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How time flies! History, I believe is to be carefully examined for knowledge and as a medium of learning from mistakes of the past to avoid re-occurrence in the future and drawing an appreciable lesson from that will bring about advancement and improvement on what currently exist. This day in the history of our nation serves as the day that people from different parts/regions, ethnicities and faiths in this country were united in electing their choice candidate as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Then, what the candidates were, in terms of what tribe they belonged to or the religion they practised meant nothing to the general voters. Unfortunately, that dream was short-lived because the few but powerful cabals thought otherwise. They permitted all the electoral stages but withdrew their approval for the declaration of the winner which is the most important reason the election was conducted in the first place. In their own selfish wisdom, they silenced the electoral umpire and made him unable to conclude the good work he started.

The day and that moment might have been history by now but there are things we cannot take away from it. The June 12, 1993, election was adjudged by both local and international observers as the freest, most peaceful and fairest election (we shouldn’t forget that we once had a do or die electoral process in this country) in Nigeria. But a few never allowed the collective sacrifice of the majority of Nigerians to yield any positive results and here we are, over two decades after, still battling with what the then election would have solved permanently. How will one explain the situation where the nation is divided against itself? The reality now is that for us to accept that someone is competent and capable of being in position of authority be it for elective positions or political appointments most time, the person must be; from our tribe, we must be of the same faith (now to make the matter worse, the denomination of such individual is even an issue for those he is seeking or appointed to lead).

By enthroning this, we forgot that there was once an election in this part of the world that the candidate, Chief M.K.O Abiola who was on the verge of victory on a joint ticket with Alhaji Babagana Kingigbe won in core regions of the country. The question now is that; what is obtainable in the subsequent elections in dear country Nigeria where objectivity is relegated when we are to choose our leaders?

Surprisingly, it has been long they have started taking us for a ride in this nation with little or no resistance, though there were genuine opposition to misrule of yester years, what we have nowadays are mostly jeun-jeun activists who are in it for the share of the nation cake they can get rather than giving the misrulers tough time and having a rethink on their mode of governance. I am not saying there were no people who were into activism for money in those days but what we have presently is saddening. Of course, students of history will not forget the man with the court injunction and the judge that granted it which the then military regime used as one of their excuses to annul our collective June 12, 1993, mandate. Later, we have the man with his one million youth movement for Abacha and many others who were compensated with political appointments.

Take it or leave it, in life, we are remembered for what we were able to do and those we failed to do. The aftermath of the annulment shook the very foundation of this nation. Some paid the sacrifice for their freedom like the NADECO members, career acceleration like retired Colonel Abubakar Umar, while some paid with their lives like Alfred Rewane, for the daylight robbery to be reversed. My hope and prayer are that those sacrifices of theirs for this dear nation will not be in vain. We should not fail to remember the roles of those that we were sold out for the filthy lucre of enrichment of their own lives and elevation of their personal ego.

This Nigeria of ours is a nation that forgets and maybe forgives easily. If not for that, some of those we call democratic leaders that have occupied or are occupying high position of authority nowadays would have been in the trash can of history in the first place, if our climes make people face the consequence of their (in)actions. Imagine, what do we call a situation where someone rumoured to have threatened to cut off the tongue of the then electoral umpire Humphrey Nwosu if he dared to announce any result which will culminate into the declaration of the winner and the runner-up later became an influential leader in our country’s democratic dispensation that he never believed in initially. The message of the Social democratic party (SDP) for that election was HOPE 1993 and now in the year 2016, 23 years after, Nigerians are still hoping for a better nation of theirs. Does anyone know why the “cabals” made the dream of Nigerian short-lived by cancelling the election which was primus inter pares on the scale of we having a united front and also not lacking in all the rudiments that made elections acceptable to all?

Finally, what I know on this June 12, 1993, election annulment matter is that; if the active players who engineered the annulment are stubbornly convinced that they know something we don’t, thereby influencing their action  of annulling the election without appropriate convincing evidence(s); majority of Nigerians were and are still also united in their condemnation of their action on the election annulment that is was a miscarriage of what is to the cabals justice whose ghost will haunt them now and afterlife. I am leaving you to answer the question on the efforts we are making to usher Nigeria into a great nation. Ciao!

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This article was first published on 12th June 2016


Samuel Orija is a self-employed graduate of Geography and Planning from Lagos State University. He is passionate about the progressive development of Nigeria. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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