June 12, 1993 still lingers in the heart of every nigerian, today is
regarded as the authentic ‘Democracy Day’
as against the ‘May 29′ popularly
celebrated by the federal government.
Below are 12 Facts You Need To Know About M.K.O Abiola.
1. The date is celebrated in honour of an
annulled presidential election in June
Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale
Abiola, often referred to as M. K. O.
Abiola, ran for the presidency in 1993,
and is widely regarded as the presumed
winner of the inconclusive election
since no official final results were
announced till date.
2. The election was annulled by Ibrahim
Babangida, because of alleged evidence
that they were corrupt and unfair, a
development that ushered in a political
crisis that led to General Sani Abacha
seizing power later that year.
3. In 1994, Abiola declared himself the
lawful president of Nigeria in the
Epetedo area of Lagos island, an area
mainly dominated by Lagos Indigenes,
after he returned from a trip to solicit
the support of the international
community for his mandate. After
declaring himself president he was
declared wanted and was accused of
treason and arrested on the orders of
military President General Sani Abacha,
who sent 200 police vehicles to bring
him into custody.
Moshood Abiola leaving a Black Maria
van under heavy armed guard
4. Moshood Abiola was detained for four
years, largely in solitary confinement
with a Bible, Qur’an, and fourteen
guards as companions.
5. Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua is said to
have predicted the annulment to Abiola
and warned him against contesting.
6. Abiola’s involvement in politics
started at a young age. He was 19-
years-old when he joined the National
Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons
(NCNC) in 1979.
7. For the June 12, 1993 presidential
elections, Abiola’s running mate was
Baba Gana Kingibe. He overwhelmingly
defeated his rival, Bashir Tofa of the
National Republican Convention.
8. Abiola died on July 7, 1998 on the day
he was due to be released from
incarceration under suspicious
circumstances shortly after the death of
General Abacha. The official autopsy
stated that Abiola died of natural causes,
but Abacha’s chief security officer, Al-
Mustapha alleged he was beaten to
9. MKO Abiola used a ‘Hope’ campaign
which President Barrack Obama also
Moshood Abiola’s Hope ’93 political
Many people may have paid attention to
the word ‘Hope’ being used to convey a
message of possibility during Obama’s
2008 election in America, but 15 years
before then in Africa’s most populous
nation, MKO Abiola became a rallying
figure for many Nigerians with his
10. MKO Abiola died for the June 12
mandate but he was not the only June
12 casualty as General Sani Abacha also
died in mysterious circumstances on
June 8, 1998.
11. Chief MKO Abiola’s memory is
celebrated in Nigeria and
internationally. June 12, remains a
public holiday in Lagos and Ogun states
and other All progressive Congress party
states. MKO Abiola Stadium was named
in his honour.
12. The election was declared Nigeria’s
freest and fairest presidential election
by national and international
observers, with Abiola even winning in
his Northern opponent’s home state.
June 12 is thus a day to remember chief
Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as
well as other democracy martyrs.