30th Memorial: Family Remembers Simbiat Abiola

Wura Abiola, daughter of the late MKO Abiola, has remembered Simbiat, her mother, on the 30th anniversary of her death.

Simbiat was MKO’s first wife and mother of five children — including Kola Abiola, presidential candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

She is described as a keen sportswoman and one of the first women to participate in football matches at the Abeokuta Grammar School in 1954. 

Her love for sports saw to her being the life matron of the now-disbanded Moshood Abiola Football Club (FC).

She was also the proprietress of Kakanfo Queens FC, Abeokuta.

Simbiat and MKO got married in October 1961 after which she moved to Glasgow, Scotland, where she enrolled for nursing at Robroyston Hospital, Glasgow, and later did a diploma course in art and fashion design at Rodimus College of Art.

She also got a certificate in interior decoration from the School of Domestic Science in Glasgow.

Simbiat returned to Nigeria with her husband in April 1966 and was reportedly offered a role as a lecturer at Yaba College of Technology in the art department with specialisation in clothing tie and dye.

She was said to have resigned her appointment in 1969 to concentrate on her family and two private businesses at the time — Radio Communication Nigeria Limited and Tinu Fashion House.

Simbiat was also involved in her husband’s businesses and played a significant role in the growth of Abiola’s business empire.

She was the vice-president of Concord Group of newspapers, where she saw to the setting up and maintenance of the publications and later, other ventures like the Wonder Bakery.

She showed an interest in politics and was the senatorial candidate for Abeokuta central, Ifo/Otta and Imala LGA under the National Party of Nigeria in 1979. She, however,  lost the election.

Simbiat, like her husband, was famous for her philanthropy and was a devout Muslim, and her passion for community development earned her several titles including Iyalode of Ibadan and Otun Iyalode Egba.

She died after battling cancer in November 1992.

Remembering her late mother in a tweet on Thursday, Wura expressed sadness at Simbiat’s demise.

“Mama Kola, Deji, Agbo, Bolaji and Wura – loved, missed and remembered 30 years on,” she tweeted.

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