By: Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Chief Muritala Abiola, the head of the late MKO Abiola family, yesterday refuted claims that the Ogun State Government has abandoned the family.
He also debunked report that the family members will not partake in the annual celebration of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election this year.
The family head said this in an interview with reporters in Abeokuta, while reacting to a newspaper publication which quoted him as saying Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State has totally ignored the family and treated the family with disdain.
Muritala, who is the younger brother of the late business mogul and acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, led other members of the family to a meeting with the Secretary to the Ogun State Government to discuss plan for the 24th anniversary of the annulled presidential election.
The family head said the newspaper quoted him out of context.
He maintained that if he had granted the interview in Yoruba and not English language, the interviewer would have got his comments correctly.
He said, “I was misquoted that Ogun State (government) did not do anything for Abiola family. But the bone of contention is that it is not what I meant that the paper published. So, I am cancelling my statement concerning Ogun State performance with the family.
“The person that interviewed me used some grammatical jargon. As for me, I’m not a grammarian. I’m a Yoruba. If they had interviewed me in Yoruba, they would have got what I meant clearly.”
Muritala, who was accompanied by Jamiu and Abdulmumin Abiola, among other family members, apologized to the Ogun State government for the embarrassment the publication may have caused.
Corroborating him, Abdulmumin, who is the last child of the late Kudirat Abiola, stated that the statement of his elder brother “was taken out of context.”
He said the contributions of the Ogun State government to the Abiola family cannot be quantified in financial terms.
He identified the yearly June 12 commemorative walk and the naming of international stadium, cultural centre and the newly upgraded Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology in Abeokuta after their late father by the state government.
Abdulmumin said, “I just think that this is a misunderstanding. His statement was taken out of context. What Ogun State has done for this family is far more than what we receive from Lagos. I don’t know what kind of politics they are trying to play or what happened.
“But I’m here to testify that the state has done a lot for the Abiola family and they will continue to. And you have to understand that some of these things cannot be quantified in financial terms.
“Something like the walk is sensitizing people about daddy’s (MKO) struggles, and what he stood for. You know there are kids who 19 years ago were not born; so for them to know and understand what he went to do. These things can be categorised as priceless.”