Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says the June 12, 1993 presidential election presumably won by Chief MKO Abiola was annulled by former military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida out of “bad belle”
Babangida issued a proclamation that officially nullified the election adjudged to be one of the most credible poll Nigeria has ever had. Abiola, presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was leading his rival , Bashir Tofa , presidential candidate of National Republican Convention(NRC) by a wide margin but the exercise was stopped ahead of the final announcement of the results.
The annulment of the election threw the country into chaos as protesters hit the streets calling on Babangida to step down. Abiola was later arrested by the regime of Abacha and he died in detention.
Speaking on Sunday after his investiture as a trustee of the Abeokuta Club, a socio-cultural organisation of Egba people of Ogun state, Obasanjo said the annulment of the election was done out of “bad belle”, a pidgin word for jealousy.
Abiola was also awarded a posthumous vice-patron of the Club.
Obasanjo noted that the cancellation of June 12 election results denied the people of Egbaland the privilege of having three of its sons occupy the seat of president.
Apparently referring to the three sons of the state to mean himself, Chief MKO Abiola and Ernest Shonekan , former Head of Interim National Government (ING)
“When Abeokuta Club was in the process of being birthed, things in Abeokuta were not as rosy as they are today,” Obasanjo said.
“And the sons of Abeokuta, who were in Lagos, put their heads together in late Chief Sobo Sowemimo’s residence to think of what they could do to improve the development of Abeokuta as a city.
“I pay tributes to all those founding members, those who have departed this world and those who are still here.
“I want to thank the club for this honour being bestowed on me and the honour being bestowed on my school mate, MKO Abiola, which he richly deserved.
“Kabiyesi, the Alake (of Egbaland) alluded to it. 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. On this note, I will say on this occasion, I thank the President, the patron and grand patron, members of Board of Trustees, the executive.
“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 world in whichever way I could.”