Hafsat, daughter of the late Chief Moshood Abiola, on Tuesday disclosed that the late winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election was already rehearsing how to deliver his inauguration speech as the President before the election was annulled.
Hafsat disclosed this in her vote of thanks at a ceremony where her late father was formally honoured as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic
In an emotion-laden voice, she said her late mother told her how Abiola was standing before a mirror to rehearse his inauguration speech.
“Because MKO Abiola was a stammerer, I was told he never went beyond ‘Fellow Nigerians’ in the speech,” she said.
Hafsat, while accepting Buhari’s apology on behalf of the family, also apologised to the President for anything Abiola could have done or said to hurt him.
The first son of the deceased politician, Kola, later led other members of the family to thank Buhari and accept his apology.
Mrs Hafsat Abiola-Costello, the daughter Late Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of June 12 1993 presidential election, said President Muhammadu Buhari has brought reconciliation and healing to Nigeria by recognising her father.
The human rights activist, who spoke in an emotion-laden speech on Tuesday in Abuja, thanked the Federal Government for the conferment of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on the late politician.
She said that the award to her father and other Nigerians meant so much to her.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Hafsat was invited by her senior brother, Kola Abiola, to speak on behalf of the Abiola family at the investiture of the posthumous award for their father held at the presidential villa.
“It is difficult to try to stand in the shoes of a giant of one of the greatest human beings that the world ever had. But that is the responsibility that I bear today.
“Even for Chief MKO Abiola, it was difficult to imagine how he would speak to Nigerians in his inauguration speech.
“My mum told me how he would stand in front of the mirror, preparing the speech because the results were coming in and he thought he would surely deliver the speech.
“You know, he was a stammerer and he would start … ‘Fellow Nigerians…’ and he never really got pass ‘fellow Nigerians.’
“He would say a few words and then reply ‘not like that;’ and he would start again,’’ she stated.
According to her, his father’s love for Nigerians was unparalleled, leading him to die for Nigeria instead of compromising on the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
“Although he was Yoruba, he loved Hausa, Kanuri, Efik, Igbo and all. You just needed to be a Nigerian,’’ she said.