What We Learnt from Kola Abiola’s “The Candidates” Interview

November 23, 2022

For day five, “The Candidates” presidential town hall series hosted Kola Abiola of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), and his running mate, Haro Haruna Zego.

The PRP was formed in 1978 by Aminu Kano after his withdrawal from the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and is the oldest of all the 18 parties on the ballot for the 2023 general elections.

At the two-hour session on November 22, 2022, Abiola and Zego faced questions from the host, Kadaria Ahmed, and the studio audience. 

Here are the interesting bits from the town hall.

What key areas did they focus on?

On why he’s taking part in the presidential race, Abiola said it would take more than the two biggest parties to change Nigeria. “I believe in positively disrupting the electoral process. Our party is fielding 711 candidates and is the oldest in Nigeria. We have representation.”

He said what sets his party apart from the rest is its focus on the people. Party tickets, according to him, are easy to get and godfatherism doesn’t exist unlike in the established parties. 

He spoke on addressing the oil subsidy issue and blamed the government for always “kicking the can down the road”. 

“If the government is serious about removing subsidy, it should do it today.” He added, “What we would rather do is cut off the subsidy and go for cost of living adjustment. You do away with subsidy and that money can go into something else.”

What interesting things did he say?

Kola was asked how he would marry the contradiction between his background as the son of one of Nigeria’s richest men, and being the candidate of a party that’s historically socialist in nature. 

He responded that unlike what many people think, he started from humble beginnings. “I am someone who grew up from humble beginnings. That’s English for someone who comes from the bottom, bottom background. I’ve never forgotten that.”

He believes the PRP is undergoing a revolution and that despite the system it adopts, be it socialist-oriented or a free market ideology, the guiding goal is that it works for the people. “We’ve always done what’s in the best interest for the majority first.”

He spoke extensively about continuing his father’s legacy and how he has worked at the grassroots to get young people’s careers going. He also spoke on his philanthropy. “I annually pay fees for WAEC exams at state and federal level. I don’t know how to blow my horn.”

Any controversy?

There wasn’t much by way of controversy as the conversation was largely civil. However, Abiola appeared to take shots at you-know-who when he said he had a history, unlike some of the other candidates. 

Abiola also responded to personal questions from the host about internal family rifts and how he hopes to unite Nigeria if things aren’t fine on the home front. Kola responded candidly here. 

He said his dad died when he was 36, leaving him head of a family that had over 50 children from different mothers. Abiola admitted he may not have been perfect, but that the fact he was able to hold things down for as long as he did should earn him some credit.

Abiola also spoke about having to fight with the government. “I’ve taken the federal government on and survived it. That’s an experience I wish no one ever goes through”.

What were the reactions like?

Speaking on Kola’s strength going into the election, Ikechukwu Amaechi, a pundit, said the party’s longevity could count for something at least regarding structure. 

He also noted that Abiola has a strong name, being the son of MKO Abiola who was a popular presidential candidate and the presumed winner of the 1993 election. Amaechi, however, said that Nigeria, unlike other climes, isn’t a place where one can bank on the name of one’s parents to pull massive support.

Amaechi used the example of Obafemi Awolowo’s daughter, Dosunmu, who couldn’t win elections in her home state despite her father’s considerable clout in the southwest.

Kola’s claim about coming from humble beginnings stirred mixed reactions on social media.

This brings us to the end of day five of “The Candidates”. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok for more coverage of the series. You can also follow Daria Media on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.

ALSO READ: What Peter Obi Said About IPOB, Others at “The Candidates”

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Why Nigeria’s Relationship With the UAE Is Hitting the Rocks
October 24, 2022

Nigerians will have to say goodbye to vacation jpegs and premium enjoyment in Dubai after three recent events strained relationships between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nigeria. On October 21, 2022, the oil-rich country imposed a visa ban on Nigerians and rejected all pending applications without refunds.  No reason has been given for the […]


Now on Zikoko

December 1, 2022

The Art of Technology Lagos (AOT) conference is Nigeria’s largest annual technology conference, bringing together important players from the public and private sectors to debate policies and initiatives that will pave the way for the creation of a smarter, digital, efficient, and competitive Lagos. Together with the Lagos State Government, the economic and technological core […]

Recommended Quizzes

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz: 11 Timed Quizzes For […]

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

More from Citizen

November 29, 2022

A member of Nigeria’s first family is trending on social media over the mistreatment of a young Nigerian over the past few days. The attention she’s got has come with various taunts, public outcries, and even different forms of body shaming against her and the Nigerian government.  The person in question is none other than […]

November 29, 2022

The Nigerian Voter is a series that seeks to understand the motivations that drive the voting decisions of Nigerians — why they vote, how they choose their candidates, why some have never voted, and their wildest stories around elections. This week’s subject of The Nigerian Voter is Kachi*, a businessman in his late 30s who […]

Everything We Know About the Attack on INEC's Office in Ebonyi
November 28, 2022

One unfortunate feature of Nigerian elections that has refused to go away is violence in varying forms. It’s the kind of baggage no one wants, but everyone has to deal with it because some people still treat elections as do-or-die.  What’s happened now? On November 27, 2022, unknown people set fire to the office of […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.