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20 things to remember about Abacha

20 things to remember about Abacha
June 08
11:30 2016
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General Sani Abacha, born on September 20, 1943, was Nigeria’s military head of state from November 17, 1993 to June 8, 1998 when he died suddenly. It is exactly 20 years since he died, but how much of his history do you still remember?

1. A Kanuri originally from Borno State, General Sani Abacha was born and brought up in Kano state, which he made his home.

2. He married a Shuwa Arab, Maryam, also from Borno state, in 1965 and they had six boys and three girls. The first child, Ibrahim, died in a plane crash in 1996.

3. The last of their children was born in Aso Rock in 1994 when Abacha was 50 and his wife 47. The boy was named Mustapha, supposedly after Abacha’s chief security officer, Hamza al Mustapha.

4. Abacha was the first and only military head of state who never skipped a rank to become a full-star general.

5. Abacha announced the coup that brought an end to the government of President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983, and brought Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to power.

6. After Buhari was overthrown in a palace on August 27, 1985, it was Abacha that announced the chief of army staff, Major-Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, as the new military president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces in an evening broadcast (the coup speech was read by Brigadier Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro).

7. On appointment as chief of army staff in 1985, he caused a stir when he said the issue of “second in command” to Babangida had not been resolved, even though Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, as chief of general staff, was understood to be holding the position. It was later resolved in favour of Ukiwe.

8. Abacha was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in 1963 after he had attended the Mons Defence Officers Cadet Training College in Aldershot, England.

9. He was believed to have participated fully in the July 1966 countercoup, which led to the death of the head of state, Major-Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, and subsequently resulted in the civil war.

10. Officially, he did not overthrow the interim national government in 1993. The head of government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, resigned and Abacha, being the secretary of defence and the most senior member of government, took over. Unofficially, it was a bloodless coup.

11. He was known as a man of “few words and deadly actions” and he demonstrated this as head of state with one of the most brutal regimes Nigeria has ever had. There was massive crackdown on the media, civil rights groups and pro-democracy campaigns.

12. Two of the most important recommendations of the 1995 constitutional conference he set up are: 13% derivation for oil-producing areas and six geo-political zones.

13. He never held a non-military appointment in his career until he became minister of defence in 1990 (later re-designated secretary of defence in 1993). He was a Lt. Gen then.

14. His supporters describe him as a good economic manager and that he stabilised exchange rate at N22/$1 but the unofficial rate was N80/$1. This created colossal rent-seeking, with many “chosen” associates buying at the official rate and reselling at four times the rate in the black market.

15. It was under Abacha that Nigeria became a perpetual importer of petroleum products, as all the refineries packed up. However, 17 years after his death, Nigeria is still heavily dependent on fuel imports.

16. An unforgettable phenomenon under Abacha was the importation of “foul fuel” which had an offensive odour and damaged car engines.

17. He was instrumental to the restoration of peace and democracy in Sierra Leone and Liberia after years of civil wars.

18. He increased fuel price just once in his four-and-a-half years in office and set up the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund, which was widely acknowledged to have performed well in infrastructural development and intervention programmes in education, health and water.

19. His wife set up what is now known as the National Hospital, Abuja. It was originally named National Hospital for Women and Children before it was upgraded into what is intended to be Nigeria’s no. 1 public hospital.

20. His death is shrouded in mystery: the most popular version is that he died in the midst of Indian prostitutes flown in from Dubai but the official version is that he died of heart attack. A more likely story is that he was “eliminated” to end the political crisis in Nigeria.

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40 Comments

  1. Ab_kach
    Ab_kach June 08, 09:13

    Hmm… The be-spectacled meglomaniac! Nice name given by god knows who! In truth, as far as impact in leadership on the African continent is concerned, he »is« the best president nigeria has produced.. So far. Unfortunately for him, he lost the coin toss with the “media” and so “history” will store his name under »Tyrant: human rights violator & inconsiderate Brute. #Eyaa

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ade
    Ade June 08, 16:52

    Remembering Gen. Sani Abacha is like casting mind to the odd old days of military adventurism. Abacha started very well but tragically got corrupted by the influences of the avaricious and over ambitious service
    boys around him. He was such a very prudent President that meant well for the country. Lt. Gen. Oladipupo Diya confirmed the prudence of his late boss when he said (not quoted) that Abacha would find it difficult to approve 1m at a stretch. Abacha was just a victim of office-influenza. May his soul continue to rest in peace.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Maina
    Maina September 17, 21:27

    Abacha is the most intelligente Militry personal Nigeria has ever produce. However he is the best leader Nig has ever made. May His gentle soul rest in perpect peace. Ameeeeeeen

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mika il
    Mika il October 04, 17:49

    Ameen

    Reply to this comment
  5. Gambo
    Gambo October 14, 19:58

    I wish to said a very big thank to those who have eminensly remember the grate hero ever live Abacha is a man of courage and determination in this gravity I wish to said Abacha may your gently soul rest in peace we miss you.

