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…Wife says family abandoned by husband’s associates, friends
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has unveiled a 46-feet statue in honour of late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
At the unveiling event in in Alapere, Ketu area of the state, yesterday, the governor described the formal recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria as a crown of victory to the struggle which has taken the lives of so many nationalists and patriots.
He spoke at the 25th anniversary of the election which was marked in the state with many activities including a lecture and unveiling of a giant statue in memory of Abiola.
Ambode expressed optimism that the monument will forever crystallise what Abiola stood for in his lifetime.
Unveiling the statue at MKO Abiola Garden in Alapere, the governor said it is in the tradition of the state government to recognise and remember heroes and heroines who contributed to the greatness of the nation and the state.
“There was a statue done by my predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, but, in the divine world, some things are more glorious than what you think and so, we decided at the end of 2016, that we should do bigger statues for Chief Gani Fawehinmi and MKO Abiola.
“Since almost everybody passing and entering Lagos go through this particular Ojota axis, we started late in 2016 that, we should build something bigger and so, it took us about a year to do this.
“By the time we did the one for Gani, to celebrate his posthumous birthday on April 22, we also agreed that we should unveil that of MKO Abiola on June 12
“But, just as if God has a way of crowning all efforts to mark the 25th anniversary of June 12, our president, President Muhammadu Buhari, deemed it fit to give our own MKO Abiola the highest honour in the land, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic and that is why we believe strongly that your presence here is not just for this statue but it is also historic; which we will always remember in the annals of the history and politics of this country that sooner than later, there would be one day we would mark as MKO Abiola Day.
“We are very happy to gather here at MKO Abiola Garden, to unveil this statue, a monument that will forever crystallise his legacy, serve as a reminder to the greatness that Chief Abiola represents in our socio-political landscape,” the governor said.
In his response on behalf of the family, Abiola’s son, Abdul Mumuni, thanked Ambode and the state government for the honour done the family.
He said the statue is, indeed, befitting to honour his late father.
“God is great. I heard about this statue six months ago and I was called to come and see it and when I got here, I saw a statue of three-storey building. This is, indeed, massive. The family of late MKO Abiola really appreciate this and we want to thank the governor,” Abdul Mumuni said.
Elsewhere, during a symposium held at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television, Ikeja, to commemorate the anniversary, Ambode paid glowing tributes to other comrades who led the struggle from the front, including General Alani Akinrinade, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Ambassador Walter Carrington, Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, Chief Frank Kokori, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Mr. Wale Oshun, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and other Nigerians and Civil Society Organisations, Trade and Labour unions.
“We also pay glowing tribute to the beautiful memories of patriots such as Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, Pa Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Michael Enahoro, Chief Alfred Rewane, Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, General Adeyinka Adebayo and several others, including innocent ordinary Nigerians, young and old who were murdered on the streets of Lagos and in other major cities of Nigeria.”
One of Abiola’s wives, Dr. Doyinsola Abiola, lamented that his associates and friends deserted the family after he died.
She disclosed this during a lecture organised by the state government to mark the jubilee anniversary of June 12 presidential poll.
“The past 25 years and since the death of our father, Bashorun Abiola, things have been difficult for us as a family, but, we thank God for His mercy.
“It is usually difficult for the house to be in order when the head of a family dies.
“Those people, who were advising him, pretending to be his friends collecting money from him, all deserted the family soon after his death…”