History and Events of June 12, 1993 Elections: Election and Annulment

The Nigerian Presidential election of June 12, 1993 was an annulled election won by the late MKO Abiola. The election's annulment precipitated a national political crisis with the presumed winner and his supporters claiming their earned electoral mandate to govern while reigning and subsequent politically ambitious military and civilian Heads of State autocratically tried to steer the country away from enthroning the winner of the annulled election while trying to influence the political process and assert their point of view.
Tofa, Babangida and Abiola

Autobiography of Chief Moshood Abiola:

Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola,GCFR (24 August 1937 – 7 July 1998) was a Nigerian Yoruba businessman, publisher, politician and aristocrat of the Yoruba Egbaclan. MKO Abiola ran for the presidency in 1993, for which the election results were annulled by the preceding military president Ibrahim Babangida because of allegations that they were corrupt and unfair. He was awarded the GCFR posthumously on 6th June, 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria's democracy day was changed to June 12.
Moshood Abiola was his father's 23rd child but the first of his father's children to survive infancy, hence the name 'Kashimawo'. It was not until he was 15 years old that he was properly named Moshood, by his parents.
At the age of nine he started his first business selling firewood gathered in the forest at dawn before school, to support his father and siblings. He founded a band at the age of fifteen and would perform at various ceremonies in exchange for food. He was eventually able to require payment for his performances, and used the money to support his family and his secondary education at the Baptist Boys High School Abeokuta. He was the editor of the school magazine The Trumpeter, Olusegun Obasanjo was deputy editor. At the age of 19 he joined the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroonsostensibly because of its stronger pan-Nigerian origin compared with the Obafemi Awolowo-led Action Group.
Nigeria's Head of State Ibrahim Babangida June 12, 1993 Election Annulment Speech:

