13 June 2019
Gary K Busch, a professor of political science, consultant to several governments, Africa expert and journalist, has some explosive things to say about the decision by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to declare June 12 as “Democracy Day” in Nigeria in commemoration of the aborted election as president of businessman Moshood Abiola in 1993.
Busch vented on his online journal, Ocnus.net, with no holds barred: “The notion of Abiola’s electoral defeat as a Democracy Day in Nigeria is absolutely preposterous M.K. Abiola, like many leading politicians, was involved in a wide range of commercial enterprises, including telecommunications with ITT (‘International Tief Tief’ according to Fela) and transport by air and sea. As a sideline Abiola was allegedly involved in the drugs trade. While it is no doubt true that IBB [military dictator Ibrahim Babangida] voided the June 12 election before its conclusion and precipitated a national emergency the truth behind that intervention has never been fully understood by the Nigerian populace”.
IBB would later claim in an interview that he voided the election due to “security reports”. He never revealed what those reports said. Busch shed more light on this: “The Nigerian military on the Council were adamant that the Babangida government should never allow Abiola to run for office and told President Babangida so during the aborted runoff primaries before the election. The basis for their concern about Abiola was the information and documentation being circulated in Washington, London and Lagos of Abiola’s alleged ties to the drugs business. The US, in particular, had expressed its strong opposition to IBB about the candidacy of Abiola as President; not because of his politics or allegations of corruption, but rather for the evidence they felt was correct about Abiola’s alleged drugs connections. This issue was raised in the Military Council on three occasions and Babangida was warned. He refused to take a decision until it was almost too late. US Ambassador Lannon Walker and the British Consul visited IBB and warned him about Abiola but Babangida dithered which made the impact worse as the polling had begun. When he finally decided to intervene and stop the election, he precipitated the crisis of June 12. His friends in the military supported him but were felt let down by IBB’s lack of decisiveness. While there was consternation in Nigeria about the ouster of Abiola, the major international partners of Nigeria were not upset or concerned because they know what the reasons were for the development.”
This was clearly not common knowledge among Abiola’s fans or detractors that included the likes of Fela Kuti, who sang about Abiola’s corruption.
But Busch wasn’t done. He added: “Abiola went to jail and died on the day of his release. The Yoruba people have always felt that they were cheated by the abrupt stopping of the election which they say Abiola actually won. This chorus of displeasure has been repeated over and over by Abiola’s running mate Baba Gana Kingibe. Kingibe and his colleagues have been trying for years to reinstate the image of Abiola as a reputable politician but to no avail. They have now persuaded Buhari to sign the decree establishing June 12 (the day that Abiola’s election was stopped) as a Day of Democracy. The charge of being a “druggie” was not limited to Abiola. There have been several prominent Nigerians reported internationally as being involved in the international drugs trade and the EFCC [Economic and Financial Crimes Commission] has been in liaison with the U.S.and British authorities for years on this business.”
Kingibe is alleged to be a part of the “cabal” that is said to be running Nigeria instead of Buhari, the nominal president. At least, Kingibe has no known history of drug-dealing. Busch rounded up his revelations with: “Some prominent Nigerian politicians have been lauded as important democrats even though their history in drug dealing is well-known and widely circulated. Perhaps one of the best known is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, known as “Jagaban”, the national leader of the APC [All Progressives Congress], Buhari’s party. He was the subject of a DEA, FBI, and IRS investigation in Chicago. Twenty-odd years ago Tinubu had to forfeit nearly half a million dollars to the U.S. Treasury Department after being named as an accomplice in a white heroin-trafficking and money-laundering ring that stretched from West Africa to the U.S. Midwest. Tinubu was identified as a bagman for two Nigerian heroin movers who operated out of Chicago and Hammond, Indiana. They were Adegboyega Mueez Akande and Abiodun Agbele, Akande’s nephew. Tinubu was never indicted for any crime. He eventually settled with the district court, turning over $460,000 of the seized $1.4 million from the arrest of Akande. Now Tinubu is a respected democrat, just like Abiola”.
Tinubu was governor of Lagos State for eight years from 1999, after the military handed over power to civilians. Some have argued that he has continued to govern Lagos via proxy since he left office – all his successors ever since have been his puppets. Buhari’s vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, is also a Tinubu crony.
Gary K. Busch has had a varied career-as an international trade unionist, an academic, a businessman and a political intelligence consultant. He was a professor and Head of Department at the University of Hawaii and has been a visiting professor at several universities. He was the head of research in international affairs for a major U.S. trade union and Assistant General Secretary of an international union federation. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST, Pravda and several other news journals. He is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations www.ocnus.net.