Today is the 22nd year commemoration of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election presumed won by late MKO Abiola. The entire election results were dubiously annulled by the preceding military president Ibrahim Babangida.
In the spirit of commemoration, we bring you 15 things you need to know about the late businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Yoruba Egba clan.
1) MKO Abiola full name is Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, Kashimawo, means “Let us wait and see”. He was born 24 August 1937 in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
2) He was his father’s twenty-third child but the first of his father’s children to survive infancy.
3) He was named ‘Moshood’ at age 15.
4) 9-year-old Abiola would wake up at dawn to go to the forest and gather firewood, which he would then cart back to town and sell before going to school (His first business).
5) At 15, young Abiola founded a band where he would perform at various ceremonies in exchange for food.
6) He was the editor of his school — Baptist Boys High School Abeokuta — magazine, The Trumpeter, Olusegun Obasanjo was deputy editor.
7) At 19, he joined a political party, the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC).
8) Moshood Abiola bagged a first class degree and distinction from Glasgow University and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland respectively.
9) He set up Abiola Farms, Abiola bookshops, Radio Communications Nigeria, Wonder bakeries, Concord Press, Concord Airlines, Summit oil international ltd, Africa Ocean lines, Habib Bank, Decca W.A. ltd, and Abiola football.
10) Until his death Moshood Abiola had been conferred with 197 traditional titles by 68 different communities in Nigeria.
11) His financial assistance resulted in the construction of 63 secondary schools, 121 mosques and churches, 41 libraries, 21 water projects in 24 states of Nigeria.
12) Abiola joined the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1980 and was elected the chairman of the party.
13) For the 12 June 1993 presidential elections, Abiola’s running mate was Baba Gana Kingibe whom he defeated to secure the presidential nomination of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The election was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida.
14) Pastor T.B. Joshua is said to have predicted the annulment to Abiola and warned him against contesting.
15) In 1994 MKO declared himself the lawful president of Nigeria, he was thereafter declared wanted and was accused of treason and arrested on the orders of military President General Sani Abacha, who sent 200 police vehicles to bring him into custody.