The former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, popularly called IBB, has said that he annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election allegedly won by late Moshood Abiola, in the overall interest of Nigeria’s unity and developments.
Babangida, who claimed he does not feel any regret over his actions, argued that his actions were basically to further strengthen the unity of Nigeria and to prevent another Coup d’etat.
In an interview with newsmen as part of the activities marking his 80th birthday on Monday, the former military leader stressed that all that he predicted before leaving office 28 years ago occurred as listed.
The poll, considered as Nigeria’s fairest election, was keenly contested between the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Abiola, and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).
Before the annulment, Abiola was believed to be in the lead of becoming the country’s next president before Babangida, while addressing the nation, annulled the exercise over alleged irregularities.
But 28 years after, the ex-military president blamed his decision on the need to protect Nigeria, particularly to prevent another round of coup in the country.
“It is a decision we took. I had to take that decision, I did that to the best of my knowledge and in the interest of the country. I did the right thing. I can sit back and say some of the things I said manifested after I had left. We had the coup and that coup lasted for five years”, he added.
While noting that he drew up a plan for national elections to hold in five to six months, Babangida explained that his intention was for the poll to hold in November 1993 after the Interim Government headed by Ernest Shonekan.
He stated that the agreement reached by politicians and groups was for the same set of contestants to recontest in the re-scheduled polls.
According to the ex-Nigerian leader, the citizens complained that they were tired of elections, thus paving the way for Sani Abacha who ruled the nation for five years.