One of the reasons why the late Chief MKO Abiola became a prominent figure in Nigeria and abroad was hinged on his spectrum of enterprising skills.
Abiola invested heavily in almost all sectors of the economy in Nigeria. But, his major investments were in maritime, banking, telecommunications, agriculture, education, oil and gas, and football projects that yielded positive financial and economic returns to his country, the African continent and the world at large.
These investments made him to be presumed the nation’s richest man between the 1980s and 1990s.
Below are seven business investments from numerous economic projects credited to the late Abiola:
1. Concord Group of Newspapers
It was also known as Concord Press which started with the defunct National Concord. It was Abiola’s newspaper publishing outfit founded in 1980. It played major roles in criticising corruption, tribalism and indiscipline in the country at that time. Within its two years of operation from March 1, 1980, the National Concord had reached a circulation of 131,000 copies. It also established a Business Concord and African Concord, and had Sunday Concord, Amana and Udoka as other publications.
Just like the present day tyrannical and oppressive democratic style of government, in 1992, General Ibrahim Babangida was displeased with the National Concord’s front-page headline, ‘Has IBB Given Up?’ The former military President, therefore, ordered that the Concord premises be locked up for six months.
After the annulment of June 12, the newspaper became more popular in publishing against tyranny and oppression of the military regime in the country. It was a major voice speaking against human rights abuses in the South-West, as well as the country at large.
However, the late General Sani Abacha banned the group’s publications immediately after MKO Abiola declared himself as the President of Nigeria in Lagos.
2. Abiola Farms
It was a large-scale agricultural business founded in 1985. It was specialised in acquiring hectares of land for agrarian farming in Yewaland of Ogun State. Later on, the farms launched a fish pond project and added investment in land and storage facilities in the Lafiagi area of Kwara State for the cultivation of rice, maize and soybeans.
The investment grew bigger to acquire another 5,000 hectares of land in Mambilla Plateau which was used for the cultivation of sunflower and other farm produce for local consumption and exports.
3. Concord Airlines
It was founded in 1986 as an extension of Radio Communications Aviation. It had four Fokker aeroplanes (Dutch aircraft named after its founder, Anthony Fokker) at that period for scheduled and charter services.
4. Africa Ocean Lines
In 1983, Abiola partnered with his friends, the late General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and Chief Raymond Dokpesi to establish a shipping company, Africa Ocean Lines (AOL). The shipping company operated and rose to be Nigeria’s first indigenous shipping line trading on the West African coast, the United Kingdom and Northern Europe.
5. Radio Communications Nigeria
He established Radio Communications Nigeria in 1988 for the marketing of telecommunications equipment in the country. The company proposed training of military personnel in the use of equipment which helped in the reduction of dependence on outside vendors for maintenance. Through the RCN, Abiola secured a contract with the Nigerian government to supply hardware to the military.
He went on to develop a static communications network for the armed forces signal unit and Nigeria’s domestic satellite communications.
6. Abiola Bookshops
It was under the Abiola Bookshops Press Nigeria Limited as registered in 1989 with many outlets across the Southwestern states in Nigeria. It was a popular modern store trading in local and foreign novels, school textbooks, magazines and newspapers.
The business venture was assorted bookstores also dealing and operating in the printing and publishing of almanac calendars, diaries and other printed educational booklets.
7. Abiola Babes Football Club
The football club was founded in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital and was promoted to the Nigerian First Division in 1984. Abiola Babes was one of the popular local football clubs in Nigeria in the 1980s through 1990s. The club won the Nigeria FA Cup in 1985 and 1987. They also made two appearances in African Cup Winners (Now CAF Confederation Cup) in 1986 and 1987.
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