Dr. Doyinsola Hamidat Abiola (Nee Aboaba) is the first Nigerian woman to be an editor of a Nigerian daily newspaper and later became the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of National Concord Newspaper. She started her career in journalism at the Daily Sketch Newspaper in 1969 after her graduation from the University of Ibadan, where she earned a degree in English and Drama same year. She also worked in Daily Times from where she joined the then newly formed National Concord Newspaper as its pioneer daily editor and became the newspaper’s Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief in 1986. She got married to Chief MKO Abiola in 1981.
Being the widow of late Chief MKO Abiola, winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, she told Saturday Sun in this interview that MKO Abiola was the best thing that happened to her and she wouldn’t hesitate to choose him again if there’s a chance of doing so.
Can you tell us a bit more about M.K.O Abiola?
This may sound too good to be true, I’ve never met any human being like him. If you are crying, he will first cry with you before asking you what you have been crying about. He has no business in politics that turned against him. He stood against poverty. There was huge poverty in the land and he believed why should there be so much in Nigeria, yet not enough for everybody. I have never met any other human being as good, caring , and loving as him. If you ask me, if I have to do it all over again, I will go for him. He was a good human being. I have never met any other human being like him. I pray he continues to rest in peace. He has done his bits, you could see that his children are replica of him, so I have hope.
What does June 12 mean to you?
I think it has been bastardized. I call on Nigerians to ensure that democracy is built even though it has been bastardized. Africans must choose the right leaders during election, and it would be unfortunate if Nigerians did not learn lessons from June 12 and allow it to happen again.
Africans don’t know how to choose their leaders and when they stumble on good leaders, they don’t know their worth. As you can see here today, you cannot see us punishing anybody here . Abiola was a friend of the masses. I keep asking Almighty God, why? Abiola has put everybody in his family to work, because he knew that we are going to serve the people. He is a man with a large family. He has a large heart with which he accommodates everybody. Here in the family, everybody has their different assignment. We are blessed, the children are blessed. Remember, whatever you are doing, think of the larger group.
Talking about June 12, how do you handle it?
There should also be forgiveness, what has happened has happened, we need to move on, we need to safeguard our democracy above anything else. Democracy, so far is still the best system of government; we need to enhance it, we need to show the world that with all we have gone through, we are still standing as a country. Democracy is still the best form of government. For me, it is how do we enhance institutions because institutions are the guardrails of any society, something that we all subscribe to.
For 2023 election, how should Nigerians conduct themselves?
We must conduct free and fair elections. The loser must be willing to say congratulations to the winner and the winner must be magnanimous enough to govern with a large heart. Our concern is how to take care of our people, not just ourselves. You are not going there to enrich yourself; you are going there to do good, and show the world that we come from a rich tradition and heritage.
How do you relax?
I read books. I love reading
Can you compare journalism now and during your time?
We just have to keep hope. People think journalism is for the never do well. So journalists should read, and get good education.
How do you advise women on how to keep their husband?
Make sure you marry for the right reason, it starts from there. If it is money you marry for, it won’t work. You have to work on your marriage, it just doesn’t happen.