Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (August 24, 1937 – July 7, 1998), often referred to as M. K. O. Abiola, was a popular Nigerian Yoruba businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Egba clan born in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Moshood was his father’s twenty-third child but the first of his father’s children to survive infancy.
MKO showed entrepreneurial talents at a very young age, at the tender age of nine he started his first business selling firewood. He would wake up at dawn to go to the forest and gather firewood, which he would then cart back to town and sell before going to school, in order to support his old father and his siblings
He later established a band at age fifteen where he performed at different functions in return of food. He in the end came to be acclaimed enough to begin requesting money for his exhibitions and utilized the cash to uphold his family and his optional instruction at the Baptist Boys High School Abeokuta, where he outperformed. He was the editor of the school magazine The Trumpeter, Olusegun Obasanjo was deputy editor. At the age of 19 he joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons apparently as a result of its container Africanist office, inclining toward it to the Obafemi Awolowo-led Action Group’s keep focus on investment and educational advancement for the Western Region of Nigeria, where the Yoruba were in the majority.
In 1956 Moshood Abiola started his professional life as bank clerk with Barclays Bank plc in Ibadan, South-West Nigeria. After two years he joined the Western Region Finance Corporation as an executive accounts officer before leaving for Glasgow, Scotland to pursue his higher education. In Glasgow he received 1st class in political economy, commercial law and management accountancy. He also received a distinction from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. On his return to Nigeria, he worked as a senior accountant at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, then went onto Pfizer, before joining the ITT Corporation, where he later rose to the position of Vice President, Africa and Middle-East of the whole partnership, which was head-quartered in the United States. Therefore Moshood Abiola invested a considerable measure of his time and money in the United States, whilst holding the post of executive of the corporation’s Nigerian subsidiary.
Abiola invested heavily in Nigeria and West AfricaHe set up Abiola Farms, Abiola bookshops, Radio Communications Nigeria, Wonder bakeries, Concord Press, Concord Airlines, Summit oil international ltd, Africa Ocean lines, Habib Bank, Decca W.A. ltd, and Abiola football club. In addition to these, he also managed to perform his duties as Chairman of the G15 business council, President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Patron of the Kwame Nkrumah Foundation.
Moshood Abiola sprang to national and global prominence as a consequence of his humanitarian exercises. The Congressional Black Caucus of the United States of America issued the following tribute to Moshood Abiola
“Because of this man, there is both cause for hope and certainty that the agony and protests of those who suffer injustice shall give way to peace and human dignity. The children of the world shall know the great work of this extraordinary leader and his fervent mission to right wrong, to do justice, and to serve mankind. The enemies which imperil the future of generations to come: poverty, ignorance, disease, hunger, and racism have each seen effects of the valiant work of Chief Abiola. Through him and others like him, never again will freedom rest in the domain of the few. We, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus salute him this day as a hero in the global pursuit to preserve the history and the legacy of the African diaspora”
From 1972 until his death Moshood Abiola had been conferred with 197 traditional titles by 68 different communities in Nigeria, in response to the fact that his financial assistance resulted in the construction of 63 secondary schools, 121 mosques and churches, 41 libraries, 21 water projects in 24 states of Nigeria, and was grand patron to 149 societies or associations in Nigeria.
Moshood Abiola was twice voted worldwide businessman of the year, and gained various honorary doctorates from universities all over the world. In 1987 he was given the golden key to the city of Washington D.c., and he was bestowed with an award from the NAACP and the King center in the USA, and also the International Committee on Education for Teaching in Paris, around numerous others. In Nigeria, the Oloye Abiola was made the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. It is the most noteworthy chieftancy title accessible to everyday citizens around the Yoruba, and has just been given by the tribe 14 times in its history. This basically rendered Abiola the ceremonial Viceroy of the greater part of his tribespeople. According to the folklore of the tribe as recounted by the Yoruba elders, the Aare Ona Kakanfo is expected to die a warrior in the defense of his nation inorder to prove himself in the eyes of both the divine and the mortal as having been worthy of his title.