The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Tuesday paid tributes to late Chief Moshood Abiola, while unveiling a 37 feet statue of the late politician at the MKO Abiola garden in Ketu-Alapere.
According to Ambode, the heroes and heroines of the past who have contributed to present day success deserve recognition, honour and must be celebrated.
“MKO Abiola deserves the best from Lagos. On this special day which marks 25 years since he won the presidential election, Lagos State has a good reason to honour this symbol of our democracy,” said Ambode.
The governor said the statue would remain a memorial of Abiola’s legacy and the greatness that he represented to Nigeria’s political landscape.
“As an individual, he transcended tribe, race and religion appealing to all Nigerians who decided to vote for him.
“Sadly he lost his life while trying to secure his mandate. We recognise his contributions to our state, economy, politics and our democracy.
“Even though he was from another state, Lagos was his home and Lagos still remains his home and that is what this statue represents,” he said.
Ambode thanked everyone who had stayed strong to the ideology of one nation, as well as those who believed in the unity of the Nigerian people irrespective of tribe or religion.
Mrs Aramide Giwanson, Special Adviser to the Governor on Arts and Culture, said the statue was another effort of the government to beautify the landscape, while celebrating past heroes.
“The Lagos State Government has promised to transform the landscape and improve the ambiance of Lagos environment, making it a preferred destination for domestic and international tourists,” she said.
Giwanson said Abiola was a great philanthropist and a reference point in corporate leadership in the country.
Mr Abdumununi Abiola, Abiola’s son, said his family was extremely thankful to the Lagos State Government and the entire All Progressive Congress Party (APC) for honouring his late father.
Abdumununi said the entire family had waited for too long for the honour.
“Since 1993, the consecutive governments of Lagos State have always been there for us, supporting and providing a shoulder to lean on,” he said.
Abdumununi also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for seeing the need to honour Abiola with the GCFR title.
He said the family would have been in Lagos for the unveiling of the statue but had to be in Abuja for the award given to Abiola in commemoration of June 12.
Mr Olurotimi Ajayi, Chief Executive Officer, Modupe Studios, thanked Ambode for giving him the opportunity to participate in the project.
Ajayi said the objective of the statue was to emphasis the importance of Abiola’s struggles and contributions to democracy in the history of Nigeria.
“The monument will serve as a symbol to all Nigerian heroes and heroines who lost their lives and suffered various injuries and pains in the struggle for democracy.
“The statue is a 37 feet high sculpture mounted on a nine feet high pedestal making it a 47 feet high monument,” the artist said