Why I wrote MKO’s story — Son, Jamiu | Says ‘Dad Never Stole ITT Money”

The GDA with the MKO’s scion displays both the Arabic and English editions of The President Who Never Ruled’
Abdul Jamiu Abiodun
is the 5th son of the late
symbol of democracy Bahorun MKO Abiola. He is equally an old friend
of mine. Our friendship dates back to 2002 when I was a society correspondent
with FAME Magazine. A chance encounter with him inside his father’s Moshood Abiola Crescent, Ikeja-Lagos
home in the summer of 2002 while trying to interview his sister, Hafsat dovetailed into a friendship
that has survived many challenges in 13 years.

Jamiu who is equally the second son and third child of late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola (Martyr of
Democracy) has went through several transformations in the last 13 years of our
From a humble interior decorator
importing Venetian Window blinds into Nigeria for the interior fulfillment of
various homes to an oil marketer with NNPC, managing two of her filling
stations in Lagos and Ogun state and now an author who have authored two books
Realistic Hope” and “The Prisoner of Conscience” our
friendship has sailed through many waves.
Sometimes last year, Jamiu briefed me of his passionate
intention to author a book on his father, the book which he intends to use as
correction to so many ill-perception bandied around about his father was going
to be his biggest service as a son of the late Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, which he said is very germane to
the image of his family and memory of the winner of the June 12, 1993
Presidential election.
Sometimes in June, Jamiu handed me a copy of the Arabic
edition of the book and promised to deliver the English edition before his
father’s next birthday on August 24. He worked tirelessly to make the project
meet up with time but due to logistic problem from Beirut the capital city of Lebanon
where the book is printed, the book came on the eve of August 24th.
Instantly, Jamiu put a call to me,
inviting me over to his Ikeja home
for a private review session which fell on Monday August 24th which
was the 78th birthday of the man he wrote about.
It was few hours after the review
session that I took him on the project. He took a ten minutes break to have his
7pm Muslim prayer before returning for the interview.
Jamiu who speaks 12 international languages including Swahili, French, Spanish and Arabic told me for the first time why he took the decision to write
a book on his father and why it is very important at this moment.  Jamiu
who became a bundle of emotion through out the encounter said the inability of
majority to understand certain aspect of father’s life lead to the publishing
of his new book The President Who Never
. Enjoy the excerpts on your Africa’s number 1 celebrity encounter
blog Asabeafrika

Alhaji Jamiu Abiola explainig a point as Asabeafrika’s GDA listents with rapt attention

Let me salute your courage for
putting yourself forward for the task of being the first person to write an
interesting account of the life and times of your dad, why did you published
The President Who Never Ruled?
I was born a
linguist and I have always been in love with writing, in love with languages
that is why I have always wanted to write, not just in one language but in two
languages.  And later on, I am going to
even write in more than two languages. Currently, I write in English and Arabic
and I write about a lot of issues but the most important issue is the issue of
my father because as a child, the first thing is about our father, father is
the one that is responsible for our fundamental development. Even in Islam, is
believed that if we want to go to heaven, our parents have to be happy with us
and we owe them a responsibility. In my own father’s case, I owe him a lot
because a lot of things I am doing today in terms of my business or my language
career, he is the one that encouraged me and told me that I have to do this
things and I learnt from his diligence, from his hard work and he has passed
away but that doesn’t mean I should forget and I can never forget him. 

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“People bring their wives to come and
meet him and they will start disturbing him. It is not that he even fell for
that trap but even if he did sometimes, you don’t just look at it like ‘oh, he
was somebody that was going out looking for women”
When I
see people talk about my father and issues are weaved around his personality I
feel a sense of responsibility to react. You know how it is in life, when
someone is not alive to defend himself, so many things will come up. Then, as a
son, this kind of thing will only happen over my dead body. I cannot allow my
father’s name to be talked about in any way apart from a positive way. So, this
book was written to set the records straight, it is the most important project
of my life and I am happy that I have done it; it was a very sad experience
that my dad left that way. It is a tragedy that I am writing the story of his
demise but at the same time, it is good for me to clear the records and put
history straight for him so that generation unborn can have the real version of
MKO Abiola’s history.

Jamiu Abiola to Asabeafrika….’My Father and Mother’s Death is the biggest sacrifice that gave us democracy in Nigeria’

I want to believe writing this kind
of book didn’t come so cheap. Apart from setting the record straight, what
other things fired you to write a book on your dad?
 You know democracy is a very big thing and
whenever a big thing wants to come, it has to come through a big break. The
development of democracy in Nigeria and the way it broke even, I know the role
my father and mother played. Democracy didn’t just fall from the sky; when you
are talking about people that believed in looting the treasury, people that
believe in using force to control other people, it is not just by miracle that
such people will walk away from power, it takes a bigger sacrifice. A bigger
sacrifice has to break forth for them to leave; those people left power because
something monumental happened and that monumental thing that happened were June 12.  If my father had not stood up to defend his
mandate, June 12 would not have been
monumental because it is a day people gave their freest expression and will to
a national project, they voted before national and international observers and
it would have gone like any other day. But what made it monumental was the fact
that the man that won the election said ‘no, I would not be cheated’ at the end
of the day, he died and his wife also died with him.

