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Nzekwe Gerald Uchenn @NzekweGerald
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HISTORY -- With Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna

THE STORY OF CHIEF MKO ABIOLA AND THE JUNE 12, 1993 ELECTION -- The Death of An Uncrowned Nigeria President

MKO Abiola was a Nigerian Yoruba businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Yoruba Egba clan.
The political turmoil endured by the citizens of Nigeria during the final decades of the twentieth century was led by varied group of individuals who wanted the end of Military rule in Nigeria, And One of the most influential Person's then, was Chief Moshood Abiola.
Abiola was the presidential candidate for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) with his promises of change and slogan of “Hope 93”, won states in the north, east and western parts of the country in an election that was later annulled by then president General Ibrahim Babangida,...
even though it was widely acclaimed by both local and foreign observers to be the freest and fairest elections held in Nigeria.

The Babangida government annulled the election on grounds of allegation that it was Corrupt and Unfair.
Let's take an empirical look at the earthly Sojourn of this Hero of Nigeria's Democracy with the Annulment of June 12 1993 Election in-view:

Moshood Kashimawa Olawale Abiola was born into a poor family in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria on August 24, 1937.

Moshood Abiola was his father's 23rd child but the first of his father's children to survive infancy, hence the name 'Kashimawo'.
It was not until he was 15 years old that he was properly named Moshood, by his parents.

At the age of nine he started his first business selling firewood gathered in the forest at dawn before school, to support his father and siblings.
He founded a band at the age of fifteen and would perform at various ceremonies in exchange for food. He was eventually able to require payment for his performances, and used the money to support his family and his secondary education at the Baptist Boys High School Abeokuta.
He was the editor of the school magazine The Trumpeter, Olusegun Obasanjo was deputy editor. At the age of 19 he joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons ostensibly because of its stronger pan-Nigerian origin compared with the Obafemi Awolowo-led Action Group.
After Abiola's secondary education at Baptist Boys' High School,he got a scholarship to attend the University of Glasgow,Scotland, where he received a degree in economics.
Abiola was raised in Muslim faith; he was brought up in a Community divided between Christians and Muslims.

Following the common Islamic tradition, Abiola took four wives;
> Simibiat Atinuke Shoaga in 1960,
> Kudirat Olayinki Adeyemi in 1973,
> Adebisi Olawunmi Oshin in 1974, and
> Doyinsola (Doyin) Abiola Aboaba in 1981.
He is said to have fathered over 40 children from these four marriages.

Abiola's second wife, Kudirat, was murdered in the capital city of Lagos in 1996. There was
speculation that her death was caused by the military, but no proof was ever found.
In 1992, Abiola was ordered to pay $20,000 a month in child support to a woman who claimed to be his wife.His lawyers argued in a New Jersey court that Abiola had only four wives; this woman was just one of his 19 concubines.

In 1956 Moshood Abiola started his professional life as a bank clerk with Barclays Bank in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria.
After two years he joined the Western Region Finance Corporation as an executive accounts officer,..
before leaving for Glasgow, Scotland, to pursue his higher education. From Glasgow University he received a first class degree in accountancy, and he also gained a distinction from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
On his return to Nigeria, he easily assumed the position of deputy chief accountant at Lagos University Teaching Hospital from 1965-1967.

In 1969,Abiola joined the International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT),where he rose to the position of Vice-President,Africa and Middle-East.
Abiola's Conontroversy In ITT ;

During his time at ITT, Abiola was accused of corruption and using substandard materials when he was the chairman and chief executive officer of International Telephone and Telegraph, Nigeria (ITT),..
and blamed as the major reason the telephone industry at the time was poor.
And the late Fela Anikulapo Kutihas a song where he referred to the acronym ITT as “International Thief Thief”.
Nevertheless, Chief MKO Abiola spent a lot of his time, and made most of his money, in the United States, while retaining the post of chairman of the corporation's Nigerian subsidiary. In addition to his duties throughout the Middle-East and Africa,...
Abiola invested heavily in Nigeria and West Africa. He set up Abiola Farms, Abiola Bookshops, Radio Communications Nigeria, Wonder Bakeries, Concord Press, Concord Airlines, Summit Oil International Ltd, Africa Ocean Lines, Habib Bank, Decca W.A. Ltd, and Abiola football club.
He was also Chairman of the G15 business council, President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Patron of the Kwame Nkrumah Foundation, Patron of the WEB Du Bois foundation, trustee of the Martin Luther King Foundation, and director of the International Press Institute.

Moshood Abiola sprang to national and international prominence as a result of his philanthropic activities.

