…as Ogun demands leave to rehabilitate federal roads
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday described the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) as a bridge builder who could have prevented the religious and tribal issues happening in the country now if he had been allowed to rule Nigeria.
Abiola who was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections was prevented by the military junta of General Sani Abacha from assuming office.
The election was annulled by the then Military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida and the late business mogul later died in detention in 1997 while struggling to claim his mandate.
Receiving Elders and Leaders of Thought from Ogun State, led by Governor Dapo Abiodun, at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari lamented the tragic turn of events in the country.
He said, “If MKO Abiola was allowed to rule, the religious and tribal issues now in Nigeria would not have been as strong, because he ran on a Muslim-Muslim ticket, chose his deputy from the Kanuri, a minority tribe and because of his personality, he went across Nigeria and was accepted.
“He used his resources and energy to convince Nigerians that all he wanted was a solid Nigeria and nothing else.”
President Buhari also said that he named the National Stadium, a national monument after the late politician because he knows that the youths would want to find out why such an important national institution was named after MKO Abiola in future.
He expressed appreciation to Governor Abiodun for mobilising such a strong delegation to thank him for the gesture towards their illustrious son. Abiola hailed from Ogun State.
The Ogun State delegation had come to thank the President for the honour done the late MKO Abiola by conferring on him the highest national honour, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) for his ultimate sacrifice in enthroning democracy.
The delegation, which presented a big talking drum to the President, also used the opportunity to solicit for the rehabilitation of some federal roads as well as other critical infrastructure in the State.
They argued that it would decongest the gridlock occasioned by the movement of consignments along the Apapa – Oshodi expressway and improve the standard of living of Nigerians along the corridor.
The elders also asked the President to allow the state government undertake the reconstruction of three major federal roads linking the state to Lagos.
The roads are Ikorodu -Ogijo – Shagamu road; Epe – Ijebu – Ode road; and Lagos – Ota – Abeokuta road.
Speaking on the reason for the demand, the governor said the roads were strategic for the economic growth of Ogun State, and could not be left in their poor condition.
He further stated that the dilapidated roads had been causing pains and discomfort for many people of the state who live in Ogun State but work in Lagos State, he stated.
In the delegation that visited Aso Rock were the deputy governor of the state, Mrs. Noimot Salako; former governors of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former deputy governors of the state, Senator Gbenga Kaka and Prince Segun Adesegun.
Also in the team were sons and daughters of Abiola, including Kola Abiola and Hafsat Abiola-Constello; as well as some traditional rulers in the State.