Hours After Sani Abacha’s Son Wrote Wole Soyinka An Open Letter Ayo Sogunro Replies Him

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Now I also hate reading longgg notes, but I read this and
all I could say was woah! So if you are just like me, try not to miss out on this. Take your time to read  and get some facts. In fact, it’s an interesting read. Grab
your coke and pop corn and join the ‘fun’ train, lol. Mr Sogunro’s reply is a must READ. #ilovelawyers.  

Dear Sadiq Abacha,
I do not know you personally, but I admire your filial
bravery—however misguided— in defending your father, the late General Sani
Abacha. This in itself is not a problem; it is an obligation—in this cultural
construct of ours—for children to rise to the defence of their parents, no matter
what infamy or perfidy the 
said parent might have dabbled in. Continue after the cut….

The problem I have with your letter, however, arises from
two issues: (i) your disparaging of Wole Soyinka, who—despite your referral to
an anecdotal opinion that calls him as “a common writer”—is a great father
figure, and a source of inspiration, to a fair number of us young Nigerians;
and (ii) your attempt to revise Nigerian history and substitute our national
experience with your personal opinions.
Therefore, it is necessary that we who are either Wole
Soyinka’s “socio-political” children, or who are ordinary Nigerians who
experienced life under your father’s reign speak out urgently against your
amnesiac article, lest some future historian stumble across the misguided
missive, and confuse the self-aggrandized opinions of your family for the
perceptions of Nigerians in general.
Your letter started with logical principles, which is a
splendid common ground for us. So let us go with the facts: General Sani Abacha
was a dictator. He came into power and wielded it for 8 years in a manner
hitherto unprecedented in Nigerian history. Facts: uncomfortable for your
family, but true all the same.
Now, for my personal interpretations: between 1993 and 1998
inclusive, when your dada was in power, I was a boy of 9 to 14 years and quite
capable of making observations about my political and cultural environment.
Those years have been the worst years of my material life as a Nigerian
citizen. Here are a few recollections: I recollect waking up several mornings
to scra*e sawdust from carpentry mills, lugging the bags a long distance home,
just to fuel our “Abacha stoves” because kerosene was not affordable—under your
father. I recollect cowering under the cover of darkness, with family and
neighbours, listening to radio stations—banned by your father. I recollect my
government teacher apologetically and fearfully explaining constitutional
government to us—because free speech was a crime under your father’s
government. Most of all, I remember how the news of your father’s death drove
me—and my colleagues at school—to a wild excitement, and we burst into the
street in delirious celebration. Nobody prompted us, but even as 13 and 14 year
olds, we understood the link between the death of Abacha and the hope of
freedom for the ordinary man.
These are all sorry tales, of course. Such interpretations
would not have occured to the wealthy and the privileged under your father’s
government, but they were a part of the everyday life of a common teenager
under that government. The economics were bad, but the politics were worse. And
I am not referring to Alfred Rewane, Kudirat Abiola and the scores killed by
the order of your father. Political killings are almost a part of every
political system, and most of those were just newspaper stories to us. In fact,
I didn’t get to read most of the atrocities until long after your father died.
So, these stories did not inform the dread I personally felt under your
father’s regime. And this was true for my entire family and our neighbours.
Instead, the worry over our own existence was a more
pressing issue. Your father, Sani Abacha was in Aso Rock, but his brutality was
felt right in our sitting room. We were not into politics and we didn’t vocally
oppose Abacha, yet we just knew we were not safe from him. You see, unlike any
dictatorship before or after it—your father’s government personally and
directly threatened the life and freedoms of the average Nigerian. Your father
threatened me. And if your father had not died, I am confident that I would not
be alive or free today.
Think of that for a while.
Now, let’s come to Wole Soyinka. First: you can never
eradicate the infamy of your father’s legacy by trying to point out the
failings of another Nigerian. Remember what you said: A is A.  Abacha is Abacha. And no length of finger
pointing will wash away the odious feeling the name of Abacha strikes up in the
mind of the average Nigerian. Second: Don’t—as they musician said—get it
twisted: Wole Soyinka did not antagonize your father just because he was a
military man—Wole Soyinka was against your father’s inhumanity. Your father was
intolerant of criticism beyond belief. Your father made military men look bad.
Your father’s behaviour was so bad it went back in time and soiled the
reputation of every military man before him. Your father, finally, made
Nigerians swear never—ever—to tolerate the military again. Soyinka may have
worked with the military before—but your father ensured that he will never work
with the military again. Do you see? Three: Evil comes in many forms: there is
no qualification by degree. There is no “good” evil thing. Sani Abacha, Boko
Haram, Hitler, slavery—they all fit into the same category of misfortunes.
Soyinka is right: Abacha was just as bad as Boko Haram is—deal with it. Four:
Soyinka has been kind enough to limit his criticism to the unenviable awards this
inept government has given your father. But, you see, in a saner political
system, we wouldn’t just ignore your father, we would have gone one step
further and expunged the Abacha name from all public records. Wiped without a
trace. Abacha would forever be a cautionary tale against the excesses of
political power. In a saner political system.
Abacha was brutal—and Soyinka was one of those individuals
who gave us inspiration in those dark days. He was part of the team that
founded the underground radio station to counter your father’s activities. Let
me rephrase in pop culture language: Wole Soyinka was the James Bond to your
father’s KGB. Most of the influential people either kept quiet or sang the
praises of your father to stave his wrath. But a few like Soyinka spoke, wrote
and even went militant against Abacha. But at the end, even Soyinka who never
ran from a fight had to run from your father. That was how terrible things
were. And now you want Soyinka to join the praise singers of your father? I’m not
certain Soyinka has grown old enough to forget how he escaped your
father,slipping across the border in disguise. You will have to wait awhile to
get that praise from him.
Now, back to you. You have a deluded sense of your father’s
role in the progress of Nigeria’s history. Nigeria has managed to be where it
is today, not because of leaders like your father—but in spite of leaders like
your father. This is a testament to the Nigerian spirit of resilience, and our
unwavering optimism in a better future. You owe every Nigerian an apology for
daring to attribute this to the leadership of Abacha. Those “achievements” you
believe were accomplished under your father were simply all the things he had
to do to keep milking the economy, and thereby perpetuate himself in power—they
benefited Nigeria only if, by Nigeria, you meant your family and your cronies.
Your tone is that of a white master who justifies his
oppression because he clothed and fed his black slaves. That is what your
father did. The fact that we choose not to regurgitate, and reflect on that
socially traumatic period doesn’t mean we accept it as your entitlement. We
have not forgotten, and we will never forget. Sani Abacha ra*ed Nigeria. Your
father ra*ed us. Your father ra*ed us and then pressed some change into our
hands. And he then tried to marry us forcefully, too. You may think all this is
well and good—but then you’ve never been ra*ed before.
But we now live under a democracy—the kind your father
denied us—and so you are free to talk. And so you are free to insult the people
who ensured that your father had sleepless nights. Had the revolution your
father rightly deserved happened, you—and the rest of your family—would have
been lined against a wall, before you could pen one article, and shot.
And we would probably have cheered.
But we live under a democracy now—a system of government
where even the scions of former oppressors can talk, and write freely, about
the benefits of dictatorship. That’s a democracy. A concept your father
wouldn’t have understood.
Regards,
Ayo Sogunro
The Open Letter Sadiq Wrote Before Ayo Sogunro Replied Him
If you want to think, speak and act logically then you
should know all three.
1. The law of identity
2. The law of excluded middle
3. The law of non contradiction.
Now let’s look at each one of these and see what they mean
in practice.
1.The law of identity
The law of identity means that things are what they are,
which at first doesn’t seem very illuminating, but wait; it implies also the
following, that things are what they are, whether you like them or not, it
implies that things are what they are whether you know them or not, it implies
that things are what they are whether you agree with them or not. 
However, if you don’t like the facts as they are you are
going to have to put up with them, because facts are what they are, if it’s
raining on your golf day, get used to it! Because the facts are what they are
and are often not what you want them to be, like if the traffic lights turn red
when you approach, stop complaining! The law of identity means that you must
adapt yourself to the facts and start your work from there, it implies that the
facts will not bend to meet your expectations. You must first adapt yourself to
what life is and then get to work changing and improving things in your life,
be brave to meet reality as it really is and not how you would wish it to be.
2. The law of excluded middle.
 The law of excluded
middle means that you should give a straight yes or no answer always and there
is no middle ground. The law means that there is no kinda yes and kinda no,
there is no ‘sort of’ being married because you are either married or you are
not, you are either a thief or you are not, you are either on time or not, you
are either living in Nigeria or you are not. The law is the idea that you
should not try to keep all of your options open by staying in the middle or
hedging, when it suits you, like when you accepted an appointment during IBB’s
regime as chairman of FRSC. I bet that was a military regime you partook in.
Please pick one wife and state your claim 100% to her, pick one idea and go for
it 100%! Decide and commit Sir! There you might find great power and self
satisfaction in the doctrine of decide and commit. No half way measures, no
middle ground, exclude the middle! Here! The law of excluded middle Sir.
3. The law of non contradiction.
The law of non contradiction says don’t contradict yourself
simple. If you say you will be there then be there. If you say you will do it
then do it. Don’t say or fight for one thing and then do the opposite. Don’t
say one thing and then later deny that you said it. Don’t say one thing and
then later contradict it. Be consistent in your thoughts and actions. Observing
someone who was a socialist in the morning but then became a capitalist in the
evening is a textbook on contradiction, these are two polar opposites, such a
person is clearly inconsistent and is therefore considered a flip flop,
confused, easily led or misled or at best a lunatic who has no clear
understanding of the basis of either doctrine.
Apply these three logics to others with consistency and then
you can ask for the same or expect the same from others, and then you can also
ask for others to deal with facts not fantasy, which is the law of identity.
Ask others to make up their mind to decide and commit. The law of excluded
middle.Then ask others to follow through on the things that they say they would
