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Nigeria: M.K.O. Abiola’s daughter blasts IBB

Daughter of Late Chief M.KO, Abiola, winner of the annuled June 12 1993 elections in Nigeria, Mrs. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, has described Nigeria’s former military dictator, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, as a case study of policy and administrative inconsistencies.

Abiola-Costello  recalled that IBB’s eight years of administration between 1985-1993 was marred by betrayal of public interests.

She spoke in an interview with our correspondent in Calabar, Cross River State during an ongoing training programme organised by KIND to sensitise women in politics ahead of the 2011 elections.

She observed that IBB messed up an eight-year opportunity he had to make a difference in people’s lives and to contribute in promoting the quest for democracy in Nigeria.

According to her, IBB’s presidential ambition in 2011 should be considered against the backdrop of political treachery and unpatriotic moves that characterised his administration.

Abiola-Costello said, “IBB was blessed with eight years when he governed Nigeria. He had a big opportunity and when he had the opportunity it was remarkable to watch him. For example, he would launch the debate on Structural Adjustment Programme. Nigerians would debate and come out with conclusion, but IBB would take another course of action.

“Then he would launch Mass Mobilisation for Self-Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery which was about preparing the public for a free and fair election. People would go to the villages to mobilise others. In fact, government agencies were all at work on this. From there, he constituted an electoral commission which conducted the freest and fairest election in Nigerian history. But, the electoral results were still being announced when he changed course.

“So, I don’t think that the issue is not whether or not he can run next year. As a citizen of Nigeria, all Nigerians obviously have the legal rights to run. What we should be looking at is, what was IBB’s problem at the time he was governing Nigeria for eight years, such that when he would be doing what seemed good for the country at the last minute he would change course.”

She opined that IBB’s behaviour could suggest a fundamental psychological problem, adding “I am sorry to be so blunt, but when I analysed the issue carefully, I don’t see any other possible conclusion.”

Abiola-Costello whose mother, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, was assassinated on June 4, 1996, wondered what could have made IBB to drag Nigerians through seemingly laudable programmes only for him to abandon the course.

“Is it that he does not respect the Nigerian country and the Nigerian people? Or is it that there is a mental default that makes it difficult for him to follow through on his action?” she queried.

She added, “Whatever conclusion this analysis is, should then determine for him how he should continue in 2011. If the conclusion is that there is a mental defect, clearly, he should go for psychiatric help and if the conclusion is that he does not take the country seriously, then he should not even be considering running. Either way, I don’t see how he should consider running.”