Tuesday, July 7, 1998 Published at 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK
The future for Nigeria - your reaction
What you have said so far:
The northern dominated military would eventually have to govern over ghost towns in the south west. Czechoslovakia showed the civilised way out of this kind of quagmire. Gentle hugs and firm hanshakes and then bye-bye to all that. People don't have to die. The lives of individuals are sacred. States are human constructions. They cannot have priorities over the aspirations and lives of citizens. Let Nigeria go the way of all such human anachronisms.
Iīve read what you have all to say about peace and understanding.
Do you really think Nigeria ever will come to terms with democracy.
I have travelled Nigeria from north to south, from west to east.
I have entered the country from all directions. And all around the borders, the only thing Iīve seen is corruption.
That is OK, as that is the only way to make money if your an official employee.
Nigeria is huge. But if you look deeper, it is not, and can never be one country. England (that is the small remote island southwest of Norway) drew up its borders when they "owned" the land.
That is why Nigeria has the problem it faces now. Itīs not one country, itīs three, at least.
Break down this.
And as long as the rulers (Hausa) keep their stiff role and bring in their money from oil companies, there will be no other situation
The Nigerian army is strong. Just look at Sierra Leone, and what they have done there. But donīt forget . More than a thousand Nigerian militaries have been killed allready. For What? ECOWAS
That is the last outreach for the most solid army of Africa.
So whatīs the solution?
Itīs absolutely not Abiola or anyone else.
Fela died about a year ago.
Sonny Ade is still alive.
Stangely enough, music canīt role.
I'm a little concerned at what is happening in Lagos right now. The vibes are those of a nation in a state of turmoil and political disarray.
History is being written and perhaps for Nigerians everywhere the question to be answered is which way to we go from here. Unless we turn around and face our past we cannot progress to whatever lies ahead.
A lot is being said about returning the country to democratic rule. Something which I agree to wholeheartedly. However the fact remains that those who want to take charge are the same greedy, unpatriotic despots who looted the treasury in the second republic.
My greatest resevation about the return to civilian rule, is that the person on the street will be no better off than how they are now.
Unless the lessons of the past have been learnt, unless we as a nation and a people recognise that leadership is not for self gain but to enhance the lives of those who elect us. Then we might as well stay under the oppressive rule of those who do so at the point of a gun.
I love my nation, her people and her rich culture, but I cry when I think of the waste and plundering of our land. Too many have stepped onto the stage of leadership in our beloved nation, without a clue as to what real leadership means. It's not a get rich quick scheme. It's servanthood of the highest order. Leading one's nation is both an honour and a priviledge. My question is WHICH WAY NIGERIA?
I am a Nigerian/German. I have lived all my life in Nigeria and am now planning to study here in Germany.
We just lost our hope for a true beginning of democracy. There will never be such a true democratic election than there was on June 12 1993. Nigeria just lost their hope. Abiola might not have been the best president, but it would have been a start for democracy, after all we did have an election and he won. Right now I see no future. Whatever hapens now is false and has no meaning. Our human rights have been totally demoralised.
My hope just died.
Allow me to comment on the geopolitical effects and aspects of the deaths of Moshood Abiola and Gen. Sani Abacha, the late strong-men of Nigeria.
In order for Nigeria to gain any international recognition and credibility it must put its house in order. It must use the opportunity accorded by the untimely demise of the afore-mentioned gentlemen to launch a fresh start. It is time for the military to retire to the barracks and bring a return to civilian rule.
Until this happens, it is meaningless for Nigeria to promote
democratic institutions across West Africa while its own house is in a
shambles. If Nigeria is to take its place among the league of nations, it
must be ready to call its pot black and stop chastising the kettle.
The way forward is the establishment of a credible democracy. The five political parties should be dissolved and all previous elections cancelled to pave the way for the formation of independent parties. This will enable credible individuals who had been denied participation in the previous political process to take part. The military government need to move very fast and conclude the entire process by January 1, 1999. Furthermore, there is need for a power shift from the North to the South if only to assuage the feelings of Southerners who have been denied the opportunity of producing the nation's president for a long time.
I am a Yoruba but not sure if I should claim to be Nigerian anymore. Britain still stand accused for merging the North and South in 1914 and called it Nigeria.
Nigeria has no unifying future except problems and lack of direction on the part of the North.
