Not every dead should rest in peace, at least not the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election Chief MKO Abiola.
To MKO’s firstborn, Mrs. Lola Abiola-Edewor, her father’s spirit need not find rest until what he died for is given adequate recognition. So, she confessed that on the day of his death, she prayed he should not rest in peace!
Abiola-Edewor, who spoke at the MKO Abiola 20th remembrance organised by family members and associates in Lagos over the weekend, said “The day my father died, I did not pray that he should rest in peace. I said he could not rest because he was cheated. I said he could not rest until they did right by him. On the day the Federal Government honoured him, I knelt down and said, ‘Daddy, you can rest now because they have done that which is right by you.’
“Short of helping us wake him up, this is the next best thing. We thank everyone who God placed it upon their hearts to honour my dad.
“I thank God that they did not let his death be in vain. At least, when our children hear of June 12, they will know that their great-grandfather did something great in Nigeria.”
Also, she appreciated those at the forefront of the struggle for her father’s recognition by the Federal Government.
Twenty-five years of pro-democracy agitations culminated in President Muhammadu Buhari’s recognition of Abiola with the national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic and the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day.
“For all the people who also died in the course of this struggle, including his late wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, I pray that their souls would continue to rest in peace. We thank the Nigerian masses for the consistency and love that they have shown this man; our patriarch, our father and the head of our family.”
Abiola-Edewor also acknowledged an activist, Mr. (Wale) Okunniyi, who, according to her, has consistently championed the cause of June 12.
She added, “If you remember, but for Winnie Mandela, the name (Nelson) Mandela would have been forgotten all the time he was in jail. She kept it going. It takes people like that to keep it on the front burner, saying, ‘We will not keep quiet until we get to the promised land.’
“We cannot stop thanking Chief Dele Momodu. All the photos that I had not seen before, I don’t know where he gets them from. He kept that name consistently on the front burner. When other people do something, they do it so that you will come back and say thank you.
“But when you do something for someone that is no longer alive, you know the person cannot come back to say thank you. We thank you in a very special way for keeping the memory of our father fresh and green”.
The giants of June 12 struggle and actualisation gathered at the residence of the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola, to honour his memory, 20 years after his death in detention.
Abiola died on July 7, 1998 in the presence of some world leaders.
Present at the event were Hajia Bola Shagaya, Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, Comrade Ayodele Adewale and many others.
Additional reports: PUNCH