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12 Jun 2018

June 12: We were deceived into working with Abacha, says Abiola’s campaign DG

The Director-General of the MKO Abiola campaign organisation, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, on Monday, said the SDP members who served in the Gen. Sani Abacha government all had the permission of Abiola.

Zwingina, who ran the campaign tagged ‘Hope ’93,’ said Abacha deceived them into working with him.

The former lawmaker said this during a live breakfast show on Channels Television on Monday.

He said, “I have been the secretary of most of the meetings on the June 12 campaign and I can tell you some facts that we sat in a meeting chaired by MKO Abiola and agreed as a team to work with the government of Abacha in anticipation of declaring June 12 after about six or 12 months.

“That is what happened. Nobody just ran away. That is not correct. I have seen it in the media. Everything is just speculation.”

He defended the likes of Kingibe, a former Lagos State governor, Lateef Jakande and Olu Onagoruwa (SAN), who all agreed to serve in the Abacha government.

Zwingina said he was in possession of the minutes of the meeting where the decision was taken by Abiola and others to serve in Abacha’s government.

He added, “It may not be quite accurate to say somebody jumped ship or ran away from a mandate. That is not accurate. I had the list of those who were presented to Gen. Abacha and we had protests about some areas and they were corrected.

“With the benefit of hindsight, we can say we were deceived but the fact was that we had good faith, we believed it was going to happen and so we threw in our best heads. The late Onagoruwa didn’t really want to be in the government but I remember that my principal (Abiola) said to him ‘look, if you are not there and June 12 is being discussed, who would speak for me?’

“This same argument was presented to Lateef Jakande and other leaders and this was what encouraged them (to work with Abacha). It is true that we were given this impression strongly that this was going to lead to the validation of the June 12 mandate and I am speaking with authority because I have the minutes of the meeting.”

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