To avert war the United Nation must divide Nigeria into three countries as it had a regional government before 1960.
The recent event is just a follow up to the North system of elimination. General Babangida who annulled the 1993 election is controlling his course in the new leader .
Nigeria should go its separate way, most of the problem we have today in Nigeria were cost by the colonial master Britain. As a Yoruba man who grew up in Western Nigeria I know that parents have to work very hard to educate all their children. But in the Northern part of Nigeria , the government pays for everything. If you are a Nigerian living outside Nigeria, for example U.S.A or London you will see that 99.91% of Nigerians in these places are people from the south, working very had to make a living but if are from the North, our embassy will take care of you with local, federal and emirates funding. With all this going on, I don't think I can call myself a Nigerian.
General Abubakar, the new Head of State, should resign immediately and Gen. Babangida, must be locked up for causing the Nigerian political problems. Nigeria's political future is doomed to fail. The Northern people kill to rule. Lebanese residents in Nigeria are advised to leave and stop planning to kill the Jews with Nigerian oil money. God bless the Jews. Americans should
stop playing games in Nigerian politics.
At this period of profound national grief for all Nigerians, our thoughts
and prayers must be for the departed souls of Chief MKO Abiola, his
late wife Alhaja Kudirat Abiola and ALL the members of their family
left behind. We must also remember and pray for the numerous martyrs
in the struggle to Free Nigeria from the stranglehold of despotism and
oligarchy. From well-known names like late PA Alfred Rewane,
Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni 9, Gen Shehu Y'Ardua to the less
well-known numerous Nigerians who were shot on the streets in cold
blood or died in police detention unsung and perhaps unmourned. (Famuyiwa)
June 12 is apparently closed, but the struggle for democracy, human
rights and justice continues.
Abiola, Abacha, or Yaradua's death is one thing and pushing Nigeria to
democracy is another. All we want is to keep the Juntas out of Aso
Rock. The current crisis will not stop any of the movement go on in
Nigeria or abroad.
The Free Nigeria Movement, March on Washington for Free Nigeria will
still go on. All we want is to stop America form supporting the Nigerian
Junta government because of Oil. See you in Washington on Monday, July
The future of Nigeria has always hung on a balance. The social upheavals of recent days only accentuate the fragility of our country. Incidentally, the current rise in tension run against recent improvement in the general mood of the whole country which, given the death of Abacha, was expected to improve. The violent reaction of a section of the Nigeria society over the suspicious death of one of our own and the sudden shift of the country's prospect towards cataclysm, only reinforces the need for wisdom among our leaders. The future of the country could well depend on this spiritual virtue. My perception is that the way the Yorubas have been treated of late suggests a deliberate attempt to humiliate and marginalize them. Even I, an Ibo, feel their pain as a people. I have been there. The way forward is for the current leadership of our nation to reestablish some credibility. It must show understanding of the grief of the Yorubas and reach out to them in a direct and profound way.
If indeed Abiola died of natural causes, then we should be expecting more deaths because I can sense the hands of the Almighty hovering over Nigeria. He is about to give us a clean slate. But there is a price to be paid. Abacha and Abiola are part of the price. The innocent blood shed since 1993 are also part of it. There is no redemption without shedding of blood. In the absence of a civil war, some people have to pay the ultimate penalty to pave the way for a new era. Ken Saro Wiwa, Abacha, Yar'Adua and Abiola are among the few who have willingly or unwillingly offered their lives. And more are yet to come. The next few months will continue to be trying and difficult to predict. But one thing is sure: Nigeria will definitely not enter into the next millennium under the present confusion, social disorder, degradation and unpopular system of military government. I can see better days ahead. Behold! It's not far.
We do not believe that the issue is either democracy or military leadership. The situation calls for a constitutional compromise among the people and a decisive and patriotic military/civilian leadership. In any case, the chances of a civil war appear to be far removed because Nigerians are as yet unclear as to what the real solution is. What will we be fighting for?
As a concerned Nigerian, I think that the country is at a critical juncture in its quest for democracy. The nation will either make a clean break from military rule or find itself in another civil war.
The outcome of the autopsy on Chief M. K. O. Abiola is critical to where we go from here. If it turns out that Chief Abiola died of natural causes, that puts an end to the issue of June 12. Then the country can make a fresh start in its stated goal of making Nigeria a true Democratic nation. For over 38 years the country has lived below its potential. We must claim our rightful place among the free world now or never.
