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Moday June 12, 2023
Late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola was the winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida-led military junta.
Monday June 12, 2023 makes it 30 years since the historic event.
A close associate of the late business mogul who is also a business mogul himself, an Ibadan based Property merchandise, Alhaji Sufianu Kazeem popularly called Su-Kazeem by friends and associates says MKO Abiola, like many Patriotic Nigerians has a very good plans for the future of Nigeria that would truly make it a democratic society.
Alhaji Kazeem who was so close to Late Abiola despite the fact that he then lived in Ibadan and Abiola was living in Lagos said anytime Abiola was in Ibadan, his first point of call was his residence after which they will both left for events or meeting together with Abiola.
He described Abiola as compassionate, accommodating and generous even to those who never liked him.
He revealed that” Abiola was truly a wealthy man in his days. I was one of the very few who entered Abiola’s bedroom with room most times. In Abiola’s room, you will see currency in various denominations, Naira, Euro, Pounds and Dollars in bulk, all ready to be dashed out to people.
Any ceremonies Abiola attended will be talked about for a very long time because of the glamour he would had been added to it.”
Also, the elder statesman recounted the more than three times that Late MKO Abiola flew to Ibadan only to come and picked him with his private jet which was not common then.
He said “I still remember vividly how Chief Abiola will come to Ibadan for me and we both travelled to the Northern part of the country for meetings.
Also, his son, Kola had severally came to Ibadan to picked me up with private jets for many trips to other parts of the country. This can only tell you my close relationship with the Abiola’s family.”
Su-Kazeem said those enjoying Nigeria’s democracy are the same elements who annulled the 1993 election.
“During the June 12, 1993, election, from the begining to the end when Abiola was arrested, I was part of it all, the campaign tours, the meetings, review and all, I was part of it.
Alhaji Kazeem said June 12 is a reminder of what prominent and Nigerians of good conscience did to bring an end to military and once again restored democracy.
“By 2023, it would have been 29 years since these struggles started and were consistently fought! Don’t let us forget how we got here and why we must not travel further with those who directly participated or those who were and have remained complicit in these acts against our collective humanity!
Alhaji Kazeem also remembered that “I first met with the current President of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at Ibadan in 1972 through one Mrs Tokun who then was working with daily sketch in Ibadan.
Tinubu was in my tailoring shop to buy and sow a trouser which I did for him.
The second time was when we met at the residence of Late Abiola when he came to got money for mobilisation and logistics from Abiola to took to supporters.
“Myself, Abiola and Tinubu were in his bedroom where Abiola gave huge sums of money to Tinubu.
But one thing I know was that the money were being taken states for the purpose of the then proposed Presidential Election.
Alhaji Kazeem said compared to previous elections which were marred by massive fraud, violence and intimidation, the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election was peaceful and credible.
” The presidential poll was adjudged the freest and the fairest in the history of elections in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the election was annulled by the then military government led by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida when already the results had indicated an overwhelming victory for Chief MKO Abiola of the SDP.”
Alhaji Su-Kazeem recounted that during the electioneering campaign of Late Abiola, the campaign team including Abiola himself always reported back to former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo at Ota, who is also Abiola kinsman not knowing that he was against Abiola.
Su-Kazeem also revealed that during the trial of Abiola, that he was invited by the power that be then through Late General Oladipo Diya.
“I was in Ibadan when I got a call from Abuja that the Presidency will like to meet with me, Late Lamidi Adedibu and late Oni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade.
Kola Abiola called me and warned me not to attend the meeting because I might also be set up. So, I didn’t showed up for the meeting, if the others showed up, I don’t know.”
He attributed the non recognition of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election and the winner, Late Chief Abiola by Obasanjo to hatred and self glorification of the Ex-President.
He commended former President Muhammadu Buhari for deeming it fit to honour Abiola even in death.
It was not until 25 years later, precisely on June 8, 2018,that President Muhammadu Buhari took a bold step to recognize June 12 as the Nigeria’s Democracy Day as against the May 29 date that had hitherto been observed since 1999.
The President did not stop at that, he also honoured the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Abiola, with the highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.”
Alhaji Kazeem stated that the recognition of June 12 as democracy day is not only to celebrate Abiola but also to honour those who fought for the cause and struggle that led to the termination of the era of military rule in Nigeria.
He counselled Nigerians on the need to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is also one of the ardent of late Abiola in order to properly Position the nation for a greater heights.