Abiola’s killers are civilians —Falomo
Dr Ore Falomo, Medical Director of Maryland Specialist Hospital, was the personal physician to the late business mogul and politician, Chief MKO Abiola. In this interview with KUNLE ODEREMI and KASALI QUDUS, he speaks Abiola, Obasanjo. And other issues.
THERE is still excitement in many quarters, following the Federal Government decision to honour MKO Abiola and make June 12 Democracy Day. As his personal physician, What is your reaction to the development?
What has everybody been doing before now? They kept quiet like hawks. They didn’t do anything. Now, somebody came to do what all your leaders had left undone. So, you are happy. Why are you happy? You must be ashamed that it is Buhari who decided to do it. What did Yar’Adua do concerning the matter? What did Goodluck Jonathan do on the issue? Why didn’t the Yoruba and others speak and fight for it and tell them how to behave? Why did you have to wait till now for a gift from somebody else? Don’t you feel ashamed?
I am happy he did it. Don’t you feel ashamed? I am happy he did it; he did it for Gani; he did it for Kingibe. Why don’t we summon courage to stand for the truth and damn it whenever an act of injustice takes place? So, why are we now happy? We should be blaming ourselves; we should be condemning ourselves. Yes, we should.
What I did for Abiola was at the risk of my life; we fought against something that has never been done before; and by the grace of God, we triumphed. People are clapping, clapping for what? We have all gone to sleep, but some of us have not; we remain vigilant. I am ready to talk to Tribune because it played a good part during the struggle. I am saying it loud and clear. And at the appropriate time, I am going to say it and lambast all the newspapers; they were afraid; I know every part they played; they wanted to sustain the status quo. But Tribune, with all challenges and limitations, stood for the truth
Some observers have raised issues concerning the timing of the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the acclaimed winner of June 12, Chief Abiola and declare the date as Democracy Day? What is your opinion on the issues?
I want to congratulate them the government) for doing the right thing at last. I don’t care because any other person may have a different opinion on the matter. One of the posers the action of the government has addressed is: did Abiola win that election or not? Buhari has now told all of us that he did. He won that election in 1993. He was not sworn in; fine, but he won.
Opinions are also divided about the real intention of the president in conferring the posthumous award on Abiola. Do you think the president is sincere, as some individuals and groups claimed the action has a political undertone?
My answer is yes, the government is sincere. What is posthumous? It is given to somebody who is dead, in recognition of his remarkable contribution to humanity while alive. This implies that if Abiola was alive and he had been sworn in, he would have had the same award given to all past presidents. So, there is nothing extraordinary about it. If he had been alive, he would probably have been honoured with the award personally and not posthumous. Even when he was in detention, he was not in a position to be awarded anything. So, even though the postumous award is coming 25 years after his death, it is better late than ever.
Therefore, it is a very silly conclusion to say that President Buhari conferred on Abiola the grand Commander of the Federal republic of Nigeria (GCFR) because the 2019 general election is close-by. This is because Buhari didn’t have any timetable as to what to do during his four years in office on a matter like this. Obasanjo, who came in on the lap of Abiola’s travail, did not do anything of such to honour him. It was what Abiola suffered that brought Obasanjo to power. I am one of those who know the truth. Obasanjo came to power because of the mood of the country as at that time that the Yoruba people were seriously threatened. As a matter of fact, they were almost in a critical condition. Some of us know the whole story. There were two factions then over the political situation in the land concerning the Yoruba people. There were those who believed that Abiola should give them a chance; that we should go back altogether and there was another group who believed that such idea was a total rubbish and they would regret such action and plan. That was in 1999. But, some people then came in to bring in Obasanjo and Olu Falae and Obasanjo won the election.
