SaharaReporters interviews the daughter of Chief M.K.O Abiola the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election whose election was annulled by former military dictator Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Lola Abiola- Edewor contested against Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello the daughter of former president Olusegun Obasanjo for the Ogun Central Senatorial District last week and trounced her. However, Obasanjo went ahead and held a parallel party congress at his library where he chose his daughter as the senatorial candidate. The PDP leadership has reportedly annulled Abiola's mandate, but Mrs. Abiola -Edewor told SaharaReporters today she won't back down.
SR: Why is OBJ trying to steal your election?
Lola Abiola: OBJ wants to give the ticket to his daughter even though she did not win the primaries. I won by 567 votes, Hon. Kayode Amusan polled 483 votes, Chief Derin Adebiyi, 361 votes, Mrs. Soremekun, 152 votes, Sola Rahman 15, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and Hon. Saburi Aroyehun polled 3 votes each. When forms were made available Iyabo collected them. When candidates were told to submit themselves for screening, she did so. At the last minute, she read the writing on the wall and did not attend the Congress held by a body whose authority she had previously recognised. She stayed away while the other candidates spent the day working hard on the field. Obasanjo would have the Party award the ticket to the one candidate who did not attend the elections - his daughter. I don't have a godfather to sign away the hard work of others. I campaigned long and hard, across 6 Local Governments. President Goodluck Jonathan is demanding free and fair elections in 2011. This begins with credible party primaries. The actions of the Chairman of PDP Board of Trustees undermines this. I will fight to defend my mandate.
SR: You've raised an alarm saying that you won't accept the Obasanjos to annul your election again, is this a confirmation that the former President was deeply involved in truncating the June 12 mandate of your late father?
Lola Abiola: OBJ was the biggest beneficiary of the June 12th annulment. Should he continue to push for his daughter to be given the Senatorial ticket for Ogun Central, it would mean that he wants to continue to benefit from other people's hard work. I cannot stand by and allow that injustice to be perpetuated.
SR: As the daughter of MKO Abiola who died a Progressive-minded politician what are you doing in the PDP?
Lola Abiola: I felt and still feel that I would be most able to deliver the best service to the people of Ogun Central Senatorial District from the pan-Nigeria Party, PDP. My presence there adds to the progressive faction within the Party that has the most reach in Nigeria.
SR: During your last outing at the House of Representatives , you maintained a low profile, not much was seen from you as a vibrant lawmaker expected of someone whose father fought the entire Nigerian military to a standstill. Why should people expect any different from you if you make it to the Senate?
Lola Abiola: When I was in the House of Representatives, I believed that my work should speak for itself. I did not believe in going to the media to broadcast my efforts. I used to laugh at colleagues who called Press conferences for sinking one bore hole whereas I was writing Committee reports late into the night at home with no audience. From the start of my political career to date, I have never had a godfather. The fact that I have never lost an election, to the House of Representative, my re-election in 2003 and the Ogun Central primaries is a testament to the people I serve and their faith in my sincerity. For me, the point was and remains service and credibility, not making noise everywhere. I'm not judging others. Some people need to make a name for themselves. I have a name. What I want is to have a positive impact in the lives of my constituents.