By The New Diplomat’s Political Intelligence Desk
Not many milleneals know that Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe dumped the winner of the 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, despite being his running mate. But certainly the elderlies knew what transpired at the time.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration, including Kingibe among the heroes of June 12 struggle alongside late Abiola and Gani Fawehinmi, who will get state honours got tongues wagging, forcing many to revisit the Judas’ role played by him during that auspicious moment in Nigeria’s history.
Kingibe whose earlier romance with power was as a diplomat several years back before he ventured into politics, dumped the June 12 struggle to take ministerial appointments in Abacha’s government, who detained his supposed boss, Abiola and frustrated every move to install the duo as President and Vice-President respectively. Firstly, as the Minister of foreign affairs and later as the Minister of internal affairs, a ministry that directly oversees the Nigerian Prisons Service, hence becoming Abiola’s jailer eventually in that despotic government.
After betraying Abiola, the demise of late Gen. Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998, followed by that of Abiola a month later, as well as the ensuing backlash which led to the commencement of the Nigeria’s fourth republic in 1999 compelled Kingibe to go on a political exile.
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Again, he became relevant during the President Musa Yar’Adua’s tenure when he was made Secretary to the Government of the Federation. According to sources who served in that administration, “he was as influential in the government of Yar’Adua as one of those who called the shots until Yar’Adua fell sick and had to travel abroad.
“By the time the late President came back, his position in the scheme of things had become strengthened. Obviously some people did not feel too comfortable with the roles of the former diplomat and he was removed.”
Following President Buhari’s enthronement in 2015, Kingibe returned to the corridors of power as the unofficial member of the kitchen cabinet, having been a long time ally of the President. “He has the ears of the President and he is a member of the think-tank. By so doing he has brought his wealth of experience to bear on Buhari’s government.
“Many ambassadorial nominees and key appointments made by Buhari are products of his machinations,” says another source.
Before now, his last major political assignment was as Secretary to the government of the Federation, SGF under Yar’Adua.
Meanwhile, Kingibe had since commended President Buhari over the announcement of the national honours to be conferred on late Abiola, billionaire and the acclaimed winner of the election, himself and late Human Rights lawyer, Fawehinmi.
Kingibe who is currently in Saudi Arabia for ‘Lesser Hajj’ said: “I really appreciate this. I will love to express my feelings, but right now, I am in Makkah praying to make peace with my Maker.
“There will be time enough to share worldly thoughts with friends.”
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