Akinwunmi Ambode, Lagos state governor, has unveiled a 46-feet statue of late MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
The statue was unveiled at the MKO Abiola Garden in Alapere, Ketu.
Ambode said it was in the tradition of the state government to recognise and remember heroes and heroines who contributed to the greatness of the nation and the state in particular.
He added that the late Abiola deserves the best from the state as Lagos was his success story.
Referring to the fact that a statue was previously sited at the location, Ambode said that his administration decided to erect bigger statues for Abiola and Gani Fawehinmi, late human rights activist, to properly situate their immense contribution to nation building.
“There was a statue done by my predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola but in the divine world, some things are more glorious than what you think and so we decided at the end of 2016 that we should do bigger statues for Chief Gani Fawehinmi and MKO Abiola since almost everybody passing and entering Lagos go through this particular Ojota axis,” he said.
“And so we started late in 2016 that we should build something bigger and so it took us about a year to do this.
“By the time we did the one for Gani to celebrate his posthumous birthday on April 22, we also agreed that we should unveil that of MKO Abiola today, June 12.
“But just as if God has a way of crowning all efforts to mark the 25th Anniversary of June 12, our President, President Muhammadu Buhari has deemed it fit to give our own MKO Abiola the highest honour in the land, GCFR.
“And that is why we believe strongly that your presence here is not just for this statue but it is also historic which we would always remember in the annals of the history and politics of this country that sooner than later, there would be one day we would mark as MKO Abiola Day.
“We are very happy to gather here today at the MKO Abiola garden to unveil this statue, a monument that will forever crystallize his legacy, serves as a reminder to the greatness that Chief Abiola represents in our socio-political landscape.”
He described Abiola as a man who transcended race, tribe and religion, adding that the late philanthropist appealed to all Nigerians who voted massively for him during the 1993 presidential election.
“Sadly, he lost his life trying to secure his mandate. Even though he was from another state, Lagos was his home. And we recognize his contribution to our state and our democracy,” Ambode said.
Responding on behalf of the family, Abdul-Mumuni Abiola, Abiola’s son, thanked the Lagos state government for the honour.
“God is great. I heard about this statue six months ago and I was called to come and see it and when I got here, I saw a statue of three-storey building; this is indeed massive,” he said.
“The family of late MKO Abiola really appreciates this and we want to thank the governor.”