Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Inside MKO Abiola's home

MKO Abiola's portrait on the wall was painted by Togolese  Segla Yenu in 1992
 One of the biggest experiences I've had since I started the Lagos Photo Blog three years ago is the opportunity to photograph the living quarters of the late MKO Abiola, Nigeria's icon of democracy. Abiola died in 1998 in mysterious circumstances during his incarceration by the military ruler Sani Abacha. He had won Nigeria's presidential elections in 1993 but was denied the opportunity to claim his mandate by the military. He was put in jail for treason for declaring himself president by Abacha.

I was welcomed into his expansive home in Ikeja by staff of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) who now use it as office to propagate his ideals and his wife Kudirat's. For someone I admire, it was an intense feeling walking around his large room that had been renovated in 1998 in anticipation of his return home. Unfortunately, it was his remains that were brought to be buried in the compound.

I hope it becomes a public monument to his life soon and that people are allowed to come in to see first hand how the business mogul turned political activist lived his life. His taste for the better things of life can be seen in the bathrooms that are filled with golden accessories. His thirst for knowledge are also evident in the enormous amount of books in the house.
Abiola's massive bedroom is now used for an office by KIND

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