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Presidency Defends Abacha’s Centenary Award Honour

BellaNaija.com

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Sani Abacha - March 2014 - BellaNaija

Reuben Abati, the spokesperson for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is defending the Presidency’s decision for centenary award given to Late Sani Abachi.

At the award celebration held last week, the award was given to his widow Mariam. As we all know, this honour sparked a lot of controversy, with Wole Soyinka declining to accept the award alongside the former head of states and dictator.

Abati clearly stated to Punch Newspaper that the award, is in no way a glorification of corrupt practices.
“This (award) does not in any means translate to supporting sharp practices or corrupt practices. It is important to make the clear distinction in this regard.

I think it is important to make the necessary distinction here. The centenary award, like every award, has its own criteria. That centenary award was in relation to the amalgamation, the national unity, the history of Nigeria and the roles played by certain individuals.

The centenary award was not a test of sainthood. In giving the award to the former Head of State, Gen. Abacha, the committee in charge made it very clear that the award in the category in which the former Head of State appeared was awarded with regard to the contributions of those individuals in keeping Nigeria together.

You will find out that under that category, there were largely former Heads of State, persons who have at one time or the other presided over Nigeria and under whose watch, in spite of whatever challenges they might have faced, helped to sustain the unity of the country and helped to defend the integrity and sovereignty of the country. That was a specific criterion in this particular category. Of course, every award at all, be it for beauty or any other thing has its own criteria.”

Abacha was honoured during the nation’s centenary award last Friday under the category of “outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and national development.” he said.

He also explained that the reason for his nomination was that “he took over power when the nation was on the brink of precipice. He mobilised the nation’s most prominent political class into his cabinet and succeeded in ensuring the continued unity of the nation. He also raised Nigeria’s international standing for his peace keeping military interventions in Sierra Leone and Liberia.”

36 Comments

  1. Mrs A

    March 8, 2014 at 3:45 am

    SHAMELESS!

  2. Me

    March 8, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Wow,just clicking on this n seeing his bold pic, I had shivers down my spine. I’m shocked that his kids r still trying to defend him. Is there any hope for this country. Tufia

  3. izzy

    March 8, 2014 at 4:12 am

    OSHI/NONSENSE

  4. kk

    March 8, 2014 at 4:22 am

    For a man who wanted to make Nigeria an Islamic state, it’s d same thing Abati and Jona r smoking!!

    • Lola

      March 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      They are not only smoking aye ti pada mu won
      Imagine ? How can he say national development mstcheew

  5. chi-e-z

    March 8, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Defending awarding this man b/c he “…kept nigeria together…” I laugh at the idiocy. He is a murderer plain and simple. Now if it was an award for… instilling fear and hostility in the nigerian people…I’d totally agree. Having so many hid for fear of their lives.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      March 8, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      As in. As if Hitler didn’t also hold Germany and the neighbouring annexed countries together. Ruben, you continue to sink to new detestable lows. Doesn’t the BS you’re constantly regurgitating make you feel a bit ill from time to time?

  6. Luqman

    March 8, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Abati will surely come to his senses when the GEJ tenure is over. Abati has forgotten that “soldier go, soldier come, barrack still remain the same”, money can definitely change people’s character.

  7. Person

    March 8, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Oponu number 1!!!! “Outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and national development” – Does he mean the unity that sent Nigerians jubilating on the streets when Abacha died? Even young children celebrated as General Sani’s Abacha’s corpse was hurriedly moved to Kano for burial, without a burial befitting a President of any country. Abacha’s reign was the most brutal in our collective history, with state sponsored assassinations, disappearances and kangaroo tribunals. Jonathan and his ilk may have forgotten, but for us ordinary Nigerians, we remember, we will not forgive and and we will never forget.

  8. Wale

    March 8, 2014 at 6:15 am

    Abati needs to be flogged and his stupid mouth washed with asepso soap.

  9. lulu

    March 8, 2014 at 6:25 am

    nzuzu…nonsense…”outstanding promoter of unity” really?