Much of Abiola's fortune, which was estimated at close to $2 billion, he freely distributed to others.
He is said to have sent over 2,500 students through the university system as well as donating money to charities and championing sporting events.

From 1972 until his death Moshood Abiola had been conferred with 197 traditional titles by 68 different communities in Nigeria,...
in response to his having provided financial assistance in the construction of 63 secondary schools, 121 mosques and churches, 41 libraries, 21 water projects in 24 states of Nigeria, and he was grand patron to 149 societies or associations in Nigeria.
In addition to his work in Nigeria, Moshood Abiola supported the Southe African Liberation movements from the 1970s,and he sponsored the campaign to win reparations for slavery and colonialism in Africa and the diaspora.He personally communicated with every African head of State,
This Picture is of Chief MKO Abiola and The late Cuban President, Fidel Castro.
and every head of state in the black diaspora to ensure that Africans would speak with one voice on the issues.

Chief MKO Abiola's generosity earned him the nickname "Father Christmas" among the citizens of Nigeria.

Nigeria, the most populous country on the African continent, obtained its freedom from Britain in 1960. During the four decades that followed, it endured several major political crises, including the collapse of civilian rule in the 1960s ...
and the collapse of the civilian-headed "Second Republic" in the 1980s. Both of these crises were accelerated by civil violence in Yorubaland, the southwestern district of the country.
Historically, North-South conflicts have peppered Nigeria,..
as political power has been held by the north, the headquarters for the country's military. Abiola, who hailed from the southern district of Yoruba, brought a different perspective to the country's political makeup.
His cultivation of people on both sides of the north-south divide ultimately proved to be beneficial.

Abiola's involvement in politics started early on in life when he joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) at age 19.
In 1979, the military government kept its word and handed over power to the civilian. As Abiola was already involved in politics, he joined the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1980 and was elected the state chairman of his party.
Re-election was done in 1983 and everything looked promising since the re-elected president was from Abiola's party and based on the true transition to power in 1979; Abiola was eligible to go for the post of presidential candidate after the tenure of the re-elected president.
However, his hope to become the president was shortly dashed away for the first time in 1983 when a military coup d'état swept away the re-elected president of his party and ended civilian rule in the country.
Abiola was Known for his out-spoken political stances, Abiola lobbied the United States and several European nations , demanding reparations for their enslavement of African people and recompense for the fortunes made in harvesting Africa's raw materials.
Abiola had managed to work his way out of poverty through hard work. He established Abiola bookshops to provide affordable, locally produced textbooks in the 1980s when imported textbooks became out of the reach of ordinary Nigerians as the naira was devalued.
He also made available daily necessities such as rice and soap at affordable prices in the market.

Notably and ironically too, MKO Abiola is also alleged to have sponsored the 1985 coup that brought in his Close friend General Babangida to power with ten million dollars ($10M)
THE 1985 COUP -- The Role Chief Moshood Abiola Allegedly Played In The Successful Coup That Brought In his Friend General Ibrahim Babangida to Power :

In December 31st 1983, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari terminated the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari,...
Buhari was coasting to his second year in office when him and his second-in-command, Major-General Tunde Idiagbon, were flushed out of power on August 25, 1985.

It has since been known that the palace coup was staged by General Ibrahim Babangida,..
whose 8-years rule culminated into the ignominious annulment of the June 12,1993 presidential elections.

Ironically, It was this same MKO Abiola whose Electoral victory was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida, that actually made it possible for the 1985 coup of Babangida to succeed.
It has was revealed that Chief MKO Abiola, who wanted his friend, General Babangida, to replace Buhari as head of state, was told that it would be difficult to overthrow the government unless Buhari's deputy, Major-General
Tunde Idiagbon, was first taken care of.
Indeed, the coup, which had been planned to take place in the first quarter
of 1985, had to be delayed for another four months because of the fear of General Idiagbon.
According to one of Chief Abiola's wives, Mrs. Titilayo Abiola, she said MKO Abiola had wanted Buhari and Idiagbon out of power because the duo "had Problems with him."
And Babangida, who was to be installed head of state, went to Abiola and the Concord newspaper publisher ..
asked him: "okay, you my friend, how do we get around this?" And Babangida told him:

"you can't get this one unless Idiagbon is out of the way."

