Can you recall your last meeting with M.K.O Abiola.

When was it, and what was the state of his health? It was about two weeks before he died. But the visit before the last was more remarkable. It was arranged by the military government to dispel the rumour that Abiola had died in detention. They quickly arranged a meeting for me to go and see him. They sent one captain from Aso Rock to me to tell me that I was needed urgently in Aso Rock. This was the penultimate meeting to the last meeting with him. I found the message strange because my previous meetings were arranged by the commissioner of police in Abuja, under whom Abiola was supposed to be. Whenever I visited him, I usually returned to Lagos by 6pm, but that day, it was not possible because immediately I got into the car, they started driving round Abuja to waste time so that it would be dark and I won’t recognise where they were taking me to. When we got to the place, Abiola was there. It was a new place; I had not seen him there before. It was a bungalow. As soon as they opened the door and Abiola saw me, he came towards me and we hugged. We sat and unlike before, none of the guards waited to listen to our discussion. We spoke Yoruba all the time. They objected to it at first, later on they agreed. That day he was behaving like he was in the spirit. I told him there was a rumour that he had been killed. He said, ‘I know that I’m dead. They have dug the grave. They have put me in the grave except that they have not close me up.’ I asked, ‘What happened? Have they injured you or injected you?’ He said no, but that he just knew. That means he had the premonition that he was going to die in detention. Yes. As he was talking, his mood changed. He told me he had forgiven those who caused his incarceration; that it was left for them to ask for forgiveness from God. He said he forgave them because he wants God to forgive him his sins. All these were strange, because in my previous visits, he was always asking about the things that were happening in the country. Then he started singing, ‘Nearer my God to thee, nearer to thee.’ He used to sing Christian songs. After signing the song in English, he started singing it in Yoruba. Then he got up; hugged me and we began to cry. It was very emotional. I tried to calm him down, because I didn’t know what he had seen. All through this period, the guards did not come to say time was up. I told him I will tell the story to the people, which was normal after every visit. But did you observe any sign or symptoms of illness in him? No. He was neither sick nor injured. You could say his spirit was low, but his body was good. There were no signs and symptoms of any illness. He spoke from a very conscious mind. That was the most poignant visit. The last visit was routine; to change his toiletries and so on. The then Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, recently told us that when he visited Abiola few days to his death, he was in high spirits, because he was happily awaiting his release. How did he overcome the depression? About two weeks to Abiola’s death, Abdulsalami Abubakar had started to send out word that Abiola might be released. So, the whole town started to rejoice. I don’t know how that one was done. They even got to me and said my trips to Abuja would soon end. I knew the government was not going to try him. Chief Rotimi Williams had already told us that they did not have any evidence against him. There was no point going to court. As far as I knew, Abiola knew that they would not allow him to come out just like that since they would not take him to court. Every time, they were asking him to denounce his mandate and prepare himself for another election, but he refused. During my last visit, I told him I had the rumour that Abubakar will release him but I did not want him to believe the rumour until there was concrete evidence. How did you receive the news of his death? That day, I was in the sitting room here. A call came from the personal physician of Abubakar. He said, ‘Doctor, get yourself ready and start coming to Abuja. The Head of State has sent his

.’ Then he said he must go. who was allowed to see Abiola.’ Of course. that I should bring any of my colleagues. which was exactly my reaction when I finally learnt that he had died. so that my reaction would not be. Kola asked me: ‘What is going to happen next?’ I said. You remember in Abacha’s case. Did you eventually go to Abuja that day? I refused to go.’ They were already talking to Abiola’s two wives about burying him immediately. I said ‘Yes.’ That could have been my reaction. This time. But I asked him. Oye Adeniran to represent me. Then I received another call. That was of course for them to say goodbye. he told Susan Rice. ‘These are two deaths too many. Abiola died between 3:20 and 3:40pm that day. they woke him up and he just brushed his teeth and came out to meet with them. How can a Head of State die so suddenly and he was hurriedly buried without a post-mortem. ‘Doctor let’s go to the airport and take the plane to Abuja. there was no post-mortem. And just before we got to Maryland. I told him that I would assemble a team of international pathologists to conduct the post-mortem. By then Abacha had gone. I was not going to enter that aircraft. it would be at the VIP section of the airport. These were facts borne out of the autopsy. it was about 15 minutes to 6pm. I told Kola and he said. They did all of these without my knowledge. According to the written press conference given by Ambassador Thomas Pickering. REVELATION ! They arranged for them [the two wives] to come and see Abiola the day before he died. So. but for the living. I knew he had heard. When the doctor heard my request. He died shortly after the American delegation got to Aguda House by 3pm. After that. said I should come. ‘Is that true?’ He wasn’t crying.’ He didn’t want to tell me that Abiola had died. So. I called Prof. According to them. We boarded Kola’s car and he tuned to BBC news. I was the only one in five years. who was part of the delegation. ‘Alright if you have killed him. who led the American delegation. go so that you take care of the body. eat him. one of their problems had been solved. At that time. Then he said. The doctor also told me not to come alone. I told him to tell Abubakar’s physician that I want a post-mortem. ‘Why are you sending for me? I was given about two weeks appointment to come and see Abiola.personal jet through Governor Buba Marwa. I asked Kola. Then they announced that Abiola had died. I called Kola Abiola and told him that something bad had happened but that I didn’t know the extent. maybe he had not died. Marwa. others said he was poisoned. I’m not going to Abuja. Nobody told Abiola that he was going to have visitors that day. people had started rioting. I declined the offer and asked them to wait. ‘Nothing. As his doctor and member of the team that conducted the post-mortem. When we got back to the house. what she wore the first day he met her.’ He was referring to the death of Sani Abacha and that of Abiola.’ I didn’t know Kola had heard. Pickering said Abiola’s brain must be sharp to remember all that. their mission was to convince Abiola to denounce his mandate and go for another election. He had not had his lunch. the governor of Lagos. I told him to turn back. that the pilot and others were waiting. I then thought. Abiola was left. One thing I want you to tell them is that they must not bury him because he is a Muslim. His intestine was clear. I’m not the doctor for the dead. he then called me back and said he would advise Abubakar that there must be a post-mortem. that he would send a car to pick me. so tell me what has happened that warrants me to come urgently. Some said Abiola was beaten to death. Up till that time. We were lucky to escape without the car being damaged. what were your findings? Abiola was not beaten. the body was embalmed and kept in the morgue waiting for the pathologists to arrive. There must be a post-mortem. They exchanged banters.

There are people who have worse conditions than that and they are still alive. There was no precedence of a visitor bringing tea for the host. The question is. what they said was that there was not enough supply of blood to his heart because there was a collection of fatty materials in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. Abubakar was the one who gave them the appointment. but how come this team of highly qualified doctors. who was occupying Abiola’s position had died and why did they bring another military? We should also note that after Abiola died. The US also insisted on sending at least two pathologists just to protect its image. So. But here we are. And later. Abiola had already died. They called on him and he told them he was coming. Up till now. America insisted that they wanted to be well represented. So. he felt uncomfortable and then. I asked the US Ambassador why they brought Pickering and others. that was why he died eventually. During a cocktail to celebrate the US National Day. By then. their mission was unnecessary because they were not going to get him to say yes. It is not done anywhere in the world. Abubakar’s doctor was there. A notable personality usually dies after his mission to any country. they had been told he was a tea drinker. Abubakar went to White House to visit the sitting American President and he went in military uniform. he complained of pain in the chest and grabbed his chest. The current American President has not found it important enough to come to the same country in which the previous governments took very big roles in taking those two actors out. with no guard around. because there were rumours that it was the US that killed Abiola. The question was: Why did he come? We know him as Central Intelligence Agency man and he was not the serving ambassador in the country then. he had started feeling weak. and we made him the team captain. And Ambassador Pickering said in his press conference that shortly after he had taken the tea. Coker. They brought a special flask. Can you recollect anybody who entered White House in military uniform? It is not done. Abiola