The former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, declared on Monday that Chief MKO Abiola died playing for the country and reminded the Super Eagles team of the man’s contributions to the development of sports.
With this at heart, he called on the Eagles players to beat the Brave Warriors of Namibia in sweet memory of Africa’s first Pillar of Sports, Chief Moshood Abiola in their midweek FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
He added:”Playing on June 12, the day Nigerians are celebrating Abiola should ginger the national team. Victory in Namibia should be part of the party. Abiola did so much for sports that I believe he died playing for Nigeria. There is no trophy greater than democracy which June 12 symbolises.”
The former governor prayed the Federal Government to name the Abuja National Stadium after the Bashorun since the renaming of the University of Lagos had gone beyond politics.
“Abiola was the man who travelled round the world in 1992,from Canada to South Korea,looking for a model for a new Sports City. The Presidential delegation included such equally great Nigerians as Chief Molade Okoya Thomas,late Chief Wole Adeosun, Alhaji Kola Balogun and a host of others.Abiola bankrolled the entire trip, and their arrival coincided with the European visit of then governor Segun Osoba of Ogun state. When they met at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport,CAF President Issa Hayatou was also visiting. I would want President Goodluck Jonathan to name the Abuja stadium after Abiola, nobody will go to court over that,” Kalu explained.
Extolling Abiola’s virtues, Kalu recalled an incident that happened in 1987.”It was a Mandela Cup tie between Nchanga Rangers, Zambia and Abiola Babes. Everything was done to frustrate the Nigerians. Abiola arrived Lusaka, chartered a bus, and drove the squad to the Copperbelt, risking bad road and nightfall. At the end, a 1-1 draw was good enough for his team. Not many could do that.”