The founder of the Oodua People’s Congress, Frederick Faseun, on Wednesday restated his friendship with Hamza Al-Mustafa, former Chief Security Officer to the late head of state, Sani Abacha.
Mr. Faseun said Mr. Al-Mustafa stood by him in pursuit of justice and fairness.
Mr. Faseun spoke at the annual lecture in his honour which was organised by Integrity Icons, a youth organisation, at the International Event Centre in Akure.
The lecture was themed ‘The Nigerian Quest for Social Justice and Credible Leadership,’ with Dare Babarinsa as guest lecturer.
Mr. Al-Mustapha was acquitted in 2013 by an appeal court after spending 14 years in jail on charges of masterminding the death of Kudirat Abiola, the wife of the late Moshood Abiola, winner of the June 12, 1993 elections.
On his release from prison in July 2013, Mr. Al-Mustapha was flown into Kano aboard a chartered flight in company of Mr. Faseun.
Both rode through the streets of the ancient city waving to a waiting crowd who lined the streets to welcome their hero.
The OPC chieftain was heavily criticized for his action, as many Nigerians believed he should not be associating with a man whose role in the dark days of the Abacha regime was still viewed with disdain.
On Wednesday, Mr, Faseun said he chose to stand by Mr. Al-Mustapha after listening to two prosecution witnesses in the court during the trial of the former CSO.
According to him, after listening to the witnesses who with tears testified that they were forced to lie against Mr. Al-Mustapha that he killed Kudirat Abiola, he had no choice but to change his mind.
“It was sad that the high court judge who stated that the prosecution witnesses were not reliable, went ahead to sentence him to death,” Mr. Faseun said.
“After what I heard from the prosecution witnesses in an open court that they lied against Mustapha, it will be wrong for anyone to hold it against him that he killed Kudirat Abiola.”
He noted that his position had nothing to do with any pecuniary reason, saying he believed in justice and fairness and would continue to uphold these principles despite the odds against him.
Mr. Faseun earlier in his remarks, noted that Nigeria was still groping in the dark in search of democracy even though her leaders were elected.
“After watching the U.S. elections, I felt sorry for democracy in the land,” he said. “We are still hoping for democracy. Democracy is not here yet.”
He said leaders had no respect for the rule of law, ruling with impunity and trampling on the rights of the citizens.
On Mr. Al-Mustapha, Governor Olusegun Mimiko said the former CSO to the late head of state owes Nigerians a book that would tell the stories still shrouded in mysteries.
“We are waiting for a book. You owe us a book,” Mr. Mimiko told Major Mustapha. “There is a lot of gaps in our history that you need to fill.”
Mr. Mimiko said the retired officer is a part of the nation’s recent history and should be willing to let the world know those things that would impact on the nation’s political development.
Mr. Al-Mustapha who did not make any speech, but sat through the sessions, responded to the governor’s remarks with an applause.