Power is Transient: See General Abacha, Abiola and Senator Sani’s Examples

Power is Transient: See General Abacha, Abiola and Senator Sani’s Examples
Power is transient. Yet, those who grab it seldom surrender it voluntarily. Several examples abound in this regard.

For instance, General Sani Abacha wielded absolute power when he served as Nigeria’s Head of State between November 1993 and June 1998.

Although he announced that he was willing to hand over power to a civilian government on  1st October 1998, he used strong – armed power to get himself endorsed by the country’s five political parties at that time, as their sole Presidential candidate for the election, before death terminated his ambition on June 8, 1998.

General Abacha’s government was tainted by human rights abuses. Moshood Abiola is one victim of such abuses.

He was jailed for treason, when he tried to claim his mandate as winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election.

Meanwhile, Abiola’s undeclared victory in that election has just been officially recognized by the Federal Government with a declaration of that date as Democracy Day.

According to the Federal Government, that date would be marked as public holiday, in future.

This means that while history would always associate June 8 with the death of Abacha, Nigeria’s dictator, the same history would always associate June 12 with Abiola, Nigeria’s Martyr of democracy.

Equally, the Senator representing Kaduna Central District, Senator Shehu Sani, was a victim of human rights abuses by General Abacha’s government.

He was implicated in a 1995 phantom coup and detained for life, before his detention was commuted to 15 years imprisonment by a Special Military Tribunal.


Senator Shehu Sani, during his “tenure in cell”, in Aba Prison.

The charges against him were: “Accessory to the fact of treason and managing an unlawful society (the Campaign for Democracy).”

Sani was released from life imprisonment when democracy was restored in Nigeria in 1999. He contested and won elections into Nigeria’s Senate in 2015.

Here is how Senator Sani reminisced about his time in prison on Twitter today:

In my prison cell in Aba, Abia State in 1995 serving 15 years sentence for (1) Treason against the military junta (2) Managing an unlawful society, The Campaign for Democracy CD. Prison number 95/1186. The other on the right, in my cell in Kiri Kiri Maximum Security Prison Lagos.”


Senator Shehu Sani, during his “tenure in cell”, in Kiri Kiri Maximum Security Prison, Lagos

Senator Sani’s experience shows that it is rewarding to give of ourselves. We get rewarded, when we sacrifice our pleasures for the good of others.

These examples illustrate the fact that everything in life is transient. We are here today. But we may be gone tomorrow. Therefore, let us never exercise power recklessly.

Rather, let us use whatever positions we have today, to blaze good trails that would allow others to also move forward with their lives. Let us always make sacrifices for the good of others.

Cornelius Ellah
Twitter: @lin_cornellah

Facebook: Cornelius Ellah

Photo Credits: Channels Television, Twitter

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