Alhaji Jamiu Abiola, the son of late industrialist and politician, Chief MKO Abiola has revealed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo ignored several pleas which he made to him to honour his father.
MKO Abiola was presumed the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections that was annulled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who was the Head of State at that time.
According to Daily post, Alhaji Jamiu alleged that Obasanjo ignored his pleas because he hated his father.
He said “When Obasanjo was the President, I visited him several times and called him several times. He also called me.
“Even when I wrote my first book, he did a fantastic review of the book and said the book gave people hope.
“There was a time I sent him a text message when he was President, telling him that peoples’ impression about his failure to honour Abiola was because he did not like him.
“Unfortunately, he did not do it.
“When I wrote the second book on my father, I gave him the book. I am sure he read it. All I have done for my father were not for a favour. They are the things I am supposed to do as a son. I saw it as an obligation. I will also want my son to do so for me.“
Buhari takes the bold step
On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in a statement on Twitter, President Muhammadu Buhari declared June 12 as Nigeria's new Democracy Day in honour of the late MKO Abiola.
The President also awarded Abiola the highest honour in Nigeria - Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
Speaking further on the honour accorded his father, the late politician’s son said that he is happy that his father’s sacrifice has been recognised.
Alhaji Jamiu also thanked the President for his declaration.
According to him, “Right now, I can say that I am the happiest man, not just literally, but factually. I am the happiest man because for so long I felt that my parents died for nothing because there is nothing worse than somebody making a sacrifice and the sacrifice not recognised.
“It was recognised by Nigerians but those that got power after June 12 found it convenient to sweep it under the carpet for reasons best known to them.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is of the same calibre with people like Mandela and Chief Abiola. Now he has shown that it is not about where anyone comes from, but about the fact that we are one. That is the symbolic meaning of what he has done.”
Goodluck Jonathan tried
According to Alhaji Jamiu, former President Goodluck Jonathan tried to honour MKO Abiola, but some aggrieved people opposed his plans.
He also said that he was happy when the former President renamed the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to honour his father.
According to him, “25 years ago the election was held and nobody that got to power did what he has done. President Goodluck Jonathan tried by naming the University of Lagos after him but people felt that, UNILAG was too small for Chief Abiola. I was very happy when he did it because I believe that if someone is going somewhere, he must start from somewhere.
“Half a loaf of bread is better than none. President Jonathan did what he did because he had good intention.
“Unfortunately, MKO Abiola has a lot of enemies, who claim to be his friends. Those were the people causing the problem. Imagine a President of Nigeria making a statement and less than five minutes later, people were in BRT buses protesting against the announcement. They were on Third Mainland Bridge causing problems. How were they mobilised?
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“A lot of people, who did not want Jonathan to have goodwill in the Southwest, opposed it. That is to show that MKO Abiola was so powerful that even in death, he has so many enemies. That is why I said we have to thank President Buhari specially. I am not saying he is angelic but he should be supported to excel.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has asked the Federal Government to pay all the entitlements due to the late MKO Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe as President and Vice-President.
The lawmakers announced the resolution during plenary on Thursday, June 7, 2018, following Buhari's declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day.