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Tribute: Moshood Kashimawo Abiola: A Life Fulfilled By Dele Momodu



Say what you will, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola has finally achieved apotheosis. Not many humans are so lucky, or that endowed in life or in death. It is common to hear ordinary mortals say, in moments of deep frustration, Abiola should not have joined politics. In theory, such proponents believe he would be alive today. That is normal, because no one likes to lose a loved one, no matter how old. But there is never a cast-iron guarantee about life and death. No one ever chose when to be born and when to die.

Abiola’s life was a stuff of fairy-tale, and eerily mythical. He was the 23rd child of his dad when he was born on August 24, 1937, to the family of Salaudeen Abiola, in the Gbagura compound of Abeokuta, Ogun State. All 22 children born before him had died in infancy under varying and mysterious circumstances. His parents doubted if Moshood would stay or go the way of the other 22 children, the reason he was promptly and grudgingly named Kashimawo. But as fate would have it, Moshood not only stayed, other children born after him also enjoyed the same grace, making him a harbinger of good tidings. As was the norm in those days, his parents were not economically buoyant, but they nevertheless struggled to send him to school.

Abiola showed much promise early in life. He was gifted with a magnetic brain, and photographic memory, and also had an unusual ability for entertainment. Indeed, his musical performances enabled him get money that helped him and other siblings fund their education. The beginning of the great entrepreneur that he was to become was already sowed, and germinated, from such business dexterity. Abiola did not allow his under-privileged pedigree to affect him. His thirst for knowledge was insatiable. He spent his most formative years at the famous Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta. That was where he encountered Christian teachings and assimilated the Bible alongside his Koranic background. He became a versatile man who never discriminated against anyone on account of tribe or religion.

After secondary school, he worked briefly as banker with Barclays Bank in Ibadan. Thereafter, he proceeded to Scotland in search of the golden fleece and obtained a First Class degree in Accountancy from the University of Glasgow and a distinction from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He worked briefly abroad before returning home to work at various companies, including University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, Pfizer Nigeria Limited and eventually, ITT Corporation where fortune and fame smiled on him. His was a meteoric rise from grass to grace because of his boundless energy, prodigious brilliance, great tenacity, never-say-die attitude, clear-headedness and uncommon ability to make and keep friends, in low and high places. He rose to become Vice President of ITT in Africa and the Middle East and Chairman of ITT’s Nigerian subsidiary.

Abiola’s business interests were humongous. He was more than an octopus with long fingers in many pies. He had substantial investments in telecommunications, oil and gas, media, music, farming, shipping, banking, sports, real estate, bookshops, airlines, bakery, bulk deliveries, printing, and so on. In his time, Abiola was probably the largest employer of private labour in Nigeria, with offices and homes in several countries abroad.

Abiola was the quintessential philanthropist and a most generous giver who gave unconditionally to people, organisations, institutions, communities and societies of different persuasions. He contributed to building many churches and mosques across Nigeria, water projects, medical facilities, libraries, sports facilities and so on. On a single day, he donated N1 million each to 30 Nigerian universities, an unprecedented and most remarkable move that endeared him to students and parents nationwide. Abiola changed the stature and status of journalists in Nigeria by elevating them from Press boys to gentlemen of the Press through incredible wages, training, exposure and incentives.

Abiola was a self-appointed Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of the black race. He championed the causes of Black people all over the world by leading a ceaseless campaign for Reparations from the Western world for the many decades of slavery. He was specially recognised by the American Black Caucus and was awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree by Tuskegee University, USA. He was a special friend of Lords and Royals and met many world leaders in recognition of his leadership and statesmanship. He was one of the most decorated Africans ever and possibly the man with the highest number of Chieftaincy titles on the continent of Africa.

