June 12, 1993 remains a remarkable date in Nigeria. There is no way it can be forsaken by those who maneuvered the notable electoral event of the day. Whether it wanted to be ignored or not by manipulators of realities, what happened then cannot be deleted in history. It stays put as the day of the freest and fairest presidential election when the nation’s citizens pronounced their will which those in power then frustrated in self-interest.
Election rigging is not strange in Nigerian politics. It has been at hand even before 1960 political independence. The only thing was the continuing increased electoral abuse overtime. Regrettably, Nigerians have recurrently been denied the opportunity to enjoy suitable democracy as supremely replicated through free and fair electoral process. It is not infrequent to hear forged election results been announced in many parts of the country. The thieving of ballot boxes and the manhandling of polling officers and representatives of the opposing political parties are well implanted in Nigeria. But on that June 12 election, beyond earlier postponements and nullifications of earlier candidates, people voted the way they wanted.
Being truly the freest and fairest in the annals of election in the country, it was to be the beginning of the season for restoration of the nation’s lost political glories. However, when the authentic results were coming out, the reality became contrary to the tyrannical minds of those who cared less for the political advancement of the nation. Chief MKO Abiola, candidate of the then Social Democratic Party was ahead in comprehensible and clear victory over Alhaji Ibrahim Tofa, candidate of National Republican Congress. On senseless excuse, the emerging result was annulled by former dictator military self-acclaimed President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
There was crisis and calamities across the nation. Even when Bababngida was forced to step down, the follow-ups kept dumping the nation that was ordained to be great to the downgrading valley. Abiola’s insistence on his mandate eventually led to his confinement for several years under the late Gen. Sani Abacha, the nastiest leader Nigeria ever had. His wife, Kudirat fighting for the restoration of her husband’s mandate was gunned down around Lagos tollgate by Abacha military warriors. Many people were also killed while many of value flee out of the country. My humble self was imprisoned for six months just because, as an editor then, I published a story that justly revealed the wickedness and inhumanity of the Abacha regime.
As things are today, it is as if that same season of Nigeria’s degradation is coming back again. With the postponed general elections drawing closer, politicians are in further desperation. There are lies upon lies by liars without love for the masses.
The military that wrecked Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s 20-month tenure as military Head of State in 1985 largely because of his battle against corruption are now being mobilized to preserve corruption by working for the nation’s most corrupt government. A look back could also see the military that refused to permit Abiola becoming president despite his victory in the most credible election as the same used in Ekiti State last year to block the right people that were to enter the state and protect political and electoral defaulters desperate to enter and win the election at all costs.
In reality, the Nigerian security services are now much weaker now than they used to be. Still, they are being used, and being planned to be used to retain more belligerent power than any other group in the nation.
After five years of deterioration in curtailing the Boko Haram terrorists, it is thorny to envisage that the security situation in the North East will change conclusively in just six weeks. Even with the military working with some neighbouring countries recapturing villages from the insurgents, the large number of the abducted, internally displaced persons and refugees still might not be able to be free to join in voting. But is all the news from the military really true? Afterall, twice had it been proclaimed that terrorist leader Shekau had been killed, whereas the same authority is promising again that the same declared dead will soon be captured alive.
In wisdom and understanding, we need not forget that privileges alone cannot save anyone. Any authority in political office seeing itself in unending empowerment is in foolhardiness. No matter the desperation, there is a limit to the time the Creator has made for all things to be operational. Nothing of this world can be everlastingly preserved. Indeed, any leader without positive legacy is bound to end in ordinariness.
In the Scripture, Lot’s wife had many privileges; but she had no grace. She left Sodom with her husband on the day Sodom was destroyed. Against God’s articulated command, walking behind her husband, she looked back at the things of the world in the city. She was smacked dead at once, and turned into a pillar of salt. Her story was held up as a guiding light when Jesus Christ Himself counselled: “Remember Lot’s wife.”
Today President’s wife is named Patience, but she is living contrary to that name. The way she speaks is not of a diligent First Lady that desiring legacy for her husband. In a recent campaign in Calabar, she asked PDP supporters to stone APC supporters chanting the “change” slogan of the party. In Kogi State, she portrayed Buhari as a man with dead brain, disregarding that an old man can be more experienced in intelligence than a younger naive person.
In similar senseless mode, PDP presidential campaign media head, Femi Fani-Kayode only speaks Queen’s English without making his brain active when perverting combative allegations to demean the opposition. Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose too has been allowed to remain whom he is: unruly hoodlum.
Instead of promoting issues that will benefit the people, why must presidential campaigns be revolting the kind of crisis that razed the nation in the past? Or are we going back to June 12?