A daughter of the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the undeclared winner of the 1993 presidential election, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, on Wednesday said that her father was greater than ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, hence Abiola needed no recognition by the former president.
This is coming after Obasanjo’s statement on Saturday, acknowledging that the late acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election made sacrifices that needed to be recognised by the nation.
Obasanjo made the remark in Abeokuta at the 4th Founder’s Day of Nobelhouse College, and 85th birthday of an industrialist, Chief Olatunde Abudu.
“Ogun State would have produced three presidents if not for bad belle. I want to agree with him (Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo) that Abiola sacrificed for the nation”
His remark came barely two weeks to the 21st anniversary of the annulled June 12 election.
The June 12, 1993 election was regarded as the fairest and freest in the annals of election in the country but the result was annulled by former dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, though not before it was clear to all that Abiola, candidate of the then Social Democratic Party, had already won the poll, defeating his opponent, Ibrahim Tofa of the National Republican Congress.
Abiola’s insistence on his mandate led to his incarceration by the late Gen. Sani Abacha. The billionaire businessman died in Abacha’s detention on July 7, 1998. His wife and mother of Hafsat, Kudirat, had been gunned down on the streets of Lagos on June 4, 1996 while fighting for the release of her husband and the restoration of his mandate.
On Wednesday, at the Kudirat Abiola’s 18th anniversary, organised by the Campaign for Democracy, in collaboration with Women Arise and the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Hafsat said Obasanjo’s recognition of Abiola’s contribution was uncalled for.
“I feel that if he wanted to recognise MKO Abiola now, it’s good for him. But, MKO Abiola was always the greater man. And you cannot recognise somebody that is more than yourself. MKO Abiola did not require General Obasanjo to recognise him,” Abiola-Costello said.
According to her, the recognition her father needed is from the Nigerian masses.
“He required the Nigerian people to see his heart. And the Nigerian people did. That was why they rewarded him with the June 12 election, an election that was so free that no Nigerian leader can claim that kind of mandate even till today,” she stated.
Meanwhile, while addressing the audience at the Abiolas house to commemorate the death of her mother, Abiola-Costello urged Nigerians to remain undivided by the country’s politicians.
She said, “We must not allow the politicians who have an agenda to divide us as a country and as a people. MKO won the June 12 election in large part and in large measure by the northern votes. If we didn’t have the northern votes, we would not have June 12 today. And yet, there are people today who say the North is against democracy and that the Boko Haram issue is because the North is against a democratic government that is run by a president that is from the South.
“Had the North been against a Presidency run by somebody from the South, would we have had June 12? The North had most of the votes and they gave their votes to MKO during the presidential election. We should not allow ourselves to be divided; we should not allow ourselves to be distracted. The truth is that the fundamental problem of Nigeria right now is poverty.”
She said the late MKO Abiola had warned of Nigeria’s current dilemma.
She said, “MKO wrote about this; he said ‘in the midst of poverty all you will have here is you will groom guerrilla cells across Nigeria’. It is what we are seeing today. He said this over 20 years ago. And it is coming to pass.
“First, we have the militants in the South-South. Now, we have militants in the North-East. Until we solve the problem of poverty in Nigeria, we will continue to have militants; today, it’s the North-East, tomorrow, it could be anywhere else.”
Source: Punch


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