“Fellow Nigerians, I address you today with a deep sense of world history and particularly of the history of our great country. In the aftermath of the recently annulled presidential election, I feel, as I believe you yourself feel, a profound sense of disappointment at the outcome of our last efforts at laying the foundation of a viable democratic system of government in Nigeria.
I therefore wish, on behalf of myself and members of the National Defence and Security Council and indeed of my entire administration, to feel with my fellow countrymen and women for the cancellation of the election. It was a rather disappointing experience in the course of carrying through the last election of the transition to civil rule programme. Nigeria has come a long way since this administration assumed power and leadership about eight years ago. In the attempt to grapple with the critical and monumental problems and challenges of national existence and social progress, this administration inaugurated and pursued sound and justifiable policies and programmes of reform. These policies and programmes have touched virtually all aspects of our national life – the economy, political process, social structures, external relations, bureaucracy and even the family system.
I believe strongly that in understanding, conception, formulation and articulation, these policies and programmes are not only sound but also comparatively unassailable. I believe too that history, with the passage of time, would certainly score the administration high in its governance of our country. Let me also express my deep conviction that the core strategy and structures of our reform policies and programmes, as enunciated in 1986/87, would, for a very long time, remain relevant and durable in the course of changing our country positively. I believe that at the exit of the administration from power, we would leave behind for prosperity a country with an economy, the structures of which have been turned around for good. The average Nigerian person has come to reconcile himself with the fact that his or her social progress remains essentially in his or her hands in collaboration with other fellow Nigerians and not merely relying on what government alone could provide for him or her. The days are gone for good, when men and women trooped to government establishments for employment and for benevolence.
This administration has built the foundation that would take Nigerians away from their previous colonially-induced motivations and the encumbrances of colonialism. We have laid the foundation for self-reliant economic development and social justice. We have established a new basis in our country in which economic liberalization would continue to flourish alongside democratic forces and deregulated power structure. In all these, the average Nigerian person has more than ever before this administration imbibed and assimilated the values of hard work, resilience and self-confidence. It is true that in the course of implementing our reform policies and programmes and especially because of the visionary zeal with which we approached the assignment and responded to incidental pressures of governance, we engendered a number of social forces in the country. This is so because we sought to challenge and transform extant social forces which had in the past impeded growth and development of our country.
We also sought to deal with the new forces to which our programmes of action gave rise. Thus in dealing with the dynamics of both the old and new social forces, we ran into certain difficulties. In particular, during the course of handling the interlocking relationships between the old and new political forces and institutions, some problems had arisen leading us into a number of difficulties and thereby necessitating our having to tamper with the rules and regulations laid down in the political programme. As a result, the administration unwittingly attracted enormous public suspicions of its intentions and objectives.
Accordingly, we have experienced certain shortfalls and conflicting responses to the pulls and pushes of governance in the course of policy implementation. I believe that areas of difficulties with the transition programme, especially from the last quarter of 1992 to the recent cancelled presidential election, derived primarily from the shortfalls in implementing the programmes of actions which, though objectively taken, may have caused a deviation from the original framework and structure of the programme.
Fellow Nigerians, it is true that by the cancelled presidential election, we all found the nation at a peculiar bar of history which was neither bargained for, nor was it envisaged in the reform programmes of transition as enunciated in 1986/87. In the circumstance, the administration had no option than to respond appropriately to the unfortunate experience of terminating the presidential election. Our actions are in full conformity with the original objectives of the transition to civil programme. It was also in conformity with the avowed commitment of the administration to advance the cause of national unity, stability, and democracy. In annulling the presidential election, this administration was keenly aware of its promise in November 1992 that it would disengage and institute a return to democracy on August 27, 1993.
We are determined to keep the promise. Since this transition, and indeed any transition, must have an end, I believe that our transition programme should and must come to an end, honestly and honourably. History will bear witness that as an administration we have always striven, in all our policy decisions, to build the foundation of lasting democracy. Lasting democracy is not a temporary show of excitement and manipulation by an over-articulate section of the elite and its captive audience; lasting democracy is a permanent diet to nurture the soul of the whole nation and the political process. Therefore, it is logical, as we have always insisted upon, that lasting democracy must be equated with political stability. Informed by our sad experience of history, we require nothing short of a foundation for lasting democracy.
As an administration, we cannot afford to leave Nigerian into a Third Republic with epileptic convulsions in its democratic health. Nigeria must therefore confront her own reality; she must solve her problems notwithstanding other existing models of democracy in other parts of the world. In my address to the nation in October 1992, when the first presidential primaries were cancelled, I had cause to remind our country men and women that there is nowhere in the world in which the practice of democracy is the same, even if the principles are similar and even for countries sharing the same intellectual tradition and cultural foundation. The history of our country is not the history of any other country in the world which is either practising advanced democracy or struggling to lay the foundation for democracy.
Yet, in spite of the uniqueness and peculiarities of Nigeria, there are certain prerequisites which constitute an irreducible minimum for democracy. Such essential factors include: A. Free and fair elections; B. Uncoerced expression of voters preference in election; C. Respect for electorate as unfettered final arbiter on elections; D. Decorum and fairness on the part of the electoral umpires; E. Absolute respect for the rule of law. Fellow Nigerians, you would recall that it was precisely because the presidential primaries of last year did not meet the basic requirements of free and fair election that the Armed Forces Ruling Council had good reason to cancel those primaries. The recently annulled presidential election was similarly afflicted by these problems. Even before the presidential election, and indeed at the party conventions, we had full knowledge of the bad signals pertaining to the enormous breach of the rules and regulations of democratic elections.
But because we were determined to keep faith with the deadline of 27th August, 1993 for the return to civil rule, we overlooked the reported breaches. Unfortunately, these breaches continued into the presidential election of June 12, 1993, on an even greater proportion. There were allegations of irregularities and other acts of bad conduct leveled against the presidential candidates but NEC went ahead and cleared them. There were proofs as well as documented evidence of widespread use of money during the party primaries as well as the presidential election. These were the same bad conduct for which the party presidential primaries of 1992 were cancelled. Evidence available to government put the total amount of money spent by the presidential candidates at over two billion, one hundred million naira (N2.1 billion). The use of money was again the major source of undermining the electoral process. Both these allegations and evidence were known to the National Defence and Security Council before the holding of the June 12, 1993 election, the National Defence and Security Council overlooked these areas of problems in its determination to fulfill the promise to hand over to an elected president on due date.
Apart from the tremendous negative use of money during the party primaries and presidential election, there were moral issues which were also overlooked by the Defence and National Security Council. There were cases of documented and confirmed conflict of interest between the government and both presidential candidates which would compromise their positions and responsibilities were they to become president. We believe that politics and government are not ends in themselves. Rather, service and effective amelioration of the condition of our people must remain the true purpose of politics. It is true that the presidential election was generally seen to be free, fair and peaceful.