The GDA meeting The Shetima Rasheed of Borno, Alhaji Abdul-Jamiu Abiodun Abiola

So, that is what broke the
heart of this people who had suddenly turned themselves to animals because of
their love for power. They don’t have a conscience but when something like that
happened, something they cannot ignore, certainly they are going to walk away
and say ‘let democracy happen’ and that is exactly what happened, the fact that
my parent did something that was so big and so monumental, they couldn’t ignore
that fact and that is why 11 months after my father died, there was a president
in this country and that president actually came from the same place my father
came from because they know that ‘this thing, we are giving it to Chief MKO Abiola indirectly’ which is what
actually happened. And now that democracy is fully entrenched in Nigeria, it is
good for us to actually document events that led to the actualization of this
new breath. This is one of the reasons Africa is always backward in the
trajectory of continental history. Africa never writes their own history, they
allow other people to always write their own history for them but in this case,
this matter involves my father and I am the one that is going to write the
history and I have made sure it is a true history so that nobody will come and
tell me I am writing nonsense. People have been asking about June
they want to know how it happened, why it happened. If you want to
know, read the book and you will know everything about June 12. From there on,
nobody needs to ask any question about June 12 anymore. It has already been
revealed in the book, all that happened on June 12 is there. Of course I cannot
say that every detail is there but the one that is most important which is 95%
is there. So, you will see it there.

Alhaji Abdul Jamiu Abiodun Abiola-Shetima Rasheed of Borno with his new book on Dad, MKO

There have also been arguments in
some quarters that your dad actually did not deserve the position of the
president of Nigeria; for instance, you hear people say “Oh, MKO stole ITT
contract money; he took people’s women and all sorts. Do you think such
opinions count?
opinion or oppositions are normal with the lives of great people, they will
always come up. Even the great Indian freedom fighter that we always talk
about, Mahatma Ghandi was killed by
somebody. So, if despite his good intention, somebody actually killed him it
should let you know that some people in India actually even hated him.
Despite all that he has done for India,
it was somebody from that country that killed him and even before he was
finally shot dead, four or five attempts had been made on his life. So, that
last attempt was the final one that took him out. Even Jesus Christ and our great Prophet
(PUH) were not loved by anybody. So, I am not going to start
saying that my father is perfect or this and that; but in terms of ITT, I have
clarified it there. He didn’t take kobo from that company.

The GDA engaging the Abiola scion, Abdul Jamiu Abiola

How sure are you?
I am very
sure, it is in the book. I discussed it, we made investigations and we found
that to be the real truth. What you will find out about the ITT contract will
shock you; besides that, it is common logic, if he had taken such money, his
enemies were so powerful and they would have used it to nail him. This people
were powerful enough to kill his wife, this people were powerful enough to keep
him in jail. Even though they knew he was a president elect of this country,
they did so much. Definitely they would have unveiled or revealed whatever it
is about him. And definitely, ITT was a big company with history of
transactions, they do contracts and a lot of business men were contractors and
if they do a contract that worth N5,
they are going to make profit from it, that is why they are in business but at
the end of the day it is not what you make from the business it is what you do
from what you make from the business and everybody in Nigeria knows that this
is a man that at the end of the day, if he makes One Naira, he gives away 80
. What are we talking about? How many people did business in Nigeria
and out of 100% of them, how many of them gave so much to charity like MKO?; Out
of their N1 they can’t even give
5kobo. So, why do you want to blackmail a man who took time to think about
others? He could have been settled by the government; he could have gotten his
money and walked away if he was a greedy man that didn’t care about the
masses.  But we all know MKO is not like
that, and to buttress my point, a lot of people that actually gained a lot from
him, financially, are people you don’t even know about. People that met him at
the airport, people that met him on their hospital bed somewhere. People he ran
into on the street; some of them got houses, some of them got millions but was
he going to use all those for political gains? Obviously not, he was just a
genuine giver and a man who cares much about the pains of the ordinary people
and cared less about what the world says about his disposition to the ordinary
man on the street. His primary aim of going into politics was to use political
power to deflate poverty after using much of his wealth to battle mass poverty.

“The unique fact is that both of them
wanted to be president but unfortunately for them, they did not make it but in
my father’s case, history was fairer because there was an election and my
father won that election and everybody knew he won the election and even his
enemies knew he won the election”

Jamiu Abiola to GDA ‘The President Who Never Ruled will shock a lot of MKO’s critics’

So, what do you say to the perception
that portrays your dad as a womanizer who has the capacity to take anybody’s
Well, dad
doesn’t have the capacity to take anybody’s woman and we tried to illustrate
those insinuations in some chapters of the book and those are the real chapters
you will find who and what MKO Abiola
stands for. Of course in terms of his weakness for women, that is a general
society thing. A lot of Nigerian men have weakness for women but even if you
don’t read about his experience with women in this book, you should ask
yourself this question; is he the one that is always looking for them or are
they the ones that are always looking for him? At the end of the day, most men
in this Nigeria, at least 90% or more, if women were chasing them the way they
were chasing my father, they would have actually, perhaps fallen into the same
trap. That is the turf of great men; they live with the reality of ferocious
admiration from the opposite sex.  But
whatever the case maybe, it is not how you start that you end and the fact that
he became more religious at the tail end of his life and he did a lot of things
and he actually became even a better person, that means he is human afterwards.
And from our research, it might even surprise you that at times; he was
actually a victim of conspiracy. People bring their wives to come and meet him
and they will start disturbing him. It is not that he even fell for that trap
but even if he did sometimes, you don’t just look at it like ‘oh, he was
somebody that was going out looking for women’. No, he is not like that, he was
too busy to engage in such pig-headed ventures.

Jamiu Abiola to Asabeafrika…’Myopic thoughts about my father’s life is one thing i strive to stamp off with this book’

From what is stated in Chapter two of
the book, it was like your dad had a premonition that his good friend President
Ibrahim Babangida was going to disappoint him; do you think this was the
Yes, he was
always worried about it but some times in life when you know where you want to
go and you know that inside you, you want to go somewhere, even if you see
signals that pointed that it might not end up being like that, definitely you
will still want to go to where you think you should go. So, he had his doubt
about the fact, weather the military transition is going to work out or not but
as far as he was concerned, because of his clout and because of the fact that
he has loads of good intentions he just prayed that God will see him through.
But God has other plans and by the grace of God, if he is in heaven he is the
one that laughed last.

The GDA displays of copy of the book on MKO Abiola as the interview went on’

The book is dedicated to two
diplomatic personalities in Africa, late President Nelson Mandela of South
Africa and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, why this two?
I chose them
because you know what they say in life, ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed.
My father has always believed in Pan
; he had always believed that African people are one and as a
matter of fact, choosing this two people is something that would have even made
him very happy. Because he will be pleased that I actually looked outside
Nigeria to get people for him because he believed that Africa should be one,
this is actually what he would have wanted me to do.  And those two leaders actually tried, they
put a lot of pressure on the military government because of him and they
actually wanted him to come out and rule but at the end of the day like I said,
man proposes, God disposes.

Jamiu Abiola to the GDA…’My Dad was tempted by women and he was a man’

There were equally tales that your
dad was the one that installed the government of President Yoweri Musoveni
after the post Idi Amin crisis in Uganda. Does that mean your dad installs
governments in Africa?
I cant
really speak about that because I was in far away America schooling when Uganda
was having her political turbulence and I wouldn’t say dad played a role
because he was equally busy building his business empire in Nigeria but like I
said my father was a Pan Africanist who
believed in a United State of Africa. He was a passionate bridge builder and
his role in African diplomacy cannot be wished away, of course President Yoweri Museveni was a friend, a great
friend of my dad His friends cut across races and nations of the world. MKO was
an enigma with a magnetic personality and that was why he was large, so, it
won’t augur well for us to say my dad sponsored the revolution that brought Mr. Museveni to power. You will find a
lot of the responses to this question in the book and I can only tell you that Mr. Museveni  is a very, very good man; don’t forget that
both of them didn’t share same religion but shared same Pan Africanism idea. Mr.
is a Christian while my dad is a Muslim.

Abiola to Asabeafrika…’Those who said my father stole ITT money got
it all wrong because we found the truth in this book’

Your book described your dad as “The
President who never ruled” while late Emeka Ojukwu once described late Chief
Obafemi Awolowo as the “Best President Nigeria never had”. So, what is the
different between “The President that never ruled” and “The Best President
Nigeria never had?”
The unique
fact is that both of them wanted to be president but unfortunately for them,
they did not make it but in my father’s case, history was fairer because there
was an election and my father won that election and everybody knew he won the
election and even his enemies knew he won the election. So, in Dad’s own case
it is actually more dramatic in the sense that he has already won the election.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s own case was
not too clear like my father’s own because there was a court case that was
presided over by Chief Richard Akinjide
where the out come of that election was highly debated. As far as I am
concerned, dad crossed his own hurdle and the recent admission by the election
umpire Humprey Nwosu has put the
matter to rest.  They were both great men
who did so much for humanity through their different disciplines. One was a
lawyer the other was an accountant, one was a Christian and the other was a
Muslim. They both hailed from same state of Ogun in the South West region and
both had great educational background and aspired to rule their country but
were never given the opportunity and today history has a page for both men. All
I can say is to pray that Chief Obafemi
meet my dad in heaven.