Chief Abiola's wife Titilayo, who made the revelation went further that, Chief Abiola then told Babangida not to worry:
"He (Abiola) said okay, he (Idiagbon) is a Moslem. He (Abiola) then called King Fayd of Saudi Arabia (who) is his (Abiola's) friend." According to her,
Chief Abiola told King Fayd, "I want you to invite this our number two
(Tunde Idiagbon) for the Hajj."
She explained that as a Moslem, General Idiagbon "felt very honoured and he
went (and) Babangida took over."
She added that when Idiagbon returned to the country from Saudi Arabia
"he knew it was Abiola's doing, and uptil today, they don't talk (to each
To buttress the bitter enmity between Idiagbon and Abiola, Titilayo said,
when a certain prominent Moslem sheik died, "my husband was there, Idiagbon was there. He (Idiagbon) greeted everybody, but when it got to my husband's turn,he just ignored him and went to the next person".
Mrs Titilayo Abiola also acknowledged the fact that her husband played a major role to
ensure that Alhaji Shehu Shagari clinched political power in 1979 and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo did not obtain it, because of the personal things between Abiola and Awolowo.
"Abiola however, fell out with Shagari when he was denied the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) presidential ticket in 1982.

"You see,the NPN thing, he (Abiola) even went as far as establishing a newspaper (Concord) in order to counter Awolowo's Tribune then,"she recalled.
Titilayo, who was reacting to insinuations that Abiola might have been paying the wages of his past deeds in aiding the overthrow and installation of certain past leaders in the country, remarked that such insinuations
might not be far from the truth:
"It is not as if they were lying against him... the guy (Abiola) didn't even hide it. So, if they are saying that, they are right," she declared.
"If they are saying that the NPN later told him (Abiola) the presidency was not for sale and they had a disagreement and then he went to Buhari to get the people (Shagari's government) out of the place,good,he did that, he never denied he wasn't part of it," said Titilayo Abiola.
On March 20 2002, President Muhammadu Buhari was Interview by Encomium Magazine, he also Collaborated Mrs Titilayo Abiola's Story, about Chief MKO Abiola's Involvement in Ousting him out in 1985 Coup.

In the Magazine, it was stated:
"Another reason for the Coup was attributed to the displeasure on the part of Chief MKO Abiola, who was alleged to have helped finance the 1983 coup. Abiola was upset not only with the decision of the Buhari regime to seize and auction a large consignment of his ...
newsprint (which had allegedly been smuggled into the country) but also with an inquiry into the possible role of a relative in the drug trade.

"Idiagbon had traveled out of the country on pilgrimage, Chief MKO Abiola was alleged to be well aware of the plot and ...
accompanied Idiagbon for the pilgrimage as a form of deception and a source of intelligence".

It was alleged that MKO Abiola sponsored the 1985 coup that brought Ibrahim Babangida to power with a whopping ten million dollars ($10M).
in 1985, $10milliin was a huge amount.

After a decade of military rule, General Ibrahim Babangida came under serious pressure to return back democratic rule in Nigeria.
In 1993, the Nigerian government was undergoing another in-a-series of attempts at stabilization.
Major General Ibrahim Babangida, together with Nigerian political leaders, inaugurated the Transitional Council and the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC). These governing bodies were designed to exist until democratic elections could be held to choose a president.
On January 5, 1993, the process of screening over 250 presidential candidates was begun by the National Electoral Commission (NEC.) The NEC banned previous candidates and parties from campaigning, and so the long process began.
After an aborted initial primary, MKO Abiola stood for the presidential nomination of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and beat Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to secure the presidential nomination of the SDP.
By the end of March, Abiola was chosen by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as their candidate.
While, The National Republican Convention (NRC) chose Bashir Othma Tofa.
The elections was scheduled for June 12, 1993.
The Election was Conducted by Nation Electoral Commission headed by Humphrey Nwosu.

At the End of the Election, the Coated results clearly showed Abiola to be the winner.

Note: This is the Picture of Prof. Humphrey Nwosu.
But, Ibrahim Babangida,probably wishing to continue military rule, petitioned the High Court to delay the elections, and on June 16 the announcement of the results was postponed.

