt to the injury by say then that “he who controls the infrastructure controls the superstructure” meaning the infrastructure being the military and the superstructure the political power. For Uba Ahmed, no southerner should aspire to the highest political office of the land, because, the north controlling the military will lord it over the south politically too. He is an ethnic chauvinist.
Uba Ahmed was one of the staunchest supporters of the annulled 1993 Presidential election won by Abiola, infact; he was one of those that prevailed on Babangida to annul that election, because, for him, no southerner should be allowed to rule Nigeria. When Earnest Shonekan took over as an Interim Ruler, Uba Ahmed was at it again, he lectured Abacha on the gains of taking over power. He was constantly breathing down on the neck of Abacha and when Abacha finally eased Shonekan out, Uba Ahmed quickly joined the government to set it on a sounding footing, recognising that Abacha was such a dunce that must be guided to even “sign his name”. Uba Ahmed achieved his aim once more. But, death was smarter than him and Abacha. The death of Abacha left him devastated, because, he never saw it coming.
People might ask why Uba Ahmed decided to join the ANPP instead of PDP where most of his former colleagues and looters of his ilk enrolled their names to continue from where they the stopped during the previous republics. He never believed that a southerner can rule Nigeria, when the ban on politics was lifted and Obasanjo was nominated as the PDP presidential candidate and Olu Falae for ANPP, Uba Ahmed stayed out of politics throughout that period, at least, he was not conspicuously seen engaging in political activities, because, the two political parties had southern presidential candidates. In 2003, when Buhari became the ANPP presidential candidate, he jumped back to active politics as an ANPP man, because, he was so sure that Buhari, a northerner, would have defeated Obasanjo by fair or foul means. He didn’t join Obasanjo’s party, because of guilty conscience. He was one of those that supported the idea of Abacha arresting Obasanjo and charging him for treason. That political miscalculation cost him a lot. If Uba Ahmed is a PDP member, he would have still remained relevant and might have been nominated now as an ambassador just like Ahmadu Ali or even given a high government post like Kingibe (the Secretary to the Federal Government, who was Abiola´s running mate in 1993).
Uba Ahmed in assessing the political and economic progress or retrogression in the last forty-seven years said that the country received so much revenue in the last nine years, the kind that it has never ever seen or dreamt of, but, that poverty has also escalated dramatically to such a level that one could not have ever thought of. He said that during their time, the highest price of oil was $8 per barrel and that today; the price of oil per barrel is $80. In essence, saying that our revenue has risen so much while our poverty has also escalated: That is rubbish. I am not holding forth for Obasanjo’s government, but, Uba Ahmed shouldn’t lecture us on poverty, because, the reason why majority of Nigerians are poor today is an add-up of years of misrule, mismanagement and embezzlements by successive governments. The poverty in Nigeria today is a product of the inept and corrupt eras of Gowon, Muritala/Obasanjo, Shagari, Babangida, Abacha, Abdusalami Abubakar and Obasanjo (2) all combined. It was the Shagari, Babangida and Abacha dark eras combined that laid solid foundation for poverty in Nigeria and Uba Ahmed was all part of those governments, so he should not pass the buck; rather, he should blame himself for contributing in making Nigeria a rich/poor country at the same time. If a barrel of oil was sold $8 during Shagari´s time, it is the same thing with it selling at $80 now. $8 in 1980 is equivalent in value to $80 in 2007. The things you bought for N1 in the 80s will cost about N100 presently. So Uba Ahmed should keep quiet. The inflation rate in Nigeria is so high that the value of things then have risen almost more than 100% in the present dispensation. Misrule, mismanagement and embezzlements of over thirty years can´t be corrected within an eight years time frame. More time was used in doing the damages and more time will be needed to put things right again.
Uba Ahmed said that politically, we have even done worse. That the kind of rigging we saw under Obasanjo was one that the whole world has never seen before: It is an irony that he is accusing Obasanjo of rigging, but, he forgets that it was the same Obasanjo that rigged in NPN, his party, to power in 1979. Why didn’t he complain when Obasanjo told the world that “the best might not win the election” then? Awolowo won that election, but, Obasanjo being a never-forgiving guy never forgave Awolowo for denying him scholarship which Abiola got (when the late sage (Awolowo) was at the helm at the Western Regional Government). Obasanjo decided to repay Awolowo in his own coin by denying him the presidency. Uba Ahmed never saw rigging as shameful until 2007, he is a loser and should keep quiet. What transpired during the last presidential election was shameful no doubt and we have all condemned it, but, Uba Ahmed is the least person I expected that will preach for morality, which he lacks.
