Fans slam Abacha supporters Fashanu, Okocha, Odegbami, Amokachi, other Super Eagles stars seen in viral video

Fans slam Abacha supporters Okocha, Fashanu, others after video of rally goes viral | Photo Credit: Imago, Reuters

Fans slam Abacha supporters Fashanu, Okocha, Odegbami, Amokachi, other Super Eagles stars seen in viral video

Ayoola Kelechi 00:43 - 09.06.2024

The ex-footballers were seen in a video supporting the dictatorial General's push to become Nigeria's democratic president, earning them criticism from fans on social media

Fans on social media have slammed former Super Eagles stars like Jay Jay Okocha, Segun Odegbami, Daniel Amokachi, and Uche Okechukwu as well as British-Nigerian ex-English international John Fashanu for their roles in a campaign for late General Sani Abacha to become president in 1998.

The football stars were among society bigwigs who appeared in a campaign in support of the former military leader transitioning to the democratic president of Nigeria in elections which were to be held later that year and the footage has drawn the ire of fans on social media, who have called out the ex-Super Eagles regulars.

Okocha, Amokachi and co appear in Abacha rally video

The video, made public on social media platform X by the user @OneJoblessBoy, who identified Okocha, Amokachi, Odegbami, and Okechukwu as part of the crowd on stage while Fashanu spoke to an audience at the “Two million man march” for Abacha in March 1998 which was tagged “The Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA).”

In the video, the players were introduced one after another, while the crowd cheered for their footballing heroes as part of the fanfare at the rally before Fashanu’s speech.

During his speech, Fashanu lauded the then-dictator Abacha for his role in helping Nigeria win the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia as well as reaching the FIFA World Cup in 1994, describing the military ruler as a “corageous, and honest” leader.

Fans slam Super Eagles hero for Abacha propaganda

Reacting to the viral video, Nigerians on X were critical of the football luminaries and other stars who graced the occasion, accusing them of betraying the country for their own pockets by supporting an allegedly tyrannical government, which had the masses under their boot.

Fans described the political allyship of the footballers as “shameful,” while some accused members of the former Super Eagles squad of being political jobbers with friends in high places who were responsible for despicable acts while in power.

Despite the backlash, some X users still defended the footballers on parade, suggesting that they had been forced to make propaganda appearances by the ruthless military regime under threat of harm, although these claims were not substantiated.

Abacha’s record with football as President

In a five-year period under the military rule of General Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s Super Eagles won their second AFCON title in 1994, beating Zambia 2-1 in the final and also made their maiden appearance in the World Cup in the United States of America, while the Dream Team were also victorious at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

General Sani Abacha | Nigeria1960
General Sani Abacha | Nigeria1960

Despite the unprecedented success, the Abacha regime was also responsible for stifling the progress made by the Super Eagles after refusing to allow Nigeria to participate in the 1996 AFCON tournament, which resulted in a further ban for the 1998 edition.

The Dictator’s dreams of becoming a democratic president never came to fruition despite support from some of Nigeria’s biggest football stars as Abacha died in June 1998, months before the general election.

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