Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday said the late philanthropist, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola was denied presidency in Nigeria because of “bad belle,” which simply translates as envy or bad blood.
Obasanjo stated this while speaking at the Centenary Celebrations of Baptist Boys’ High School (BBHS) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
In his speech, which was titled, ‘Eyin Ni Iwe Wa: You Are Our Epistle,” Obasanjo expressed gratitude to the school for producing a galaxy of men and leaders like himself and MKO Abiola.
Obasanjo urged youths to aspire to the office of the President to make it three times the school produced Nigerian Presidents after himself and the former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan.
He said, “Today, there are distinguished old boys in all walks of life, i.e., private sector, academia, military and paramilitary, civil society, traditional rulership, etc. Such is the present President of Old Boys Association of BBHS, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku,” Obasanjo said.
“I believe that I must not be too forgetful to leave out yours truly, the son of Obasanjo, a modest war-victorious General and former Military Head of State and former President of Nigeria. Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the first communication industry millionaire in Nigeria and the acclaimed winner of the 1993 Presidential election was in a class by himself.
“If not for Nigerian bad belle, M.K.O. Abiola would have been President and with me as president, we would have needed one more old student of BBHS to be president for us to permanently locate it in BBHS after three times. And that is a challenge for up-and-coming generations of old boys.”
According to Obasanjo, without BBHS, he would not have been what he is today. “Again, reminding us always of our character and conduct. We could proudly say BBHS with education plus. And for me, it stood me in good stead throughout my life so far. Without BBHS, I would not have been what I am,” he said.
“We must impact with humility, honesty, integrity, wisdom, courage, competence and fear of God – these must continue to be our characteristics and our attributes to make a change for good wherever we are. We must be different.”
The comment of the former military head of state comes about three decades after the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election by then head of state, Ibrahim Babangida. His comment also comes just a few weeks before the February 25, 2023, presidential election.
Recall that this is not the first time Obasanjo would make a public comment on the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election. He made a similar comment at a function in Abeokuta in April 2021.
Obasanjo was Nigerian military head of state between February 1976 and October 1979 as well as the country’s democratically elected President between 1999 and 2007.