The newly retired politician said the persistent refusal of Chief MKO Abiola, to listen to his advice landed him in jail and ultimately led to his death following the June 12 1993 elections.
Anenih disclosed this in his book, ‘My Life and Nigerian Politics,’ Anenih, as revealed by The Cable. The former PDP Chairman BoT said he advised Abiola against declaring himself president, but that he refused to listen.
Anenih, who was the national chairman of Abiola’s party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), said the late businessman kept the leadership of the party out of his negotiations with the military.
“It is a pity indeed, that Abiola kept the leadership of the party away from his arrangement with Abacha to take over from Shonekan. If he had brought it to the notice of the leadership of the party, he would have been advised well,” he said.
“In a similar but not exactly identical set of circumstances, I had advised Abiola against declaring himself the president of this country when frustration arising from Abacha’s refusal to hand-over to him drove him into that extreme line of thought. I spoke to him on telephone pointing out that the army was not there to back him up. He had no police support, and not even the immigration or customs would back him.
“It was clear to me that the course of action to which Abiola was heading was not only going to be self-destructive, but also ruinous. He was played into the hands of the military and he offered himself as a sacrificial lamb by delivering himself to those who for various and obvious reasons, very much wanted him out of the scene.
“Abiola did not listen. The result of his line of action landed him in jail.”
“I wished he had listened to my advice not to declare himself president of this country. If he did, I believe he would, in all probability, still be alive today. Frustration arising from the collapse of his scheming drove him into extreme step which, in the end, set up a chain of events that ultimately caused him his life.”