Abiola’s children mock Hundeyin, say name engraved in sand of fake news + Full statement.
“I make bold to say that MKO Abiola was categorically not on the right side of history in his lifetime” – Hundeyin Insists
The family of Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) has described the report by a Nigerian writer, David Hundeyin, on its late patriarch, MKO Abiola, as a poorly plagiarised old rumour from Daily Beast, an American Tabloid edition published in 2015.
Hundeyin who described himself on Twitter as a purveyor of words has alleged that the June 12 hero was involved in narcotics. He authored an article titled: “Bola Ahmed Tinubu: From Drug Lord To Presidential Candidate” where he alleged that Abiola traded in hard drugs when he was alive.
However, in a statement sent to Platforms Africa and 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.
The statement added 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.
It further noted that neither the late MKO 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 concoted it could not concretely justify the rumour when he was confronted by the Abiola family.
“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.
Getting Hundeyin’s Reactions
Meanwhile, Mr. Hundeyin has insisted that the late MKO Abiola was not on the good side of history.
He wrote this in his reply to a direct message sent by Platforms Africa to him on his verified Twitter handle, @davidhundeyin.
The message sent by Team Lead, Platforms Africa, Adeola Yusuf, explained why it is important to get his reaction based on Journalism ethics of balance.
“Good day, Mr. Hundeyin. My name is Adeola Yusuf, Team Lead, Platforms Africa. My reporter sent-in a statement from MKO Abiola’s family alleging that your report linking their late patriarch to drug deals was fake. Journalism ethics demand we reach out to get your reaction before publishing. This we shall be so obliged to have from you asap. Many thanks. Adeola.”
Here is his reply; “My story referenced publicly accessible information and transparently credited statements from respected resource persons such as Prof Gary Busch. In addition, I make bold to say that MKO Abiola was categorically not on the right side of history in his lifetime, having been credibly linked with coup financing, smuggling and large scale public sector corruption at the botched ITT project. Like so many other public figures in Nigeria, death has deodorised the public perception of a man whose name appeared in a Fela Anikulapo Kuti record titled “ITT: International Thief Thief.” My loyalty as a public interest journalist is to facts and public interest, and not to personalities and sentiments. The Abiola family is better served trying to create a positive impact in Nigeria than fighting a fruitless uphill battle to control the flow of information in a society where internet penetration and access to information is incomparable to what it was in 1993.”