One of my favourite things is learning about Nigeria’s political past. I really enjoy documentaries of coups from the 60’s and 70’s and I have found that a lot of documentaries usually focus on that period. There hasn’t been as much critically acclaimed material (in my opinion) on the politics and coups through the 90’s. Even a history of Nigeria which is one of my favourite documentaries doesn’t spend as much time on the 90’s as I’d like. It seems like they just glossed over the 90’s. For example, it doesn’t even mention anything about the Orkar Coup which spooked Babangida enough for him to move the capital from Lagos to Abuja. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, the 90’s and that coup were not important. I think my particular interest in the 90’s is because I was alive through it and did not really understand what was going on.
The supreme price is a documentary by Hafsat Abiola Costello and it takes its name from the price both her parents had to pay in the fight for democracy. It was on BET (Ch. 129 on DSTV) and I stumbled upon it. (No ad breaks, can you believe that!?). It essentially details the key points in Nigeria’s history from 93 – 98 and for someone like me who finds great joy in discovering random bits of information, it was like finding gold. I wish I had a way to save it and share it with everyone.
It has interviews with a few notable people like Wole Soyinka, Walter Carrington and another US Ambassador who’s name I forget. In some of the clips, I even spotted Bola Tinubu and Tokunbo Afikuyomi. The documentary suggests that the US and UK did not want to intervene to a larger extent because they did not want to mess with their oil supply. It talks a bit about how Ken Saro Wiwa was swiftly tried and executed. I think the way he was treated is one of the most despicable things that have happened in history.
Something I also wanted to mention is how little I know of Kudirat Abiola. She is truly a martyr. After her husband was detained, she took on the mantle of fighting for democracy head on. She wasn’t intimidated by the Military. She made the oil workers go on strike for 12 weeks! Imagine that! She was due to fly out for Hafsat’s graduation on the 4th of June and meet with US government officials. Apparently the military tapped her phone and could not afford to see her make that trip. She was shot in the head with weapons only the Military had access t.Man, that Abacha government was ruthless. It is difficult to put in words the admiration I have for her after watching the documentary. Same goes for Hafsat who picked up where her mum left off. She put pressure on the international community. She is also a hero to me.
(Did you know that Al-Mustapha had his death sentence for his role in Kudirat’s murder overturned? He was acquitted and now walks the streets as a free man!)
As for MKO himself, we all know how that story ended, he suffered a heart attack whilst having tea with US government officials who swore they had nothing to do with his “heart attack”. My opinion on MKO is not as straightforward as Hafsat or Kudirat. I’d really like to get some inside information on what his quarrel with Babangida was. Apparently, Babangida couldn’t stand to see him be president because he was directly involved with shady deals with the Military. I am not sure what the story is but I really want an unbiased documentary into it. Fela also wasn’t fond of Abiola. That one was more to do with the fact that Fela felt Abiola who was the head of his record company’s parent company swindled him (form want of a better word). Hopefully that documentary is somewhere around the corner too.
What probably made me saddest is how the kids were robbed of their parents. You can tell especially her 2 youngest kids still feel hurt. They don’t strike me as people with that fighting for democracy spirit. Just 2 young people who want their mum.
Evidently the documentary is about 4 years old and I wished there was some sort of addendum to it.
I don’t feel like I have done the documentary any justice. I will try my best to find it and put it up on the blog so you can watch it and make your conclusions.