Buhari: Abiola’s Presidency Would Have forestalled Ethno-religious Tension

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• Ogun asks FG right to reconstruct roads

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja described the late MKO Abiola as a bridge builder who could have prevented the religious and tribal issues besetting the country now from happening, if he had been allowed to rule Nigeria.

This is coming as the Ogun State Government yesterday in Abuja asked the federal government to concede to it the right to re-construct three major federal roads linking the state to Lagos State.

A statement by the president’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president made the remarks when he received elders and leaders of thought from Ogun State at the State House.

“If MKO Abiola was allowed to rule, the religious and tribal issues now in Nigeria would not have been as strong, because he ran on a Muslim-Muslim ticket, chose his deputy from the Kanuri, a minority tribe and because of his personality, he went across Nigeria and was accepted.

“He used his resources and energy to convince Nigerians that all he wanted was a solid Nigeria and nothing else.”

The statement said Buhari stated that he named the Abuja National Stadium, a national monument after the late politician because he knew that the youths would desire to find out why such an important national institution was named after MKO Abiola in future.

Adesina also said the president expressed appreciation to Governor Dapo Abiodun for mobilising such a strong delegation to thank him for the gesture towards their illustrious son.

He said the Ogun State delegation, led by the governor, had visited the president to thank him for the honour done the late MKO Abiola, an indigene of the state, by conferring on him the highest national honour, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) for his ultimate sacrifice in enthroning democracy.

Adesina also said the delegation presented a big talking drum to the president and used the opportunity to solicit for the rehabilitation of some federal roads as well as other critical infrastructure in the state, which which he said they were convinced would decongest the gridlock occasioned by the movement of consignments along the Apapa – Oshodi expressway and also improve the standard of living of Nigerians along the corridor.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Government yesterday in Abuja asked the federal government to concede to it the right to re-construct three major federal roads linking the state to Lagos State.

The roads are Ikorodu – Ogijo – Shagamu road, Epe – Ijebu – Ode road, and Lagos – Ota – Abeokua roads.

This request was made when a delegation of eminent people of the state led by the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, visited Buhari in the State House yesterday.

Speaking on the reason for the demand, the governor said the roads were strategic for the economic growth of Ogun State.

According to him, the roads are in various states of disrepair and causing pains and discomfort for people of the state whom he said live in Ogun State but work in Lagos State.

Speaking on Abiola’s recognition, the governor expressed gratitude to Buhari on behalf of the family of Abiola whom he said paid the supreme sacrifice for democracy being practised today by his death on July 7, 1998.

According to Abiodun, Abiola was a bridge builder, and an advocate of liberation struggle, adding that it was in his quest to sustain the liberation struggle that he threw his hat into the ring in 1993 to run for the presidency.

He thanked the president for not only honouring and recognising Abiola but also naming the National Stadium, Abuja after him.