Just as it is unimaginable that many Nigerian youth of today have either forgotten or have never heard of the monumental catastrophe that befell Nigeria on Tuesday July 17, 1998, when the brain behind hope’ 93, chief MKO Abiola was put to eternal silence.
It’s equally understandable in the sense that we are a people not conversant with our own history. To a great extent, it shows that even the youths, the acclaimed leaders of tomorrow today are still quite far from the mark.
Actions, discussions and questions raised after President Goodluck Jonathan announced his decision to rename University of Lagos after late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola who died in detention as a result of the clearly won June 12 election, annulled by the evil genius himself, Ibrahim Babangida, who was playing God at that time, evidently attests to the emptiness caused by the absence of history.
The height of administrative ignorance put on show by the President Goodluck Jonathan who couldn’t follow processes and the resultant aggression by the students of University of Lagos, which enveloped the supposed democracy day, thwarted the essence of honoring a world class hero like Chief MKO Abiola, who rose from grass to grace to touch the lives of many Nigerians and non-Nigerians, therefore, eventually becoming a symbol of the country’s modern democracy.
During the series of discussion on May 29, I met two classes of Nigerians.
First, those who weren’t conversant with who Abiola was, what he stood for and his involvement in the shaping of Nigeria’s democracy. They were the ones querying “who is Moshood Abiola and what did he do to deserve re-naming the prestigious University of Lagos after him?” The most tragic part was that young people were the ones throwing these questions amidst so much tantrum.
That alone emphasizes the fact that despite the volume of information and certifications the average enlightened youth claims to possess, many still lack the beauty that history affords.
In a country where self-government is the order of the day, young people should know that self-education is vital. If at all we would experience change at whatever level, the knowledge of past events and their implications will ever remain a vital tool.
I also advocate that a course like history should be incorporated into our educational synopsis at all levels of education.
The democracy we enjoy today was birthed by individuals like him. He lost his wife, late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, his businesses, and his freedom. He chose to remain in detention, rejecting conditional release. He defended the mandate given to him by the people to his last minutes. To doubt or challenge the heroism of Chief MKO Abiola is either a show off of ignorance due to lack of history or just abrupt stupidity, or at worse both
If the Egyptians who named a school after Abiola in appreciation of his contribution after a devastating earthquake can attest to his good will and magnanimity, it’s only morally expected that Nigerians should do better. He was such a great philanthropist who genuinely wanted a touch the lives of people.
Many Nigerians can attest to that, including the celebrity likes of Charles Oputa and Chief Dele Momodu. The latter can’t but sing the praise of Abiola at the slightest opportunity. Probably because his fame and wealth can be traced to him.
I haven’t read neither have I heard of any non-government official who has been credited to have spent millions of Naira in the 90’s in supporting state universities, federal universities, polytechnics and libraries. Which Nigerian business mogul has built sixty-three (63) secondary schools and forty-one (41) libraries. Peradventure you know, kindly do well to share in the comment space below.
The other category of people I met with were older professionals who have been understudying our failed political system for quite a while. One of them, an ace lawyer understands that Chief MKO Abiola was a brilliant leader and his ideologies were capable of rejuvenating our country.
Then he later tossed a question at me, and I would like to throw the same question at you. Considering the caliber of people surrounding him, including his close military friends who eventually betrayed him. And the fact that ruling a country like Nigeria with great complexity requires much more that sheer act of benevolence. Would MKO Abiola have ruled better?
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‘Lanre Olagunju is a regular contributor on www.omojuwa.com
He tweets @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter