Hamza Al Mustapha's Bags of Sh*t

by Peter Claver Oparah

It is difficult to weigh whether former Head of State, Sani Abacha’s choice hitman, Hamza Al Mustapha, expected the huge public spat that had greeted his revelation of what happened during the earlier years of the Abdulsalami Abubakar regime, especially as they concern the deaths of his boss, Sani Abacha and the winner of the June 12 1993 election, Chief MKO Abiola. It is difficult to hazard if Al Mustapha knew the spate of public rejection of his so called revelations and he needs to shore up his evidences in his remaining days in the dock, else he would end up as a poor, puerile blackmailer who must source other means to escape indictment for his alleged dirty acts.

Hamza Al Mustapha needs no introduction to Nigerians who lived through his awe soaked time as the Chief Security Officer to the demented tyrant as his bloody regime lasted. Mustapha was a dutiful servant that attended to the bestial needs of his master and he upped the ante in imposing a state of fear and ennui in a country, still smattering from the callous annulment of the June 12 election and the attendant national crises this provoked. Perhaps, given the time, it was just natural that Al Mustapha and his master had to go the length they went to script a fearful leviathan that brooked no resistance to the wills of Abacha and top on this list that must not be tolerated was the gritty fight back to have the annulment of the June 12 election revised and the winner sworn in as the President of Nigeria. For this and other threats to their suzerain hold on power, Abacha sowed dread, impunity and callousness to stay on power and Al Mustapha was the enforcer of this state of siege.

It was during this period that the history of the country was written in blood-felt pens and a sizeable number of the nay sayers to the regime were martyred without let. Among them was the Amazon of the resistance and the bride of the incarcerated Abiola, Kudirat, who was felled in a hail of bullets in Lagos. It was for this murder that Al Mustapha is standing trial in a Lagos High Court.

But the long drawn trail was to take a new and hilarious twist recently when the accused mounted the dock and started series of allegations, which stand out for their sensational value and their failure to tag with the charges against him. In what some have termed an unnecessary diversion, Al Mustapha has launched into a series of what happened after he was off loaded from his dreaded position; how those that were fighting for the revalidation of Abiola’s mandate were compromised to abandon the fight and how they were complicit in the murder of Abiola and how he was so friendly with Abiola that he fought to save him from his unfortunate death and so many other irrelevances.

Since he started singing, some Nigerians have lapped up to his stories but most others that were able to subject his ranting to minimal intelligence test have dismissed his as a puerile effort to muddle up the issue and secure an exit through the back door. For the avoidance I doubt, I do not begrudge any one that believes that fables of Al Mustapha; in fact I wish such person the best of luck. For me, while I believe Al Mustapha must explore all available straws at his disposal to save his name from the hang man, he must not be allowed in a cut-and-paste effort to cash our intelligence. Yes, he must be allowed to fully ventilate what he knows, if that will save him from the fate that awaits him but he must be ready to advance immutable truths and facts that will stand maximum scrutiny if he wants to escape from his just recompense.

My worry however is that Al Mustapha’s tales are not just jelling. He is not telling us what he was in a prime position to know and that was the chain of events that happened between November 1993 and March 1998 when his master was holding court. This was the period that the annulment of the freest and fairest election in the history of the country was deeply sustained through a cache of brute, violent and oppressive tactics and the winner was subjected to the worst forms of dehumanization. It was the period a coterie of those that were crusading for the de-annulment of that mandate were hunted down and eliminated. It was a period that those that were luckier were hunted into exile or into solitary covens from where they sustained the struggle. It was the zenith of Al Mustapha’s reign and it was the period when the crime for which he is standing trial was committed.

At best, what he is trying, in cahoots with his minders, to ‘reveal’ to us could be gathered only through eavesdropping because by the period he is trying to take us back to, he was effectively offloaded from the center of activities to a solitary position in Enugu. He cannot effectively give us a credible, fool proof, account of what happened during the Abdulsalami regime but he can tell us about what happened during the Abacha regime with a higher degree of credulity. Why is he not concentrating on the period during which he played vital and hope that his revelation about Abdulsalami regime will provoke a deeper probe into a chain of events that landed us in this heavily compromised situation Nigeria finds itself today?

Yes, Al Mustapha said he had a video and it had been shown. It neither holds any credible link to his allegation that both Abraham Adesanya and Bole Ige collected money from Abdulsalami to hush up the Abiola mandate nor do the video take him an inch away from the just reward for his alleged criminal acts. Worse still, the period he alleged the bribe was given, Abiola had already been killed. His video only showed stories that were reported in 1998 and nothing more and if they video was about Adesanya and Ige (let us forget the living actors) addressing newsmen, there is a high rate of probability that it was well reported so what is the sensationalism Mustapha and his sympathizers are trying to build into this meaningless video? But for the kind of allegation he made against dead men, who were largely seen as credible, he needs hard proof of monies exchanging hands to convince. So far, he had not done that but only engaging in nauseating theatrics that will ultimately lead him nowhere. Let us hope that his bagful of missiles he is threatening to unleash will provide the proofs he needed badly to extricate his mischievous neck from the hang man.

So far, Al Mustapha’s revelations suffer from many deficiencies. Not many people will wager a dime on the credibility of Al Mustapha and his stories are so dislocated as to make any meaning, least of all have some operational sequence to convince. Again, he is digressing from the issue in court and mounting a wide opera such that some allege he is trying to become a piece of excreta that has come in contact with a fully revolving fan. Again, he is not just saying anything about the sordid events he was alleged to have masterminded under Abacha but rather choose to delve more on what happened when he was out of the theater of power. So far, he has not started addressing the critical questions about his role in the murder of Kudirat Abiola for which he is in court. Again, he chose wrong targets for accusation, even when he presumed them dead and cannot talk for themselves. These were people that had, through dints of hard work, perseverance and honesty, cut a niche of integrity for themselves such that others can vouch for them after they have gone. Again, one curious issue is that Al Mustapha screened out the living colleagues of the dead duo who went on the same visit with them, from his allegations. Could it be perhaps, the two went at their backs and collected the huge tranche of money Al Mustapha alleged were withdrawn for the bribe purpose? He needs to tie these and several other loose ends together and at the end of the day, provide a credible interface between these and the charges against him to set himself free.

I am beginning to read the puerile tactics in Mustapha’s recent revelations when almost mechanically, he got the support of Fredrick Fasehun, who for some time now, had

been deeply engrossed in this Mustapha release nonsense and the following day, we started hearing the trash that Mustapha’s life was in danger because of the cartons of revelations he still has to make. I just chuckled and I am beginning to see the desperate need to ‘politicise’ the issue and offer Mustapha a back exit door from justice. He and his minders are not just getting it right. He needs to spill all the beans he has and no one should try to prevent him and he has the right to secure his freedom through the front door and if he is hoping on that, he has to provide good, concrete and immutable facts to back up his case and Fasehun and his other minders can assist him do this. But my mind tells me that Mustapha has no beans to spill and he will not give us the sordid details of the Abacha evil era he co-presided over because he will be opening a can of shit against himself by that act. He is only desperately seeking to muddle others, even the dead, to spirit himself out of a certain legal indictment and he must not be allowed this cheeky privilege.

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