June 12: My Love For Amala Saved Me From Abacha’s Killers in Cotonou – Tinubu Narrates

by Opeyemi Alimi
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Nigerian President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has narrated how he narrowly escaped death when he was being trailed by the Killer Squad of the then Military Head of State, Gen. Sanni Abacha.

It should be recalled that the late General Sani Abacha, who forcefully took over power after the annulment, went on assassination rampage! He sent his assassins after pro-democracy activists, eliminating Kudirat Abiola and Pa Alfred Rewane among others. Many lost their lives in the process.

In what was a top-secret, Tinubu who was one of the formidable forces that fought greatly in the struggles to revalidate the June 12 annulment, recalled how his love for Nigerian local food, Amala made him escape from Abacha’s killer squad.

According to President Tinubu, Abacha also sent his killer squad to the Republic of Benin in one of those expeditions to eliminate him.

In an interview with TheNEWS, the former governor of Lagos State narrated what happened. He said:

“I didn’t have a passport and couldn’t have been able to travel. At a stage, they discovered our routes, because they had spies all over, including Benin Republic. Twice, I was caught but only managed to escape by a whisker. They traced me to one dingy hotel where I was hiding.

“The day they came for me at the hotel, I had gone out on an Okada to buy amala at a market where Yorubas are dominant. I was also to meet Akinrinade and the rest of them. The spies went to the hotel and as I was approaching, I saw two people wearing tajia (skull caps) at the front desk, asking questions. The man attending to them at the reception (I had been very nice to the receptionist) winked to me and I turned back.

“I contacted a friend in Benin Republic, who was an architect, and had very strong sympathy for us. Professor Wole Soyinka and Alani Akinrinade, who lodged in a better hotel, were fortunate to have escaped that night too. The people on their trail pursued them to the hotel, but fortunately missed them.”

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