3:42 pm - Wednesday November 16, 7008

INVESTIGATION: ‘AMERICA has no hand in the death of MKO Abiola, Nigeria’s Billionaire Politician’-Thomas Pickering, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria * Says: ‘Chief Abiola did not DIE of Tea Poison, but of Cardiac arrest’ * Claims: ‘Abiola looked robust, and healthy. He did not seem to have lost much of weight. He recognized me immediately. He greeted both Susan Rice, myself and our Ambassador. We sat in a small square of chairs of sofas in the living room of the guest house where he was jailed. We were all offered tea, both Susan and our Ambassador from what was clear was tea from the same pot. It is important I say this because some people had alleged that the tea was poisoned’ * ‘ABIOLA was not Murdered in Nigerian Government Custody’-Report BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU, AMERICA Foreign Bureau Chief, Naija Standard Newspaper

INVESTIGATION:

‘AMERICA has no hand in the death of MKO Abiola, Nigeria’s Billionaire Politician’-Thomas Pickering, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria

* Says: ‘Chief Abiola did not DIE of Tea Poison, but of Cardiac arrest’

* Claims: ‘Abiola looked robust, and healthy. He did not seem to have lost much of weight. He recognized me immediately. He greeted both Susan Rice, myself and our Ambassador. We sat in a small square of chairs of sofas in the living room of the guest house where he was jailed. We were all offered tea, both Susan and our Ambassador from what was clear was tea from the same pot. It is important I say this because some people had alleged that the tea was poisoned’

*Reveals: “Before Abiola even braised the cup to his lips, he began to talk incoherently. Almost immediately he asked if he could use the lavatory-the men’s rest room. He was there in a space of few minutes or more, when he eventually came out from the bathroom. Abiola only made it half way to the group. He was asking for pain killers, he sat down on the edge of the couch. He complained of been to hot. He then took off his shirt which I found odd and quite shocking because he was a Muslim. And having a shirt off in the presence of a woman in a small gathering sent a message to me that something was really wrong. Before he raise the cup close to his lips, Abiola began to throw up and slide unto the floor. I ran to him, I checked his pulse which I found strong. Susan called for a doctor and we did what we could to make him comfortable but communication was hard with him. Dr. Suleiman Walli (Aso Rock doctor) came within minutes from the Presidential clinic. And examined him with his stethoscope.”

* ‘Abiola was alive then, but definitely in pain. I immediately started to do resuscitation. I realized that I needed to take him straight to the Presidential clinic. All those periods, Abiola was still alive but definitely in a very bad condition. We tried so much, but in the long run, he finally passed’-Dr. Suleiman Walli, Presidential Doctor that witnessed death of General Sani Abacha

* ‘ABIOLA was not Murdered in Nigerian Government Custody’-Report

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICA Foreign Bureau Chief, Naija Standard Newspaper

JUNE 12, 1993 was a moment in Nigeria’s history that millions of Nigerians will never forget. It was the day the presumed winner of Africa’s most populous black nation had his election annulled by the nation’s military leaders without justification. In search of truth, to know how how CHIEF MOSHOOD KASHIMAWO OLAWALE ABIOLA (M.K.O) ABIOLA actually died and debunk any conspiracy theory, we carried out some undercover investigation.

Naija Standard investigation revealed that Abiola actually died of Heart Attack (Cardiac Arrest) as he was in pains for few minutes, after several medications were applied to revive him by Aso Rock doctors to save his life.

Confirming this development, Thomas Pickering, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria in ‘The Witness Reports of British Broadcasting Corporation) narrated all the secret details and corroborated the final autopsy report and medical views of a team of Aso Rock clinics’ trained doctors who assured that Abiola died of Cardiac Arrest, not tea poison as alleged in many conspiracy media outlets.
Naija Standard Newspaper INVESTIGATION showed that 7th July 1998 when the Nigerian opposition leader, MKO Abiola died just days before his expected release from years of detention by the country’s regime, weeks earlier the hardline military rule, General Sani Abacha suddenly died of heart attack. In the aftermath, the military began to hint of transmutation into civil rule, the first time since the 1980s.

The new ruler, General Abdulsalam Abubakar set the tone by releasing dozens of political prisoners, but refused to release Abiola. General Abubakar was yet to decide what to do with the fate of the famous presumed winner of June 12, 1993 election winner. The Nigerian renowned publisher claimed to be rightful winner of the election. It was believed Abiola won the election, but was annulled by the military.. That was when General Sani Abacha took over and MKO Abiola was imprisoned. Lots of Nigerians had expected that since Abacha was dead, Abiola was expected to be released within days. (Nigerians were eagerly waiting for Abiola’s release and a government of National Unity), sadly that never happened.

