Tony Anenih, former board of trustees chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says MKO Abiola was largely responsible for the failure of the struggle to reclaim his June 12 “mandate”.
Ibrahim Babangida, former head of state, annulled the June 12 1993 election, which Abiola was widely reported to have won.
Anenih, who the chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), on which platform Abiola ran for president, said the late politician was the architect of his own misfortune.
In his book, ‘My life and Nigerian Politics’ launched earlier in the year, the “retired” politician said Abiola wilfully invited Sani Abacha to oust the interim national government headed by Ernest Shonekan, which would paved the way for his eventual take over of the government.
“… The battle for June 12 had been won mainly through the refusal of the SDP to succumb to government’s manoeuvring and insistence on fresh presidential elections…. The SDP saw through the attempt to use the meeting of senior military and police officers as a roundabout way of achieving the military government’s aim of fresh elections and prolongation of military rule,” he wrote.
“The final decline to attend more meetings with the National Electoral Commission forced the military government to fall back on the setting up of an interim civilian administration which was its earlier suggestion that the two parties accepted. The interim national government carried the seed of June 12 which we, hopefully, expected would germinate at the end of the ING since the military would be eased out of Nigerian politics and the ING would hand over to democratically elected institutions which he had insisted should be preserved under the interim administration of the country.
“It is a sad commentary on the politics of Nigeria that the avowed symbol and representative as well as the personification of the June 12 struggle was the architect involved in the sacking of the interim national government and the seizure of power by General Abacha. The Abacha regime sounded the death knell on June 12 and the last nail on the coffin of June 12.
“It must be categorically stated here that when Chief MKO Abiola decided to wage war against the interim national government so that he could take over the government almost immediately Chief Shonekan was removed, he thus broke faith, not only with his party and its leadership, but also with the two political parties (SDP and NRC) which had laboured to set up the ING through effective resistance to the federal military government of General Babangida.”
Anenih said immediately Abacha took over, Abiola “led his ‘friends’ to pay a courtesy call on General Abacha to congratulate him”.
“General Abacha took advantage of this and made sure that for the next two weeks, this courtesy call was aired on NTA Network News to prove that Abiola had accepted his take-over of government,” he added.
Monday makes it 24 years since the historic election which had been described as freest and fairest election in Nigeria.
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