Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola often referred to as M.K.O Abiola was born August 24th 1937, was a Nigerian Yoruba businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Yoruba Egba clan. MKO Abiola ran for the presidency in 1993, for which the election results were annulled by the preceding military president Ibrahim Babangida because of allegations that they were corrupt and unfair. No official final results were announced till date.
June 12 is a prominent and renowned day in the history of Nigeria, celebrated in honour of an annulled presidential election in June 12, 1993. It is still regarded as the most credible election Nigeria has ever held or will ever have, ─ given the fairness of the election.
Here are 10 curious fact you ought to know about the renowned JUNE 12.
#1. Abiola won the election
This is not surprising, but it is quite important to know that he won the election, fair and square. Abiola scored 58.36% of the 14 million votes cast. His rival, Tofa, polled 5,952,087 votes, representing 41.64%. Only three states each returned more than 1 million votes, all southern: Lagos, Rivers (now Rivers and Bayelsa) and Ondo. Abiola received the highest votes in Lagos state Abiola received his highest votes from Lagos state. He smiled home with 883,965. Ondo state (now Ondo and Ekiti) delivered a total of 883,024 votes, which gave Lagos a good run for its money. The southwest were solidly behind him Abiola scored more than 80% in each of the five southwestern states: Lagos, Ondo, Oyo, Osun and Ogun state. Osun’s 87% was his highest percentage nationwide. His 78% in Kwara was his highest outside of the southwest.
#2. His rival scored poorly
Tofa did not score up to 80% in any state. He came close to that in Sokoto where he got 79%. Incidentally, Abiola scored his worst percentage in Sokoto (20%). Tofa, however, did not score up to 70% in any other state after Rivers. Tofa scored his highest tally in River States, polling 640,973 votes. Abiola got less than half of that in the state. Tofa’s worst vote tally was in Jigawa, next door to his home state Kano, where he got only 89,636 votes. His lowest percentage was in Osun (12%).
#3. No Hausa or Fulani politicians featured on the tickets
Strangely, the 1993 elections had no person of Hausa or Fulani extraction picked as presidential or vice-presidential candidate. Alhaji Bashir Tofa, who contested against Abiola, is a Kanuri from Kano. Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, a Kanuri from Borno state, was Abiola’s running mate. However, after the annulment, the Hausa/Fulani bore the brunt
#4. Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu left SDP in anger before the election
With the SDP picking a Muslim-Muslim ticket which effectively left the Igbo out of the picture, Ojukwu defected to NRC which picked an Igbo, Dr. Sylvester Ugoh, as the vice-presidential candidate. Ojukwu said the Igbo had been marginalised in the SDP. Reminded that the position of secretary to the government of the federation had been zoned to the Igbo, he quipped: “SGF is a glorified tea boy!”.
#5. Several of those involved in the election are dead MKO Abiola
The presumed winner of the election, died in detention in 1998. Also, Justice Bassey Ikpeme, who gave the controversial order stopping the election, died in 1997. Clement Akpamgbo, the attorney general and minister of justice who was involved in the legal tussles, died in 2006. Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, the then second-in-command to General Ibrahim Babangida, who famously said Abiola could not be sworn in as president because government was owing him a lot of money, died in 2011. Kusamotu, then NRC chairman, died in 2005.
#6. Religion played a major role in the election
For fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket, the SDP came under attack from the NRC which portrayed their opponents as being insensitive to the religious balance in the country. Ironically, on the day of the TV debate, SDP national secretary, Alhaji Sule Lamido (now governor of Jigawa State), read an article previously written by NRC’s presidential candidate, Tofa, in Kano-based The Pen newspaper in which he incited violence against Christians. An embarrassed and outed Tofa replied that he had become a changed man.
#7. Abiola declared himself president In 1994
Abiola declared himself the lawful president of Nigeria in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island, an area mainly dominated by Lagos indigenes, after he returned from a trip to solicit the support of the international community for his mandate. After declaring himself president he was declared wanted and was accused of treason and arrested on the orders of military President General Sani Abacha who sent 200 police vehicles to bring him into custody.
#8. Abiola’s death
Abiola died on July 7, 1998 on the day he was due to be released from incarceration under suspicious circumstances shortly after the death of General Abacha. The official autopsy stated that Abiola died of natural causes but Abacha’s chief security officer, Al-Mustapha, alleged he was beaten to death. PAY ATTENTION: Install our latest app for Android, read best news on Nigeria’s #1 news app
#9. The fairest election till date
The election was declared Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election by national and international observers, with Abiola even winning in his Northern opponent’s home state. The election was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida because of alleged evidence that they were corrupt and unfair, a development that ushered in a political crisis that led to General Sani Abacha seizing power later that year
#10. June 12 should be a national holiday
Many Nigerians are of the opinion that June 12 should be a national holiday. The date is celebrated in honour of an annulled presidential election in June 12, 1993. However, only some Nigerian states were actually celebrating it until Wednesday, June 6, when President Muhammadu Buhari surprised the whole nation by declaring June 12 the new Democracy Day to replace May 29.
June 12 is, thus, a day to remember chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as well as other democracy martyrs.