By Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
A new book, ‘Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s Most Powerful Defence Minister and Head of State’, is set to be launched soon. Abacha was Nigeria’s Head of State from November 17, 1993, until his death on June 8, 1998.
The book written by Adebayo Adeolu and published by Kraft Books Limited documents the life of Sani Abacha as one of the most powerful figures not only in the Nigerian military but also in the country.
It details the life of Abacha from childhood through his career as a young officer in the army, his gradual rise through the ranks, his becoming Head of State, and his death.
Adeolu said he wrote the book to give some insight into the life of Abacha, who he stated is a rather misjudged man. He said the book dispels myths and reveals facts rather than rumours.
He said, “25 years after the death of Abacha, many people in Nigeria and around the world keep writing negative things about him without understanding the true picture of what happened, it can be seen that his government was not the worst considering all the events that have happened in the last two decades and how Nigeria had sunk into a situation where bandits, kidnappers and violence on the ordinary citizens of Nigeria had taken centre stage.
“The economic situation and insecurities in Nigeria had taken a disturbing dimension where the people are now seeking a strong intelligent leader today
“The book explains why Abacha had to use force on the opposition. The public today looks at his government differently, things were not this bad during his tenure as Head of State, the highways were safe and secure to travel to at any time of the day. Nigeria was secure for 24 hours and Abacha only went after those who threatened him.”
Adeolu attended the University of Lagos Staff Primary School, St Finbar’s College, International School, Ibadan, and the University of Lagos, where he obtained two degrees: B.sc Political and LLB.
Adeolu has authored four other books, The Evolution of Politics Via Excellence in Leadership (2007); Fraud at The Hague: Why Nigeria’s Bakassi Territory was Ceded to Cameroon (2011), Olusegun Obasanjo: Nigeria’s Most Successful Ruler (2017), and Muhammadu Buhari: The Black Pharoah (2018).
Abacha served as Chief of Army Staff from 1985 to 1990, as Chief of Defence Staff from 1990 to 1993, and as Minister of Defence. He is noted for being the first Nigerian Army officer to attain the rank of a full military general without skipping a single rank.
His rule as Head of State from November 11, 1993, until his death on June 8, 1998, was a mix of achievement of several economic feats and recorded human rights abuses and several political assassinations.
He has been dubbed a kleptomania and a dictator by several modern commentators.