Abiola’s foray into politics was never an accident. It was clearly planned and meticulously orchestrated. He had been a member of the National Council for Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) at the age of 19. He was therefore not a tyro when he rejoined politics in the late seventies. However, he was soon frustrated out of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) by the shenanigans of a powerful cabal in 1981, because they saw the grave threat he posed to their obsession for power, as control freaks. He had set his eyes on the Chairmanship of the party as a launch-pad to his Presidential ambition. He was told in unambiguous terms that the Presidency was not for sale. He went back home to lick his wounds with equanimity and waited to fight another day. But he was already a marked man who was being keenly watched by the Nigerian Mafia. He had occasional brushes with the government of his supposed best friend, President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who dribbled and waltzed his way through the labyrinth of power and left everyone dazed with his wizardry. Babangida’s transition time-table was as confusing as it was befuddling. But everything is for a season!

Abiola resolutely had his sight on the Presidency but bided his time patiently. Before he took the leap of faith in January 1993, he had made wide and extensive consultations and was reasonably assured that President Babangida was ready to hand over power, finally. Abiola bought the assurance hook, line and sinker and took what turned out to be a kamikaze plunge. He fought with everything to upstage both Alhaji Babagana Kingibe as well as Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his two main rivals within the Social Democratic Party. He won the ticket eventually but had to contend with the Governors of his party who were rooting for Kingibe. He ended up with a Muslim/Muslim ticket but his charisma, panache, affluence and legendary generosity meant that he got away with this huge risk and gamble, in a religiously volatile country. He won the June 12 Presidential elections convincingly and resoundingly. Although the results have never been formally declared by NEC, the full details were before the High Court which ordered NEC to declare them. The military responded with such savagery and bestiality that nobody could have predicted or anticipated.

Abiola had managed to get very close, in fact too close, to touching distance of his holy grail when the military top brass struck and annulled the election, the first of its kind in Nigeria, because it was free and fair. The annulment was as audacious as it was reprehensible. Abiola and his civilian army of supporters pushed hard against an obstinate and vicious military that ostensibly had nowhere to go, and rigidly insisted that it was not ready to go. A lot of water passed under the bridge and Abiola went through so much trauma trying to retrieve his stolen mandate. The world community watched in total bewilderment and anguish as Nigeria went through its season of anomy. Unknown to Nigerians, and friends of Nigeria, Abiola was on his road to Golgotha. World figures came from the United Nations and the Commonwealth Office but neither Dr Kofi Anan nor Chief Emeka Anyaoku could convince Abiola to forget his mandate. He chose to die fighting like a man, a brave warrior in the forest of a thousand daemons, after all, he was the fabled and fabulous Aare Ona Kakanfo, the generalissimo of the Yoruba race. He had crossed the Rubicon and could not afford to let down the Nigerian people. The Generalissimo is not expected to shy away or run away from a fight. Abiola’s wit and wisdom were surreal. His courage and devotion to the cause of Nigeria were never in doubt. His humility and generosity were clearly unparalleled. In short, in his own inimitable way, Chief MKO Abiola was nonpareil!

Abiola was last visited by two august visitors from America on July 7, 1998, Thomas Pickering and Susan Rice, and the unexpected happened. They announced that Abiola had died of “apparent heart attack.” That was it. Abiola instantly became a martyr for democracy. Abiola left the world in a dramatic fashion, just as he came. The shockwaves of his death reverberated across the oceans to far flung places. Abiola was physically out of circulation, but the spirit and soul of June 12 was very much alive. Every effort to kill it remained abortive and aborted and could not be obliterated.

Abiola’s mandate stood ramrod for 25 years. Justice was delayed, but this one was never denied. President Muhammadu Buhari was probably haunted by the ghost of June 12, privately, as are a lot of others, both military and civilian. For whatever reason, or possible motives, he did the unthinkable, by recognising Abiola as the true winner of that watershed election. He recognised that it has never been the case of a presumptive winner, but that of an outright and undeniable winner. He finally brought the ghost to rest yesterday, in Abuja, and got a thunderous ovation for his courage and vision.

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Ayu Debunks Suspension Report, Says ‘Only INEC Can Suspend Me’




By Eric Elezuo

The National Chairman pf the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has debunked the report of his suspension by his Benue ward, noting that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can suspend him.

Ayu made the clarification in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr. Simon Imobo-Tswam,  and made available to The Boss.

The embattled chairman, who was via a letter dated March 24, 2023 suspended by the ward, said the ward executive was teleguided, and those goading the executive were ignorant.