In defiance of the court order,a group called Campaign for Democracy released the election results,
declaring Abiola to be the winner, with 19 of 30 states supporting him. Less than a week later the NDSC voided the election, supposedly to protect the legal system and the judiciary from being ridiculed both nationally and internationally.
Both the U.S. and Great Britain reacted to this violation of democratic principles by restricting aid to Nigeria.
MKO Abiola, believing himself to have been given a mandate from the voters, joined the Campaign for Democracy in ...
calling for voters to perform acts of civil disobedience in an attempt to force the election results to stand. In response, Ibrahim Babangida used the authority he still retained to ban both Abiola and Tofa from participating in any new elections.
On July 6, 1993, Nigerian leaders demanded that both parties agree to participate in an interim national government. They reluctantly agreed and, on July 16, plans were announced for a new election, but immediately abandoned. On July 31, Babangida, president of the NDSC,...
announced an interim government would take effect on August 27.
Babangida then stepped down on the day before the new government took effect, handing power over to a preferred loyalist, Chief Shonekan.
Nigerians supporting Abiola demanded that power be turned over to him as the rightful winner of the original election.
That election was considered by many to have been the cleanest in Nigeria's history and was praised as a concerted effort to overcome ethnic and ...
religious divisions throughout the country. A. O. Olukoshi, a professor at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos, commented on the election and the majority win by Abiola, saying "Abiola allowed us to rise above ethnic and religious differences …
this was the first time a Yoruba has been able to win votes both in the east and the north." By this point, Abiola had traveled to London where he denounced the entire process. Throughout August 1993,t Nigeria was paralyzed by strikes and unrest, and came almost to a standstill.
Abiola remained abroad for several months, finally returning to Nigeria at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Babangida set up interim government in 1993,with Chief Ernest Shonekan as it's head. Their mandate was to conduct another election and transition the country to Democracy.
But the only history Shonekan made was becoming the shortest president ever to govern Nigeria. In November 17, 1993 just 82 days after, he was overthrown by General Sani Abacha in a "bloodless" coup.
For the master coup plotter Abacha,this particular coup was a walk in the park.He literally just walked into the government house and said “hey this is a coup”.
Shonekan might have been the interim president but he was not the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces an oversight..
either planned or not that would cost him dearly.
Abacha also had the backing of the northern ruling elite who believed power was their birthright and did not want to see a southerner rule.

Resentment against the military grew during the first part of 1994.

In 1994 Moshood Abiola declared himself the lawful president of Nigeria in the Epetedo area of Lagos island, an area mainly populated by (Yoruba) Lagos Indigenes.
After just returning from a trip to win the support of the international community for his mandate. After declaring himself president he was declared wanted.
He had finally provided Abacha with a legitimate reason to go after a man whom he deemed to be a threat.
He quickly accused him of treason and sent 200 police vehicles to bring him into custody.
The military, conducting a nationwide hunt, arrested him on June 23 1994.

The following day, 1,000 demonstrators marched on Lagos to demand Abiola's release.
By July, a war of attrition by Nobel Prize winner, Wole Soyinka, was launched against the government.
In response,the military charged Abiola with treason.
Prof. Wole Soyinka,one of the driving forces behind Abiola, was forced to flee the country after being charged with treason.
The oil workers went on a ten-day strike, crippling the nation's leading industry and bringing the country to an economic halt. Riots flared in Lagos and by the strike's third week, 20 people had been killed. By mid-August the strike had brought unrest to the northern and ...
eastern part of the country as support for Abiola continued to increase.
Abacha responded by firing any high ranking military he thought were not loyal, then fired the heads of the state companies and their boards.
Abacha eventually crushed the strike after nine weeks.
He arrested any pro-democracy leaders that could be found.
This also I includes the Assassination Murder of Mrs Kudirat Abiola, Chief MKO Abiola's Second wife, by General Abacha's Trike-Force Cordinated by Hamza Al-Mustapha.
Some of those who fought against the June 12 Annulment and where either arrested Or fled the Military Junta of Abacha, Include: Bola Tinubu, Many Members of NADECO, Members of Afenifere, Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana, Olusegun Osoba, Shehu Sani (Now Senator in Kaduna),..
Olisa Agbakoba, Dele Momodu (Ovation Magazine), just to mention a Few.
Also of note is the Death of So many Journalist, Lawyers, Activist by Sani Abacha.

While the likes of Ken Sarowiwa were executed by the Abacha Regim.
Moshood Abiola was detained for four years, largely in solitary confinement with a Bible, Qur'an, and 14 guards as companions.

During that time, Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and human rights activists from all over the world lobbied the Government for his release.
The sole condition attached to the release of Chief Abiola was that he renounce his mandate, something that he refused to do, although the military government offered to compensate him and refund his extensive election expenses.
For this reason Chief Abiola became extremely troubled when Kofi Annan and Emeka Anyaoku reported to the world that he had agreed to renounce his mandate after they met with him to tell him that the world would not recognise a five-year-old election.
ABIOLA'S DEATH - Heart Attack or Poison?

And According to Ayekooto,
The only Politician that made REALISTIC move to cunningly free MKO Abiola was Lamidi Adedibu.

