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  June 12, 1993, occasioned one of the most popular and equally controversial presidential elections in history.
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The election which was annulled by the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, led to a series of spiralling events and with General Sani Abacha’s coup later in the same year 1993 and the death of MKO Abiola in 1998, the matter seemed closed. Nevertheless, some facts  which are either commonly known, forgotten or facts not so obvious to the public about June 12 are noted below:
  • Shortly before the 1993 elections, the head of state decreed that Nigeria run the two-party system with two political parties named Social Democratic Party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC).
  • Chief MKO Abiola, aged 56, and from Abeokuta, Ogun State, was chosen by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in March 1993.
  • MKO Abiola became SDP’s candidate after beating his eventual running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the party primaries.
  • The National Republican Convention (NRC) did not run competitive primaries, but merely selected Bashir Tofa of Kano State as the party’s flag bearer while his running mate was Sylvester Ugoh.
  • Abiola’s first wife, Kudirat Abiola, had been against the idea of the patriarchy in politics especially as potential succour to the military regime. When she died in late 1992, MKO then jumped fully into the political waters.
  • The electoral body at that time was called National Electoral Commission (NEC).
  • Humphrey Nwosu was the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC)

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  • Nigeria had 30 states and the Federal Capital Territory in 1993.
  • The June 12, 1993 presidential election is widely believed by the wider Nigerian society, national observers, and international observers, as the country’s freest and fairest presidential election in history.
  • The results of the election were never officially certified. It is, however, widely believed from unofficial figures that MKO Abiola garnered 8,243,209 votes while Tofa polled 5,982,087 votes.
  • Meanwhile, the Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2018 recognised MKO Abiola and Babangana Kingibe as the rightful winners of the 1993 elections. The duo was also, subsequently, honoured with the highest honour in the nation.
  • Abiola is acclaimed to have won majority votes in 20 of the then 30 states and the FCT which existed in Nigeria, including his opponents’ home state, Kano. Tofa won in 11 states.
  • The result of the election was annulled by the then military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, because of alleged electoral malpractices in all states of the federation.
  • Ibrahim Babangida annulled the elections in a nationwide broadcast on June 23, 1993.
  • Babangida stepped aside on August 27, 1993, as Ernest Shonekan took charge of the interim national government.
  • On June 11th, 1994, Abiola declared himself as the president of Nigeria at Epetedo, Lagos.
  • MKO Abiola was arrested on June 23rd, 1994 and put, mostly, in solitary confinement for four years;until he died on July 7, 1998.
Featured Image Source: The Guardian NG
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This article was first published on 12th June 2021


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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