Jamiu Abiola, son of the late Chief Moshood Abiola through Mrs Kudirat Abiola, who was assassinated on June 4, 1996, has revealed what he considers the biggest lesson of her struggle and death.
He said that that one of the many lessons is that everybody was going to die one day, and that there was need to speak up when things go wrong
The younger Abiola who spoke with Punch in an interview added that what this realisation should do for people was to make them decide to do good.
He said that his mother could have sold out, especially given that the Abacha regime promised her so much, but that she stuck to her principle for the public good, eventually paying with her life.
“ The Abacha government offered her so much but she chose the right path for her country and herself in the hereafter.
“If only 30 per cent of the Nigerian elite were like her, this country by now would have been singing a different tune. Eventually, we will be forced to learn the hard way if we choose to remain mute, which is what is happening now”
Oh how the murder of his murder touched him at the time, he said: “I experienced what can be described as the longest day of my life. Its impact was as devastating as a nuclear bomb would have been if it had fallen on my head.
“But as luck would have it, four of my siblings were in the US, so within 15 hours, we were all assembled in Virginia. This helped mitigate the disastrous effect as we were able to pick up the pieces as a team. That was when we took a vow to never let the world separate the seven of us.
Trying to recall how his father reacted when the news of his wife’s death reached him, he said, it was difficult to know as at that time, as the Abacha regime never allowed them to see him.
He said not even, then deputy, Oladipo Diya, a kinsman could not intervene, adding:
“My brother and I had come 39 days after my mother had died but Abacha refused to let us see him. We even went to General (Oladipo) Diya, who was Abacha’s deputy but he said getting involved would make Abacha think he was on our side.
“After my father’s death, though, we learned that he greatly suffered from what had happened to my mother. He spoke of some people giving him a newspaper article featuring details of her death and leaving him alone to console himself. In one of his letters, just before his death, he named her the ‘Mother of June 12.’
On calls for restructuring, he said although the advocates should recognise that something at least was being done, but that there was not much to cheer about the state of democracy, as according to him, there is a plan to ensure that no voting takes place in certain parts of the country.
“ I think that the burning of offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission has put it in danger”, Jamiu Abiola said.