My father died for Nigeria’s democracy- MKO Abiola's Son Speaks — Nigerian Pilot News
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My father died for Nigeria’s democracy- MKO Abiola’s Son Speaks



Jamiu Abiola, son of the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, dropped a bombshell during an interview with Nigerian Pilot crew when he declared that some politicians were feeding fat on the June 12 struggle before President Muhammadu Buhari pulled the rug off their feet by officially declaring June 12 Democracy Day. The interview was conducted by Dr Austin Maho, Mike Odiakose and Friday Obande. Excerpts:

Can you tell us more about yourself?

My name is Jamiu Abiola, the Shettima Rasheed of Borno, a title held by my father, Late Chief MKO Abiola while he was alive and the son of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.

I am a businessman but my major activity is translation because I speak 12 languages namely; English, Yoruba, Hausa, Kanuri, Arabic, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Hindi, Japanese and I translate for most of the biggest countries in the world through a company called Transperfect which is the biggest translation company in the world. I translate for bank of America, Volkswagen, Ford Motors, ECOWAS, GIZ and I’m also a writer with four books to my credit.

I wrote a book about my father titled, “The President Who never Ruled” and “The Stolen Presidency”, which I dedicated to my parents. I also wrote my first book, “Realistic Hopes”, and “Prisoner of Conscience.” I write in two languages, Arabic and English.

Are you a politician?

Yes of course, I am a politician because I’m a member of the Buhari support organisation and also a member of the women and youth presidential campaign team and also part of the inauguration committee of Mr. President and the accommodation sub-committee.

My involvement in politics is to tell the truth just the same way I wrote a book to tell the truth about my father, the same way I always try to tell the true story about President Muhammadu Buhari and I think it is a golden opportunity for NigErians to do the right things and by so doing, we won’t only become giants of Africa but to encourage other countries to grow too like Japan did in Asia.

An assessment of Buhari’s administration

The president did not know the depth of the decadence in the country when he came in, so in his first term, he decided to stabilize the country and dig the country out of this decadence and he has done very well by putting the country on a sound footing in agriculture and infrastructure.

He realised that they were the two major sectors that could salvage Nigeria from the vicious circle of poverty that has become endemic as a result of very bad political leadership.

Has Buhari actually achieved his manifestos-economy, security and agriculture?

The president is also doing very well in the area of security because you need information to tackle security. Once information is shared at the right time, you have solved a large percentage of the problem.

That is why I urge Nigerians to meet the president half way and there has to be more information sharing, and people should try to come out and give detailed information about their areas and not to wait till the problem erupts to adverse level.

Nigeria has a bigger land max than a lot of countries which makes it difficult to man strategic areas without information because at the end of the day, it will be a win-win situation for all.

Do you think the security chiefs have failed in their duties?

Rebuilding an already collapsed building is not something that takes place within a twinkle of an eye. The issue of banditry came up recently and the government is trying to tackle it.

What is you take on the clamour for restructuring?

Restructuring is very interesting idea that has been bought by many intellectuals but before restructuring a society, you must first have a structure because right now, Nigeria is structureless and with such an internal philosophical and psychological problem which should involve all Nigerians to ask whether we need to keep moving forward or backward or ready to take responsibility of our actions or inactions or expect to continue with corruption for the president to change things?

As for the issue of the police, we have AIGs who are under the IG in different zones of the federation which is devolution of powers of police. So even if we want to give state policing an effect it would even be dangerous because of the way some states run their resources, as a lot of state governors who cannot pay minimum wage would still not be able to meet up with payments for the police. All these things need to be attended to before we can truly talk about restructuring.

So you mean Nigeria is not yet ripe for restructuring?

Yes, Nigeria isn’t yet ripe for democracy because the key fundamental structure has not been put in place. You have to make a foundation before you can build a house and that was the major reason why we supported President Buhari because he has been privileged to be in this position and other offices before now who is a model for us Nigerians. He is not corrupt so we want to follow his example to achieve a better Nigeria.

We must first try to change ourselves internally and adjust our ways of lives before we can start talking about restructuring.

Mr. President would soon be sworn in for second term and what is your advice to him and the major areas you want him to focus?

Well, I think he should continue with the projects that he has started like the school feeding programme in which the government is feeding 9.2 million children per day and the Vice President during his campaign promised the figures would grow to 15 million to make sure that the kids feed well and learn well too.

Another area I’ll advise the president to focus on is infrastructure which he has also started, but most of the time, people complain that there is no money in the economy, not knowing that the money is being used for infrastructural development across the country. Even the US with all its wonderful infrastructure recently, the president and congress decided on an expenditure of 2 trillion dollars on infrastructure because any country that is not focused on infrastructure is one that is about to face a doom’s day scenario.

So I advise the president to continue dealing with the masses, for instance, look at the trader money which was introduced to assist traders in their business and other things which I think the government should focus on.

Mr. President recently signed the N30, 000 minimum wage but some state governors are already grumbling about lack of resources, what is the way out?

The way out is for them to source how to increase their IGR because people have to get paid and Mr. President has set the example. The president is a man who is suppose to be the richest person in this country but I think he is even poorer now as a president

What is your general assessment of Buhari’s fight against corruption?

The government has been using some pragmatic methods which can never fail anywhere in the world to combat corruption. The issue of whistle blower has been so effective because you can only fight corruption when everybody watches after each other because the president cannot be everywhere.

Secondly, the cashless and the single treasury account which has made it difficult for people to hide corruption now. Even recently, the EFCC boss said it has acquired some new machines that would make it easy to track mone, so let’s wait and be patient with the government.

Some Nigerians have been complaining that the anti-corruption war is partial and a form of witch hunt, what do you have to say about that?

A lot of people will always complain about a lot of things but has there ever been any proof and steps are not taken? Most of these people are just speculating based on assumptions but let’s try to be patient with the president by meeting him half way. He is an elected President and means well.

What is the true story of Chief MKO Abiola?

My father’s story is that of a man who won election but it was later annulled because the people who supervised the elections did not expect him to win but he won it by default and they felt they should cancel the election.

They also believed he was a businessman who could trade anything for money and so they offered him but when he refused, he was killed just like my mother too was murderd while supporting my father. So both of them died so that Nigeria can be democratic which a lot of politicians benefited from such as some elected governors, house members and others in 1999 but the only person amongst all Nigerian leaders that dimmed it fit to honour my father was President Muhammadu Buhari and it is only natural to support him in achieving his dreams the same way my father did in death.

So the only person that has brought him to life is the president which is why I’m calling for mass support from Nigerians to enable him achieve his dreams of moving the country forward.

Are there any special events to commemorate June 12?

Well June 12 now belongs to all Nigerians, like a baby being through a lot of journeys, firstly with the annulment and then people using it as a commodity of trade to occupy political offices and also to pretend that they believe in MKO Abiola but Buhari just removed it from the market believing that it is a national day for all.

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