What is Kingibe up to?
By Gabriel Akinadewo, Group Political Editor
ONE government. One organisation. At each other’s throat for close to five years. Between November 17, 1993 and June 8, 1998.
That was the scenario between the regime of the late General Sani Abacha and the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) led by the late Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin.
Anything that happened to the Abacha regime was traceable to the NADECO leaders such as Ajasin, Pa Anthony Enahoro, the late Chief Bola Ige, the late Pa Alfred Rewane, Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, General Alani Akinrinade and others.
The genesis of the crisis was the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late multi billionaire Chief M.K.O. Abiola.
The culprit was General Ibrahim Babangida. He later left the stage for Abacha to ‘carry the can’.
A similar scenario is playing itself out today in the most populous black nation. Two days to his exit, former President Olusegun Obasanjo increased the prices of petroleum products and Value Added Tax (VAT).
Now, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is “carrying the can”.
During the Abacha regime, two actors were outspoken: Alhaji Baba Gana Kingibe and the late Alhaji Wada Nas.
Kingibe was the External Affairs Minister. He was later moved to the Internal Affairs ministry.
Nas was Special Duties Minister.
Any action of the opposition was always given a political colouration.
Given the hardship experienced by Nigerians, any call for the military junta to alleviate the suffering of the people was seen as being sponsored by the opposition NADECO.
Even when people took to the street to protest the economic hardship, it was seen as political.
Abacha became history on June 8, 1998 and Kingibe disappeared from public view.
Now, the former chairman of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Abiola’s running mate is back. With the same partisan mentality.
Kingibe is the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Now, there is a crisis in the land. Two days before the exit of the Obasanjo administration, the prices of petroleum products were increased.
Some Nigerians however decided to give Yar’Adua the benefit of the doubt. To them, since it was not his administration that increased the prices, he would reverse them on assumption of office.
But this is not to be. On the eve of the strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to protest the latest hardship inflicted on Nigerians, Yar’Adua reversed some of the decisions.
But the price of petrol did not go back to N65.
While the government team and the labour officials were negotiating, Kingibe, an old guard, released a bombshell: the strike is political.
The SGF said in a statement: “Any well-meaning Nigerian in whose name Labour purported to speak can see that the tone and content of this press statement clearly indicated a political, rather than an industrial agenda.
“Government, therefore, urges all law-abiding Nigerians and members of the international community to go about their businesses and resist any attempt by any individual or group to use them to attain political objectives masked as agitation in defence of the public interest”.
But the questions Nigerians are asking are: Is the NLC President Abdul Waheed Omar a member of any of the opposition parties? Which political party or leader is sponsoring Labour in this crusade?
During the April 21 presidential election, other candidates contested against Yar’Adua. And they lost. Who among them is sponsoring Labour now?
Major General Muha-mmadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)? Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Action Congress (AC)? Dim Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) or Rev Chris Okotie of the Fresh Democratic Party (FDP)?
Who exactly is Kingibe referring to? What are the facts to suggest that the strike is political?
However, Omar replied the SGF yesterday.
He said: “We are convinced that Mr. President certainly knows better that this strike is not in pursuit of a political agenda but is about public welfare and about the economy, the economy and economy, to use the words of President Yar’Adua”.
Now, who is playing politics with the welfare of Nigerians? Kingibe or Omar?
What is Kingibe up to this time around?