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Northerners Didn't Kill Abiola - AYCF

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: A FILE PHOTO OF LATE CHIEF MOSHOOD KASHIMAWO OLAWALE ABIOLA, M.K.O., (R) WITH LATE DICTATOR, GENERAL SANI ABACHA AT STATE HOUSE LAGOS A FEW DAYS AFTER ABACHA OUSTED ERNEST SHONEKAN AS INTERIM HEAD OF STATE.
PHOTO: A FILE PHOTO OF LATE CHIEF MOSHOOD KASHIMAWO OLAWALE ABIOLA, M.K.O., (R) WITH LATE DICTATOR, GENERAL SANI ABACHA AT STATE HOUSE LAGOS A FEW DAYS AFTER ABACHA OUSTED ERNEST SHONEKAN AS INTERIM HEAD OF STATE.


LAGOS, JULY 07, (THEWILL) - The acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bashorun Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) was not killed by the northern leaders as wrongly perceived in some parts of the country, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has said.

THE AYCF National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima said this today at the 12th anniversary to mark the death of Bashorun Abiola, at his Ikeja residence in Lagos.

A number of national leaders including Secretary-General of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Dr. Lateef Adegbite; human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, and Secretary-General of Afenifere, Senator Femi Okurounmu gathered at the anniversary to pay tribute.

Speaking at the anniversary, Shettima said Abiola "was not killed by the Hausa people, Yoruba people were also involved. Those who are opposed to his presidency are not only from the north. The struggle of Abiola, which eventually led to his death, was not a south-west affair."

Shettima, spoke at the anniversary organised by Action Group of Nigeria, added that some Nigerians across the six geo-political zones were united with Abiola for that struggle. Mr. Abdulmumuni Abiola represented the Abiola family at the 12th anniversary.

Shettima described the death of Bashorun Abiola "as a national calamity. I feel bad because this atrocity on the untimely death of MKO was not done entirely by the northern people; it was a joint something with even people from the South-West.

"But today, this man is dead and all his sacrifices he laid his life for has not come to pass, wherever he is, he is not happy because of the high level of corruption in the country and yet we are talking about democracy. Abiola died a nationalist and he is the symbol of democracy.

"I never met him in person but I know I was, and still is, in the trenches. I believe in his principles and believe in the change and in the course of the struggle we lost most of our colleagues, we lost so many people. So, it is unthinkable that some few individuals will just come and get carried away on sentimental basis and say it as if his death was a northern affair- that is not correct," Shettima said.

Also at the anniversary, Adegbite said it was unfortunate that Abiola had not been immortalised 12 years after his death, blaming successive governments that had failed to immortalise Abiola.

He added that the recent tribute by President Goodluck Jonathan was a step in the right direction, adding, however, that the President could take further step by immortalising him.

He said: "The Islamic leader, Jonathan must go further, he should immortalise Abiola. If he fails to do this, we know that someday, someone will come that will do this. June 12 should be made a national public holiday and it should be known as MKO Abiola day.

Bankole, who a member of the House, Mr. Adebayo Odunlana stood in for, explained that Abiola’s death should serve as a sober reflection for the consolidation of democratic values.

Bankole observed Jonathan was desirous of getting it right, especially in the area of credible conduct of elections, so as to achieve the much desired democratic values that Abiola struggled for.

Speaking at the anniversary, Okurounmu said that Abiola was the first Nigerian to have broken the stratification of zoning since the country got independence.

He said if Jonathan "is seeking to be president, Abiola made it so. The so-called zoning stratification in the country was broken by MKO. He contested and won under a Muslim/ Muslim ticket. The first beneficiary of Abiola’s death was Obasanjo. Those who benefited from Abiola’s sacrifice are those who supported the military."

Okurounmu thus urged President Jonathan "to name a national monument after Abiola, saying such monument would be a point of reference to generations unborn."

Falana also said Abiola was a nationalistic figure that was why he won the freest and fairest election ever conducted in the history of the country while expressing fear that the polity was not enabling enough to conduct credible elections.

Falana flawed the appointment of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and said many of the RECs "are card-carrying members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, a situation he rejected totally.