From Stella Obi, Ibadan
As part of celebrations honouring the late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, MKO, who was a champion of democracy in Nigeria, the Oyo State Government has unveiled one of the largest statues in his honour.
The Deputy Governor, Bayo Lawal, expressed optimism that the monument will permanently crystalise what Bashorun Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO), Nigeria’s icon of democracy and the man who was declared the winner of June 12, 1993, Presidential Election, stood for.
Lawal, who spoke on Wednesday at the MKO Abiola Garden in Ring Road, Ibadan, acknowledged the good gesture of Governor Seyi Makinde, in erecting the statue of the late statesman who during his time fought for democracy.
He said the struggle he put in place to ensure the democracy, which everyone is enjoying today is laudable and well recognised by the Oyo State Government, adding that he deserves the best from the nation.
Lawal further emphasised that it was customary for the State Government to honour and remember individuals who made significant contributions to the greatness of the country.
According to him, the histories of Oyo State and MKO Abiola are intertwined because it is impossible to discuss democracy in Nigeria without mentioning Abiola.
He asserted that: “MKO has been recognised at the national level even though many administrations have been unable to do so, but the current Federal Government was able to recognise him just like the Oyo State Government, and we will continue to recognise his gesture and determination of democracy.
“The statue erection especially now that election is fast approaching will stand as a reminder that we need to put at the back of our minds that no other system of government is better than democracy and this legacy which MKO Abiola has given us indeed in the Southwest and Nigeria would be sustained”, he added.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Environment, Hon Abiodun Oni, said there’s no denying that the story of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic will be incomplete without a mention of the name of MKO Abiola.
“In truth, no honour is enough or too much to celebrate what he means to Nigeria or Nigerians. This majestic statue is a symbol of that legacy.
“The location of this symbol is also strategic being on one of the major roads and entry points into the Ibadan metropolis and one named after the honouree himself.