24 years ago on June 8th 1998, General Sani Abacha died five years after he launched a military coup to take over Nigeria. What caused his death? It depends on who you ask. The official cause of death was that he died of a heart attack. But word on the streets was that he was poisoned by prostitutes who used an apple — you know, the same device that logged us out of the Garden of Eden.
Abacha’s death caused a ripple effect that altered the course of Nigerian history. But what if he never died? What would Nigerian history look like then? Let’s find out.
He’d be president for life
Before his death, Abacha’s government was transitioning Nigeria from military rule to democratic rule. But the kind of democracy Abacha planned to transition Nigeria into was as democratic as a mushroom is a fruit.
For starters, he arm-twisted all five political parties he approved at the time to nominate him as the only presidential candidate on the ballot. If he’d stayed alive to win that election, you’d expect that he’d have written the Nigerian constitution on his toilet seat and kept himself in power for life.
Nigeria would run a monarchy system
Sani Abacha didn’t come off as a guy that’d just be content with a life presidency. You just get the feeling he’d want his image to continue to loom large, long after he was gone. In 2022, it just so happens that his oldest surviving son, Mohammed Abacha, is on the ballot for the 2023 Kano governorship election. So it’s very likely he’d have wanted to directly transfer power to his children.
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Twitter wouldn’t exist in Nigeria
President Buhari banned Twitter for seven months because his controversial tweet was deleted and everyone was mad about it. But Buhari is learning work where Abacha was, because the first person to make an inevitable joke about President Abacha’s tribal marks would easily get Twitter a permanent ban in Nigeria. VPNs wouldn’t work too and we’d have to sneak into Cameroon to tweet amala slander.
Buhari would be Abacha‘s Lai Mohammed
It’s hard to see a path that leads Buhari to become the president he is today if Abacha stayed alive. But despite Abacha’s terrible human rights atrocities and the well-documented fact that he was a big-time thief, Buhari is a strong defender of Abacha’s legacy. This makes it easy to imagine that in an Abacha lifetime presidency, Buhari would be his Lai Mohammed.
NTA would be Nigeria’s only media station
It’s no secret that Abacha wasn’t a great fan of the media. So, if he didn’t die 24 years ago, there probably would be no Channels TV to win “Best Station” for 12,000 consecutive years. All Nigerians would have would be an NTA remote-controlled from Abacha’s bedroom. The inflation rate and unemployment rate wouldn’t even exist.
General Sani Abacha’s place in Nigerian history cannot be forgotten for better or for worse, but it’s probably best for everyone that he left when he did. May affliction not rise a second time.