- Ireti Kingbe said Chief MKO abandoned her husband
- The former wife of Kingibe claimed her husband suffered a lot for Abiola
- She claimed her husband had to work for Abacha or lose his life
Ireti Kingbe who was the wife of a former secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Baba Gana kingibr, has said that her husband did not betray the late Chief MKO Abiola contrary to popular belief.
Speaking with The Interview, Ireti said many people were against her former husband’s Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) award because they felt he betrayed Abiola.
She said it was her husband that went through a lot for Abiola whom she claimed abandoned him.
She said: “It’s not a view. I know that Kingibe did not betray Abiola because I was there. I am not just saying this. I think I am one of his most vocal critics. But that aspect of criticism is not fair, and it is not true.
“Whether Kingibe deserves national honors or not, if you are giving it to June 12, then he was part of it. But saying that he betrayed Abiola (I have nothing to gain from telling the truth), was unfair.
“Maybe a lot of people didn’t see what he went through himself. He also did not care to make it public. Everybody says Kingibe betrayed Abiola, how? Nobody tells us. At least I haven’t been told.”
She said her ex-husband’s decison to work for the Sani Abacha regime was made “collectively that not just Kingibe but remember they had Jakande and so many people from the Abiola/Kingibe camp in the government.”
“They were under the misguided notion that Abacha was going to hand over to them. And really, as I have said over and over again, Kingibe is no longer my husband and I am under no obligation to say anything good about him.
“But I also do not believe in telling lies. And as I have said to many people in the past, they are all guilty of bad judgement and not bad will.”
“The truth is that Abiola needed Kingibe to win the elections but may not have been as comfortable with him as he should have been. When Abiola left Nigeria, I think it would be really strange to run away from the country and you are not going to say anything to your running mate,” Ireti said.
“In truth, Baba Kingibe only went to see Abiola and found out that Abiola had left the country. And when Abiola called from abroad, it was me he got. Those days we had landlines. Baba was not at home. I picked up the phone and he said to me in Yoruba that I should tell him that a bird does not tell another bird that a stone is coming.
“So, when Baba came back, I said Abiola called and this is the message he left for you. Baba said to me, ‘did he call to apologize?’ I said no, he did not call to apologize. He just gave an explanation or a rationalization for his action and this is what he said. He ‘no, no! You didn’t understand his Yoruba well.’
“I said you can go and find out from anybody. I can’t discuss their relationship, I can’t discuss the depth of it. I can only discuss my perspective of it because I was there at the time. Yes, I did think when Abiola went away, came back, Kingibe stayed in the country and stuck it out to the end, though his passport along with mine were seized.”
“It was either Kingibe stayed in his government right in front of him or he buries him, Kingibe is dead. There are no two ways.”
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Meanwhile, 20 years after he died of what was officially reported as heart attack, former head of state and Nigeria military dictator general Sani Abacha is still remembered, notably for some key things that occurred during his regime.
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