The Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday unveiled a 46-feet statue of the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola.
Speaking at the unveiling of the monument at the MKO Abiola Garden in Alapere, Ketu, Ambode expressed optimism that the effigy will forever crystallize what he stood for in his lifetime.
He said it was in the tradition of the state government to recognise and remember heroes and heroines who contributed to the greatness of the nation and the state in particular.
He added that Abiola deserved the best from the state as Lagos was his success story.
Alluding to the fact that a statue was previously sited at the location, the governor said his administration decided to erect bigger statues for the late politician and businessman as well as the late human rights activist, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi to properly situate their immense contributions to nation building.
“There was a statue done by my predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola but in the divine world, some things are more glorious than what you think and so we decided at the end of 2016 that we should do bigger statues for Chief Gani Fawehinmi and MKO Abiola since almost everybody passing and entering Lagos go through this particular Ojota axis and so we started late in 2016 that we should build something bigger and so it took us about a year to do this. By the time we did the one for Gani to celebrate his posthumous birthday on April 22, we also agreed that we should unveil that of MKO Abiola today, June 12.
“But just as if God has a way of crowning all efforts to mark the 25th Anniversary of June 12, our President, President Muhammadu Buhari has deemed it fit to give our own MKO Abiola the highest honour in the land, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and that is why we believe strongly that your presence here is not just for this statue but it is also historic which we would always remember in the annals of the history and politics of this country that sooner than later, there would be one day we would mark as MKO Abiola Day.
“We are very happy to gather here today at the MKO Abiola garden to unveil this statue, a monument that will forever crystallize his legacy, serves as a reminder to the greatness that Chief Abiola represents in our socio-political landscape,” he said.
He described MKO Abiola as a man who transcended race, tribe and religion, adding that the late philanthropist appealed to all Nigerians who voted massively for him in the 1993 presidential election.
“Sadly, he lost his life trying to secure his mandate. Even though he was from another State, Lagos was his home. And we recognize his contribution to our State and our democracy,” he added.
Responding on behalf of the family, MKO Abiola’s son, Abdul Mumuni Abiola expressed appreciation to the governor and the Lagos state government for the honour done the Abiola family.
Abdul who described the statue “befitting” to honour his late father declared: “God is great. I heard about this statue six months ago and I was called to come and see it and when I got here, I saw a statue of three-storey building. This is indeed massive. The family of late MKO Abiola really appreciates this and we want to thank the governor.”
He also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for posthumous award conferred on his father and declaring June 12 as the Democracy Day.