However, there was in fact a huge array of electoral malpractices virtually in all the states of the federation before the actual voting began. There were authenticated reports of the electoral malpractices against party agents, officials of the National Electoral Commission and also some members of the electorate. If all of these were clear violations of the electoral law, there were proofs of manipulations through offer and acceptance of money and other forms of inducement against officials of the National Electoral Commission and members of the electorate. There were also evidence of conflict in the process of authentication and clearance of credentials of the presidential candidates.
Indeed, up to the last few hours of the election, we continued, in our earnest steadfastness with our transition deadline, to overlook vital facts. For example, following the Council’s deliberation which followed the court injunction suspending the election, majority of members of the National Defence and Security Council supported postponement of the election by one week. This was to allow NEC enough time to reach all the voters, especially in the rural areas, about the postponement. But persuaded by NEC that it was capable of relaying the information to the entire electorate within the few hours left before the election, the Council, unfortunately, dropped the idea of shifting the voting day. Now, we know better. The conduct of the election, the behaviour of the candidates and post-election responses continued to elicit signals which the nation can only ignore at its peril.
It is against the foregoing background that the administration became highly concerned when these political conflicts and breaches were carried to the court. It must be acknowledged that the performance of the judiciary on this occasion was less than satisfactory. The judiciary has been the bastion of the hopes and liberties of our citizens. Therefore, when it became clear that the courts had become intimidated and subjected to the manipulation of the political process, and vested interests, then the entire political system was in clear dangers. This administration could not continue to watch the various high courts carry on their long drawn out processes and contradictory decisions while the nation slides into chaos. It was under this circumstance that the National Defence and Security Council decided that it is in the supreme interest of law and order, political stability and peace that the presidential election be annulled.
As an administration, we have had special interest and concern not only for the immediate needs of our society, but also in laying the foundation for generations to come. To continue action on the basis of the June 12, 1993 election, and to proclaim and swear in a president who encouraged a campaign of divide and rule among our ethnic groups would have been detrimental to the survival of the Third Republic. Our need is for peace, stability and continuity of politics in the interest of all our people. Fellow countrymen and women, although the National Electoral Commission and the Centre for Democratic Studies officially invited foreign observers for the presidential election, the administration also considered it, as important as a democratic society, that our activities and electoral conduct must be open not only to the citizenry of our country but also to the rest of the world.
In spite of this commitment, the administration did not and cannot accept that foreign countries should interfere in our internal affairs and undermine our sovereignty. The presidential election was not an exercise imposed on Nigerians by the United Nations or by the wishes of some global policemen of democracy. It was a decision embarked upon independently by the government of our country and for the interest of our country. This is because we believe, just like other countries, that democracy and democratization are primary values which Nigerians should cultivate, sustain and consolidate so as to enhance freedom, liberties and social development of the citizenry. The actions of these foreign countries are most unfortunate and highly regrettable. There is nowhere in the history of our country or indeed of the third world where these countries can be said to love Nigeria or Nigerians any more than the love we have for ourselves and for our country. Neither can they claim to love Nigeria any more than this administration loves our country.
Accordingly, I wish to state that this administration will take necessary action against any interest groups that seek to interfere in our internal affairs. In this vein, I wish to place on record the appreciation of this administration for the patience and understanding of Nigerians, the French, the Germans, the Russians and Irish governments in the current situation. I appeal to our fellow countrymen and women and indeed our foreign detractors that they should cultivate proper understanding and appreciation of the peculiar historic circumstances in the development of our country and the determination not only of this administration but indeed of all Nigerians to resolve the current crises. Fellow Nigerians, the National Security and Defence Council has met several times since the June 12, 1993 election.
The council has fully deliberated not only on our avowed commitment but also to bequeathing to posterity a sound economic and political base in our country and we shall do so with honour. In our deliberations, we have also taken note of several extensive consultations with other members of this administration, with officers and men of the Armed Forces and with well-meaning Nigerian leaders of thought. We are committed to handing over power on 27th August, 1993.
Accordingly, the National Defence and Security Council has decided that, by the end of July 1993, the two political parties, under the supervision of a recomposed National Electoral Commission, will put in place the necessary process for the emergence of two presidential candidates. This shall be conducted according to the rules and regulations governing the election of the president of the country. In this connection, government will, in consultation with the two political parties and National Electoral Commission, agree as to the best and quickest process of conducting the election. In the light of our recent experience and, given the mood of the nation, the National Defence and Security Council has imposed additional conditions as a way of widening and deepening the base of electing the president and sanitizing the electoral process.
Accordingly, the candidates for the coming election must: (1) Not be less than 50 years old; (2) Have not been convicted of any crime; (3) Believe, by act of faith and practice, in the corporate existence of Nigeria; (4) Possess records of personal, corporate and business interests which do not conflict with national interests; (5) Have been registered members of either of the two political parties for at least one year to this election. All those previously banned from participating in the transition process, other than those with criminal records, are hereby unbanned. They can all henceforth participate in the electoral process. This is with a view to enriching the quality of candidature for the election and at the same time tap the leadership resources of our country to the fullest. The decree to this effect will be promulgated.
Fellow Nigerians, I wish to finally acknowledge the tremendous value of your patience and understanding, especially in the face of national provocation. I urge you to keep faith with the commitment of this administration. I enjoin you to keep faith with the unity, peace and stability of our country for this is the only country that you and I can call our own. Nowhere in the world, no matter the prompting and inducements of foreign countries, can Nigerians ever be regarded as first class citizens. Nigeria is the only country that we have. We must therefore renew our hope in Nigeria, and faith and confidence in ourselves for continued growth, development and progress.
Thank you all, and God bless you.”
June 12 mandate restoration struggle:
The struggle for the enthronement of the winner of the June 12 election united some members of the political class, unions and human rights groups to publicly oppose the military, seeking a return to democratic rule and drive ideas of democratic conducts in the military government's decision making. However, the political crisis or the June 12 struggle that followed the cancellation of election results was also viewed during the period through the prism of calculated self-interest, betrayal and hatred among many of the notable personalities involved in the election and annulment and to some groups, it showcased the failures of the Nigeria project; many themes such as Sovereign National Conference, regionalism, government of national unity, tribalism or the malicious aspersion of calling individuals tribalist were branded out during the period. The struggle for the actualization of the June 12 results embodied by Abiola and many 'progressive' politicians became a touching stone and rallying cry for democratic rule during the military government of Sani Abacha.

