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One thing about time is that it doesn’t work on the reverse. In other words, the popular saying is that no one can “turn back the hands of time”. In Africa, there are 2 days in the calendar month of June that all Africans must remember. These are June 12 in Nigeria and June 16th in South Africa. Just a mention of these days in these countries sends shivers up the spines of citizens. But what do these days really meant or mean to these two great nations?
Overview of June 12, 1993, in Nigeria
The history, the events, and the emotion attached to this day in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Some say this is the day, Democracy was born in Nigeria while others believed this is the day that Democracy was stolen in Nigeria. By-n-large, these very opposite schools of thought have very relevant points to prove.
What Really Happened on June 12, 1993, in Nigeria?
Before I get carried away and get buried in my emotions surrounding this day, let me, first of all, tell you what really happened. Mind you, I am not or will not be able to explain all that really happened, pin for pin, but I believe an insight could spark your own curiosity to embark on further detailed research.
This was the day, one of the freest and fairest elections ever held on the African continent was out-rightly or some would say, maliciously cancelled (annulled). Depending on your beliefs and assessments, some even said this cancellation was welcomed. Nay! I must add that any election annulment is hardly welcomed.
Chief Moshood Abiola, Presidential Candidate vs Military Ruler, Ibrahim Babangida
The presidential candidate at the time who had gotten the overwhelming victory in that Presidential election ironically organized by the Nigerian military at that time was Chief Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). A multi-billionaire and “political machinator” as some will refer to him then.
On the other hand, his personal friend and head of the Nigerian Military Government at that time who happens to be the government that organized the election was Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
Many believed that the two high-profile Nigerians were great friends. The billionaire candidate had been rumored to have assisted the Military head in so many instances even including Babangida’s ascension to power through a military coup. While the military government had favored Chief Moshood Abiola with so many state contracts and multiple business dealings with the government in return.
Why the Cancellation on June 12, 1993, of the Nigerian Presidential Election?
The reason for the cancellation of the 1993 election was not clear. But the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida made this pronouncement in an official cancellation document read by the General on behalf of the military junta at the time and broadcasted on national tv and as picked up by various news outlets all over the world.
Some even speculated that the cancellation is due to interpersonal beef between the two former friends, while others believed that it is due to an outright grip on political power by the Nigerian Military at that time.
What was the Impact of the Cancellation of that Nigerian Election on June 12, 1993?
The impact was the most chaotic period in Nigerian society. The nation erupted in flame and was almost plunged into another round of civil war. As much I could recollect as a little boy then.
The level of destabilization of the Nigerian society and its people at that time cannot be thoroughly explained by me in this short piece. It is highly recommended that you research this information for history and posterity.
Lessons Learn from the Effect of the Election Cancellation on June 12, 1993
Following the annulment of the election results on June 12th, 1993. There was a very much broader awareness of the practice of Democracy as a Government of the people by the people. The Nigerian population revolted and sent a strong message to the Nigerian Military elites that, any form of Government that is not democracy, is not accepted in the country.
One of the most important achievements as a result of the resilience of Nigerians in fighting off Military rulership is the official declaration of June 12, of every year as Democracy Day by the President Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria. This is one milestone achievement of the turn of events.
Secondly, Nigeria, being the most populous Black Nation on the planet has had the utmost awareness of the importance of Democracy and most importantly the importance of a free society.
Finally, Democracy Day has come to stay in Nigeria. In other words, June 12, 1993, became the symbol of democracy in Nigerian. This is how that day shaped the nation of Nigeria and its citizenry.
You can research more facts about Chief Moshood Abiola, President Ibrahim Babangida, the Military Head of Government at the time that annulled the freest and fair election, the African continent had ever had. The events leading to that general election, results, victory claim by Abiola, annulment, the aftermath of annulment, etc.
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