A protege of the National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and former Chairman of Amuwo Odofin Local Government area of Lagos State, Mr Ayodele Adewale, has urged the Federal Government to constitute a special panel to determine the actual value of the assets of late winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential election, MKO Abiola frozen by the military government.
Adewale said the call for the assessment of the real value of MKO’s assets, which he claimed is worth several billions of dollars, became imperative in view of the strong need for the government to compensate MKO’s family and others affected by the military clampdown on agitation for the actualization of the mandate freely, fairly and overwhelmingly given by Nigerians.
The call also came ahead of the first official celebration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day in honour of Abiola’s June 12 mandate on Tuesday and last week’s revocation of the oil licence of Summit Oil, a company founded by MKO Abiola over legacy debt.
Speaking in an interview, Adewale said though President Muhammadu Buhari deserved to be commended for making efforts to right the wrongs as far as June 12 was concerned, he should nonetheless go a step further to pay reparation for the deliberate act of injustice meted to MKO and his associates.
“MKO’s money really cannot be quantified because you have to look at the interest it must have accrued all of these years. MKO was a member of the Paris Club and he had so many pounds sterling, dollars foreign exchange accounts and Naira accounts and so on. All of these accounts were grounded. So, it is for the Department of State Security (DSS), Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) to really do that because they have details of all the accounts and even the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Since they have all the accounts, what we are appealing to the Buhari administration is that just as they did to the Biafran soldiers whereby they brought out all the records and paid them; similarly for the Nigerian Airways Staff and some other pensioners, we are also appealing that he should do the same thing for the Abiola family directing the CBN to produce all the Abiola accounts that were frozen and also pay them in the current rate with interest.“It is important for the Federal Government to do this especially looking at the assets that were destroyed as a result of the government’s action like Concord, Wonder Loaf, Abiola Bookshop, Volkswagen, Abiola Farms and so many of his properties that were taken away.
“We appreciate what the Buhari administration is doing by righting the wrongs in the Nigerian history but we also appeal to him that he should please, beyond giving MKO Abiola the GCFR, and honouring June 12 and Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, they should pay reparation; they should inaugurate a special committee which will comprise of members of the Abiola family, officials of CBN, DMI, DSS and office of the President to look into it and work out reparation for the Abiola family, especially for the children of Kudirat Abiola who lost both their father and mother and of course all the unsung heroes that were unjustly killed during the June 12 episode,” he said.
Adewale said aside the direct clampdown on MKO and his investments, there were those who became incapacitated as a result of bullet wounds during the struggle, while many of his business associates suffered similar fate.Asked to put a specific amount to MKO’s assets affected, Adewale who was an active participant in the June 12 struggle, said: “I’ll do a disservice to the spirit of Abiola and to Nigerians to do that. Like I said, for somebody to be a member of the Paris Club, you should know how wealthy he was.
The richest black man in the world today, Aliko Dangote was a mere boy to Abiola when he was alive. You should understand what I mean by that. If you put the Femi Otedolas of this clime and all of them together, they were not having 10 per cent of Abiola’s wealth as they have today and so you can imagine how wealthy Abiola was.“It is important for the Buhari government to do this. You see, people have forgotten that members of Abiola’s family are seriously suffering.
You would be amazed that some of Abiola’s children were rescued from under the bridge in Lagos and this was a man that laid his life for the country for us to have democracy that some people in the National Assembly and some Governors are mismanaging today. Even, one of Kudirat’s children, was kidnapped and not found till tomorrow,” Adewale said.
Adewale who has a robust credential in pro-democracy activism, was also a mobilisation and liaison officer for the late Chief Anthony Enahoro led Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO).