The annals of every nation has its season of political and historical contents.
In Nigeria, June 12, 1993 will forever remain the date which saw Africa’s most populous black nation, Nigeria, almost transitioning from the intimidation and oppression of the masses from the military. A presidential election between the National Republican Convention (NRC) and the Social Democratic Party(SDP), adjudged free and fair by an overwhelming majority of observers, took place in Nigeria. A few days later, its result were suspended and is now known as the botched ‘Third Republic’.
Today marks the 24th anniversary of the historic presidential election held on Saturday, June 12, 1993. It was not only the first time a Southerner would win a presidential election, but it was an election widely adjudged to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s chequered political history. Its eventual annulment and the crises it sired all contributed to make the event historic.
As the South West States observes this date as a public holiday. We remember an election that has left an indelible mark in the socio-political landscape of Nigeria. Happenings Media went to town to ask the opinion of the masses on what June 12 meant exclusively.
”June 12 is the first free and fair election in Nigeria”.
”All I know about June 12 is that Abiola died and every June 12, there was always riot but now it seems the people are tired”.
Richard, IT expert
”For me , June 12 is the only time we had a free and fair election, where the peoples mandate mattered. I t is a very important time in our political history”.
Crystal, Real Estate Agent
”I don’t have any idea bout the June 12”.
”June 12 was one of the elections held many years ago, when Nigerians voted for their MKO Abiola. The aftermath was one of the most chaotic elections due to General Ibrahim Babaginda annulled the election”.
”June 12 is a public holiday set aside to commemorate MKO Abiola”.
Adeleke, Youth Corper
”June 12 is a day set aside to recognise Mko Abiola victory in d 1993 election. However this recognition has not being generally accepted by the Fed govt, it has only been accepted and celebrated in the South West”.
Ifeanyi, Sales Marketer
”June 12 is day that we are supposed to relax and celebrate MKO Abiola”.
”The day MKO Abiola was killed”.
”Celebration of democracy via the election of MKO Abiola”.
”June 12 is simply the annulment of MKO’s election”.
Chris, Newspaper Vendor
“June 12 is a day we were supposed to be celebrating democracy but turned sour because the election was annulled. It should not be celebrated because it’s a day we ought not to remember. Many lives were lost, many houses were burnt, we had to revert to military rule, and Nigeria had to wait another 6 years to experience democracy under those who know nothing about ruling.”
Rasheed, Lastma Official
June 12 was the day that MKO Abiola ran for the position of the president in
1993 and was presumed winner but was denied the position and the
election I think was the first democratic election Nigeria ever had, I
read it in a book.”
Vivian Onyekachi, Student
“On June 12 1993, millions of Nigerians voted in the best election ever conducted in the history of the
country between Chief M.K.O Abiola and Alhaji Tofa. Nigerians voted massively in favour of Moshood Abiola and also Bashir Tofa (the opponent) was said to have sent congratulatory message to Chief MKO
Abiola. There was happiness all over Nigeria, there was hope that a new damn had come. I heard of a story of a tailor during that period that refused to be paid for the services he rendered. He was so
overjoyed that at last hope has come to the people and also bus conductor and driver were offering free ride, you didn’t have to pay for anything. That was the spirit and mood until Nigerians received a
rude shock from the military led by Ibrahim Babagida. He announced the annulment of the result of the election without reasons. The fact was that MKO Abiola was supposed to win the election.”
Mr Alabi Shonibare, Pensioner