Date Published: 07/08/10
12 Years after the murder of Chief MKO Abiola By Joe Igbokwe
Tomorrow Wednesday July 7 2010 will be 12 years since Chief MKO Abiola was murdered by the state of Nigeria for winning June 12 1993 Presidential elections, the freest and fairest elections ever known in the history of Nigeria. For record purposes let us remember that 14 million Nigerians voted in that election that were keenly contested by Chief Abiola of SDP and Alhaji Bashir Tofa of NRC.
On June 23 1993 General Ibrahim Babangida retired annulled the result of that peaceful election on a blank sheet of paper thereby initiating chains of events that time and space will not permit me to recall here. The disgraced dictator offered three ridiculous reasons why the election result was cancelled. Listen to the criminal annuller:
- The National Electoral Commission (NEC) did not reach all the voters to confirm holding elections on June 12 1993 after the so-called Court ruling on June 10 1993 by the Late Justice Bassey Ikpeme.
- IBB said there was conflict in the process of authentication and clearance of credentials of Presidential candidates
- He also said that there were offer and acceptance of money and other forms of inducements against officials of NEC
- He also said that there were documented and confirmed conflict of interest between the government and both presidential aspirants which would compromise their position and responsibilities as president.
Now IBB knew that 14 million Nigerians voted on June 12 1993. IBB knew candidates went from wards, Local governments, States and to the national level and both government and Security Agencies raised no objections. IBB knew the allegations of offering of bribe could not be substantiated and remained a mere figment of his own imagination. IBB knew that he can never set an agenda for the man who won the Presidential election, as the buck stops on his table. IBB could manufacture a million reasons or excuses for the criminal annulment but the world knew then that they can not hold water.
Today, the same man IBB who brought Nigeria so much sorrow, agonies, pains, tears and bloodshed wants Nigerians to reward him with their votes to become an elected president in 2011. This is an absurd, unbelievable, awkward, misnomer, unthinkable, insulting, and arrogance. IBB may have considered all Nigerians as fools. We will wait for him at the polling stations.
Nearly 15 years after, the then Chairman of National Electoral Commission, (NEC) Professor Humphrey Nwosu came out from his hiding to tell the world that Chief MKO Abiola won the election fair and square. From Prof Nwosu’s account even though belated, it is crystal clear that Chief Abiola, his wife Kudirat and many others who died during the crisis were murdered with the instrumentality of the state for no just cause. The State through petty jealousy, and whiff of arrogance, supported with morbid primordial sentiments destroyed Chief Abiola and his huge business empire for winning an election in a nation where some people feel they are the masters and other slaves.
After 11 years of beating about the bush in the name of practicing democracy, I think time has come for us to come to terms with that criminal annulment of 1993, and the murder of Chief Abiola in 1998, and do something about it. Free and fair elections may still continue to elude us if we fail to reflect on what happened in 1993 and make amends. Since it was the state that murdered Chief Abiola, the state is supposed to lead the way to restitution in order to consol Chief Abiola’s family and his teeming supporters. I am of the opinion that if this country must move forward democratically Chief Abiola must be accorded posthumous presidential recognition, his name immortalized, compensation paid and wounds healed. The state of Nigeria shed innocent blood between 1993 and 1998, buried justice and entrenched injustice. And we have been paying the price of that treachery and murder since then. Let us do the right thing and Nigeria will make progress. If there was no June 12 1993 nobody would have been talking about May 29 1999 today.