Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, says all her father ever wanted was to tell Nigerians how much he loved them.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday on behalf of the Abiola family after MKO was honoured with the GCFR title, Hafsat, whose mum Kudirat was assassinated in the post-June 12 struggle, lamented that Abiola never got the opportunity of saying it during his inaugural speech, as the election was invalidated.
“All MKO ever wanted to say to the Nigerian people, and all MO ever did say to the people of Nigeria, is ‘I love you, the people of Nigeria, I believe in you, the people of Nigeria,’” Hafsat said on Tuesday.
“But we know that he was never able to deliver that speech, but in many ways the events that transpired later revealed to Nigerians the eloquence in his heart, the fidelity of his commitment and even his own deep, abiding wish that if there was any way his own actions would compromise the people of Nigeria, MKO preferred to die.
“He preferred to leave the earth rather than compromise on you, on your integrity as a people, on your sovereignty as a nation, which was why, even the day before he died, when he was still being pressured, he asked the question: ‘how do you shave a people’s head in their absence.’”
She described MKO as someone who loved Nigerians regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, someone who wanted to help everyone he came across.
“He was born Yoruba but he loved Hausa… he loved Kanuri people, Efik people,” she said. “He loved all. You just needed to be Nigerian and MKO was your man.”
Hafsat also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, saying no one would have thought he of all people would be the one to honour Abiola with June 12.
“By recognising June 12, you awaken so many heroes of Nigeria’s struggles, and heroines, who have shown, because they stood firm on June 12, that money cannot buy them. You have called up your own new army for the defence of this country,” she added.