Osoba: Abi­ola’s Chil­dren Were De­serted af­ter His Death

Can­vasses es­tab­lish­ing foun­da­tion for fam­ily mem­bers

THISDAY - - STARTERS - Gboyega Akin­sanmi

For­mer Ogun State Gov­er­nor, Chief Oluse­gun Osoba, has lamented the out­right ne­glect the chil­dren and wives of the pre­sumed win­ner of the June 12, 1993 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Basho­run MKO Abi­ola suf­fered af­ter he died.

Even though the late phi­lan­thropist awarded schol­ar­ships to many stu­dents ir­re­spec­tive of tribes and re­li­gion as well as cre­ated pro­fes­so­rial chairs in dif­fer­ent ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions across the fed­er­a­tion, Osoba said none of his as­so­ciates both­ered to as­sist his im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers af­ter his death.

He ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment at the man­ner Abi­ola’s chil­dren and wives were aban­doned dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with THISDAY yes­ter­day, lament­ing that it was un­for­tu­nate that no­body ever set up foun­da­tion for his chil­dren and wives.

He said: “I talked with one of Abi­ola’s chil­dren some­time ago and felt so sad. I am sad be­cause Nige­ri­ans just do sym­bolic re­mem­brance. Af­ter an­nual cel­e­bra­tion, we just go there and for­get.

Sadly enough, Osoba noted that Abi­ola’s fam­ily “has been aban­doned. MKO Abi­ola awarded schol­ar­ships to so many peo­ple and cre­ated pro­fes­so­rial chairs. But no­body has both­ered to ask how Abi­ola chil­dren are cop­ing with re­al­i­ties of their fa­ther’s death?

“It is a sad thing for me on a per­sonal note. I have vir­tu­ally at­tended the wed­dings of many of his chil­dren. I have equally acted as a fa­ther in few cases. They are all shad­ows of the chil­dren of MKO Abi­ola that I used to know. I feel sad on that note.”

With the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the June 12, 1993 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Osoba called for the es­tab­lish­ment of a foun­da­tion in mem­ory of the late phi­lan­thropist and should be structured as spe­cial in­ter­ven­tion for all his im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers.

Ac­cord­ing to him, we mark June 12 an­nu­ally. Why is it that no­body has thought of set­ting up a foun­da­tion for the im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers of Basho­run MKO Abi­ola. The man had many chil­dren but they have all been left to them­selves!

Osoba’s nar­ra­tive cor­rob­o­rated an ac­count one of Abi­ola’s wives and the Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Na­tional Con­cord, Dr. Doyin Abi­ola, shared at the un­veil­ing of a 46-feet statue the La­gos State gov­ern­ment erected in hon­our of the late phi­lan­thropist on Tues­day.

Ac­cord­ing to her, “it is painful when the head of the fam­ily die. There is al­ways prob­lem. You will re­mem­ber that our house is very big. My hus­band was an icon.”

She said: “We never saw those who thronged our house then, col­lected money and lied to my hus­band not to re­lent. They charged him to forge ahead. We never saw them again. Im­me­di­ately my hus­band died, they de­serted us.”

She, there­fore, urged every mar­ried woman “to stay be­hind their hus­band and guide them so that they do not fail. Your pres­ence in the home is not be­cause you are their wife but you are meant to pro­tect and as­sist them in their en­deav­ours.

“I pray our homes will not be de­serted. I urge you all not to de­spair. Very soon, all will be well. We must not al­low the ef­forts of the strug­gle to die in vain. That is the only way we can en­sure that Abi­ola did not die in vain,” she noted.

Be­yond es­tab­lish­ing foun­da­tion in hon­our of MKO Abi­ola, Osoba spoke ex­ten­sively on what the June 12, 1993 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion rep­re­sented in the po­lit­i­cal his­tory of Nige­ria be­ing the fairest, freest and most cred­i­ble in the coun­try.

Even though there had not been such an elec­toral process be­fore and af­ter June 12, 1993, Osoba noted that there was an ur­gent need to in­sti­tu­tion­alise the val­ues of the process, which he said, united Nige­ri­ans ir­re­spec­tive of tribe, re­li­gion and be­lief.

With the re­cent amend­ment to the Elec­toral Act, Osoba was op­ti­mistic that fu­ture elec­tions “will be bet­ter or­gan­ised. Let me say that peo­ple are fo­cus­ing too much on the se­quenc­ing of elec­tions and have for­got­ten about all the other amend­ments.

He noted that the new amend­ment by the Na­tional As­sem­bly in­tro­duced mod­ern elec­tronic sys­tem “to the con­duct of elec­tions in Nige­ria. They have said of­fi­cers con­duct­ing elec­tion must do ac­cred­i­ta­tion be­fore elec­tions.

“You must know how many peo­ple have come to regis­ter to vote and trans­mit the num­ber of those ac­cred­ited im­me­di­ately by elec­tronic sys­tem and fail­ure is five year jail.

“Af­ter the elec­tion you must trans­mit the re­sult and fail­ure is five year jail. Ma­te­ri­als are now to be made open to all agents, in­spec­tions, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and all that. The elec­toral act is wide in the re­forms that have been in­tro­duced. The amend­ments are fun­da­men­tal to a bet­ter vot­ing sys­tem in Nige­ria.”

Abi­ola

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