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Abiola rejected asylum proposal after declaring self president – Ex-aide

Posted by By RAZAQ BAMIDELE on 2008/06/12 | Views: 1783 |

Abiola rejected asylum proposal after declaring self president – Ex-aide


Fourteen years after the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola declared himself president at Epetedo, on Lagos Island, facts have emerged about how he declined to seek asylum at the American Embassy.

Fourteen years after the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola declared himself president at Epetedo, on Lagos Island, facts have emerged about how he declined to seek asylum at the American Embassy.

The political assistant to the late politician, Rev. Adetunji Adebiyi, said during an interview in Lagos that Abiola rejected the suggestion of seeking an asylum put to him by leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) under the leadership of Pa Anthony Enahoro on Friday, June 10, 1994.

Adebiyi, who later served both Pa Enahoro and the late Pa Abraham Adesanya as personal assistant, also disclosed why the declaration was made on Saturday, June 11, 1994 instead of Sunday, June 12, 1994.

Having realized the implications of having two heads of government at the same time through the declaration, the NADECO leaders, according to Adebiyi, suggested that Abiola accepted the asylum proposal to forestall envisaged brutal reaction from the Sani Abacha administration.
The meeting of the NADECO leaders, Adebiyi recalled, took place in the home of Commodore Dan Sulaiman (retd) under the chairmanship of Enahoro in the presence of other NADECO chieftains, including Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (retd), Mr Ayo Opadokun, Pa Adesanya, Lt. General Alani Akinrinade, among others.

Knowing that Abiola might not accept the proposal, the meeting contacted Bishop Abiodun Adetiloye for whom Abiola had tremendous respect to persuade the embattled politician to accept the asylum option along with the planned declaration.

According to Adebiyi, Abiola rejected the proposal on the grounds that it was an act of cowardice for him to seek asylum after declaring himself President of the most populous black nation.
He said: "When Adetiloye was contacted, the man of God added another dimension to the exercise as he begged both the NADECO chieftains and Abiola to shift the declaration from June 12, 1994 which fell on a Sunday, as a sign of respect for the Christians who worship on that day throughout the world.

"The two letters bearing the new dimensions were given to me to deliver to the two parties to the arrangement. When the NADECO chieftains later converged on Abiola’s house for deliberation on the issue, he agreed to spare Sunday, June 12, 1994 for his respect for his Christian friends, most of who were also NADECO members."

Adebiyi added that "when we dispersed from Abiola’s house with an impression that another date would be fixed for the famous Epetedo declaration, Abiola had another plan, saying, "he just led a handful of his loyalists to Epetedo area of Lagos to declare on Saturday, June 11, 1994."
While corroborating the story on phone, a NADECO chieftain, who witnessed the Epetedo declaration, recalled that former Minister and Senator, Dr Wahab Dosunmu, Chief Ralph Obioha, Prince Adeniji Adele and one Hon. Adesina, among other party faithful, were at the declaration venue.
Abiola was eventually arrested by the Abacha administration for alleged felony and clamped into detention where he eventually died four years later on July 7, 1998.

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