came unaccompanied to that meeting. he went to the convenience to ease himself. . He was given that exception. You believe Abiola was poisoned. but he did not come back as expected. But he died before the pain tablet arrived. Tony Blair sent a message to me through the British High Commissioner here that he was nominating Dr. John Shepherd. His heart did not get blood supply. I was there. Abiola was gone and they thought Nigeria’s problem was solved. why did that happen? How could that happen to somebody who just woke up. including yourself conducted the post-mortem and concluded that Abiola died from natural causes? No. one of the top pathologists in England. had not done anything and was not doing any exercise. the chief guard that usually stayed with Abiola was not there because they didn’t tell him some people would be visiting. Human rights groups from Chicago sent in a pathologist. Of course. You can go and read about him. It is unconventional. What did he do? How long had he been on the throne here that he was received by the American President? Abacha was gone. they sent one Muslim doctor and one Christian doctor to me. It is necessary to note that death followed Pickering’s missions. When they came in. Dr. It must have been for another purpose. nobody has repeated the precedence. where they tried to jerk his heart back to life. which Hamza Al-Mustapha described as multi-dimensional.They had brought that suggestion before and Abiola rejected it. That was how he died. I told him that Abacha. They took him to Aso Rock clinic. the owner of that hospital on Victoria Island was there and the team. They poured themselves tea and poured tea for Abiola. By the time the doctor came. they offered someone in detention tea. I think it high time US apologised to Nigeria for the roles it played in the death of Abiola. Not only did they bring it. They asked him if they should call the doctor but he said they should ask the guard to get his pain tablet. Are you saying that the US had a hand in Abiola’s death? Yes. but he was gone.

took his blood and sent it to toxicologists in Canada and in London. This was because he had gone once and the then interim President Ernest Shonekan. Another question to ask was where did Pickering type his press statement? Abiola died around 3:40pm and by 4pm. When he died. Abacha took over from Shonekan. not seeing people and so on. Could something have triggered the heart attack? The answer is yes. Then there was the afternoon coup. But many people feared that if he left. Abiola landed and trouble started. and that is why we are calling for a more detailed investigation into the cause of Abiola’s death. A police officer that came from Aso Rock threw Abiola against a pillar and he hit his back and his spinal cord protruded. did not allow him back into the country. Such drugs can disturb the rhythm of the heart to an extent that the heart can stop pumping blood. But did Abiola have any health condition that could have resulted to sudden death? Tell me who had a better health than Abiola. Pickering read his typed-written press statement and said he must have died of heart attack. Abiola was a globetrotter. you believe medical science can detect the poison now? Yes. If not because he was very healthy. Before he was detained. Why are the human rights activists here not pushing for further investigation into Abiola’s death? Our government did not even want to say that the man won the election. because medical science has perfected all that now. his reign was not to be permanent. We took specimen from his intestine. but he refused. Then we looked for CT scan and there was none in Nigeria but Abacha was ready to let him go abroad for treatment. replaced them with his own guards and asked them to fly Abiola in from Cotonou. Does this leave traces in the blood? Yes. and the policeman wanted collect it from him. Abacha had to change the guards at the airport. He was not exercising. It was the same Abacha that ensured that Abiola returned. As far as Abacha was concerned. until President Goodluck Jonathan came. it can make the heart to stop within minutes.Something must have engineered the heart to behave the way it did that Abiola could not survive more than 10 minutes. So. he had to remove Shonekan to foil Ibrahim Babangida’s plan to come back. They even tried to injure him once in the office of the Commissioner of Police in Abuja. but now they believe he was poisoned and they are trying to find out what type of poison it was. They just conducted the post-mortem of Yasser Arafat. nobody suspected. he wouldn’t have lasted five years in detention. We also know that there are drugs that can affect the rhythm of the heart. We gave Abiola a newspaper. Babangida’s intention was to transform into a civilian president. they would not have allowed him back into the country. If you give it to anyone to drink in tablet or liquid form. I was close to Abacha to know all these. The doctor that took Abiola’s body to Aso Rock clinic had not come when Pickering addressed the press. . the Palestinian man that died about five years ago.