51 YEARS AGO – The story of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination on Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, is still being told around the world. A sniper later identified as Lee Harvard Oswald shot Mr Kennedy while he was travelling with his wife Jacqueline and Texas governor Connally in a motorcade. The tragedy happened near Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.
Nearly every powerful person or group at the time was a suspect: the Mafia, the vice president, the Nazi war criminals, the CIA, the Soviet Union, Cuba. Only those who were not born or were toddlers then (like the current US President Barack Obama) have escaped the searchlight.
The lunatic named Oswald was caught, but almost everyone then believed he did not act alone. Scores of other suspected accomplices have since been secretly eliminated, the story goes.
And so, the JFK assassination remains a mystery unsolved. A majority of Americans still believe the president’s murder was the outcome of a conspiracy.
A Nigerian minister once cited that mystery to justify the inability of the Nigerian government to unravel the killers of Dele Giwa 28 years ago. But America has not been that careless. About 100 years before Kennedy, another popular US president Abraham Lincoln was murdered. No president since JFK has been cut down by another lunatic, however. Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981 but he survived.
Not so in Nigeria after Balewa. Nigerians may not be good at generating conspiracy theories, but beer parlour gossips have mentioned the deployment of apple, tea, polonium, pounded yam, otumokpo, “remote control” or “African science” in the corridors of power. Whenever a president or first lady is reported ill, the first suspects are not diseases.