  10. SaveNaija!

    March 8, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I think one of the criteria for the centenary award was that you were just a “person”, period! So by that standard, the bar for qualifying to receive the award was set very low! In a sane country, Abacha’s children would be treated with the same disdain as Gadaffi’s children in Libya for crimes committed against humanity. Mr. Abati, shame on you for defending the indefensible. You of course know that you’ve lost your dignity, but we all know why, bcuz you now enjoy from the booty stealing human creatures that occupy the seat of power in Aso rock are engaged in. Remember in the not-too-distant past, you used your column in the Guardian to condemn such people. Hopefully you still remember, but if you don’t, I can furnish them for you. You now FEED FAT from the same system that you use to berate! As you know, America just published and froze almost HALF a billion DOLLARS Abacha stole from our collective wealth after your master, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan ignorantly honoured him with that useless award. Thank God we still have men/women of honour in Soyinka who refuse to partake in this jamboree by you and this administration. But we all know how GEJ rolls, he has a history of sacking whistle blowers, Sanusi, and reward people who RAPE our country, Alams! Go figure, Mr. Abati! Explain away!!!!!

    • Lola

      March 9, 2014 at 9:47 pm

      This is what I am saying !! His family shouldn’t even be able to reside in this country , it pisses me off because they are spending the money that the stole from our country . And they still have the effrontery to defend him and insult wole Soyinka can u imagine !! Out of all of the children it should be Mohammed that shouldn’t be allowed to live in peace

  11. me

    March 8, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I can imagine how difficult reuben abati finds his job!jonathan just always knows how to shoot himself in d foot

  12. omobola

    March 8, 2014 at 7:36 am

    When will our government stop all this propaganda. After Abacha, GEJ is the most unpopular government Nigeria had in my generation. This present generation of learned people, where facts can easily be distinguished from fiction, they dare say an award was given not to say thank you, but in recognition of efforts. Efforts for what? Toh! I rest my case for now

  13. Me

    March 8, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Most foolish post of the year. This face reminds me of pain, struggle, corruption

  14. Okechukwu Ofili

    March 8, 2014 at 8:01 am

    outstanding promoters of unity, patriotism and national development? #idiots 2015 will come you will start asking for votes.

  15. @edDREAMZ

    March 8, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Even in death i still hate this man…..
    .
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

  16. oyin

    March 8, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I think its fair to say Jonathan is the most incompetent, foolish, spineless, uneducated president in the world. The state of mind, Nigeria is in now is scary. To give one of the most evil president recognition is baffling. Its like saying Hitler did something positive. Shame on Nigeria, such an embarrassment

  17. jay

    March 8, 2014 at 8:49 am

    If an atrocity desrves condemnation, I daresay a good job deserves an accolade regardless of the nature or personality of d individual being condemned or applauded.

  18. Vicky

    March 8, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Oh no he didn’t.so shocked at his explanation.defending Abacha,wonders will never end.

  19. Stephanie

    March 8, 2014 at 9:20 am

  20. Stephanie

    March 8, 2014 at 9:24 am

  21. John

    March 8, 2014 at 9:38 am

    My fear is that during the next election, Nigerians would forget about what they have suffered in the hands of this government and all these would be because of the small money that would be shared and unfinished project that would be started that time and also empty promises our generation would never see and they would vote GEJ back in. Oh Nigerians wake up and let’s fix our country…it’s been crying for our intervention.

  22. DJ STELCH

    March 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

    ABATI my Guy, i totally understand what your doing, your simply Protecting your Daily Bread Even When You Know The KOKO.. Abeg Protect Your Food ooooo cause if you talk anyhow you’ll loose your Job and also SEE anyhow. #BadtGuy!!

    • L'afrique

      March 8, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      BN should ban you.

  23. Ninjachic

    March 8, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Noone seems to understand the issue at hand here. I asked myself why this administration would resort to such foolishness and realised that it’s because none of our sorry bunch of ex-presidents has clean hands. They are all a bunch of thieves, murderers and/or bullies – even the best of them has dirt you can dig up. So if you honour one, you have to honour them all – for not one of them can stand up and say ‘hang on, that chap shouldn’t be getting an award’ or else his glass house will come crashing down. And it’s the same story as you go down the chain of speakers, ministers, etc. You might also wonder why the Prez would involve himself in such tomfoolery and choose to go down this controversial route – well, I suspect it’s because one day he wouldn’t mind being honored in a similar fashion and being aware of both his ineptitude and his dirty deeds, he cannot set a precedent by pointing fingers. Bottom line is that these awards have been dished out in a way that ensures we keep worshipping past and present scum at the altar of corruption all in the name of celebrating our ‘great’ nation. This, Reuben Abati’s mindless drivel is merely in defense of the vested interests he is trying to protect, abi you think he doesn’t want award too…

