A detailed analysis of how Chief MKO Abiola spent his last days have now emerged from his personal physician and friend Dr Ore Falomo whom he would always refer to in those days whenever he granted an interview as his clfriend. Read Excerpts below:
CAN YOU RECALL YOUR LAST MEETING WITH MKO ABIOLA 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 urgently needed in Aso Rock. 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 would usually return to Lagos by 6pm but that day it was not possible because immediately I got into the car they started driving around the streets of Abuja to waste time so that I wont recognise where they were taking me to. When we got to the house 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 down and unlike before none of the guards waited to listen to our conversation. We spoke Yoruba all the time they objected 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 but only that they have not closed 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 A 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 for 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 singing in English he began to sing it in Yoruba. Then he got up hugged me and we began to cry. It was emotional. I tried to calm him down, because I didn't know what he had seen. All through this period the guards never came to tell us that 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
HOW DID YOU RECEIVE THE NEWS OF HIS DEATH
That day I was sitting in the living room of my house when a call came through for me from Abubakar's personal physician asking me to come to Abuja. The head of state had sent his personal Jet to come and pick me through Governor Buba Marwa. It would be at the VIP section of the airport, of course I was not going to enter that aircraft. I asked to know why they were sending for me since my appointment was two weeks away so what warrants my going to Abuja urgently? He didn't tell me that Abiola was dead otherwise my reaction would have been "alright if you have killed him, eat him. I'm not the doctor for the dead but the living" and that was exactly my reaction when I later heard he had died.
After that I called kola Abiola and told him that I think something bad has happened but i didn't know the extent. The doctor that called asked me not to come alone but to bring my colleague. I then thought maybe he had not died. I told Kola and he said let us go to the airport and board the plane to Abuja I didn't know kola had heard. we boarded his car and he tuned to BBC News by that time it was 15 minutes to 6pm when the announcements came that Abiola had died. I asked Kola " is this true because he wasn't crying I knew he had heard. I told him to turn back and just before we got to Maryland people had started rioting, we were lucky to escape
DID YOU EVENTUALLY GO TO ABUJA THAT DAY
I refused to go. when we got back to the house Kola asked me what was going to happen next. I said "nothing, I'm not going to Abuja." He said he must go and I said "yes, go so that you can take care of the body one thing I want you to tell them is that they must not bury the body because he is a Muslim" They were already talking to Abiola's two wives about burying him immediately.
AS HIS DOCTOR AND A MEMBER OF THE TEAM THAT PERFORMED THE AUTOPSY WHAT WERE YOUR FINDINGS
...Abiola was not beaten he died shortly after the American delegation got to Aguda House by 3pm. he even told Susan Rice what she wore the first day he met her so his brain was sharp. Abiola came unaccompanied to the meeting of course they had been told he was a tea drinker. They brought a special flask which Al-Mustapha described as multi-dimensional. They poured themselves tea and poured tea for Abiola. They was no precedence of a visitor bringing tea for the host. It is unconventional. It is not done anywhere in the world. Not only did they bring it they offered someone who was in detention tea with no guard around. Ambassador Pickering said shortly after he took the tea he complained of pain in the chest and grabbed his chest and later he felt uncomfortable and then he went to the convenience to ease himself but he did not come back as expected. they called on him he told them he was coming by then he had started feeling weak.They asked him if they can call a doctor he said no, they should ask the guard to send him his pain tablet but he died before the pain tablet was brought. They took him to Aso Rock clinic where they tried to jerk his heart back to life but he was gone.
ARE YOU SAYING THE US HAD A HAND IN HIS DEATH
Yes it is necessary to note that death followed Pickering's missions. A notable personality always dies following his mission anywhere in any country. You can go and read about him. 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. Abubakar was the one who gave them the appointment. During a cocktail to celebrate the US National
day I asked the US ambassador why they brought Pickering and others here. I told him that Abacha who was occupying Abiola's position had died why did they bring another Military? We should also note that after Abiola died Abubakar went to the White House to visit the sitting American President and he went in Military uniform
CAN YOU RECOLLECT ANYBODY WHO WENT TO WHITE HOUSE WITH ARMY UNIFORM
It is not done. He was given that exception. Up till now nobody has repeated that precedence. what did he do? How long had he been on the throne here that he was received by the American President? Abacha was gone, Abiola was gone and they thought Nigeria's problem was solved but here we are. the current American President has not found it important enough to come to the same country in which the previous government took very big roles in taking those two actors out. I think it is high time the US apologised to Nigeria for the role it played in Abiola's death. The US also insisted on sending two pathologists just to protect its image because they were rumours that the US killed Abiola. Tony Blair sent a message to me through the high commissioner here thathe was nominating Doctor John Sheperd, one of the top pathologist in England and we made him the team captain. Human rights group from Chicago sent in a pathologist. America insisted that they wanted to be well represented, so they sent one Muslim doctor and one Christian doctor to me. I was there, Abubakar's doctor was there, doctor Coker the owner of the hospital in Victoria Island was there and the team.
Abeg i don type tire, hand dey pain me this one do biko!