Former Military President General Ibrahim Babangida has explained that he annulled the June 12, 1993, presidential election in the overall interest of Nigeria.
The poll, considered as Nigeria’s fairest election, was keenly contested between the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Moshood Abiola and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).
The SDP flagbearer, better known as MKO Abiola, was believed to be in the lead to become the country’s next president before the election was annulled by Babangida who cited irregularities at the time.
But speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight which aired on Monday, the ex-military president blamed his decision on the need to prevent a 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, in the interest of the country,” he said.
“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.”
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 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.
“I feel very scared here. They are firing lots of shots into the air,” the witness said, asking not to be named in case it jeopardised his chances of leaving.
The US State Department said American troops had secured the perimeter of the airport as they evacuate embassy employees and thousands of Afghans who worked for Washington’s interests since they toppled the Taliban in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
The scenes at the airport were reminiscent of the chaos that enveloped Washington’s earlier bungled escape from Vietnam in 1975, even as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected the comparison.