  24. Ninjachic

    March 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

    It seems we’ve misunderstood the issue at hand here. I asked myself why this administration would resort to such foolishness and realised that it’s because none of our sorry bunch of ex-presidents has clean hands. They are all a bunch of thieves, murderers and/or bullies – even the best of them has dirt you can dig up. So if you honour one, you have to honour them all – for not one of them can stand up and say ‘hang on, that chap shouldn’t be getting an award’ or else his glass house will come crashing down. And it’s the same story as you go down the chain of speakers, ministers, etc. You might also wonder why the Prez would involve himself in such tomfoolery and choose to go down this controversial route – well, I suspect it’s because one day he wouldn’t mind being honored in a similar fashion and being aware of both his ineptitude and his dirty deeds, he cannot set a precedent by pointing fingers. Bottom line is that these awards have been dished out in a way that ensures we keep worshipping past and present scum at the altar of corruption all in the name of celebrating our ‘great’ nation. Thus, Reuben Abati’s mindless drivel is merely in defense of the vested interests he is trying to protect, abi you think he doesn’t want award too…

  25. X- Factor

    March 8, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Abati!!!!! O ma se ooooo….

  26. Iris

    March 8, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Oya big oga has spoken. Where is small oga Reno Omokri to come and add his own? Or is this one too much for even him? I have thought of GEJ’s government as many things, but this is the first time I have thought of that man as truly and very dangerous to the well-being of the citizens of this country. Any president who thinks of the people he is supposed to be serving as so stupid as to believe this excuse is capable of very frightening things. Award for keeping the country unified? It is easy to keep a people “unified” – downtrodden, lifeless, dreamless, unable and unwilling to demand their rights, and filled with low expectations and standards – when you rule (not serve) them with the threat of murder and steal their resources. 300 naira to buy malaria drugs is an unachievable luxury for many – and that example is even far from the basic things people do not have in this country. It is in Nigeria that we hear that a president is “in power” because for us the only form of authority and leadership we know is dictatorship – from Aso Rock to police at checkpoints. I can’t even talk again. Reuben Abati has outdone himself.

  27. Mrs Nwosu

    March 8, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Reuben Abati, growing up this was one of the people that made me want to read journalism but by this explanation of stupidity i have just lost total respect for the man. My country is stark raving MAD. Allah shi kiyaye!

  28. NNENNE

    March 8, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    I agree with Abati. If the award was for sainthood, none of the presidents would have gotten one. The bitter truth is that these people have ruled Nigeria( some were not even voted in) at one time or the other during this 100 years. Whether we like it or not, they are part of Nigerian history.
    I am very happy Soyinka took his stand but we must remember that Abacha is not the only bad among them.
    Mere stealing the office of the presidency, when they were not qualified and had no vision on how to rule well, makes the criminals. We that supported the are equally as guilty. Babangida and the rest have questions to answer too. Not just Abacha.

  29. NNENNE

    March 8, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    oops..*only bad one*
    *makes them criminals*
    * we that supported them*
    That’s what happens when you ride and type!

  30. Femtey

    March 11, 2014 at 12:36 am

    This can only happen in Nigeria .
    A failed nation coupled with a spineless leader.

  31. Deedee

    April 7, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    @Nnenne, thank u for reminding people that cursing the dead won’t solve the numerous issues facing Nigeria, “we” the concerned citizens should ensure that the “bad eggs” are voted out of government. Thieves and corrupt leaders like OBJ and the “evil genius”, IBB have a lot of issues to answer to in Nigeria, yet they are celebrated…

    • A

      April 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      @Nnenne

      Pls NO ONE IS CELEBRATING GEJ, OBJ, and IBB… They are all evil! EVIL..

      But even evil get papa. and dat na ABACHA!

      There was no unity during Abacha’s tenure; there was only FEAR! Fear for your future, kids, life.

      What kind of liberty is there if it is undermined by fear?

      Tell me o! 500 million dollars frozen A DAY after the award! US has returned / frozen hundreds of millions of dollars from one man!

      I swear both your mouths are big… I’m sure you would be singing a different tune if you were the families of those HE MURDERED!

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