President Buhari today June 12th, 2019 did what former President Obasanjo the first beneficiary of Abiola’s legacy and his High School mate could not do when he was President for eight years, President Buhari named the National Stadium in Abuja after the Africa Pillar of Sports.
Chief MKO Abiola
MKO Abiola from Gbagura in Abeokuta in Ogun State whose sacrifice was almost sectionalized by the former President Goodluck Jonathan who tried without success to limit the Federal recognition of MKO Abiola to the SouthWest alone which was one of the reasons naming University of Lagos after MKO was rejected by the SouthWest leaders.
A recognition for Chief MKO Abiola, Ologun dudu,the Are Onakakanfo of Yorubaland in the Federal Capital Abuja by President Buhari cut across sectional acceptance of the man who gave it all for democracy to prevail in Nigeria, not only that, his wife Kudirat was killed in the match towards political freedom from the military we all have today.
The Oracle says President Buhari did a better job this time around and should be commended with this recognition in Abuja.in life, MKO Abiola was named Africa Pillar of Sports, by Africa footbal organization, he donated Cups for African Winners or Champion competitions.
Furthermore, he formed Abiola Babes FA in Abeokuta which won the Challenge Cup and other competions in and out of Nigeria, his team placed Abeokuta on the football map in Africa, Abiola Babes was the best paid Football Club in the country during his time and it attracted the cream of footballers in the country with Ramon King, Best Ogedegbe, Mudal Lawal, Kadiri Ikanna, etc
Abiola elevated the sport with like minded, he was one of the founders of Professional Football Association PFF along with Chief Lekan Salami of IICC FC of Ibadan, Emmanuel Nwayanwun of Nwayanwun Football FC of Owerri and owners of Stationery Stores of Lagos, Mighty Jet of Jos, Enugu Rangers etc.
Unfortunately, their efforts to lift football into international standard were destroyed and frustrated by the Federal Government which saw the Association more like a trade Union in competition against NFA, and what could have developed like the United States of America and European systems of football Association now the crave of out youths,was destroyed with myopic politics of mediocres in government.
Out of frustration, MKO Abiola not only quit the Association to the suprise and unhappiness of the Egba and Nigerians he dismatled Abiola Babes, the joy of the Egba or Ogun State that had freed themselves from IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan.
Abiola did not totally quit football, he kept those of his other companies in Lagos like ITT, but the death of Abiola Babes FC was painfull to us in Abeokuta, it was a shock for the Late Alake of Egbaland Oba Mofolorunso Oyebade Lipede who came a year earlier in full Egba Regalia to watch the Finals in Surulete National Stadium.
It was also the year Lagos witnessed how Tiper loaders from Abeokuta brought football fans from Egba Alake to Lagos after MKO dismantled the team it was shocking and all effort to make MKO change his mind was not successfull.
It was not totally the FGN problem that made Abiola to quit, he also quit politics as the Chairman of NPN in Ogun State after Chief Akinloye then National Chairman of NPN ruling Party had the same political ambition with him to run for president in the abortive and pressumed 1987, who schemed with the locals in Ogun State to organize his suspension as the Chairman of NPN in Ogun State.
At home, he faced other problems in his Ogun state with late Gov Bisi Onabanjo of the UPN and it was how MKO finally left everything to work with his friends in the military for the end of Shagari presidency in December 1983.
Zents Sowunmi is a New York based writer.