20 years ago when late MKO Abiola fought for democracy and won in a free and fairest presidential election conducted on June 12, 1993, a lot of Nigerians hoped for a better life. The hope was dashed when the democratically elected president died in the custody of the military junta.
As we celebrate June 12 annulled by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, MKO Abiola’s son, Jamiu Abiola spoke with ENCOMIUM Weekly about the effect of June 12 in their lives and better ways to immortalize the man celebrated as symbol of Nigerian democracy.
Abiola’s son, Lekan Abiola also reacted to the move by President Goodluck Jonathan to rename UNILAG after his father and how best to immortalize him.
What effect has June 12 on your life?
I am happy that it brought democracy to Nigeria what better life can it give.
Naming University of Lagos after him, how does it feel?
The federal government’s move is a good development. They have other things in stock, I believe they will work on them.
In what better way do you wish MKO Abiola should be immortalized?
My prayer is that people governing Nigeria should govern the way Abiola wanted to govern it. They should try and eradicate poverty, give people a better standard of living, that will be one of the best ways to immortalize him.
What is your opinion on the allegation that those who opposed June 12 are now beneficiaries of our democratic dividends?
It depends on the people you are referring to. People that opposed it are the military but there are people who opposed it that are enjoying it today. Some other people who supported it are also enjoying it as well.
Why is it that none of his children aside Lola Edewor Abiola is involved in politics?
It is not only Lola Edewor Abiola that is in politics, my sister, Hafsat is also in politics. She is the Special Adviser to the government on Millennium Development in Ogun State.
My other sister, Tundun is also the Special Assistant to the governor on Corporate Affairs in Ogun State. I also work for the government. I am the Managing Director of NNPC mega station in Lagos State for six years now. It is not necessarily to hold a political post.
The business of your late dad seems to be collapsing, why?
When you fight government, you don’t expect to do well. MKO Abiola fought the government. I even thank God that we are flourishing up to date.
He fought the obnoxious system, yet his business empire is still alive to a very great extent. It is something to be thankful about.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, June 11, 2013