It’s been 22 years since the death of Nigerian military ruler, General Sani Abacha.
He ruled Nigeria with an iron grip and his regime was marred by gross human rights abuses.
Despite being referred to as one of Nigeria’s most brutal Head of State,, his regime’s achievements in some critical sectors remained unparalleled
Here are ten 10 things you didn’t know Sani Abacha did during his lifetime
1. Gen. Abacha’s military career is distinguished by a string of successful coups. Until his death, he is regarded as the most successful coup plotter in the history of Nigeria’s military.
2. Abacha was the first and only military Head of State who never skipped a rank to become a full-star General in the Army.
3. He played a major role in the restoration of peace and democracy in Sierra Leone and Liberia after years of civil wars in both countries.
4. He increased fuel price just once in his four-and-a-half years in office. He also set up the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund, (PTF) which was widely acknowledged to have performed well in infrastructural development and intervention programmes in education, health and water.
5. The country’s foreign exchange reserve rose from $494 million to $9.6 billion during his regime. He also reduced the country’s external debt from $36 billion in 1993 to $27 billion in 1997. Interestingly, all these were achieved at a time when the price of crude oil was at an average of $15 per barrel.
6. His regime also reduced the country’s inflation rate of 54%, which it inherited from Ibrahim Babangida to 8.5%.
7. He was named “Thug of the year” by Time Magazine in 1995 after the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa.
8. He set up a Constitution Review Committee and a Constituent Assembly. Both committees recommended the six geo-political zone structure which later represented the basis for zoning and geographical spread in the post-1999 political parties and the Federal Government.
9. He remains the only presidential candidate in Nigeria to be adopted by all the political parties as their candidate in a presidential election.
10. His death is shrouded in mystery: the most popular version is that he died in the midst of Indian prostitutes flown in from Dubai but the official version is that he died of heart attack. A more likely story is that he was “eliminated” to end the political crisis in Nigeria.