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Sanni Abacha’s Son, Daughter Attack Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka Over Rejection of Centenary Awards



The open letter written by Sadiq Abacha, the son of late military dictator, General Sanni Abacha, attacking Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, for publicly rejecting an award from President Goodluck Jonathan on account of the plan to simultaneously honour Abacha during the centenary celebrations as one of the ‘Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development’ went virile last week.

He was reacting to the statement credited to Professor Wole Soyinka in rejecting the centenary award given to him by President Jonathan.

In rejecting the award, Soyinka had criticized all forms of award or immortalization of Abacha, particularly the naming of a hospital, where victims of a recent boarding school attacks had been receiving treatment after the late maximum dictator.

“The sheer weight of indignation and revulsion of most of Nigerian humanity at the recent Boko Harma atrocity in Yobe is most likely to have overwhelmed a tiny footnote to that outrage, small indeed, but of an inversely proportionate significance…  This was the name of the hospital to which the survivors of the massacre were taken”, Soyinka had written.

“For the name of that hospital, it is reported, is none other than that of General Sanni Abacha, a vicious usurper under whose authority the lives of an elected president and his wife were snuffed out.  Assassinations – including through bombs cynically ascribed to the opposition – became routine. Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance”.

He had recalled the hanging of nine citizens, including writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-wiwa, against widespread international condemnation; and likened the current reign of terror to Abacha’s regime; saying that by honouring the late soldier, Jonathan had scooped up a century’s accumulated degeneracy in one preeminent symbol, and placed it on a podium for the nation to admire, emulate and even – worship.

“Such abandonment of moral rigour comes full circle sooner or later. The survivors of a plague known as Boko Haram, students in a place of enlightenment and moral instruction, are taken to a place of healing dedicated to an individual contagion – a murderer and thief of no redeeming quality known as Sanni Abacha, one whose plunder is still being pursued all over the world and recovered piecemeal by international consortiums – at the behest of this same government which sees fit to place him on the nation’s Roll of Honour!”, Soyinka had said, before emphatically adding that he was rejecting his “share of this national insult”.

But responding in an open letter, Sadiq launched a scathing attack against Soyinka, whom he suggested was “unwise” not to recognize that the centenary celebrations offer the country’s citizens a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to unite.

Sadiq criticized Soyinka for accepting to chair the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) during the tenure of fellow military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida. In other parts of the letter, he described the revered professor as a coward, a common writer, and a tactless rebel against the centenary celebrations.

In the same vein, Gumsu Abacha, one of the daughters of the late Nigerian dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, also lashed out at Prof. Wole Soyinka following the Nobel laureate’s statement about her father.

Gumsu took to her Facebook page and posted the following: “someone tell Soyinka, I liked his books, when I was younger, but that is where it ends. Today, I reject his stupid, foolish, insignificant statement.”

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