Arabic Edition of Jamiu Abiola’s Book on Dad

Do you think Nigeria has done enough
for your dad in terms of immortalization?
Well, I
schooled in America and what we
learnt in America is that ‘don’t
wait for anybody to do something for you, do it yourself’. I have immortalized Chief MKO Abiola by writing his
biography with details of events that characterized his life from birth to
death. I have written about him and I have written the fact. What is
immortalization? It is to do things people will remember about a person. This
book was published in Arabic and we
have the intention to translate it into more languages across the globe. People
are reading the book in Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, Dubai and other parts of the world. I am not going to wait for
anybody to immortalize my father. I have already done it and I have moved on
because that is the most important thing to me.

“I mean to have a street in Manhattan
just like a walking distance from the United
named after an African woman and that woman is my mother Kudirat Abiola. People can actually
steal all the billions of dollars in the world and they will die without their
names being immortalized in the best pages of history”.  

Back Cover of the  English Edition of Jamiu Abiola’s book on Dad

Today August 24th is his
birthday, what does that say about him?
MKO would
have been 78 years today and one thing I tell people is that a good
name is more than riches. If he had lived to be 78 years, only God knows what
would have happened if he got the presidency. What he has now is greater than
what I think he could have gotten in his life because people know him and
people appreciate him and even my mother, Kudirat;
she would have been 65 two days from now because they shared the same month.
But now if you go to America and you say you are going to Kudirat Abiola Lane by 44th Street, they know where
it is. You know she was 44 years old when she died and the street is also named
44th Street as well. You know
the American government named the street in New York where you have South African embassy after Nelson Mandela. The same way they named
the street where the South African Embassy is situated after Nelson Mandela for his anti-apartheid
struggle is the same way they named the street where Nigeria Embassy is situated after Kudirat Abiola for fighting against the military hegemony in
Nigeria. So, what honor can I ask again for my mother? Who else again has
gotten that kind of recognition from the American government? I mean to have a
street in Manhattan just like a walking distance from the United Nations named after an African woman and that woman is my
mother Kudirat Abiola. People can
actually steal all the billions of dollars in the world and they will die
without their names being immortalized in the best pages of history. 

Jamiu Abiola holding the Arabic edition while the GDA holds the English edition

How is the book being received in the
Middle East where you first launched it?
The Arab world is very happy my literary
work because from time memorial Africa has always been miserly with her
history. We don’t write our own history and we are like the only continent that
never her history because if you look at China,
they write their history for 2000 years but in Africa it is other people that
writes our history for us. So, a lot of people don’t know what is happening in
Africa and whenever they find out, it is always distorted. For example,
somebody might want to write his own version of history and use that to score
some kind of stupid political points. But this one, because I am a Muslim and I
have a conscience and my conscience is clear that everything I wrote in this
book is true. So, the Arab world is
very happy with the history of Moshood
Kashimawo Olawale Abiola,
the Nigerian President that never ruled. I was
interviewed on several of their mainstream journals and today in the Middle East, I am the big case study
and one individual that emerged from Africa with such kind of pedigree and I am
well remunerated for it in terms of media mention and social hype. Don’t forget
this is my third book, my first two books “Realistic
and “The Prisoner of Conscience” is all doing great in the
market but this is the greatest book I ever wrote because it is like revealing
a hiding scroll.

Back Cover of the Arabic Edition of Jamiu Abiola’ book on Dad

So, when and how are you going to
launch the book?
We are going
to launch it no doubt but the most important thing is that this book is now
everywhere and can be assessed in major book shops and I will make sure that it
is officially launched sooner than later. The most important thing is that I
have done it and my conscience is clear. It was a very sad and tragic
experience. I had sleepless nights writing this book, you can imagine writing a
story about how your mother was killed; you can imagine writing something like
that and describing it. It is like living the memory over and over again and I
thank God, it is over. I have done it and I have moved on with my life.
A copy of the book by Jamiu Abiodun Abiola, ‘The President Who Never Ruled’
You are relieved?

I feel a lot
of relief because all those buried wounds are now gone and I will never write a
book like this again because it is very, very emotional and very, very
engaging. But whatever it is, at last, Nigerians will know the truth and they
have the right to know because this is the president of their country; the
president that never ruled.

The English Version of Jamiu Abiola’s new book on Dad



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here