But for the antagonism of Kola Abiola, first son of acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the defunct Concord Newspaper, owned
But for the antagonism of Kola Abiola, first son of acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the defunct Concord Newspaper, owned by the late business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola would have been revived, Col. Tony Nyiam (rtd), a chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) has declared. He revealed that Kola frustrated efforts by the newspaper’s management led by Dr (Mrs.) Doyin Abiola, to secure a much-needed N25m to revitalise the media organisation.
Concord Newspaper was proscribed by Late General Sani Abacha to scuttle plans by the late Abiola to reclaim his stolen mandate. The newspaper was later reopened by the General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s junta but couldn’t muster funds to commence operations. Nyiam, who took Kola to the cleaners for discrediting pro-democracy figures in the struggle to revalidate the June 12 mandate, said his actions amounted for why Concord Newspaper remains moribund.
The respected retired colonel said National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, was close to revitalizing the newspaper until Kola moved against it.
He explained: “I can tell you that Kola has always been reactionary and often acted in ways that undermined MKO’s cause. I tell you of a real life story pertaining to ‘The Concord’ owned by his father. I am aware that at some point in 1999 after the restoration of democracy on May 29 and Tinubu had assumed office as Lagos State governor, the Concord management, led by Dr. (Mrs.) Doyin Abiola, needed N25 million to fully recapitalise the operations of Concord Press after five years of subversion by the Abacha junta.
“As governor, I am aware that Tinubu was willing to help Concord back to its feet. He offered to buy a giant generator earlier bought by MKO for Concord Workers Housing Estate and lying idle for N35 million for the Water Corporation of Lagos State. Tinubu was willing to buy this and pass the generator to the Lagos State Water Corporation then. The deal was almost concluded, only for the same Kola to come and place a caveat emptor in the newspapers suddenly against the sale of the generator by Concord management to the Lagos State Government, thereby leaving Concord to continue to suffer in serious financial difficulties.
“No surprise, it did not take long before Concord finally went under. These are historical facts
Reiterating the claim that truly Kola Abiola frustrated efforts at resuscitating the dying Concord Newspaper, is Aliu Olurotimi Mohammed, a veteran journalist, PR consultant and media consultant. He said, “The crisis within the Abiola family also contributed to the death of Concord. Kola, after the death of his father, became the chairman of Concord Press automatically. Don’t forget that Dr Doyin Abiola was the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Concord Press. There was this crisis that she must step down as MD of Concord before the Abiola family could mobilize funds to revive the dying company.
“All attempts by Concord management under Dr Doyin Abiola to source for funds for the company were frustrated by Kola Abiola. For instance, there was this big generator set that could service the entire Ewutuntun community. We wanted to sell it to the Lagos state government to raise fund. The government under Tinubu offered to buy it. Mr Kola Abiola put a caveat emptor in the Punch newspaper. It was a fullpage advert, urging the public not to go near that property or any other property, owned by Bashorun Abiola. If that generator had been sold, the money realized from it would have gone a long way to resuscitate the dying Concord then.
He added that a few individuals expressed interests in buying Concord but all were turned down.
“People expressed interests in buying Concord. But the Abiola family, especially Kola Abiola was aversed to it. Doyin Abiola was ready to step down but Kola was not just forthcoming in raising funds.