He went secretly to meet Abacha. His meeting with Abacha was top secret.He begged/Prostrated for Abacha to free MKO
Abacha insisted that MKO must sign off his mandate. Adedibu said "No problem but you won't seize his International Passport", Abacha agreed.

The intention of Adedibu was that he would do anything to free MKO and convince MKO to sign anything to free himself from the dungeon ...
of ruthless Abacha, after which he can run to America and relaunch his attack to reclaim his mandate, he said "A brave warrior is known in battle by his ability to run when it is tough and return when he has been recharged".
Abacha allowed Adedibu to meet MKO Abiola in prison with the agreement. Abiola was to sign and leave the prison immediately. Abiola held Adedibu in high esteem. He agreed with him but pleaded that he needed to inform some members of Afenifere....'Just to inform'.
Adedibu sensed trouble, he urged MKO not to.

Abiola insisted. Abiola was given that opportunity by the military. Those he contacted asked him NEVER to sign the document Adedibu brought for him! They told him they would get him out without signing any agreement.
Abiola agreed. Adedibu left in sorrow, embraced Abiola so tightly as if that was going to be their last meeting. Yes, it was.

Unfortunately, those who asked Abiola not to sign were later found out to have benefited in Abacha Government secretly.
Abacha and Abiola's Death:

After Abacha died on June 8, 1998 after eating an Apple, there were renewed calls for MKO Abiola to be made the president but this was not to be.
On July 7, 1998, only days before his scheduled release from prison, Abiola collapsed during a visit with a U.S. delegation and died in Abuja, Nigeria, of an alleged heart attack.
His long-time friend and supporter, Wole Soyinka, expressed doubts that the death was the result of natural causes. "I'm convinced that some kind of slow poison was administered to Abiola," he told an interviewer after learning of his friend's death.
Soyinka claimed that other Nigerian political prisoners had been injected with poison and indicated that he had received a note prior to Abiola's death stating that his friend would be killed within the next few days.
An autopsy said Abiola's heart was seriously diseased and confirmed it as cause of his death.The U.S. delegation visiting Abiola at the time of his attack saw No reason to presume foul play, indicating the presiding doctors felt that the symptom was consistent with heart attack.
In an Interview after his release from Prison, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha said that, both Abacha and Abiola were killed by Babangida.
He also indicted some Yoruba leaders on MKO Abiola's death.
Abiola's death shocked and saddened a country that had come close to experiencing true democracy through valid elections for the first time in its history.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Okogie, commented on Abiola's passing by saying,..
"His death is the end of a chapter." Instead of celebrating his release and the possible resurgence of democracy, Nigeria stepped back to re-gather itself, and start the process again.
CHIEF MKO Abiola's Will :

After his Demise in 1998, Chief MkO Abiola was said that have had 26 wives and concubines,and supposedly 113 children.
When Chief Abiola's Will was read, the family found out that there was "A clause in Abiola's will " that required that his heirs prove that he was their father.
Over seventy people were able to show that Abiola was their father using DNA tests.
Seven children were from his second wife,Kudirat Abiola.

Abiola might be dead but his legacy lives on and June 12 will always be honored as the day one man was able to unite a Nation of fractured tribes to accomplish one goal,which was make Nigeria a better place for everyone.
Thank God today June 12, 2018, Exactly 25 years after the Annulment and denial of Chief MKO Abiola's Mandate, President Muhammadu Buhari has Officially Declared Chief MKO Abiola as the Winner of the 1993 Election and Confirming him the Highest Honor of GCFR,...
and also recognized June 12 as the True Democracy Day in Nigeria's History.
President Muhammadu Buhari also Apologized to the Abiola Family.
Also, The Abiola Family after Acknowledging and Accepting President Buhari's Apology, Apologized to President Buhari regarding the part their Father Chief Abiola played in the 1985 Coup that Ousted out Muhammadu Buhari and Idiagbon in 1985, and brought in Ibrahim Babangida.
Borrowing the words of Mr Moshood Fayewimo, editor of the defunct Razor Magazine;
"Chief MKO Abiola might have his shortcomings, but then many great leaders have been known to have their bad sides and weaknesses including greats like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela,...
and it's  foolhardy to judge a man by his shortcomings as we all have them. I do not want a perfect man, I want one whose motives are true and Abiola embodied that".

Chief MKO Abiola is definitely Nigeria's Hero of Democracy.

The End.
NGU Library Collection, Express Article, Olalekan Olonilua of Encomium Magazine, 1996-2018 LoveToKnow, Ben Bassey, Moshood Fayewimo, editor of the defunct Razor magazine,Ayekooto

#Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna (NGU)
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