The late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, winner of the June 12 1993 election whose travails formed the foundation of a new Democracy Day, was ironically a stammerer and an orator. He was a repository of knowledge who laced his statements with African wisdom. Richard Elesho recalls some of his memorable lines.
1. Accept what God has given you and make the best use of it.
2. If you go borrowing, you will go a sorrowing
3. It should not take the extreme measure of killing a new born child just because the midwife is a bad woman.
4. No one can give you power. It is yours. Take it!
5. From this day, show to the world that anyone who takes the people of Nigeria for fools is deceiving himself and will have the people to answer to.
6. People of Nigeria, our time is now. You are the repository of power in the land.
7. There is no humiliation I have not endured, no snare that has not been put in my path, no “setup” that has not been designed for me in my endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the mandate that you bestowed on me.
8. You cannot shave the head in the absence of the owner.
9. A scarcity of books and equipment has rendered our schools into desolate deserts of ignorance.
10. We are sickened to see people who have shown little or no personal achievement, either in building up private businesses, or making success of any tangible thing, being placed in charge of the management of our nation’s economy, by rulers who are not accountable to anyone.
11. Our youths, in particular, can see no hope on the horizon, and many can only dream of escaping from our shores to join the brain drain.”
12. We are plagued also by periodic balance of payments crises, which have led to a perennial shortage of essential drugs that has turned our hospitals and clinics into mortuaries.”
13. If you want something from a dwarf, stoop low to his level. It does not reduce your own height. Whenever you rise up, you will be taller than him.
14, Being short does not prevent a person from seeing the sky.
15. Enough of square pegs in round holes… Enough is enough