By Gideon Njoku
Is it possible that M.K.O. Abiola might still have been alive if his lawyer had not challenged the conditional release offered him by the late General Sani Abacha military government? Or, perhaps, not died when he did?
His eldest son, Kola Abiola, was not explicit on that, but he insisted he saw no sense in his lawyer advising his father to reject the relief offered him.
In an interview he granted the *Daily Sun*, published on June 12, Kola said he had changed his father’s lawyers, G.O.K. Ajayi and F. R. Williams, but was frustrated by the government from giving his father the papers for his document.
Kola’s revelation came in response to a question on how many times he saw his father in his four years of detention.
His words:” Before he died, I didn’t see him for like a year and a half because I was trying to change his counsel, and we needed him to sign. We were going to change GOK and FR Williams, and we needed to see him to sign it, but because of that, they didn’t make it possible for us to see him.”
Asked if he thought his father died naturally, or was murdered, he again was not specific, but said his father was health-conscious, and went to hospital at the littlest excuse. Therefore, keeping him in detention, with little or no medical care, was like killing him.
He, however, regretted that the opportunity given to him by the government to get out, so as to take care of himself was botched by his Counsel.
Kola: “You don’t need to put a gun on his head, or poison his tea. We all knew he had high blood pressure so, it’s a given that such a person should have had frequent medical attention.
” I think, at a point, we were successful in getting him to go for treatment, but then, his lawyer came and decided to challenge the conditional release that was brokered. I did not see the sense in that.”
Asked if he would blame the lawyer for being part of the conspiracy against his father, Kola retorted: “Abacha even said on live TV that he didn’t know what my father’s lawyer was doing but that he certainly wasn’t working for government. You can go and check the clip”
Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, died in military detention while fighting to retrieve his mandate, in an election cancelled by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.
The President Muhammadu Buhari regime has just declared June 12 a federal holiday in his honour.