A human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Adenike Akerele, has revealed her last discussion with acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, M.K.O. Abiola.
Akerele said during her last appearance as one of Abiola’s defence lawyers, the late business tycoon told her that “I have seen the light.”
The lawyer said Abiola made the remark after she gave him a Holy Bible to read.
Speaking with Punch, Akerele recounted how the then military government subjected Abiola to inhuman treatment and also harassed members of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, who chose to support the business mogul during his trial.
The activist lawyer also described the late Abiola as an intelligent man, stressing that Nigeria lost someone who would have been a good leader.
She said, “I had the opportunity of meeting Abiola one-on-one, and I saw a very brilliant and intelligent man. I believe that Nigeria lost something good in Abiola. Not only was he brilliant, he was very appreciative.
“He knew we (NBA) were not being paid for representing him and he used to thank everyone of us individually for coming to his defence. He always told me that he appreciated the fact that I left my children at home and came all the way to Abuja because of him. He did not look down on anybody. But the experience that stands out for me was the last day he was brought to court in our presence. At that time, the injury in his leg had gotten very bad.
“Then, whenever the court was on recess, he would have personal interactions with his wives. On that particular day, I was going out of the courtroom as he was coming in, and it struck my mind that that could be the last time I would ever see him.
“Immediately, my countenance changed and he asked me if I was okay. I told him I was and I left the court; but my mind was troubled, and I had to turn back to have an audience with him.
“At that time, he was already in the dock; so, I took a small pocket Bible to him there. I told him that I was sorry I never discussed life after death with him prior to that time, and that I just wanted to give him the Bible which would be of great use to him in prison.
“After I said that, he put his hands into his pocket, brought out the same type of Bible I had given him, and he said, ‘Mrs. Akerele, I have seen the light.’
“That was my last discussion with him, and it also happened to be my most memorable day of the trial.”