If June 12 1993 was so wonderful…

We have just celebrated the 29th anniversary of the much-trumpeted June 12 Presidential Elections in which Nigerians trooped. out with wildfire enthusiasm to choose a civilian President to replace the self-styled military President, Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. The Federal Electoral Commission, FEDECO, chaired by Professor Humphrey Nwosu, was experimenting
Nigeria’s unique OPTION A-4 system in which the people marked their ballot papers in secret and publicly inserted them in the box.
Secondly, only TWO political parties were officially approved by the authorities – NRC and the SDP. Alhaji Bashir Tofa was the flag bearer of NRC with Dr. Sylvester Ugoh as his running mate; while Alhaji MKO Abiola as the Presidential candidate and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe as VP ran for SDP.
Abiola was romping home as the results were being announced when it was rumoured that further announcement should be suspended. But FEDECO Chairman continued counting and announcing, saying the relevant Decree on the conduct disallowed any interference with the prosecution of the elections.
Then on 17th June 1993, when it became clear that Abiola had won, an unsigned press statement from the President’s Office said the election has been annulled. Cancelled! This sent shockwaves across the country. The rest is now history.
But there are some important points we must not continue to ignore during June 12 observances. Those unsung HEROES are, Prof Humphrey Nwosu the chief organizer of the polls who dared the military big guns by REFUSING TO OBEY “UNLAWFUL” ORDERS; our great double chief DURO ONABULE, Babangida’s Chief Press Secretary who REFUSED ON PRINCIPLE TO SIGN the toxic Annullment Press Release and finally the wonderful people of Nigeria who identified with a man that showed capacity and capability to rally the whole nation and ignored Abiola’s Moslem-Moslem ticket.
Can one now pose the question: If the June 12 event was so successful, why have we avoided going through the same route since then by insisting on a TWO-PARTY system and repeating the Option A-4 experiment?

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