violent coup averted by June 12 cancellation
By Elohor Igbru, Abuja
More revelations on what happened to the June 12, 1993, presidential election- adjudged the fairest elections in the country’s history-have emerged, this time from the man who annulled it, former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
The former dictator spoke to Arise Television on Friday.
Babangida said if he had not annulled the election, a coup d’etat would have occurred which would have been catastrophic for the country.
June 12 election was believed to have been won by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Bashorun Moshood Abiola.
“If it materialised, there would’ve been a coup d’etat — which could have been violent. That’s all I can confirm. It didn’t happen thanks to the engineering and the ‘maradonic’ way we handled you guys in the society. But that could’ve given room for more instability in the country,” Babangida said.
The former dictator said there was pressure on him to annul the election both from within and outside the military.
“Both. The military can do it because they have the weapons to do it, and others (civil society groups) can use agitation,” Babangida said.
Babangida, commonly called the “evil genius” and “Maradona” said the names were invented for him by the media because of his deft political moves.
“That’s the very good thing about the Nigerian media and Nigerian people, you have to anticipate them. If you anticipate them then you live well with them. They call me ‘evil genius’, I marvel at that. The contradiction — you can’t be evil and then a genius. The definition of Maradona I got from the media is because of deft political moves. That’s the way the media described it,” Babangida said.