do. The law of non contradiction.
Sir, I believe brilliance is not perfection. I have grown
and watched you criticize regime after regime and at that young and naive age I
was thinking why wouldn’t this man just contest to be president so that Nigeria
can be saved, I would have defiantly voted for Mr Soyinka if it would have
brought an end to Nigeria’s woes. To my utter surprise, I heard about your FRSC
leadership and how funds were misused and a great deal of it unaccounted for.
“Oh my God! In the end he turned out to be just the same as everybody
else” were my next thoughts. My hopes for you, all ended up in great
disappointment.
Here I find myself defending my father 15 years after his
death because some of you have no one else to pounce on, or rather, you have
chosen a dead person to keep pouncing on over and over again when you have more
than an array of contestants.  A coward’s
act I believe.  “A common
writer” is what I have heard you being referred to lately, and I believe a
mature mind would now agree to such referrals. With all due respect, there is a
great challenge that faces the country, we have to put our heads together,
rather than clashing, our collective ships must sail in the same direction, let
us leave the ghosts of past contention and face the future bravely as one,
criticizing the past does not help the present or define a path to the future.
You say, with the weight of your sense of history and the
authority you possess on national issues that ” a vicious usurper under
whose authority the lives of an elected president and his wife were snuffed
out” referring to my late father, you must be growing old, or you would
rightly recall that that president elect you refer to did not die while my
father was alive. Did you slyly change your facts to fit a history that would
better serve your narrative, or are you just plain forgetful? Either way, it
shows you are losing your grasp of reality.
Comparing my father’s leadership to Boko Haram’s current
reign of terror,  is a rather cheap shot,
you are in no position to examine, judge and sentence an entire regime based on
the information you think you have, you are privy to almost none of the true facts,
what is at your disposal is at best, hearsay, or were you ever minister of
defence? did you ever sit in during security meetings, evaluate the facts and
subtleties of national security? You remind me of Obama criticizing the
Republicans  before he became a sitting
president himself, vouching to put an end to all American occupation, this all
came to an abrupt end once he had access to the briefs and security issues,
economic and political, facing his nation. Surely he did what he could, and
history will judge him. To lead is not to be a rock star, and to be a Nobel
laureate is not to be a an antagonist of this countries legacy..We are Africa’s
leaders, whether we like it or not, we cannot trivialize the centenary
celebration, it happens only once, let us come together, if only for this one
occasion and agree to disagree.
Open rebellion against the current government at this time,
on the manner of the centenary celebrations, for whatever reason, is tactless,
it is not about you, it is about our nation, our beloved country. There is a
time and place for everything. My late father was a Nigerian, lived in Nigeria
and died protecting our interests to the best of his ability, critiquing
placing him on the honor roll, along with many deserving dignitaries is your
right, you have the right to your own opinions, but you do not have the right
to your own facts. Facts stand alone, regardless of who espouses them, let
posterity judge, but you are clearly politicizing a dead issue, how could you
not be? Having an issue with the naming of a hospital after the late General
and leader? really ? Now ?
It almost seems as if you want to turn back the hands of
time, what else would you like to undo besides the naming of the hospital,
would you like to unmake Bayelsa state, Zamfara state or the others?  What about the advances we made in commerce,
reducing the inflation rate, what about security and welfare, how many
projects, hospitals and schools were created? inflation went from 54% to 8.5%!
my father oversaw an increase in our foreign currency reserves from 494 million
dollars in 1993 to 9.6 billion dollars by the middle of 1997, that is
unprecedented , 15 years after the PTF the benefits are still being reaped
today in Nigeria, What of peace keeping and nation building, not just in West
Africa but the entire continent, restoring democracy in Liberia and Sierra
Leone, all these under my father’s leadership, are all these not laudable? Or
would you like to undo them all. All this on 8$ per barrel of oil! You have to
be kidding me.
You are a learned man, you would have to undo all your
learning to knowingly wish to undo all these achievements! I will be the first
to proclaim that my fathers leadership was not pitch perfect or spot free, that
does not exist, maybe in utopia but not here on this earth, so let us keep our
discourse set in the sphere of reality please, he deserves the award, and he
did not campaign for it, let it go, Sir…and allow Nigeria to at least bask in
our survival and endurance in our growing prosperity and development in these
trying times. I have been accused of being an optimist, hence, I am optimistic
that you will come around and accept that we can all come together and face the
future together, forgive each other our wrongs while celebrating our rights, I
am still an admirer of your works after all, however, I cannot and will not
attempt to answer your every charge, this is not the time or place, this is a
time for solidarity, if only you were wise enough to grasp this.
 I applaud the
patience of President Goodluck Jonathan and his composure and restraint in not
having a knee jerk reaction at such a pivotal moment in our nations history,
but you would mar the occasion, Sir, in the future, please pick your battles,
and do better to safeguard your relevance, 
Enough Sir!

Sadiq Abacha.

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