Former military president Ibrahim Babangida has given what he called the ‘honest reason’ his government annulled the 1993 June 12 election, won by MKO Abiola.
In an interview on Arise TV today, Babangida was confronted with the question on the criminal annulment of a free and fair election.
By the way, Abiola’s victory was confirmed in 2018, when the Buhari administration awarded him a posthumous Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, an honour reserved for heads of state.
Babangida, resorting to revisionism sought to explain the reason for the annulment of an election widely considered to be the best in the history of Nigeria.
He responded by saying;
“Do you want me to be honest with you?”
When Ngozi, the interviewer, gave a nod, he said:
“If it materialised (If the election had gone through), there would have been a coup d’etat which could have been violent. That’s all I can confirm.
“It didn’t happen, thank God for the Maradonic way we handled you guys in the society.”
Babangida added that the election “could have given room for more instability in the country.”
When asked if he was pressured by the military or civilians to annul the election, IBB said: “Both.”
“Both. The Military, they can do it because they have the weapons to do it. The other is the social agitation.
On 24 June 1993, Babangida government shocked the world by announcing the annulment of the June 12 election.
Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) beat Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in the results declared in the 30 states and Abuja.
Abiola was already known as the winner. What the electoral commission was doing in Abuja was a mere tabulation of the results declared in the states.
The commission was in the process of completing the ritual when an annulment was announced on radio.
The statement was not signed by anyone.
With public outcry, his government attempted to taint the election, by citing unproven allegations of vote-buying and other electoral irregularities.
The annulment led to protests and political unrest, including the resignation of IBB and the enthronement of a weak interim civilian government.
It later culminated in a coup by General Sani Abacha eight more years of military rule.