By ‘Dotun Akintomide
19 years after the late business mogul and the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola passed on this date, his key investments across critical sectors of the economy have all been left in ruins.
As one of Africa’s richest men of his days who owned several multi-billion dollar investments in Shipping, agriculture, publishing among several others, his family members have had to look on as all of his stupendous wealth continues to vanish away.
In an interview published in the Vanguard, one of his sons, Lekan Abiola blamed the obvious lack of coordinated management of his several assets and foundation on deep-rooted discord existing among the immediate members of the Abiola family.
He said, “It has been rough. Everybody has to die and that is not a major issue. Why I said it has been rough is that, as a family, we have not been able to work together effectively to manage the situation we found ourselves.
“Our father has died but he left lots of children and we should have done a better job in managing his legacy and the things that he left behind, the companies, the assets and other things. It is unfortunate. If he can come back to see what has happened after he died, he will not be a happy man.
On MKO Abiola’s foundation which made him become a celebrated philanthropist across Africa, but has since gone under the radar, Lekan Abiola noted that, ” a foundation can only arise if the family is working properly. My father left a lot of excellent companies behind but unfortunately, there is no sincere effort among his children.
“I am one of his sons, I am the fourth and I have three elder brothers, unfortunately, we have not been able to sit down together and look at the situation and see where we are and how we can move forward.”
Emphasizing on the need for cohesion in the family, he maintained that there is no reason why the companies should not function “if we had sat down together as a family instead of everybody going in their direction. I don’t know why we cannot have a monthly meeting to organise ourselves and revive our father’s companies. Up till now, we have not had a sit down discussion on this matter and that is why things are the way they are.
“Our elder brothers are the ones to call for a meeting. I have never been allowed to play a role in the running of my father’s companies and at the end of the day, we are all going to be blamed. It has been a terrible situation but as a family, we don’t want to be seen fighting publicly and that is why we did not go to the court. My father spent a lot to send all of his children to school and that is why we have started doing things on our own without the family.
What do you miss most about your father?
“My father was a wonderful man and brilliant, he was a leader in every aspect and every area. When he was heading the Concord Newspaper, it was one of the leading newspapers in the country.
“He had one of the leading shipping companies, he was involved in large scale farming, he was also a leading figure in sports. He was a leader in every area and when someone like that goes, it will leave a big vacuum. If my dad were to be alive, things would not have degenerated to this level. He was an excellent person, brilliant personality and he does not tolerate mediocrity and he would never have allowed things to get to where they are today,” he said.