Biography of Moshood Abiola (1937-1998)

Entrepreneur and Nigerian politician, born in Abekouta (Ogun) on August 24, 1937 and died on July 7, 1998 in a Nigerian jail. Winner of the 1993 elections, had become a symbol of democracy in his country and the main leader of the opposition against the regime military of Nigeria.

Born in a humble family, he/she belonged to the ethnic Yaruba, one of the most important of the country, and which was his boss. Abiola attended primary schools Nawair-Ud-Deen and Central Africa from his hometown, and the secondary at the Baptist College. Subsequently, he/she worked for a time at a Bank and Financial Corporation of the Western Region. He/She traveled to Britain, where he/she studied accounting at the Scottish University of Glasgow. Returning to Nigeria, he/she worked first as Deputy of the head of accounting at the University of Lagos Hospital, then as inspector of the company Pfizer Pharmacy and, later, as general manager of the branch in their country of the multinational International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), in which 33 years became Vice President for Middle East and Africa.

He was one of the most powerful businessmen from his country in the sectors oil, naval, and publishing. The Empire of directed extended from oil prospecting, commercial navigation and the publication of several print media from the Concord Press Limited Publishing Group, which includes The Concord International Magazine and The Daily Concord and The Sunday Concord, newspapers until the real estate companies in his country, Britain and United States. His success in the private company earned him the title of "Nigerian Midas".

It was also well known and appreciated as a patron of the Arts: large number of scholarships granted, provided money for the realization of projects of development of the various communities, covered sports activities and donated money to each of the universities and polytechnics in their country. It is also known outside Nigeria for its work in favour of the promotion of blacks, which used his vast fortune and his personal relationships.

He entered politics in 1978, when he/she won a seat in the constituent Assembly. During the second Republic he/she held a relevant position in the national party, to preside over its regional branch in her home State. He/She left the party and active politics shortly before the military coup of 1983, which led to power to general Mohamed Buhari.

Chairman of the Group of notables of the Reparations Commission of the Organization for African Unity (OAU), in December 1990, hosted the celebration in Lagos for a Conference of this organization which agreed to the creation of an organization to demand reparations for the damage caused by the slave trade and colonialism. He/She returned to politics in 1993 and acceded to the Democrat Social Party (PSD), one of two created by the general Ibrahim Babangida, whereby he/she was elected candidate for the presidential elections of June 12, 1993 at the National Convention in March. According to the first data, Abiola won 80 percent of the vote in Lagos State, one of the most populated. Reported irregularities on June 16 by the Convention National Republican (CNR), candidate Alhaji Bashir Tofa, the National Electoral Commission suspended until further notice the scrutiny, although observers felt that the process was the cleanest since independence from Britain in 1960.

The transfer of powers of the Babangida military Government was planned for August 27, 1993, but this definitely annulled the elections. In August of 93 they gave power to the businessman Ernest Shonekan, who was overthrown three months later by Sani Abachar. Abiola claimed in April 1994 his right to the Presidency; on 11 June of that year was proclaimed head of State and announced the Constitution of a Government of national unity, so it was accused of high treason, stopped the 22nd of that month and jailed by the regime of Abachar. In early 1997, when he/she was still imprisoned, it was in a poor state of health, suffering from diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and chronic back pain. He/She died on July 7, 1998, of an attack on the heart, according to sources officers, days before its release and while interviewed with an American delegation which visited Nigeria to ask the strongman, Abdusalán Abubakar, the return of democracy. His family, however suspected that his death was due to poisoning or medical malpractice.

Abiola, of Muslim religion and apparently married 26 women, in June 1992 a judge in New York sentenced him to the payment of $15,000 per month for the maintenance of three of its 79 children he/she had with Gloria Uboh-Abiola, that he/she married in 1984. One of his wives Alhaja Kudirat Olayinka Abiola was murdered on June 4, 1996, when the vehicle in which circulating was shot.