Nigerians celebrate MKO Abiola, 27 years after botched June 12, 1993 presidential election

M.K.O. Abiola

Nigerians on Friday, June 12, celebrated the 2020 Democracy Day, in an emotional remembrance of the country’s late politician, M.K.O Abiola, whose victory at the June 12 presidential election was tampered with by former dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida.

Babangida was the country’s self-acclaimed military president, who organised the presidential election in a two party system seeing Bashir Tofa from the North, emerged candidate for the National Republican Convention (NRC), and M.K.O. Abiola from the South West, emerged the candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP).

It is 27 years today, the election believed to have been won by the late Billionaire M.K.O Abiola, held. Its annulment, however, almost led to the breaking up of the of Nigeria as a united state, in national protests that followed.

In the build up to the election, Babangida had mapped out a two-party political transition programme to democracy.

In the end, two candidates slogged it out at the polls, but M.K.O. Abiola was already in a landslide lead across the country when Babangida announced the annulment of the election before the electoral commission could declare the final results of the election.

It was a defining moment in the history of Nigeria, as with the violent riots, many thought the cancellation of the election said to be the freest and fairest in the country till that period, and the eventual death of M.K.O Abiola after four years in government custody, where he had been kept in solitary confiinement, would lead to the break up of Nigeria which the protesters had called for.

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However, normalcy later returned after the former dictator, IBB, handed over power to Chief Ernest Shonekan, who headed a temporary transitional national government, though hijacked by another military dictator, the late General Sanni Abacha, afterwards, who later died in office.

Thereafter, his successor, General Abdulsalami Abunakar, sped up a transition programme, and this led to organising an election won by Chief Olisegun Obasanjo, also a former military dictator and head of state, who represented the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as Nigeria’s Fourth Republic began.

Below are comments posted by Nigeria on Twitter in remembrance of June 12 and celebration of M.K.O. Abiola.