BY; Babalola Opeyemi
The year 1993 was the first time in Nigeria’s history where two political parties would be contesting for the presidency, the social democratic party, and the National Republican Convention. Beforehand, only six political parties were submitted for approval to the National electoral commission (NEC) but as a result of financial instability and fitness in the political field, they were reduced to two by the then Gen. IBB in October 1989. However, all the funding of the parties were funded by IBB.
This election was regarded as the freest and fairest in all-time in the history of Nigeria’s election. MKO who was allegedly the winner of the 1993 Presidential election defeating Bashir Tofa of NRC was denied the seat of Presidency as a result of some irregularities in the NEC conduction as acclaimed and postulated by IBB. Nigerians are still left in the darkroom to date, waiting for someone to shed light on why IBB annulled the election. From what is vivid, we could deduce that Abacha’s boys played a crucial role in this annulled election. The IBB boys led by Lt. General Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro and Brigadier David Mark, all of whom were based in Abuja and the Lagos group, led by General Sani Abacha and Major General Oladipo Diya.
The IBB boys didn’t want him to hand over to Abiola as they couldn’t imagine a southerner to govern them. The Lagos group was a group of officers working at the Defence Headquarters. This group was led by the Defence Minister himself, General Sani Abacha, arguably the most powerful military officer at the time. Abacha also couldn’t imagine having Abiola to control the presidency. He had to put so much pressure on Babangida who had promised him that he will rule Nigeria after his own reign and who also had a morbid fear of him as a way of causing a political crisis that would be a perfect pretext for taking over power even if as a false garb of a democratic crusader. Some people claimed that there was a money issue between Abiola and IBB and Samuel Doe of Liberia. There is no record of the actual amount.
The background to the story said that Samuel Doe transferred a huge sum of money to the account of IBB and in turn, transferred the money to Abiola as he’s a well-established business tycoon to keep for him. Abiola later transferred the money to his wife, Kudirat Abiola. When it was time for IBB to returned the money to Samuel Doe, Abiola couldn’t provide the money and this got IBB angry and decided to act back to him.
Following the annulment of the June 12, Abiola was quoted saying: “I might embark on the program of civil disobedience in the country. If those who make the law disobey the law, why (should) I obey it? There is a limit to the authenticity one could expect from a military ruler who is obviously anxious to hang on to power.” This statement re-energizes the southern supporters to go on a five days non-violent protest and which later turned to a violent one in which less than 100 of the protesters were killed by the policemen.
In 1994, he declared himself as the President of the Republic of Nigeria which led to his arrest by 200 police vehicles under the authority of Gen. Sani Abacha. He was accused of treason and jailed. The day he was supposed to regain his freedom, he died in prison on July 7th, 1998.
Whichever way it is, those audiences of the 1993 match still want this to be happening in Nigeria not the annulment but the peaceful manner the election was done. It was not an electronic type, just as we have in our modern world now.
Scores of the election we’ve been having since after 1999 were “affected and injured with different kinds of diseases and have some irregularities even in the eyes of a blind man, It can be smelt”. Abiola went as far as he could, he tried to settle with divides and unite everyone under his government but couldn’t have it come true.