By Ayo Dada
Former Nigeria military head of state Ibrahim Babangida said he annulled the June 12, 1993, presidential election to prevent a coup in the country
The June 12 1993 election is widely regarded as Nigeria’s fairest election with Moshood Kashimawo Olalekan (MKO) Abiola in the lead to become president before it was annulled by Babangida.
Decades after the election, Babangida, in an interview on Arise TV on Friday said that some top officials in the military would have staged a violent coup if he did not annul the election.
“If it materialised, there would’ve been a coup d’état which could have been violent. That’s all I can confirm,” Babangida said.
“It didn’t happen thanks to the engineering and the ‘Maradonic’ way we handled you guys in the society, he said with a tinge of disdain. But that could’ve given room for more instability in the country.”
The annulled presidential election had two Muslim candidates – Bashir Tofa (National Republican Convention) from the North and Mr Abiola (of the Social Democratic Party) from the South.
The election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of the country was later annulled by Babangida.
A national protest followed the annulment and forced Babangida to step aside and handed power over to Ernest Shonekan on August 27, 1993, as the head of an Interim National Government.
Weeks after, late military dictator General Sani Abacha staged a coup that usurped the interim government to return Nigeria to military rule.
“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day” – Buhari.
Listening to Babangida, the self acclaimed evil genius, it is not far fetched why Nigeria is in the doldrums. Ours is a country where people that should be behind bars, rotting away, are those calling the shots and commenting our national affairs, on who Nigerians should be electing, come 2023. They are the ones that are godfathers to many of their protégés in government today.
If any Nigerian past leader should be rotting away in prison with the key thrown into the ocean, it is Ibrahim Babangida, the man who institutionalized corruption in Nigeria, a man who destroyed all our institutions, including the law enforcements to the military, because he wanted to perpetuate himself in power. A man that $12 billion, back in the eighties, disappeared from the coffers of the government, money that was never accounted for.
A man who executed his close friend Gen. Mamman Diya Vatsa on March 5, 1986 on trumped up charges of planning a coup against his regime, a regime that he, Babangida brought to power through a coup.
A man who was alleged to have killed our finest military officers by downing the aircraft they were traveling on in the waters of Egbinrin, 163 Nigerians dead as a military plane crashed near Lagos. Many of those killed in the crash of the Hercules C-130 were believed to be middle-ranking army, navy and air force officers attending a staff college course in northern Nigeria.
A man who it was alleged on October 19, 1986, sent a parcel bomb to Dele Giwa through Halilu Akilu and Ajibola Kunle Togun, a parcel that blew up the editor and founder of Newswatch magazine, a Nigerian investigative magazine.
The Newswatch editor had just written an article on second-tier foreign exchange market (SFEM), a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy introduced at the time. Under the SFEM policy, the determination of the naira exchange rate and allocation of foreign exchange were based on market forces. In the piece, Giwa said if SFEM failed, the people would stone “their leaders in the streets”.
Mohammed Buba Marwa, a former military governor of Lagos state, has been accused of being the courier of the bomb, no one has been convicted for Giwa’s murder.
It is the same Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, that has now come out yet again with another excuse for his annulment of the freest and the fairest presidential election in Nigeria, which as he arrogantly, without any remorse said, ” “It didn’t happen thanks to the engineering and the ‘Maradonic’ way we handled you guys in the society… could’ve given room for more instability in the country.”
A man whose ills and the evil he perpetrated against Nigeria is too long to list.
A man that should be in the dustbin of history, is the same one appearing on our TV, to again insult the intelligence of over 100 million Nigerians. SHAME ON HIM, and on a country that still allows an evil man a space in our politics.
Unfortunately, there are many Babangidas, big and small, in our country today, occupying our political and governmental space, and unless we get rid of these babangidas, Nigeria will never attain her true potential as a developed, powerful and influential 21st century country.
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