Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), has blasted the Running Mate of MKO Abiola, in the June 12, 1993, Presidential elections, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe describing him as a traitor.
The federal government last week declared June 12 as the new day for Nigeria’s Democracy Day celebration in honour of the late MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election.
In a Press statement, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the President also awarded his Running Mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Human rights activist, late Gani Fawehimi with the honour of the Grand Commander of the Of the Niger (GCON).
recalls that Kingibe served under the late Military head of state, Sani Abacha as Minister of foreign affairs.
In an interview with PUNCH, Agbakoba described Kingibe’s decision to serve under Abacha as a betrayal of the mandate in amidst the fight for the actualisation of the mandate.
He said: “He is a traitor; he is a big time traitor. I warned Abiola. Abiola didn’t listen to us, that was the problem. If he had listened to us, he would have been the president. We said this guy, we were not sure about him o. But Abiola is also at fault because he was so driven to become president that he lost sight of some very fundamental points. Then, he made a mistake of not following the advice of the pro-democracy community. Rather, he was listening to the politicians who wanted to be ministers. That was all they wanted.
So having failed to follow advice, he very quickly fell into many errors, the first being that he now kowtowed to Abacha.
“It was Kudirat who had a great sense of decency; Abiola was a bit a too ambitious in wanting to become president. He went to Aso Rock to meet with Babangida in the course of which Babangida’s wife and Kudirat started fighting. It led to a fight. Babangida and other people had to rush out to separate them. My point is that Abiola really failed to see some of the pitfalls.
“I had meetings with Kingibe to say ‘don’t you think that being appointed foreign minister under Abacha’s government when the mandate was still alive and being pushed for, betrayed the mandate?’ He tried to justify it by saying it was Abiola who caused it. He said Abiola was not communicating with him, strategy, what to do, blah blah blah. So (he) said okay, ‘if Abiola himself has virtually rubbished the mandate, then why would he be fighting for it?’ Those are the circumstances under which he took the appointment.
“I said ‘I don’t think anything justifies it, I think you should have stood by the mandate notwithstanding what Abiola did. But you see, the irony today is that he is benefitting from something he did not fight for even for one day. That is the irony of life. He didn’t fight for it for one day, but well, he is entitled since he was Abiola’s running mate.”
When asked if Kingibe deserves the national honour, Agbakoba said: “I would say he should not have been given because he didn’t believe in June 12 and why would I give somebody who didn’t believe in June 12 an honour? For me, it is an irony.”