Adams Oshiomhole, a formal NLC boss, former Governor of Edo State and APC national chairman aspirant, said the late Chief MKO Abiola, The winner of June 12 1993 Presidential election rejected the efforts by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress to free him from detention when the then military ruler, Gen. Dani Abacha imprisoned him for declaring himself pregnant.
Oshiomhole who narrated this in Lagos described how the then military ruler frustrated the efforts of the then NLC government to see Abiola in prison.
The former Governor reminisce with nostalgia the importance of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, stressing that many trade union activists benefited from Abiola’s generosity.
He, however, regretted that an honest and sincere move by labour leaders to free Abiola from military’s detention, was not successful because the late politician declined the offer.
He said, “When Abiola was in military detention, we made several efforts to see him but the military were sabotaging it. But eventually one certain day, we went there and a former NLC President, Paschal Bafyau who led us to him, said, ‘sir, we want you to accept the bail with all the conditions attached to it.”
“We told him that the military are ready to keep him in there for a long time and ensure that he will not be able to come out alive.
“The late head of State, Sani Abacha had asked Abiola to go and make a national broadcast withdrawing his earlier statement of declaring himself president. But Abiola said, ‘I would rather remain here in prison; I will not do their bidding.
“Abacha and Abiola eventually died. Today, Abiola’s children can go anywhere and say I am Abiola and they will be respected.”
He went further to cite an instance when Bafyau led labour leaders, including a young activist, who he simply identified as Muhammed, on a visit to the late Abiola.
He added that Paschal, after the meeting, introduced Muhammed to Abiola as a young Nigerian who wished to go for further studies in the United Kingdom.
“Abiola said, ‘Waoh’ and asked Paschal, who was sponsoring him. Paschal said we were still looking for resources to help him.
“In fact, Abiola just wrote a note and told Muhammed that when he gets to London he should call somebody and collect 10, 000 pounds from him. Abiola made that young guy, an instant millionaire,” Oshiomhole added.