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  Ten years after the 1983 elections which ushered in the 2nd Republic, presidential elections were held in Nigeria on 12 June 1993.
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The intention to hold the 1993 elections was the outcome of a transitional process from military rule to civilian rule. Then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida, established the Political Bureau which was chaired by Professor Sam Cookey, to proffer advice on this transition. It was the Political Bureau’s 1987 recommendations to facilitate a political competition that would bridge ethnic and religious divides in the country that culminated in the 1993 polls. Since General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) came to power via a coup ousting General Muhammadu Buhari on 27 August 1985, the subject of returning the nation to democratic governance has always tested his credibility. This was why he declared a decree establishing the National Electoral Commission as early as 1987 to oversee the electoral process. After two coup attempts against the Babangida junta, and lifting of politicians and public officials of the Second Republic in May 1989; two major candidates namely MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC) strutted it out on June 12, 1993. Before the 1993 elections, the Local government elections had been held as of 1987 and 1991 respectively while state government elections for houses of assembly and governorship held in 1991 and 1992. Prominent political figures such as Lt General (retd.) Shehu Yar’Adua and Adamu Ciroma, who carried the flagship of both parties were barred from re-contesting the party primaries.
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The National Electoral Commission (NEC) stepped into the new nomination process by supervising the knockout contest from the local to the national level, using the  Option A4 – open ballot system. The 1993 presidential elections which would be deemed by observers and citizens as one of the freest and fairest elections in the nation’s history, however, had a few traps laid before it even began. Just a couple of days before the fateful elections, Association for a Better Nigeria – an organization with ties to the military, and led by Chief Arthur Nzeribe – got a high court injunction against the holding of the election on the basis of alleged corruption. This simple step partly dissolved the legitimacy of the June 12 polls. On his part, the chairman of the NEC, Humphrey Nwosu, naively dismissed the court injunction and remarked that the high court lacked authority in election-related matters. The NEC began announcing the first batch of election results by June 14th; Abiola had won 19 out of 30 states, and the Federal Capital Territory. Of the 6.6 million votes that were announced by NEC before the cancellation of results by Babangida, Abiola had received 4.3 million votes while Tofa had 2.3 million. However, the final vote figures were later leaked to the press with MKO Abiola of SDP polling 8,341,309 (58.36%) and Bashir Tofa of NRC polling 5,952,087 (41.64%). The total votes cast stood at 14,293,396 which indicated a good voter turnout considering the population of the country as of then. Featured Image Source: Lets Talk History
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This article was first published on 27th May 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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