Nearly thirty years after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, former president Olusegun Obasanjo, has opened up on what led to the denying of MKO Abiola the presidency of the country.
NewsOnline reports that Chief Obasanjo, who was president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 said Abiola was a galaxy and exceptional leader who is committed to the advancement of humanity.
Obasanjo who made the disclosure while speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said the philanthropist, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola was denied the presidency in Nigeria because of “bad belle,” which simply translates as envy or bad blood.
The former president said BBHS has produced brightest minds since its creation who have advanced in different areas of life and contributed to the development of the society nationally and internationally.
“Today, there are distinguished old boys in all walks of life, i.e., private sector, academia, military and paramilitary, civil society, traditional rulership, etc. Such is the present President of Old Boys Association of BBHS, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku,” Obasanjo said.
“I believe that I must not be too forgetful to leave out yours truly, the son of Obasanjo, a modest war-victorious General and former Military Head of State and former President of Nigeria. Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the first communication industry millionaire in Nigeria and the acclaimed winner of the 1993 Presidential election was in a class by himself.
“If not for Nigerian bad belle, M.K.O. Abiola would have been President and with me as president, we would have needed one more old student of BBHS to be president for us to permanently locate it in BBHS after three times. And that is a challenge for up-and-coming generations of old boys,” Obasanjo said.
According to Obasanjo, without BBHS, he would not have been what he is today. “Again, reminding us always of our character and conduct. We could proudly say BBHS with education plus. And for me, it stood me in good stead throughout my life so far. Without BBHS, I would not have been what I am,” he said.
“We must impact with humility, honesty, integrity, wisdom, courage, competence and fear of God – these must continue to be our characteristics and our attributes to make a change for good wherever we are. We must be different.”
The former president further challenged youths to engage in leadership positions by electing good leaders who would take education to its rightful place.
On June 12, 1993, the then head of state, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, known as IBB, annulled election won by the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) MKO Abiola. To date, IBB is yet to set history straight on why he annulled the election adjudged the fairest election in the history of Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2019, however, conferred on the late Abiola posthumous award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR). An award reserved mostly for presidents of Nigeria. Buhari said the posthumous award is to recognize Abiola’s victory on June 12, 1993.