On Death, Gen. Abacha & A 100 years of Waiting

“I can’t share the award with the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha,

who was a “murderer and thief of no redeeming quality”.

I can’t think of nothing more grotesque and derisive

of the lifetime struggle of several of this (Honours) List

and their selfless services to humanity, as the `The Canonization of Terror’.

I reject my share of this national insult”.

-Prof. Wole Soyinka

What can I say? Other than that I’m greatly pleased that Prof. chose a time such as this to air his opinion in diction that is clear and precise.

To everyone.

The Canonization of Terror it was indeed.

One of my starkest memories to this day is watching my mum worry and stock up food during the Abacha regime.

 Nigerian women became food hoarders (Not the likes of Mrs. Abacha though). Of mainly rice of course because rice was the staple back then in Lagos. This was bad news for us kids at the time because rations reduced and we couldn’t waste as much as we were used to. I remember the constant fear and the number of childhood friends I lost to ‘The Abroad’ as a result of frenzied emigration.

Abacha was a terrorist, plain and simple. And his terror was so far-reaching that it got past the gates of Queens College and touched us there, naive girls that we were then. Day students would often bring newspaper cut-outs with pictures of the latest assassination, abduction or torture of alleged coup-plotters that the General(the ultimate coup plotter) had in his custody and we would read and mull over them. Silently. Which in itself was a feat.

Queens College Yaba could have been called many things but never Silent.  Someone was always expressing awe, joy, fear, homesickness, heartbreak or heartmake, Valentine’s day drama and all of that in a not-so-silent way.

I can still see the girls lose all semblance of ‘ladylikeness’ when we heard that Abacha was dead. There was dancing, laughing, Day girls were more eager to share their lunch than normal. It was also intense, there was a lot of tears, especially for the Diyas whose father had been in the General’s custody (a newspaper had run a picture of him roasting slowly over an open fire and I’ll never forget that)

So you see, it touched us all, The Canonization.

And it touched me and lit a flame within me when I saw Mrs. Abacha collect that diabolic Centenary award. Mr H tells me that on the day Nigeria clocked 100, there was no fuel at the pumps and the queues were as long as the sins of the dead General. I wasn’t surprised, only startled at the fires raging within me.

One would think that decades of disappointment would have transformed me into a blissful hearth of cold ashes.

I fear to think what would have happened if Snow White’s Apple had not resurfaced that day in 1998.

And what became of the two Indian girls who were said to have witnessed the death. Now would be a great time to write that book, ladies. 17 and 19, they were barely older than me

Perhaps Death has truly lost its sting and now offers a soothing balm as well- in the form of plaques.

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7 thoughts on “On Death, Gen. Abacha & A 100 years of Waiting”

  1. Yea Bee, you really know How to take things to heart. For the
    record they are all murderers
    and theifs only the degree is
    different. The eye catching
    phrase for me is this ”Mr H tells
    me that on the day Nigeria clocked 100, there was no fuel
    at the pumps and the queues
    were as long as the sins of the
    dead General.” Lol. Was
    wondering what happened to
    your ‘way with words’ 3 or 4 blog post ago. I don’t remember
    precisely. Noticed you are back
    (with the words)

    Like

  2. Wonderful trek back the lane of memory; Abacha was and will always be bad news because of the many hardship he caused the Nigerian people. However, it is saddening to see the wheel of recognition spin its head near his name and the eulogizing of his name (as if he did us any good) in the public sphere. How wicked of the government to glorify one who took the throats of his people and splashed it on the dagger. It tells more of the stupidity and shortsightedness on the part of those at the helm of affairs, bringing to fore their ineptitude and egregious way of thinking. In the midst of the turbulence plaguing Nigeria, some goons (the Nigerian politicians) found time to honour thieves, looters, and fraudsters et al in the name of Centenary celebration.
    May the sun rip them apart!

    “I can’t share the award with the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha,

    who was a “murderer and thief of no redeeming quality”.

    I can’t think of nothing more grotesque and derisive

    of the lifetime struggle of several of this (Honours) List

    and their selfless services to humanity, as the `The Canonization of Terror’.

    I reject my share of this national insult”

    Wole Soyinka.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I love to see ppl passionately rail against corruption because even though rsiling doesn’t lock looters up, it tells me that not everyone has accepted it should be that way.
      Hate to see young ppl cavalier about it and professing that things canonlygo downhill.
      Where is the progress in that?

      Like

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