Former Nigeria’s President, Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo has said the June 12, 1993 presidential election was annulled because of ‘bad belle’ against the Egba nation and the late business mogul, Basorun Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO), who is widely believed to have won the election in style.
The military regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) had been in power prior to the June 12 election as Nigerians yearned for democratic government after decades of military rule.
However, the winner of the election was not declared as Babangida annulled the election, citing issues of vote buying, and several other electoral irregularities, even as the election has been widely declared as the most fair and transparent election in the country’s history, with record voter’s turn-out on that historic day.
However, Obasanjo, who is also a former military of state (1976-1979) before his second cameo in 1999, while recounting the event said the bad blood of the administration of Babangida towards MKO Abiola was the reason the election was annulled, adding that the election would have produced the first democratically elected southerner as President under a presidential system of government.
Speaking further, the former president said the annulment robbed Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, the rare opportunity to have three of its prominent sons, occupy the seat of Nigeria’s president, at different times.
According to him, “if not for bad belle, Abeokuta would have produced President of Nigeria three times.”
Following the June 12 struggle, it would be recalled that Nigerian statesman, Chief Ernest Shonekan, also a prominent Egba son was made Head of Interim National Government in an attempt to pacify the Southwest in the wake of much outrage that ensued. However, Shonekan only held the position for three months, before the military dictatorship of General Sanni Abacha took over power on 17 November, 1993.
Obasanjo spoke at the ceremony of his investiture as a Trustee of the Abeokuta Club, Sunday.
MKO was also awarded a posthumous Vice-Patron of the Abeokuta Club, during its 46th President Party held at the secretariat in Abeokuta.
In his remarks, Obasanjo described the award conferred on MKO as richly deserved.
Obasanjo also pledged his commitment to the development of the Club, stating that he “will continue to contribute my quota to the development and growth of this club and by extension, the development and growth of Abeokuta of Ogun State.”
In his words, “I want to thank Abeokuta club for this honour being bestowed on me and the honour being bestowed on my school mate MKO Abiola which he richly deserved,” Obasanjo stated.
“Normally when you win a cup three times, you keep that cup. Isn’t it? If not for bad belle, Abeokuta would have produced President of Nigeria three times, in which case we should have kept it permanently.
“But be that as it may, we have a great heritage and we should be proud of our heritage.”
“I want to say this, I will continue to contribute my quota to the development and growth of this club and by extension, the development and growth of Abeokuta, of Ogun State, of Nigeria, of African and indeed the of the world in whichever way I could.”