That was when Ambassador Thomas Pickering, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, number three person in United States State Department led a high power delegation, accompanied by Susan Rice, then Assistant Secretary in the Department of State to meet the then Nigeria’s new Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar to ensure smooth transition of power. They arrived in Nigeria on 6th of July. And met General Abubakar the following day. The talks went well and the fate of Abiola was one of the issues discussed.

Pickering explained: “We pushed and said we know that MKO Abiola has been in jail for a long period of time. We asked that they moved in the direction of releasing him as they possibly could. It seems to think they need a little more time for them to do so. Our team asked General Abubakar if the American delegation could meet Abiola. By this time Abiola was been held in house arrest in Abuja. General Abubakar agreed, and a meeting was fully set up at the noon within the Presidential Guest House.”

Pickering: “Abiola looked robust, and healthy. He did not seem to have lost much of weight. He looked cool. He recognized me immediately. He greeted both Susan Rice and our Ambassador. We sat in a small square of chairs of sofas in the living room of the guest house. And we were all offered tea, both Susan and our Ambassador from what was clear was tea from the same pot. It is important I say this because some people had alleged that the tea was poisoned. Chief Abiola had tea. But before I think he consumed any amount of tea, before he even braised the cup to his lips, he began to talk and began to talk incoherently. Almost immediately, he asked if he could use the lavatory-the men’s rest room.

He was there in a space of few minutes or more, when he eventually came out from the bathroom. Abiola only made it half way to the group. He was asking for pain killers, he sat down on the edge of the couch. He complained of been to hot. He then took off his shirt which I found odd and quite shocking because he was a Muslim. And having a shirt off in the presence of a woman in a small gathering sent a message to me that something was really wrong. Before he raise the cup close to his lips, Abiola began to throw up and slide unto the floor. I ran to him, I checked his pulse which I found strong. Susan called for a doctor and we did what we could to make him comfortable but communication was hard with him. Dr. Suleiman Walli (Aso Rock doctor) came within minutes from the Presidential clinic. And examined him with his stethoscope.”

For Dr. Walli who was the Presidential doctor who had been witness to the sudden death of General Abacha few weeks earlier said: “Abiola was alive then, but definitely in pain. I immediately started to do resuscitation. I realized that I needed to take him straight to the Presidential clinic.”

Pickering reportedly further stated: “The clinic was only few blocks away. As such, Professor Sadiq Suleiman Walli was the Presidential doctor in charge of the clinic. We were outside looking through the oval glass. The doctors in the clinic were working on him to revive him.”

All of those periods. Abiola was still alive but definitely in a very bad condition. We tried so much, but in the long run, he finally passed.,” says Dr Walli.

Pickering: “After about an hour, Dr. Walli came out and said every available effort had been made to save his life all he could to revive him. He said we should do things immediately: we should call General Abubakar to explain things to him circumstance. He said that was extremely wise. And he said we should do all we can to persuade the Nigerian authority to carry out an autopsy.”

Thereafter Nigerian Federal Radio Corporation/Nigeria Television Authority made a breaking news announcement: “Chief MKO Abiola is dead. Nigerian government said that Chief Abiola who had been in detention for four years died about 4pm local time of Cardiac arrest.”

At that time many Nigerians took to the streets and started crying.

Abiola’s daughter, Hafsat said: “It came to us as a great shock. My father was a great man. He had strong allegiance to the truth and to the country.”

In the words of Susan Rice: “People expected Abiola to be released. That was the same time news reached Nigerians that Abiola had died. They called for a thou rough investigation into Abiola’s death.”

To prove evil conspiracy wrong, Pickering states: “It was a primary concern I had. We want to do everything we could to be opened and transparent as possible. By then we had met with General Abubakar. He asked that Susan talked to one of the wives of Abiola and her daughter. Abiola’s wife and the daughter we spoke with were distraught and immediately believed we had something to do with it. We calmed them, provide them the information we had. We were not successful at that because later we saw some documentaries which showed the Nigerian youth still did not take the position that Abiola died of natural causes and that we may have been responsible for the unsubstantiated allegation.”

But Many Nigerian believed Abiola was murdered in government custody. Riot broke out in South West and Lagos-Abiola house. Pickering and delegate extended their stay to explain to the Nigerian press their grief.

Pickering’s final word: “The result was conveyed to us as we left the country, with Abiola’s heart that failed. Certainly there was no trace of poison or any other thing that may have caused the problem.”

 

Filed in: Nigeria

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