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20 years after, family, others honour Abiola

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MKO Abiola

Eldest daughter of the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, Lola Abiola-Edewor, on Saturday lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day, saying it is justice to her father.

She gave the commendation at the Fidau prayer commemorating 20 years of the death of the winner of June 12, 1993 presidential elections, who died in detention on July 7,1998.

The prayer was organised by the June 12 movement in conjunction with the Abiola family at the Ikeja residence of the deceased.

Abiola-Edewor, a former member of the House of Representatives, said successive governments failed to accord the late business mogul and politician honour due to him by recognising what June 12 stood for in Nigeria’s political history.

She commended Buhari for his courage to give due recognition to June 12, saying the declaration would gladden her late father in his grave.

Also speaking, one of Abiola’s wives, Dr. Doyin Abiola, wants the Federal Government to adopt the ‘Hope 93’ agenda in moving the nation forward and genuinely immortalizing Abiola.

Doyin, who noted that Abiola had no other reason to contest for the presidential election in 1993 except for the passion of seeing people given access to the dividends of democracy, said it saddening that the agenda in 1993 is still relevant today.

The former editor of the defunct Concord Newspaper, said: “Prior to 1993, Abiola could have stayed in his comfort zone, but he chose to run for the presidency because he felt he could affect more lives.

He did not have to do that, he had become wealthy. He could just stay in his comfortable corner and take care of people like he was doing.

He felt that was not enough. That is the kind of selfless leaders Nigeria needs.”

For Abdul-Mumuni Abiola, son of Chief MKO Abiola, the 20th anniversary of his father’s death is a celebration of the kind of life he lived and how genuine his intents were for the country.

While expressing disappointment at the challenges facing the country, Mumuni urged everyone to forget the past, especially about how Abiola died, but continue the struggle for a better Nigeria.

The convener, June 12 Movement of Nigeria, Olawale Okunniyi, said the event was an affirmation that Nigeria belongs to the people and not just the leaders. 

He called on the government to hear the plea of the people for deep constitutional democracy through restructuring.

The activist also appealed to the Federal Government to compensate the MKO Abiola family for his sacrifice for the democracy the country is enjoying today. 

Speaking, Mrs. Beko Ransom-Kuti, wife of the late human rights activist, described Abiola as “a great politician”, urging other leaders to emulate his love for the poorest of the poor in the society.

In his sermon, an Islamic cleric, Babatunde Balogun, extolled the virtues of Abiola, urging other leaders to his good deeds while he was alive.

“It is not how long you live that matters but how much impact you made while you live.”

Balogun prayed for the repose of the soul of the late Abiola and also offered prayers for his family and the entire nation, while members of the June 12 movement laid a wreath on Abiola’s grave.


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