Describing the entire report as rumour, Ayu informed that “Article 57(7) of the PDP Constitution as Amended in 2017 expressly prohibits any organ of the party or executive committee of the party at the Ward or State Level from taking any disciplinary measure against any member of the party’s National Executive Committee,” stressing that the actions of the Ward executive are exercises in futility.

He therefore, advised the general to ignore the rumour as “those behind the plot are only investing in expensive illusions.”

Read the statement in full:

Our attention has been drawn to rumours that the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has been suspended by the Executive Committee of his Ward.

We wish to state categorically and with all emphasis at our disposal thus:

1. The PDP National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, has not been suspended by his Ward. Some members of the Exco are only being teleguided by political gamblers to cause mischief and nothing more.

2. For starters, Article 57(7) of the PDP Constitution as Amended in 2017 expressly prohibits any organ of the party or executive committee of the party at the Ward or State Level from taking any disciplinary measure against any member of the party’s National Executive Committee.

3. The purported suspension is, therefore, an exercise in futility as it derives its strength majorly from gross illiteracy, ignorance, gambling and desperation. It has only mischief, drama and propaganda value.

4. But more than this, the so-called suspension letter was written by an illiterate before hand, and only given to the coerced members to sign somewhere in Makurdi.

6. This is why the original date is typexed and 24 March imposed on it. And this is also why it states that the presidential/NASS and Governorship/State Assembly elections held on 25th and 18th March, 2023 respectively.

7. From what we know, document itself is fraudulent as the signatures of the Ward Executives were forged or obtained under duress.
The chairman, his deputy and legal adviser didn’t sign. The 14th person on the list didn’t sign too. She was at NKST Ambighir for the Holy Communion.

8. In fact, the same applies for Nos. 5, 8 and 16. At the time they were supposed to be in Makurdi with the other coerced, intimidated and induced members of the Exco, they were actually in their villages, going about their normal businesses.

9. Up till now, about nine members of the Ward Exco are still being held hostage in a location in Makurdi for obvious reasons. And expectedly, their mobile numbers have been switched off. It is instructive.

10. The general public is hereby advised to ignore rumours to this heinous effect. Those behind the plot are only investing in expensive illusions.

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Former Chief of Staff, Oladipo Diya is Dead




A former Chief of Staff, General Oladipo Diya, has died.

The death of the former General was made by a statement signed by Barrister Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on behalf of theDiya family.

Read the statement…

On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad, we announce the passing on to glory of our dear husband, father, grandfather and brother, Lt- General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (Rtd) GCON, LLB, BL, PSC, FSS, mni.

Our dear daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023.
Please keep us in your prayers, as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.

Barrister Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on behalf of the family.

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I’ll Never Validate an Illegitimate Outcome of a Flawed Process – Atiku Abubakar




By Eric Elezuo

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has denied authoring a fake press statement making the rounds in the media, reiterating that he will never validate am Illegitimate outcome of a Flawed process.

The former Vice President made the clarification in a statement he personally signed, stressing that the so called press release did not emanate from him or his office, adding that his lawyers still have his unflinching mandate to challenge the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

The Waziri Adamawa restated his stand in joining lovers of democracy around the world to condemn the election and completely reject the ‘predetermined outcome’ of the election.

Read the statement below:

I have been notified of a fake press release attributed to me and purportedly giving legitimacy to the widely rigged presidential election of February 25.

The so-called press release did not emanate from me or my office, and it should be treated with repudiation, untrue, and deliberately contrived by those who illegally appropriated the mandate of the Nigerian people.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I wish to state categorically that my lawyers still have my unflinching mandate to challenge the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

I join other lovers of democracy in Nigeria and friends of our great country in the outright rejection of the predetermined outcome of the February 25 election.

I shall continue to challenge the legality of that election, alongside my party, the Peoples Democratic Party.

The decision to challenge the sham election of February 25, the worst election in our democratic history, is not predicated on my personal interest but for the interest of Nigeria and its people. It is aimed at deepening democracy and ensuring that we do not confer legitimacy to an outcome of illegitimacy.

My commitment to the democratic struggle in Nigeria is beyond an election season.

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