Uba Ahmed said that some major observers have started counting Nigeria among the next set of failed states: He should know that Nigeria started failing because of people like him. Shagari´s era set the nation on a fast lane toward the downward slope and where that government stopped, that of Babangida and Abacha completed it and Uba Ahmed was an integral part of those administrations. He should start the blame game with himself.
Uba Ahmed said that the present government lacks proper continuity and for him there is the absence of people who have experiences as to what happened before; people who could assist YarÁdua in taking decisions safely: Uba Ahmed is only seeking for appointment through the backdoor. He is now a hungry man, hungry for power and food. He would like Nigeria to continue recycling the same “old cargoes” over and over again. He is preaching for continuity and experience and that might as well mean continuity and experience in looting and embezzlement of our commonwealth. We don’t want the experiences of criminals.
Uba Ahmed gave his reasons why the re-denomination of Naira was suspended due to foreign pressures: That is rubbish. Ghana did it and is still standing; nobody has overthrown the government of Ghana since they re-denominated their currency. I will not buy that crap. Although it can be plausible, but, so many countries have done it and are not yet wiped out of the face of the earth, why can´t we do it and see how that hell will get loose? Leaders should stand up against the neo-colonialistic and imperialistic tendencies of the western powers. We have all it takes to command influence on the foreign stage, liquid gold. With oil, we can exert more than a little influence on the international stage and the western powers will be afraid to mess up with us, if we have a leader that knows his onion. Unfortunately, the incumbent president (YarÁdua) is such that will dive under the bed for cover on hearing the sound of a single gunshot. Sorry, Nigeria deserves better than it has been getting. YarÁdua is a faint-hearted not fit for a big office like the “President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Uba Ahmed should not tell us the rubbish that Abacha died because he made the naira to appreciate. Look, Mathmair Mohammed (I hope the spelling is correct) of Malaysia withstood American and British threats and subversive tendencies and took his country on a developmental course never seen for long time in history. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, at America’s backyard, stood his ground against everything America did to bring him to his kneels. Today Chavez has transformed the backward country to a vibrant one and has sacked all the multi national oil companies carting away Venezuela’s oil wealth to their home countries. Today Venezuelans are enjoying their oil wealth like they never did before, thanks to that strong Chavez and his foresight. Nigeria needs a leader like that. I hope and pray that one day in my life time; such a leader will emerge to lead Nigeria. China and India can dare the western powers and damn the consequences. Why not Nigeria? Uba Ahmed should save that thrash he said to himself, we don’t buy them. Even if they are true, it should not be “blank cheques” for our rulers to surrender our sovereignty to others on a platter, “if our leaders can´t fight, at least, they should know how to bite.”
Uba Ahmed said that Gowon was able to last nine and half years in government because he had old seasoned politicians around him as well as old seasoned civil servants around him and they were able to help him to fight the war, to make the conciliation with the people of South East and to recreate Nigeria. For Uba Ahmed, in the whole history of warfare, there had never been a war that has ended with rapid reconciliation like the one Yakubu Gowon fought in the 60s: I wonder which Gowon and war he was talking about in that report? Was Uba Ahmed really around in Nigeria when the war was fought? He must be out of his mind to make such false assertions about the war. Gowon was unqualified as a leader that he didn’t even know what was going on in his government. He was just there only in name as he didn’t know how the war was fought and the atrocities the Nigerian soldiers committed against the hapless Igbos.
Just recently, Prof. Soyinka returned to the Igboland to see Ojukwu. You may recall that Soyinka travelled to Biafra region during the war to try and calm the growing tensions then. The visit saw him thrown in jail and had to spend twenty-two months in solitary confinement. Soyinka also met with Yakubu Gowon in Lagos. Soyinka pointed out to him that there were some terrible atrocities committed by federal troops during the war. Gowon accepted that this happened, but, said he was not aware about them at that time. Gowon wants Nigerians to forgive each other after all the horrors of the civil war. Soyinka told him of the solitary confinement and the hardship he faced then, Gowon “surprisingly” said "I had no idea” (Naijanet.com October 25, 2007). All these show that Gowon never had full grips on his government and how the war was prosecuted. Now he is telling the Igbos to forgive. Fine, Igbos have forgiven, but, have not forgotten everything , until he, Gowon, opens up and tells Nigerians who played what part during the war and how and also publicly apologising to the Igbos for the atrocities of the war. Or else he is wasting his time and might join the three million Igbo men, women and children he and his men killed through the guns, rape, and starvation, in the great beyond without atoning for his sins and without the Igbos´ forgiveness. He still has time to come clean before it becomes too late. Gowon and Abacha are in a class of their own, they were readily tools in the hands of the devil during their tenures.
