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Family Accepted Abiola’s Death, June 12 Election Annulment As God’swill – Brother

If MKO Abiola were to be alive, by now, we should be taking care of him; he would have served as the president of the country. Someone can be so rich that, at some point, he will wish that his children and family members take care of him, even when he is rich. It is a show of love, nothing more. It does not mean he cannot give the children and other members of his family things, but that it is the way it is supposed to be.

From that angle, I would say we are supposed to be taking care of him (MKO Abiola) by now. We miss him so much because I can describe him as a pathfinder. If you go through his history, he struggled quite well right from his youthful days, and to God be the glory, he came out tops, and he was so successful. Vying for the presidency of the country is not an easy task, let alone winning it, and worst of it all, not allowing him to rule, to make use of the mandate.

We miss him; he was a pathfinder, a very caring individual, and a detribalised person. He was always after the unity of his family, immediate and extended, as well as the state of his community and Nigeria at large. Anyone who came across him then would always have something good to say about him. He was such a person, and we thank God for everything.

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Life goes on, they say. He was doing his best to prepare everybody for greater heights, but then death snatched him, and everybody had to do something. So, most of us went into what we know how to do. Some of us are working, some are trading. Everybody had to survive after his death; we had to find a way out because there was no other person to depend on. He was one of a kind and you don’t see that kind of a person in many families. He was unique, and thank God that he came into the family, and he left a good legacy; the legacy of hard work, smart work, perseverance, I can go on and on.

He did his best, he came, he saw, and he conquered. It is now left for us to keep moving on, but then, it is not to say that we don’t need help, because no man is an Island. We all need somebody’s help, and we are doing our best to lift our hands so that everyone can carry us. It is not as if we are sitting down and not doing anything, but it is just that it is not enough, and the economy of the country is not even helping matters; we all know this.

So, no matter how we keep pushing, it will always seem like we are not doing anything because we are known to be rich and people still see that richness. I don’t know how, but they still see it. For example, I work as a civil servant now, although formerly a banker, my lifestyle now compared to when I was a banker, I don’t think they are even comparable. The situation of the entire country now concerning minimum wage is an attestation to what I’m saying.

What influence did MKO Abiola have on the family?

When our father got us enrolled in school, after primary school, we had a choice to attend secondary school. A few of my colleagues and I were dilly-dallying on what school to pick, but eventually, we looked at Baptist Boys High School (MKO Abiola’s school), we had the option of Saint Peter’s College as well as one other school, but we said, ‘Okay since MKO Abiola went to this school, the school must be very good’. So, we enrolled at Baptist Boys High School. Of course, he was an influence in that sense. He influenced our thoughts and decisions then.

After that, we went to higher institutions, graduated and went to serve (the National Youth Service Corps). We served in a bank, and we were retained. His life will influence you; it will inspire you. He was an ‘A’ student at the Baptist Boys High School as well as the University of Glasgow, where he bagged a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. I think he had two other degrees. His life inspired us and I’m sure he inspired so many people too. I do hear Chief Dele Momodu speak of him so well now, but that is not to say he (Abiola) was an angel because no man is an angel, we all have our weaknesses, our flaws. However, if your better side is better than your worse side, then I think you have crossed the pass mark.

How did the family take the annulment of the election and his death?

To answer that question, you have to go down to when the election was to take place. The entire family was involved in the electioneering activities and all that; we were all there. As young as I was then, my other siblings and I went with him to Jos. We went to Jos by road for the Jos convention and we came back after the victory in his jet to Lagos, and to God be the glory, the elections came on June 12, 1993, and the entire nation participated.

The atmosphere on that day was very conducive. It was a perfect day, and everything was okay for the election, but as God would have it, all that happened, happened; the efforts of the likes of Chief Arthur Nzeribe and the likes made the elections to be overturned, amongst other reasons given by the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida. That happened; what could we do? The family did their best, especially through the efforts of the late Alhaja Kudirat Olayinka Abiola. She did her best, but sadly, she was cut down, and till today, it is still painful and still aching for family members because she was also an individual that you can consider as being very supportive of the family, including her children and the extended family. She (Kudirat Abiola) was a good mother as well.

Sadly, we had lost Alhaja Simbiat (Abiola), but the other wives also did their best, everyone had a hand supporting MKO because MKO himself was just an enigma, he was someone that you would love to associate with, you would love to support in whatever he had to do because he was also like that. He would support you in whatever you were doing which was good. All you needed to do was to make sure that he got your request, and he would find time to ensure that he helped you.

How could we take the annulment of his election and his death? We are Muslims; we just had to accept the will of Allah. It was painful, but we had to accept it. The struggle was throughout the entire nation. The National Democratic Coalition and all that came up; struggled and struggled for it, but it will not bring him back. Even though it would not bring him back, (Muhammadu) Buhari eventually saw it right to do and he did it.

He (Buhari) healed the wounds of Nigerians because MKO was the lead in the struggle, we had other people who were involved. Pa Alfred Rewane and even non-politicians all did their best. Some were fallen by bullets; it wasn’t easy, but do we have a choice? The only choice we had was to struggle to see that June 12 was actualized. Well, it was not actualised fully, but whichever way it was actualised now, we appreciate it.

Former President Muhammad Buhari honoured MKO Abiola with GCFR and declared June 12 a Democracy Day. Do you think this is enough compensation for the family?

Democracy stands today because of the sacrifice of these people, especially, the lead icon, Chief MKO Abiola. I think the honour done to him is appreciated, but then, some other things are still outstanding. Most of his businesses were killed; virtually all were killed by the military junta then. I think efforts should be geared towards helping the family resuscitate all these companies so that the family can stand again. They are trying; though individually some associates are trying, we still need more.

All the entitlements that are attached to that GCFR honour should have accorded him totally, as well as all the debts owed to the late MKO’s companies or personally should be paid. I don’t know how much of it has been paid now, but as of this moment, I don’t think those funds have been paid. Part of what MKO stood for in his lifetime was unity; another thing was the welfare of the citizens. He wanted to reduce poverty to the barest minimum.

The current government is trying, and the past government did its best, but like they say, government or governance is a continuum. It will still continue, but I will urge whichever government is leading to please, exert maximum efforts to ensure that poverty is reduced to the barest minimum. Value is important, whatever money you have, know how much you have. If it cannot buy a high-quality thing or the cheapest part of it, then it is valueless.

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