It was an emotional night of tributes Monday in Abuja at a banquet organized by former Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and labour unionists in honour of late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN and acclaimed winner if the June 12 1993 Presidential Election, Bashorun MKO Abiola.
At the event, daughter of the late Abiola, Hafsat Costello, spoke of how some people that they considered as close friends of their gather abandoned them when the June 12 controversy began, only to start calling the family’s phone lines since last week when President Muhammadu Buhari proclaimed June 12 as Democracy Day and conferred a posthumous award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic GCFR on the late democrat.
“MKO had friends who seemed like friends but they disappeared when the problems started and only started calling us when this award thing came last week. The phones have been ringing, but 25 years is enough to know your friends. I want to thank Mr Femi Falana, Prof. Pat Utomi and a few others for standing by us in the past 25 years”, she said.
In a veiled reference to former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Hafsat spoke of how a former school mate of her late father who had benefitted from his generosity was the first to declare that Abiola was not Nigeria’s Messiah and then went on to become president and refused to honour his late friend for the eight years he was in power.
“There is another story. MKO had this classmate who he used to assist even to pay his fees in school but after June 12, he was the first person to say that MKO was not the Messiah. And he was president for eight years and couldn’t even mention MKO for once. He couldn’t honour him. We thank Buhari for this. He does things differently from the way the average Nigerian elite does things.
If there is anything that means a lot to me, it is because MKO was true to the Nigerian people. If he had betrayed that mandate, he would have died a broken man and no amount of wealth would have made him happy.
“I have just being thinking about MKO. To have known him was to know greatness in the body of a Nigerian. MKO came from a very poor family. He used to be a singer, a drummer and boxer. People just gave him money not because this voice was good, but perhaps they just took pity on him, a destitute singer”, she recalled.