It is a shame that after 38 years of independence, Nigeria is still going through this mess. Whatever happened to Abiola should be investigated in the interest of unity. Maybe it is time for the three regions, North, South and East find a better solution and just be their own countries.
Enough is enough.
May the soul of Moshood Abiola rest in perfect peace. I plead to all Nigerians at home to be calm and not go on a rampage. Rioting will not solve the problem but will add to it. We should all come together as a nation to move this great nation ahead. We should not accuse anybody of Abiola's death until the autopsy result is out.
I am very disappointed that my beloved country Nigeria, with all our intellectuals and hardworking people, cannot forge a political process that can manage our people and build our nation. I am not advocating a preference for a novel military or civilian leadership. I have seen both forms of government in Nigeria and so I am not particularly excited by dramatic political or leadership shifts. I am advocating a leadership that is conscious and serious about the development of the country (our schools, hospitals, roads, agriculture, telecommunication system, transportation, water and power). Nigerians will take care of the rest. Europeans and Americans built their nations and Nigerians should build Nigeria. It requires commitment and love for the country rather than relentless quest or adherence to political power. Nigerians are smart, hardworking and knowledgeable.
It is apparent from problems seen in the rest of the world that it is difficult to have a unitary government in a multi ethnic country. Therefore the United Nations should intervene and see that Nigeria is divided into three separate and autonomic states for the Yorubas, the Hausas and the Ibos. No doubt there are many other minor ethnic groups, but eventually they would be satisfied with this arrangement. I have lived in Nigeria for eight years and am very much aware of the country's political, cultural and socio-economical problems.
Please bear in mind as you read that all the writers in this forum, judging from their names at least, come from southern Nigeria (mostly the Yoruba homeland). As usual, we seldom hear from the northerners, particularly the Hausawa, although they constitute not only the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, but the whole of black Africa.
It is truly lamentable that Chief Abiola should die in custody. Much as I disagreed with his politics, the man did not deserve to die in these circumstances. Like any free man, he and his followers had every right to insist on their beliefs, even if such beliefs may be flawed. If
Nigeria is to mature as a viable, credible democracy, differing views and positions must each find accommodation and be resolved through reasonable dialogue. The military dictatorship that denied this well-respected man his freedom and kept him away from his family and friends for so long did not do Nigeria any favours. Indeed Abiola symbolises why the military has no business in Nigeria's government. Enough is enough, and all roads should now lead back to the barracks for our men in uniform.
Those with small powerbases will say divide, those with bigger bellies will say unity, those in the current parties will say continue with the same parties, others and outsiders will say scrap those and form new ones, some will say continue with the military for a little more time etc, etc. We will hear lots of jazz and hot air.
In understanding what engendered Chief Abiola's death, we need to ask ourselves the essential question of who is going to profit by his death.
The death of Chief Abiola threatens the foundation of Nigeria as a nation. It is likely to spark reactions better imagined than experienced. But it might be too late by the time the military and the international community pick up the pieces.
It is time that the military went back to the barracks and allow the nation to be run democratically. Everyone is tired of the tyranny, violence and corruption. We must know the real cause of Abiola's death and fast. Hasn't enough blood been shed?
With regards to Nigeria's future, this is indeed a turning point. One cannot predict what is going to happen. One thing we do know is that the entire nation is angry and expectant at the same time. I pray that it will be bloodless.
There is nothing called Nigeria, why do we keep fooling ourselves?
It's time we all go our different ways. There was never any trust and there can never be any after this.
The so-called northerners are just holding everybody back.
Our ways of life are different; we all have different goal as human beings.
Enough is enough. If this separation is not achieved
peacefully it will be achieved forcefully.
Abacha's death not only offered us an opportunity to reverse five years of misrule, mismanagement and idiosyncrasy, but it also gave the military a chance to relinquish power and return Nigeria to true democracy. Abiola's death has left us confused, and somewhat bewildered, but the military still has the opportunity to do the right thing.
1993 was our third try at democracy, and we failed partly because of inadequate planning, and partly because of unfair planning. We must plan properly for the fourth republic. As the saying goes "The King is dead, long live the king".
While I very much lament Abiola's untimely demise, I think Nigeria should make haste in taking democratic progress. His death unencumbers the nation from a potentially painful resolution of the June 12 problem. Abiola, in spite of his past inadequacies became a symbol for democracy in Nigeria. The greatest legacy he can leave is that of a nation using the opportunity of his death in a positive manner.
We flatly reject the position of the government of Nigeria that its medical officers will perform the autopsy in the presence of his Doctor and family. They should not have anything to do with it when they are possibly connected with his death.
Nigeria is very much at its crossroads. The possibility of ethnic tension and the eventual break-up of the country should not be taken for granted. The Nigerian military has finally made this a reality.
One thing is clear now, the death of Abiola has made him a martyr for democracy in Nigeria. Prior to his death, many people were supporting his course not because they liked him as a person but because they were fed up with the "vagabonds in power."
Abiola became a symbol of what many Nigerians are yearning for -democracy. His name has now been immortalized for resisting the oligarchy and their whims and caprices. Alas, he was their friend yet they got him under their military jackboot. Nevertheless, Abiola died for what he believed in, the principle that must now be carried on by peace loving Nigerians. We must make Nigeria a country that all citizens are proud of not a country where some people are second class citizens.
Abiola's heart attack stinks of foul play. I believe a confederation of 4 main regions may be the solution for Nigeria's power tussle between the tribes. We could have the Hausas, Yorubas, Ibos and the Delta Area tribes rule themselves with just a common defence ministry. And only Defence!!!!
Nothing short of a people's revolution will bring peace to the Niger region.
To Nigerians, October 1998 is like the year 2000. As Nigerians approach the date, October 1998, the supposed date for a hand-over to civilian rule, strange events take place. Just last month, the former military leader died in office; the first Nigerian leader to have died in office through "natural" causes. It is ironic that Abacha's prisoner Abiola, died exactly one month after the dictator's death through the same "natural" causes. It is even more ironic that he died just as his release was in sight.
The death of Abiola is likely to further Nigeria's political disintegration and polarise the country. Although Abiola's release would not have resolved the deep political divide that now plagues the country, he gave hope to those yearning for an end to military rule.
The Nigerian people must put all rhetoric aside and face reality. The tyrants will not go away unless you make them. No amount of negotiation will take them out. A lot has been said along ethnic lines. I must say it's time for Nigerians to wake up. The ethnic card has been played for too long. They should be able to see through it by now. If you go through the list of political prisoners you will find Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Ibibio, Calabari, Edo, Nupe and just about every ethnic group in Nigeria. The tyrants also include people from all ethnic groups. The rioting in Lagos shows that a lot of people still subscribe to that ethnic doctrine.
General Yar'Adua once said that the military cannot be the custodian of democracy in Nigeria. The former military leader, Sani Abacha, put in place a transition programme that was based solely on his self-succession bid and backed by a Hausa-Fulani oligarchy. For Nigeria to have a credible and meaningful democracy, no transition programme should be conceived and directed by the military. This task must be left entirely to the politicians, and this calls for the formation of a government of national unity to work out a viable political option for Nigeria.
However, in view of the magnitude of the corruption and total breakdown of law and order in Nigeria, I sincerely believe that the military has an important role to play in the task of leading Nigeria back to the community of civilised nations. Without in any way influencing the envisaged political debate, the military should act as a neutral watchdog over corrupt politicians. In a word, they should stand around to clean up the huge mess they have created.
I am surprised that President Clinton felt that the death of Abiola was not connected to any foul play, probably because the delegation of the United States was made to see that Abiola fell ill in their presence.
The disease with Nigeria is tribalism; a complete eradication of ethnic differences and hates is the sole solution to Nigerian disaster. When the Yoruba stop hating and disrespecting the northern Hausas, the Hausas the Yorubas, the Yorubas stopped eating up the Ibos and discriminating against all non-locale, a kind of peace and progress might be on the horizon.
The death of Abiola is a sign that Nigeria will indeed move forward. The stage is now set for Nigeria to close the chapter of Abiola and his "expired" mandate. It was unfortunate though that he died. However, if care is not taken, the country could be plunged into unnecessary chaos. Whatever happens, Nigeria will survive the tragedy of Abiola's death and will become a formidable nation once again. General Abubarkar and his junta must take this unfortunate opportunity to bring Nigerians together and move swiftly to return the nation to democracy. Extending the process of transition to civil rule MUST NOT EXCEED 3 MONTHS. Nigerians do not need 12 months of extension again. We are simply tired of the military. Let the military junta know that there is no perfect democracy anywhere in the world. Even the United States democracy is not perfect. Nigeria needs to start somewhere. Enough is enough!
