Abiola, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale

Abiola, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale, 1937–1998, Nigerian businessman and politician. A Yoruba from the southwest, he trained as an accountant at Glasgow Univ. Abiola joined the ITT Corporation (1968), becoming chief executive and chairman (1971–88) of its Nigerian subsidiary. He owned several businesses, including radio stations, a publishing house, an airline, and a bank. He was also president of the Nigerian stock exchange and a philanthropist. Abiola joined the National party of Nigeria in 1979 and planned to run for president in 1983, but a military coup intervened. Then, as the candidate of the Social Democratic party, he was the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential elections, but the results were annulled by President Ibrahim Babangida, and General Sani Abacha soon seized power. A year later, after declaring himself the lawfully elected president, Abiola was arrested and imprisoned (1994). He died in prison after being subjected to isolation and abuse. His wife, Kudirat Abiola, 1951–96, was a social activist and businesswoman who was active in Nigeria's prodemocracy movement. After her assassination, her daughter Hafsat Abiola started the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) in her memory.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: African History: Biographies