12 Things you need to know about Moshood Abiola
By John Ikani
Nigeria celebrates June 12 in remembrance of the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election, Moshood Abiola which has been recognized by national and international observers as the freest and fairest election Nigeria has ever had.
Although June 12 has been recognized by Nigerians, especially by activists and South West states for the past 24 years, there are greater reasons to celebrate it today. First, its declaration as democracy day by President Muhammadu Buhari and the posthumous honour of the highest national award, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Moshood Abiola in recognition of his victory in the June 12 1993 election.
Yes, everyone knows about June 12, but only few consider the many OFF and On-Screen little-known facts about Moshood Abiola. Without much Ado, here are 12 things you need to know about Moshood Abiola.
1. He was least expected to survive infancy.
When Abiola was born, he was named Kashimawo which means “let’s see if he will survive infancy”.
The name was informed by series of infant deaths that occurred in his family. Hence, surviving infancy made Abiola the 23rd and first of his family to get past that preliminary stage of life.
However, Abiola parents gave him a proper name, Moshood when he was aged 15.
2. Began Business at an early age
When Abiola was nine years, he began selling firewood to support his father and siblings.
Such entrepreneurial skill and responsibility awareness was rare for kids of his age at the time considering the fact that he made sales early enough before catching up with schooling for the day.
3. Founded a Music band as a teenager
Abiola creatively developed his survival instincts as he progressed with age. His first step in that direction was performing in ceremonies of which he got food as reward.
After consistent performances he became famous enough to get paid for his shows and utilized the proceeds in supporting his family and secondary school education at Baptist high school Abeokuta.
4. Began his first professional career as an accountant
MKO first professional career was being an account with Barclays Bank in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria in 1956.
He subsequently worked with Western Region Finance Corporation as executive account officer after which he decided to further his education at Glasgow, Scotland.
His excelled at Glasgow University, graduated with a first class degree in accountancy as well as acquired distinction at the institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
5. He was a two time international businessman of the year.
Abiola’s business prowess did not go unnoticed as he was voted twice as the international businessman of the year. In addition, he was a recipient of numerous honourary doctorates from universities in recognition of his achievements.
6. He was a good natured social activist.
Abiola had a good demeanour which endeared him to his people. In addition he was a renowned social activist and freedom fighter.
His unblemished reputation continues to be recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States of America which praises him for his noble pursuits and efforts made at preserving the history and legacy of the African diaspora.
7. He had a polygamous family.
Abiola had many wives including Simibiat Atinuke Shoaga, Kudirat Olayinka Adeyemi, Adebisi Olawunmi Oshin. Consequently, he fathered many children.
8. He became involved in politics early
Abiola involvement in politics was an early one. Interestingly, he joined a political party: the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) at age 19.
9. He was the presumed winner of 1993 elections.
In 1993, Abiola ran for president and was the adjudged winner of the june 12 polls.
However, his victory was short-lived as the then Military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the results of the election alleging that the polls were corrupt and unfair.
10. He was accused of treason
Months after the annulment of his presumed election victory, Abiola went to Epetedo area of Lagos Island, an area mainly populated by (Yoruba) Lagos to declare himself as president.
His action did not go down well with the then head of state, General Sani Abacha who ordered that Abiola be put into custody for treason
11. He died in detention 5 years after his presumed victory
Abiola died in detention in the year 1998 under suspicious circumstances. While official autopsy report that he died of natural causes, reports by sources close to the then dictator, Sani Abacha suggested that Abiola was beaten to death
12. He was conferred the highest national award of GCFR
On June 12, 2018, Abiola was posthumously conferred with the Nigeria’s highest national award, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) in recognition of his presumed election victory.
The award was received by Abiola’s son, Kola on his behalf.
Source: Daily Trust