See What Nigerians Did After The News Of MKO Abiola’s Death Circulated

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On July 8, 1998, riots broke out following the sudden death of Chief MKO Abiola. Riots were particularly intense in Lagos, and other parts of the South West, sparked by widespread suspicion and anger over the circumstances of Abiola’s demise. The riots bring to mind the major protests that erupted in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, and Edo States in 1994 after the annulment of the presidential election won by Abiola.

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Abiola, widely acclaimed as the winner of Nigeria’s freest, fairest and most credible election held on June 12, 1993, had passed away on July 7, 1998 while in detention. His death occurred amidst ongoing efforts to secure his release, with many Nigerians eagerly hoping that he would be inaugurated as President.

According to Thomas R. Pickering, then U.S. Undersecretary of State, Abiola abruptly halted a meeting, citing a need to collect his thoughts. Pickering said that Abiola took tea and had trouble breathing, then a physician was called, and Abiola was taken by car to the clinic that served Nigeria’s military authorities. He added that doctors worked for an hour and a half trying to save Abiola’s life but all the efforts did not succeed.

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Nigerian military government attributed Abiola’s death to a heart attack during discussions with officials and U.S. diplomats aimed at resolving the nation’s prolonged political crisis. However, this explanation was met with skepticism, particularly in Abiola’s native South West region, where protests swiftly erupted on streets and highways amid heightened tensions and fears of escalating violence…..Seê _ Morê

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