Monday Musings: Mr. MKO Abiola Was A True Hero But It’s Time For Another Story


Mondays are usually reserved for serious talk. The first day of the working week has never been synonymous with jokes and light banters. Social media is flooded BeInspired, MondayMotivations, MondayMusings hashtags. And we always love it. Mondays are dreary enough with thoughts of another week of traffic, inadequate sleep, office politics and boss issues coming up. We find solace in the kind, encouraging words that Mondays are known for. Perhaps this is why June 12 might have been better served to fall on another day of the week apart from Monday because it does not exactly offer that to us.You see, June 12 is a special day for Nigerians. Mention the date and a name always pop up in the mind of everybody, whether it’s an eighty two year old widow on the bad side of senility or a fresh teenager attempting to cross over into senior high school. The special name synonymous with the special date is Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola aka MKO Abiola. For on June 12 1993, in an election which was deemed as the “freest and fairest” ever in Nigeria, the military government usurped Abiola’s victory, starting a tortuous journey that ultimately led to Abiola becoming the symbol of democracy and freedom for a hurt nation.Now on June 12 1993, I was still a two year old baby boy rolling around in my soiled diapers. It was hard then for me to feel connected to the events of the day, and now 24 years later, the tales of June 12 still feel hollow and shallow to me. It is not because I feel under-appreciation for the battles, blood, sacrifices and sweats of our heroes past. I am deeply indebted and in gratitude for those that fought to pave the way for a free society. But the most prominent similarities that appreciation and inspiration have in common are their five last letters. If this was a mathematics class, the equation would be Appreciation ≠ Inspiration.If I speak on behalf of this generation, I would say it’s about time we look for a new rhetoric apart from the June 12. If we ever needed evidence to point to that, all we have to do is point back at Goodluck Jonathan’s attempt to rename Nigeria’s first choice university after the deceased politician. The kickbacks, protests, strikes, economic shutdown and disdain that greeted the news which forced it to be reversed was a political embarrassment to say the least. And the blame do not lie on the Nigerian kids who know the MKO story by head but not by heart.The fault lies on the older generation, on our parents and everybody in between who failed to make the MKO Abiola legacy relevant to us. We are told that MKO’s election was the freest and fairest of all time but after having never witnessed any such election where no form of tampering was involved, pardon us if we find it difficult that there was ever an honest electoral moment in our history. Our young minds cannot comprehend it. We are constantly romanticised with tales of The Abiola Legacy but all the businesses he founded are now all defunct which says a lot about the leadership capacity of a man who couldn’t ensure that his heritage live past him.The MKO Abiola story has lived long past its prime and it has failed. It is disturbing as a nation that for the 24 years in between that dreadful day in 1993 and now, we have failed to produce a political inspiration that even comes close to holding a light next to Mr Abiola. Our fathers might still get teary-eyed at the mention of June 12 but all they would get from this generation of future leaders are blank stares and polite sympathetic gestures. Give us a new story that we can believe in and relate to, and then you would have a hero that truly does the job of a hero – INSPIRE!Photo Credit: Getty

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