Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Abacha told Colin Powell about his coup d'état


Retired US Secretary State and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff of the American Armed Forces, General Colin Powell  recently revealed  that he got a call from the late General Sani Abacha on the night he planned the coup to oust Chief Ernest Shonekan and the Interim National Government. Powell said he received this call around 2:00 a.m. and protested against Abacha's decision. But we all know what happened next.

Abacha's coup was successful. And what Nigeria got in return was one of the world's most  corrupt leaders in recent history.

Colin Powell shared this information with his audience at  the breakfast meeting organised by Tell Communications Limited  to mark Nigeria's 10 years of unbroken democracy. Here are some quotes from Colin Powell from the meeting:

"I have watched as someone who sees and believes in the great potential of Nigeria as an economic power and a political leader in the region and the world- as someone who wants to see that potential realised,"

"Yes, I have seen the turmoil", he said. "Shortly after I retired from the Army in 1993, I began getting letters from Sani Abacha, telling me of the problems in Nigeria,"

"His letters were disturbing, and foreboding,"

"Then, late one night, around 2 a.m, I got a phone call from him at my home that the situation, in his view had become so bad that he had to act."

"I pleaded with him not to, that America and the world would not understand and would react badly. He did not listen, and you know the rest of that story."


Related stories: Wole Soyinka on Nigeria's Democracy          Obasanjo in the hot seat

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