Nsikak Essien brings fresh perspectives to June 12 saga
June 12, Betrayed, MKO Abiola cried
Almost everybody that is somebody has given their own account of events leading to the annulment of June 12 presidential election won by MKO Abiola. Some have even given account of events leading to the death of Abiola in detention. Today we bring the account of a former editor of the defunct National Concord owned by Abiola, Mr. Nsikaka Essien, as shared in his facebook timeline. Happy reading.
The headline of the story was, “Let’s Be Friends Again”. It was carried in a major news magazine and soon went viral in other news media.
In the story MKO wrote to IBB to reconnect in the hope that the latter would withdraw his annulment of June 12 election.
It turned out to be a plan to humiliate MKO. Godwin Daboh had met MKO to intimate him that IBB wanted that apology letter in order to de-annul the election and restore Abiola’s victory.
Totally ignorant of the humiliation plan MKO wrote the letter and Daboh took it in person for delivery to IBB. Within days Daboh released the letter to the news magazine which published it to MKO’s embarrassment.
The enemies of MKO got what they wanted to humiliate him.
MKO was outside the country when the news came out. He flew back and headed to my office. It was his routine to first call at Concord newspapers office each time he returned from his overseas visit. It was also my routine to spend late night in the office every day to ensure my newspaper went to bed. MKO always met me in there.
He was my boss and friend. He explained how he was tricked into the letter. He shed some tears for two reasons.
His betrayal by Daboh perhaps in collusion with IBB for public humiliation. He thought them as true friends.
Second he shed tears for betrayal and humiliation by a magazine whose owners had benefitted immensely from his generosity. Sad that they could be used against him at his hour of need. His low spirit touched me.
Even in journalism practice there should be genuine friendship.
Chris Okotie, MKO Abiola and June 12
I don’t know how Rev. Chris Okotie and MKO Abiola became friends. But as a friend to both of them I became a witness to history. Three instances stand as proof.
Chris Okotie was one of the few persons allowed to visit Abiola while in detention in Abuja. It will be unfair of me to disclose what Chris Okotie told me they discussed during their meeting. But Rev. Okotie was very unhappy when he returned to Lagos.
Okotie insisted on being at the Ikeja airport to welcome back MKO Abiola from exile in France. As the Concord Press appointed Coordinator of the airport reception, in liaison with the Superintendent of Police in charge of Security at the reception I facilitated Okotie’s prime position at the airport reception party.
Order broke down at the VIP area at the Ikeja airport when Air France Boeing 747 taxied to a halt. Okotie and I and many members of the church trekked to the Ikeja campaign office, about five kilometres. Upon their meeting at the campaign office they went into a warm embrace. Abiola was beyond words in expressing his gratitude. Okotie lost his expensive Biro pen to the crowd.
Okotie invited MKO Abiola to visit his church for a service which was accepted. I was in charge of facilitating all arrangements. I reported early at MKO’s house that Sunday. MKO and I selected his dress, we did the ironing together and set out to Household of God church.
MKO insisted on sitting with me as my companion while his car and security men came behind us. Within the two hours of getting to MKO’s home and arriving in church Okotie and I spoke on then 090 mobile phone at least 10 times.
MKO arrived in church to an electric welcome. Doubters were convinced now that they were close. Great and true friendship. Okotie fought for his friend and June 12 indeed .