It is ironic that Uba Ahmed claimed in that interview that some Nigerian governments felled because the leaders then allowed our currency to appreciate against the wishes of the western powers, but, Gowon´s regime lasted for about nine and half years and it was during the time of Gowon that the naira appreciated greatly against the other major world currencies. Why then did Gowon last so long? Uba Ahmed contradicted himself so many times in that interview.
Uba Ahmed said that during Abacha´s regime, he made decree No 29 himself: It is not important what the decree was for, but, that he issued a decree meant that he was running the government by proxy. He wielded a lot of power and clouts then and should tell us more about what transpired during that dark era.
Uba Ahmed told us that Abacha never died a natural death, that Abacha was murdered: Uba Ahmed should be ashamed of himself and Abacha to be talking of this rubbish so openly. He failed to tell us that Abacha was schizophrenic, a psychiatric case, a drug addict and a sex maniac. Abacha, when he was alive, couldn’t sleep with only a woman at a time, it must be as from two up. Temptation comes to people through what they love most. Abacha loved sex and didn’t find a better way to die than on top of a woman. Uba Ahmed should tell us why Abacha had to turn our seat of government into chalets? He should tell us why Abacha should be on top of women that hour he died, when he as the head of government was supposed to have been on his desk working out ways to improve the lives of the people? Abacha should have been in his office attending to state matters, rather, he was on the bed with two Indian women, unless Uba Ahmed wanted to tell us in that interview that Abacha sleeping at that particular hour of the day with two women at the same time was part of his official duty. Who knows?
Abacha was part of the Nigerian elite that love everything foreign, even women have to be imported to taste better. For this elite class, the beautiful Nigerian women are local champions and are no longer tasting good. Look at the security lapses that happened then. Those foreign girls had access to the most interior part of our seat of government. Were there security clearances for those Indian girls before they got to that extent? Uba Ahmed should give us answer. When Abacha was found dead, how did the Indian girls escaped and who aided their escape?
Let me tell Uba Ahmed, in as much as I am not ruling out that Abacha was poisoned as he said, but, it was clear that the sex maniac died of heart attack which couldn’t be abnormal for a man that loved having sex to chain of women at the same time. Abacha was hypertensive, diabetic and had kidney problem. Stressing himself out through marathon sex aided by Viagra can set off heart seizure. Viagra taken by a hypertensive and diabetic patient can be deadly and that can occur in a jiffy. I don’t rule anything in or out as regards to his death, but, discussing this on the pages of a Newspaper was disgusting. That was not a good way to launder the soiled image of friend, clean. It was a wrong way for Uba Ahmed to portray his friend as a victim of western powers without telling Nigerians how many of their fellow compatriots his friend, Abacha, made victims. Why didn’t Uba Ahmed say something about the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the others or the other atrocities committed by his friend? Innocent people who were only asking for what was theirs were callously hanged by Abacha. I am sure he is seeing those men now over there; he must have gotten retributions from them. Abacha had control over life and death on earth, but, wherever he might be now, he must be as little as an ant. The payback time is coming for those leeches feed fat on the oil wealth from the Niger Delta and other oil producing areas while the owners of the land having the oil beneath it are suffering the environmental catastrophes of the exploration, but, seeing little or none of the wealth created by the oil from their land.
Uba Ahmed lied that Abacha reduced Nigerian foreign debt from $33 billion to $26 billion, which means that during the five years of Abacha, he was able to repay 7 billion dollars: That is pure lie. Unless Uba Ahmed meant that Abacha paid that amount into his (Abacha) personal account in foreign banks, that is to say, Abacha was repaying our debt into his personal accounts. Wonderful, Uba Ahmed, was so “helpful” to Nigerians with that interview. Uba Ahmed said that Abacha paid off a domestic debt of about one hundred million Naira (maybe into the pockets of his children) and in the last paragraph of that interview, he said that Abacha left foreign reserve of $9 billion. I have contrary figure.
Uba Ahmed should just go quietly into political retirement; his life should be a lesson to all that “nothing lasts forever” and “no condition is permanent”. What he is just looking for is a political appointment, but, he should have submitted his “application letter” through “due process” than trying to whip up cheap sentiments. No matter what he said about Abacha in that interview, he can never erase the black history that the dunce left behind and I hope that if ever the devil allows Abacha (because he is now one of his most trusted servants wherever he may be) to have a second life, he should choose a better way to die than on top of “it”.