Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria says ‘bad belle,’ a pidgin English term for ‘envy’, stopped the presidential ambition of MKO Abiola.
Abiola was the adjudged winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was annulled by the military government headed by Ibrahim Babangida.
Speaking on Wednesday at the centenary celebration of Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, Obasanjo said Ogun state should have produced more presidents if Abiola’s election was not annulled.
He said: “Today, there are distinguished old boys in all walks of life, i.e., private sector, academia, military and paramilitary, civil society, traditional rulership, etc. Such is the present president of Old Boys Association of BBHS, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku.
“I believe that I must not be too forgetful to leave out yours truly, the son of Obasanjo, a modest war-victorious general and former military head of state and former President of Nigeria.
“Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the first communication industry millionaire in Nigeria and the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election who was in a class by himself.
“If not for Nigerian bad belle, M.K.O. Abiola would have been president and with me as president, we would have needed one more old student of BBHS to be president for us to permanently locate it in BBHS after three times. And that is a challenge for up-and-coming generations of old boys.”
Obasanjo also listed several influential alumni of the school who have gone on to excel in public service and private practice.
He said: “I must not leave out people like Chief Dada who, after working at FAO, came to work with me as minister of state, agriculture, and Funsho Kupolokun, who worked with me distinguishingly as group managing director of NNPC.
“At the state level, I must not forget Gbenga Daniel as governor of Ogun state. I must not leave out the traditional rulers like Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland; Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, the late Olowu of Owu Kingdom; and Oba Olufemi Omolade, the Olubara of Ibara, my personal friend and classmate who robbed of me of my cherished groundnut when we were in school.”
The former president said BBHS Abeokuta has produced a “galaxy of men and leaders” for Nigeria.
“We collectively and individually as beneficiaries owe the Southern Baptist Convention in the USA, a debt of gratitude for their great commission work which had yielded great fruit in the vineyard of God,” he said.
“Once again, in acknowledging those great early missionaries who brought Baptist Mission to Nigeria, Rev. Bowen; the great pioneer head of BBHS, Rev. Pinnock; his great successor, Rev. Patterson and the last American missionary head, Rev. B. T. Griffin; and the first Nigerian Principal, Mr. E. L. Akisanya under whose tutelage I grew to become what I am today.”