About the Episode

During the June 12 1993 election, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale ‘MKO’ Abiola was the widely preferred presidential candidate. Until then, he had been perhaps the most popular of IBB’s private-sector associates. MKO’s legacy in Nigeria is a complex one: it is a tapestry of luck, hope, discipline, betrayal and destiny but underneath that tapestry lies a number of questions. Starting with how did a poor, ‘nameless’ son of a cocoa trader born in the old Yoruba city of Abeokuta go on to become the almost-president of Nigeria?

In this episode, Wale Lawal finds some answers.

Read the Episode 2 transcript.

About the Show

We all grew up hearing about ‘June 12’, but how well do you know what really happened? You might think it was just an election, but June 12 explains so much more about the frustrations, excitement and contradictions that make Nigeria the complicated country it is. How so? Let’s find out together.

Read our introduction to Season 1.


Wale Lawal is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Republic.

Listen & Subscribe
Choose your preferred player:

Notes on Episode 2

In researching Episode 2 of The Republic, we made use of the following sources.


Abiola, M. Legend of Our Time: The Thoughts of MKO Abiola.Tanus Communications, 1993.

Maier, Karl. This House Has Fallen: Nigeria In Crisis. Basic Books, 2002. 

Oluwabamidele, Adelani. The Challenges of Nationhood, A Selection of Newspaper Editorials from 1960–2010. Diamond Press, Lagos, 2011.

Shagari, Shehu. Beckoned to Serve. Heinemann Educational Books, 2001.

Siollun, Max. Nigeria’s Soldiers of Fortune, The Abacha and Obasanjo Years. C.Hurst & Co, London, 2019.

Siollun, Max. Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria’s Military Coup Culture. Algora Publishing, 2009.

Siollun, Max. Soldiers of Fortune: A History of Nigeria (1983-1993). Cassava Republic Press, 2013.

Sutton, Anthony. Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. Arlington House, 2001 (originally published 1976).

News/Journal Articles

Akinyemi, Muhammed. ‘Nigeria’s Whitewashed Heads Of State — MKO Abiola,’ Medium, June 12, 2022.

Mobolaji, Aluko. ‘MKO Abiola and ITT: From the Horse’s Mouth,’ July 10, 1997.

Mohammed, Yakubu. ‘The legend called M.K.O’ in The Guardia,’ The Guardian, June 2019. 

Opeyemi, Soyombo. ‘Victory in Death: MKO Abiola’s Travails, Triumphs in Retrospect,’  The Guardian, January 6, 2016.

Ogunsanwo, Alaba. ‘Nigeria’s Foreign Policy under Mohamed and Obasanjo: An Examination,’  The African Review: A Journal of African Politics, Development and International Affairs, 1982. 

The Conversation. ‘June 12 is now Democracy Day in Nigeria. Why it matters,’ June 11, 2019.


Hamilton Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Episode 2 makes use of archival footage from the following sources:

Fasakin Alleges Obasanjo Showed His Bile Against MKO Abiola During His Time As President. (courtesy Channels TV)

Interview with Chief M. K. O. Abiola Interview. (courtesy Mathematical7)

Interview with Chief M. K. O. Abiola Interview. (courtesy TV News)

Interview with Bekolari Ransome-Kuti (1994) on Abiola, Abacha, Democracy, and Nigeria. (courtesy Nigeria in Videos)

June 12 The Untold Story by Babagana Kingibe. (courtesy NTA News)

Julius Malema in Court with Afriforum. (courtesy Sedibeng TV)

Kola Abiola Speaks On Hope 1993 Campaign Jingle, Abiola Businesses and More. (courtesy TVC News)

Lt-General Olusegun Obasanjo Opening the First Lagos International Trade Fair | November 1977. (courtesy Reuters News)

MKO Abiola – SDP Campaign 1993. (courtesy Ahmed Oyegunle/Youtube)

MKO Abiola Speaks About His Plans, Vision For Nigeria. (courtesy Channels TV)

Obasanjo Hated Abiola, Even Into The Grave, Mohammed Fawehinmi Alleges. (courtesy Channels TV)

Social Democratic Party Video Campaign of Chief MKO Abiola: Nigeria on the March campaign. (courtesy A. Daniel Abiola/Youtube)

The Freedom Explosion (1960). (courtesy CBS Reports)

Tundun, MKO Abiola’s daughter recalls touching moments about her Dad. (courtesy Arise News)

Why Ibrahim Babangida annulled the June 12, 1993, Presidential Election. (courtesy Historyville)