IBB Explains June 12 Election Annulment

  • Says it averted violent coup, bloodshed

Twenty-eight years after truncating what many Nigerians adjudged as the freest and fairest election in the country’s history, former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) says that decision averted a national crisis of huge magnitude.

He said a violent coup d’etat would have taken place with grave consequences on the country if his Military junta did not intervene to annul the June 12, 1993, presidential election.

Speaking in a chat with Arise TV, Babangida maintained that the election annulment saved Nigeria from a violent coup d’etat that was already in the offing.

Though failing to offer greater insight or name the key actors in the planned action, the former dictator said: “If it materialised, there would’ve been a coup d’etat — which could have been violent. That’s all I can confirm.”

In a veil reference to the likelihood of bloodshed, if the annulment did not take place, the retired Army General said; “It didn’t happen thanks to the engineering and the ‘maradonic’ way we handled you guys in the society.”

“But that (coup) could have given room for more instability in the country”, he further explained

According to him, so much pressure, both within and outside the military, was mounted on his junta to nullify the election in order to avert the looming national calamity.

To further justify the poll’s cancellation that still threw the country into political crisis, General Babagida said; “Both the military can do it because they have the weapons to do it, and others (civil society groups) can use agitation”.

In his estimation, annulling the election ultimately presented a better and safer option than allowing some ambitious elements in the Military and their Civil Society partners to take over power in a violent manner.

The electoral contest between late Chief Moshood Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bashir Tofa of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) is still considered the best ever organized and delivered polls in the history of Nigeria’s democratic practice

Almost three decades after, the Minna-born General has continued to receive scathing criticisms for inexplicably annulling the election days into the results’ collation by the electoral commission headed by Professor Humprey Nwosu.

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