The family of MKO Abiola has denied a claim in an article by journalist, David Hundeyin that the democracy hero was involved in narcotics peddling in United States.
Hundeyin, based in the US, had in an explosive article titled: “Bola Ahmed Tinubu: From Drug Lord To Presidential Candidate” alleged that Abiola and Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the APC, traded in hard drugs.
But reacting to the claim in a statement signed on Tuesday by Yushau Olalekan Abiola, on behalf of all Kudirat Abiola’s children, the late MKO’s family said Hundeyin’s unfounded allegation exposed him as a hack journalist who had engraved his name in the sand of fake news.
This is even as Abiola’s children maintained that the journalist was only rabble-rousing and intended to drag the legacy of the acclaimed winner of the June 12 presidential election in the mud.
They added that neither the late businessman nor his companies’ bank accounts were ever frozen as erroneously claimed by Hundeyin, adding that Abiola was so respected and dignified that he was the only Nigerian to have been so far allowed to enter the United States of America without his international passport.
The family wondered why the writer would stoop so low to have echoed an unfounded allegation that first appeared in Daily Beast, an American tabloid in 2015, where John Campbell who had “concocted it could not concretely justify the rumour when he was confronted by the Abiola family.”
The statement read in part: “Our father, Chief M. K.O. Abiola, GCFR, died a hero 24 years ago, after being victimized by the military juntas of Generals Abacha and Abdulsalami. He died confronting the military dictatorship, determined to secure the mandate of the Nigerian people given in the historic June 12 elections, so that Nigerians regardless of their backgrounds, could live and aspire freely! It is disheartening that his legacy is being dragged in the mud by David Hundeyin for his own ulterior motives.
“The completely unfounded narcotics related allegations by David Hundeyin in relation to our father in his article “Bola Ahmed Tinubu: From Drug Lord to Presidential candidate” not only raise questions about Hundeyin’s motive for including these concocted facts but also expose Hundeyin as a hack journalist.
“In his article containing these despicable rumours, Hundeyin tried to detail and back up every allegation he put forward about Bola Ahmed Tinubu with “some form of evidence” (but did not seem to present anything new beyond what is currently in circulation), yet when it came to this grave allegation about our father he merely quoted an American tabloid, the only source he could find for his malicious purposes.
“In his story and we quote – “In the course of researching this story, a name that kept coming up repeatedly as a comparison to Nigeria’s teflon Asiwaju was a certain Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. When the Daily Beast took a stab at this story some years ago, a tantalising hint was mentioned in passing about an unimaginable parallel between 1993 and 2023”
“He gave the impression that the article in the Daily Beast was a recent article which drew a parallel between Bola Ahmed Tinubu and M.K.O. but this article was published in 2015. Hundeyin, beyond this article failed to back up his allegation that in his research MKO’s name “kept coming up repeatedly as a comparison to Nigeria’s telfon Asiwaju”. Strange is it not, that he provided no other evidence of same? Some research! An investigative journalist, indeed.
“Hundeyin’s motive for making this unsubstantiated allegation is a mystery. Perhaps our father is simply a victim in the war to bring down Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Or, the journalist may be a willing pawn for those who seek to tarnish MKO’s image because of our father’s role in spearheading the reparations battle against the beneficiaries of the enslavement of Africans. This though a just cause, earned him many enemies in the West who would want his name tarnished and bury his reparations cause.
“Neither our father’s nor his companies’ bank accounts were ever frozen. He was a frequent visitor to the White House, was recognised by the Congressional Black Caucus along with several other important American organisations, and after the June 12 elections, he was allowed to enter the US without his passport, a privilege never accorded any other Nigerian. Indeed, our family name ranks so high in the USA that a prominent corner in New York, right next to corners named after Nelson and Winnie Mandela and Yitzhak Rabin, was named after his wife, our mother, Kudirat Abiola. This is not the manner in which the US government would treat those associated with the narcotics trade.
“When this unfounded allegation first appeared in the said American tabloid in 2015, we confronted John Campbell, a former US ambassador to Nigeria, who was alleged to have said that MKO was accused of narcotics trading. He said that he knew of nothing concrete but a rumour he had heard from some in the military leadership, which he presumed was being peddled by persons who sought a justification for the annulment of the June 12 election,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the family has challenged Hundeyin to provide results of his ‘so called research’ showing involvement of MKO in narcotics other than the false allegations in the 2015 Daily Beast article.
“We hereby state for the record that our father was never accused of nor indicted for nor involved in any narcotics related matter and we challenge David Hundeyin, the investigative journalist, to provide the results of his so called research showing such allegations other than the 2015 Daily Beast article.
“David Hundeyin’s attempt to portray himself as a purveyor of serious journalism or as an investigative journalist cannot stand the test of time with this engravement of his name in the quick sand of fake news!” Abiola’s children declared.