Obasanjo had two terms of four years each, but he did not do what Buhari has just done. You are now talking of Buhari, who has only used three-quarters of his term. Don’t tell me it’s because of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, it doesn’t matter. The Yoruba voted for Buhari. And will they vote for him next year? It is yet to be seen. Whether the action is designed to impress the Yoruba, let us wait and see. Just judge the man for what he did; whether what he did was right or not, unlike Obasanjo that did not show any consideration. Buhari has proved Obasanjo wrong and displayed leadership skills. That is why Obasanjo has not been voted in as the leader of the Yoruba up till now. He served as the military Head of State of the country; he also served as a civilian president and yet, the Yoruba have never for once considered him fit as the Leader of the Yoruba. Is that not surprising? He was the leader of the country. So that shows that the Yoruba do not think he has served their purpose well at all. And if anybody wants to appease the Yoruba, it should be Obasanjo not Buhari. Let me be frank with you, it is not who wins Yoruba votes that wins the election. The Yoruba is an ethnic nationality in Nigeria. So, why are people thinking it is the Yoruba or the Igbo votes that determine whoever wins an election? That is a ridiculous and useless attitude.
Buhari did not make any promise before he was elected that he would do this for Abiola. I think the Yoruba will vote for somebody they think will serve their purpose best, regardless of who gives money or not. Buhari accept that the 1993 election is the best ever. And the election is the freest, fairest and non-corruptible ever up till now. This means that his own election held about two and a half years ago cannot be compared to that of 1993. That is something that should be commended. We should applaud Buhari for saying this; for saying that his election against former President Goodluck Jonathan was not as clean as that of 1993. They all knew Abiola won because he busted the tape first.
How deserving are all those bestowed with the national honour?
MKO was given, didn’t he deserve it or not? He deserves it because he won the election. The president said he won the election and he was robbed by Babangida. But, all of us went to sleep because it was a military government. We didn’t have that courage to challenge it because we were not ready to lose our lives. What Babangida did was wrong. Why should Abiola deserve the award and Kingibe didn’t? He was Abiola’s running mate. That is common sense. If you give the president, you must give his vice.
Can anybody give reasons why Buhari shouldn’t have honoured Gani Fawehinmi? I was very close to Gani because I was the medical doctor for his legal chambers throughout his career. So, he deserves that honour and much more and he was the real supporter of June 12. There is nothing to argue about. Those who want to join issues on those awards can come out and I will be ready to take them up. I will tell Nigerians what type of people such people are. They have been hiding under one excuse or the other. PDP ruled for 16 years. Every bad thing happened during their time. They didn’t make any attempt to honour Abiola and others and now, they are talking of Buhari rushing to do what he is doing. If Obasanjo had done what Buhari just did, it would have been a different case. But, he paid lip service to it.
As his personal doctor, what killed Abiola?
It’s not for this time. What we are talking about is the present situation. I have spoken about what killed Abiola several times and I have proved it. I have gone before a Special Tribunal to state the case. So, it is not anything new and they have not been able to say I am wrong. They were not comfortable enough when I said it and they have not put forward any other thing that could have killed Abiola. He was waking up from sleep and then after sipping that tea, he grabbed his chest crying over pain and he died. I am a doctor. He didn’t exert himself or anything, so what brought heart attack. I have analysed it and even said to them how a Pope, who has not been in the rain for a day, was killed and we knew what killed the Pope and I said it was similar to what killed Abiola. That Abiola was visited by somebody who is known; who death always follows wherever he goes and everyone knows about it. Why don’t they speak out? Those who benefitted from the death of Abiola and Abacha are still there and they are now fighting themselves. They are not military people but civilians and you will still hear more stories. It will come out. If Abiola had been president, things would have been better done and all the bad things happening now wouldn’t have been.
What do you think about June 12 as Democracy Day as opposed to May 29?
Some states are already celebrating as Democracy Day. All the states in the South-West from Ekiti to Lagos do. Are they not? It is only now that the rest of Nigerians have just opened their eyes. I thank Buhari for this. How can he call May 29 Democracy day? For who? This is because he was the president. But now, another person has said he is wrong for saying that. In 1999, we had a change from military to civilian and Obasanjo should know. He was a bad student and I am sure. Oh yes. I can say that; quote me! And if he wants to argue it, I will remind him he was. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether he had been president for 11 years. It doesn’t matter. He was a bad student in school.