‘How pro-democracy fighters lost out in Abdulsalami’s succession plan’

One of the leading figure in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria, Senator Shehu has revealed how pro-democracy fighters lost out in the succession arrangement by Nigeria’s former Head of states, Abdulsalami Abubakar transition programme in 1999.

The Senator who represented Kaduna Central in the 9th National Assembly, said he and other pro-democracy fighters were all released from prisons after the military tribunal jailed some of them, including Olusegun Obasanjo for 15 years and Shehu Yar’Adua who was sentenced bagged life imprison, following the news of the former military dictator, Sani Abacha’s death in 1998.

But Senator Sani stated that they bluntly refused to attend the meeting called by Abdulsalami Abdulsalami who had disclose his intention to handover power to a democratic President known to them.

The Senator who revealed this at This Nigeria Newspaper panel discussion in FCT, Abuja, stated that prominent Nigerians, including late Shehu Yar’Adua, human Rights activist, late Saro-Wiwa, Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and others, except President Bola Tinubu, turned down the invitation to attend the meeting that would have put them in elective positions in May 1999.

Sani said, “We stayed in prison until we heard the news that Sani Abacha has dead. And freedom came after four (4) years in the prison.

“When we came out from the prison, Abdulsalami Abubakar, invited all of us who fought for democracy to a meeting having assured of his readiness to handover power to democratically elected government.

“And he said, ‘I want all of you the freedom fighters to take over power. At that time, Gani
Fawehinmi proposed to us not to accept Abdulsalami’s invitation.

“We refused to answer his call three times he invited us. But the politicians who were never invited by Abdulsalami were knocking on his door seeking power.

“Having refused to listen to us, we came and sat down-thinking about the way forward as we were just coming out from the prison that strategy was what the ANC in South Africa did that gave power to late Nelson Mandela.

“After the struggle, they took over political power. But we insisted that we were not going to cooperate with the military. Mike Ozekhome is one of those who opposed that we should not join Abdulsalami.

“Late Gani Fawehinmi opposed to join. Femi Falana (SAN) Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) all opposed. It was Bola Ahmed Tinubu who said if we don’t get in who is going to be there?

“At the time, we have all agreed to join the politics, politicians has taken over all the positions. Mike Ozakhome tried to be Governor of Edo State, he couldn’t, Olisa tried to be President of Nigeria, but he couldn’t. Fawehinmi tried to be President at a time, but he couldn’t. Femi Fala also tried to be Governor of Ekiti State, but he couldn’t; And I tried to be Governor of Kaduna State, but couldn’t because the place has been taken over by politicians”, he said.

TheNewspad reports that the lecture themed, “25 years of uninterrupted Democracy in Nigeria: The prospects and possibilities”.

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