    Reply to this comment
    • alkalin arewa
      alkalin arewa November 08, 15:15

      I Aliyu Gwadabe Kawu From Li,awa Town In Dutse Local Gov’t on behalf of my family wish his souls rest in peace and my almighty grant him with aljannatul fiddausi amin

      Reply to this comment
  6. ABDULLAHI BABA
    ABDULLAHI BABA October 18, 11:59

    May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace the only General ever live as Nigerias president. Your good work will always flourish on earth. People called you names is only now their prove that, you have dont nothing but the work. We are praying for your repose soul to rest in gennatul firdausi Amin. May almighty ALLAH continue to give you mercies in your grave and all the Muslim that had die. And may BUHARI be our president come 2015. Amin.

    Reply to this comment
  7. power
    power November 11, 18:17

    the 1st gen nd the last 1in nigeria history R I P P

    Reply to this comment
  8. El-mus
    El-mus December 13, 07:55

    may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Ameen

    Reply to this comment
  9. uzdog
    uzdog December 28, 01:50

    Rip my hero.

    Reply to this comment
  10. vianney uganda
    vianney uganda January 08, 17:44

    where does great thing shd be remembered

    Reply to this comment
  11. balisocial
    balisocial February 17, 20:31

    OH,, Allah forgive our jentle leader who rule his people with and love,Gen.ABACHA he is great hero,the underpetead the man who know,s his right and his portion,the man who have a few word,but too action and functioning,may his gentle soul rest in peace.Ameen

    Reply to this comment
    • Abdul
      Abdul April 11, 08:30

      The only general who has never skipped a rank! May ur gentle soul continue to rest in peace.

      Reply to this comment
      • shakazulu
        shakazulu June 08, 14:00

        Gentle soul? Is that a joke? That bloodthirsty tyrant? Those were the dark ages in Nigeria. Everyone was afraid to even breath. The day he died the country was afraid that it wasn’t true, and everyone was whispering. When the announcement was made there were parties in the street.

        Reply to this comment
        • limbs
          limbs July 26, 17:19

          You dont know what you are talking about. Abacha did not kill any body in Nigeria Ken was executed for killing his kinsmen. if you disagree you can go and ask the family of those he killed. All the NADECO Men and the rest that run away they the crookes that milk this country dry and just running to hide their loots outside. Cast your mempry line back and you will see that it was only Gen.Abacha that did not execute coup plotter even after the military tribunal has confirmed them guilty of staging a coup. if there is no coup attempt let any of the pplotter come and say or deny that, El Mustafa is very handy to thrush it out with him or her.
          please dont jump into conclusion for the sake being opposed to Gen. Abacha’s policies. look at our eonomy at that time how well it was managed inspite of the fall in the price of petroleum to $8.00 yet he increased the petroleum pump price once and promised to set up an institution that will intern in some critical sectors PTF (Special) and imagine the wonderful work they carried out in this country.

          Reply to this comment
  12. baba otu
    baba otu April 26, 13:02

    Your comment..Abacha is the must intelligent president compared to others in nigeria

    Reply to this comment
  13. BILYAMINU USMAN GOBIR
    BILYAMINU USMAN GOBIR June 01, 01:27

    Our beloved leader, though you are dead, your contribusion to the development of our great country remains green, your blood flows in our veins and we will continue to remember you forever. May your respected soul rest in an endless peace.

    Reply to this comment
  14. For truth
    For truth June 08, 12:14

    Forgotten most remembered n unforgivable worst of his atrocities for humanity; killing , imprisonment n tortured of many citizens both pro-democracy n activists such as Sheikh Elzakzaky n followers. We’ll never forget n forgive d innocent souls n life DAT he destroyed.q

    Reply to this comment
  15. gabs
    gabs June 08, 12:42

    Am surprise that Abacha is getting this kind of encomium. I may understand because in my place they said that you don’t speak bad about the dead. But that will not make us not to say the truth even when it hurts because the evil men do live after them. Was it not this same Abacha that used Al Mustapha to maintain a killer squad that was going about killing all that opposed his views. He is now a hero.
    The reason why Nigeria is still a baby even when it is supposed to be a giant among committee of nation is because every nation produces the kind of leadership ut deserves. Even the governed in Nigeria cannot will not want to differentiate between a bad leader and a good one bcos of our various sentiments. May God help both the leaders and the led in this country….Amen

    Reply to this comment
    • niyi
      niyi June 11, 04:58

      God bless you

      Reply to this comment
    • Wezzy
      Wezzy August 15, 15:07

      Thank you. My jaw dropped when i read these comments and you are the only one who said what needed to be said. We have terrible people in Nigeria with short term memories and then those terrible people who because of tribalism will defend what is evil. Abacha was the best president indeed. What arrant nonsense. And all the recovered stolen funds are what? the money he was storing for future school fees for his 200th generation baa? God will help us Nigerians to speak the truth!

