Former Edo Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has said that the late MKO Abiola rejected a move by leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to free him from detention.
Abiola was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was annulled by the then Military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida.
In 1994, he announced himself as the lawful President of Nigeria and was afterwards declared wanted by the late Sani Abacha regime.
He was subsequently arrested on a charge of treasonable felony and died on 7 July, 1998 in prison.
And Oshiomhole, a former Chairman of the NLC , recalled the importance of the election, adding that many trade union activists were direct beneficiaries of Abiola’s generosity.
But he regretted that Abiola declined labour’s offer to free him.
“When Abiola was in prison, we made several efforts to see him but the military were blocking it. But finally one day, we went there and (a former NLC President), Paschal (Bafyau) who led us to him, said, ‘sir, we want you to accept the bail with all the conditions attached to it,” he said in a statement.
“We told him that these guys are ready to keep him in prison for a long time and ensure that he will not be able to come out alive.
“The late head of State (Sani) Abacha has asked Abiola to go and make a national broadcast withdraw his earlier statement of pronouncing himself president. But Abiola said, ‘I will remain here in prison; I will not do their bidding.
“Abacha eventually died and Abiola also died. Today, Abiola’s children can go anywhere and say I am Abiola and they will be respected.”