Abiola's death came to me as a rude shock. With Abacha's death, I thought the worst was over for Nigeria. Abiola and June 12 became the rallying points for the pro-democracy struggle in Nigeria. The military realised this and decided to move fast to scupper the people's mandate forever. A tremendous blunder has been committed as Nigerians will rise up as one against this great act of injustice. Talking about the future of Nigeria is a sheer waste of time. The various nations that make up Nigeria should be allowed to go their separate ways. I see no other solution.
The sudden death of chief MKO Abiola was an irreparable loss to Nigeria as a whole. Our prayers and condolences go to his family. I employ all Nigerian citizens to give our new leader, General Abdulsalem Abubakar, full support for a peaceful transition to a democratic government. God bless Nigeria.
I believe this is the time for well-meaning Nigerians to forget the past and move their country forward to a prosperous year 2000 and beyond. The parties to the disagreements must come to terms with the fact that the health of the nation cannot be equated to the health of any individual, whatever his/her public standing. Abacha or not, Nigeria must stay on and Abiola or not, viva Nigeria. Political compromise is the NEW WORLD ORDER. The world is watching.
I agree with what Lotchi Dagbo of the USA said: "Nigerians now have to think about themselves as there is no saviour coming to get them out of this mess." I think the only way to end up being a democratic country is for the people to take the initiative. Situations like this can be an opportunity to make progress towards democracy.
The future of Nigeria couldn't be more rosy. The oligarchy in London and Washington forever hoping to take advantage of instability in Nigeria will probably get a better chance at predicting the weather than see their petty wishes come true. The fundamentals of Nigeria are intact, and it will be proven that western predictions for the demise of Nigeria is greatly exaggerated.
Abiola's death is surely a sad event and I send my condolences to his children and the rest of his family. As a Nigerian, and a fellow Yoruba at that, my hope is that his death is part of the events yet to come that will move Nigeria forward to a truly democratic, prosperous, and peaceful nation.
I am saddened to read of the untimely death of Chief Abiola. I have always known that the military government would not convict him of the treason charges. To prove the case, the government would have to prove that he did not WIN the elections of June 12, 1993. Of course, that would entail releasing the entire results to prove the case!
It is absolutely shocking that the western governments have dithered for five years in the face of the Nigerian military regime's naked assault on its citizens' civil rights. Now that the presumed winner of the 1993 elections is dead one day before his expected release, the western leaders must all be rubbing their hands with glee, since he will no longer be demanding that the wrongs of five years ago be righted.
It is hard for anyone to accurately predict the future of a nation or anyone for that matter. However, one thing is sure about Nigeria as there will be darkness at the end of each day. The end to Nigeria's problems is not in sight. The country is too divided for any analyst to be optimistic about Nigeria's future. No one in Nigeria has attempted to solve Nigeria's problems. The status quo is too comfortable for those who wield political power to venture into the unknown for better or for worse. The major tribes are too arrogant, for lack of a better word, to recognise that the country belongs to all. It is only with the vision of a Nigeria for all Nigerians that some progress will be made. On the other hand, Nigerians are too optimistic; an optimism that is built on a weak foundation and not backed actions that will bring about a better Nigeria for future generations. Until Nigerians from all tribes participate in building one nation for all the future will remain bleak. "Heaven has helped Nigeria, but Nigeria has not helped herself."
To predict the future of Nigeria in these circumstances would be like any attempt one would have made to predict the life spans of both Abacha and Abiola a few months ago.
It is my considered opinion that the untimely death of Chief Abiola will be considered by many Nigerians, as well as observers abroad, as just too convenient. The already considerable cynicism of the people will only be increased, even if it is proven that the death was natural. There is no doubt that the political instability in Nigeria is increased by this untimely event, both in the short and the long run.
Nigeria is now at its lowest ebb. This is a man that won the fairest and freest election the country ever had. He was denied the presidency mainly due to his ethnic origin. This sad death of President Abiola may mark the end of Nigeria as the geographical expression we know it to be.
MKO Abiola now belongs to history. We need to be thankful for the short while MKO was with us. Life must go on. Nigeria must take its rightful place in the community of nations.