      Reply to this comment
  16. olododo
    olododo June 08, 14:51

    Then ask a Yoruba man they will tell you he was the most wicked leader that has ever rule the country ,because we lost a lot of our men eithet killed or not seen till today

    Reply to this comment
  17. Ade
    Ade June 08, 16:34

    Abacha? Encomiums? I must comment! Abacha? Abacha? Abacha? #Can’tBelieveThis!

    Reply to this comment
  18. Niyi
    Niyi June 13, 03:29

    It’d be unfortunate if we reduce this piece to an argument on the narcissistic tendencies of the man. He got some things right. But is it just me or all previous comments in his honour seem to be from northerners/Muslims?
    It’s sad, none of them articulated a single correct sentence, yet they believe they got the best from one of the administrations that made certain of that. Grow up brothers, because unless your command of English does not reflect the state of your mind (and I doubt it doesn’t), you’re going to be so left behind the smell of your own mind will be repulsive to you.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Larab
    Larab June 14, 18:20

    shakazulu!!! Hmmmm, remember that u re also a human being. And u shall tested dead. Say Good or u remain speech less. Think twice Shakazulu

    Reply to this comment
  20. hetler abacha
    hetler abacha July 09, 06:09

    Abacha is a great leader my his soul rest in peace

    Reply to this comment
  21. malik 4 life
    malik 4 life September 01, 20:00

    abacha is a man that have few words.but too action and functionality. may Allah accepts his ibada ameen

    Reply to this comment
  22. Umar Ahmad Sada zurmi
    Umar Ahmad Sada zurmi December 21, 18:35

    Nigeria miss the interllegent military person he is the great person during his leadership may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace Ameeen

    Reply to this comment
  23. Abdulrazaq Rabiu
    Abdulrazaq Rabiu February 04, 21:52

    Your comment..Abacha is a good leader who contribute in developing Nigerian economy. May Allah rest his soul in a perfect peace. Ameem.

    Reply to this comment
  24. umar gelwasa
    umar gelwasa April 06, 12:54

    Your comment.. Really good peoples ar nt lasting but reality remains dat gen sani abacha is the best millitary ruler so far in nig may your soul rest in perfect peace ameen we pray to be like him such as bravery and chronicles of command dat god gave to him ameeeen

    Reply to this comment
    • feraghamo
      feraghamo April 13, 00:28

      Abacha hmmmm really am short of wordz……. Pple see him as a bad millitary leader dat nigeria have ever produced. Buh i av dis sycophancitic feeling dat He is really a great role model.

      Reply to this comment
  25. Apollo
    Apollo June 07, 20:24

    Rest in peace Nigeria knew what they have when you left. Adieu

    Reply to this comment
  26. dan Musa
    dan Musa June 08, 09:08

    Abacha was really miss understood. Remember he was in government since the beginning of Gowon’s government and active at that. So he gave his whole to Nigeria which most ran away. Now the economic woes was from Gowon’s era. When we hard money ???? but how to spend. That was when we started having parties; marriage ???? parties all over the nation flamboyantly. Especially our brothers from you ???? know. May his soul rest in peace ✌ Ameen

    Reply to this comment
  27. G
    G June 08, 09:26

    History is quite funny. I remember the jubilation in my area when he died. It was as if Jesus himself had walked into Lagos.
    And now, there’s this near hagiographic rendering of his status: “Abacha no tiff money!”, “The exchange rate was not too bad!”, “He was a principled man!”, “He no skip any rank to become General!”

    It is well.

    Reply to this comment
  28. saka
    saka June 22, 12:57

    May Allah help us all

    Reply to this comment
  29. jimi
    jimi July 19, 16:22

    If Abacha was this good, then Nigerians must be really bad and deserve whatever they get. A thief is a thief regardless of how he stole money “Nigerian police recover part of Sani Abacha’s $4.3bn hoard from ..”.”Switzerland to return Sani Abacha ‘loot’ money to Nigeria | World news …” his acts speak for themselves, so many unfortunate Nigerian have been lynched and stripped naked for stealing less .

    Reply to this comment
  30. Enoch
    Enoch September 15, 12:46

    I can now apprehend & comprehend that the problem with Nigeria is Nigerians. How on earth will a Nigerian celebrate vices and foibles. Acts that are not virtuous. U celebrate Abacha? A definition of an avaricious dictator who thinks he owns us, Nigeria, and our future. So bad that the encomiums are impoverished. lacks depth and is full of grammatical gobbledygook. English language has gone through a lot from our brothers in the north. If u can’t write good English, then write in Hausa. Don’t take us to limbo. Your encomiums are as bad as your hero you praise.

    Reply to this comment
  31. O.C
    O.C September 15, 22:57

    May gentle soul continue to rest in peace amin.

    Reply to this comment

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