During the Nigerian third republic, the nation witnessed broadly spaced elections and transitional democratic government in 598 local governments (1991), in the state assembly and government houses (1992), in the federal legislature (1992) but excluding the presidency creating a diarchical system of government with military and civilian leaders. Apart from being a transitional system, it was also designed to favor so-called new breed politicians. However, the aforementioned democratic structure had its share of constant tinkering and government intervention to control perceived anomalies and the military government seeking acquiescence of various factions within the party to provide support for their impositions. Among the various military interventions was the cancellation of polls including a presidential election in 1992. The unlucky presidential hopefuls in 1992, where Yar'Adua, head of the Peoples Front Coalition in SDP, Olu Falae, (from the People Solidarity coalition of SDP), Adamu Ciroma and Umaru Shinkafi, the latter two from the National Republican Convention (NRC). The presidential system then was an homegrown nomination process though inspired by the American nomination system drawn over a few weeks.

The two political parties of the period, the SDP and NRC where formed partly to develop national consensus and consciousness and were both influenced by the military government since its inception. The SDP was deemed a little to the left and NRC, a little to the right. Both parties encompassed different personalities with varying ideologies and reputation for personal philanthropy and according to some members, held a self imposed logic of internal division. After the cancellation of the 1992 presidential polls, different groups within the parties threw accusations against each other for the cancellation: as an example Shehu Yar'Adua, a presidential aspirant felt the chairman of the party, Baba Gana Kingibe presented a report to President Babangida on the election which helped in the cancellation, Kingibe also earned the wrath of some disqualified governorship and presidential candidates who were later to play a part in his electoral loss at the SDP primaries in 1993.

In December 1992, new entrants for a new presidential poll began making their names known, among them was Moshood Abiola from Ogun State and Baba Gana Kingibe from Borno State both members of SDP.

A new presidential calender was released after the cancellation of the 1992 presidential polls. The two political parties were advised by the Federal Military Government to use the Option A4 system which resulted in the emergence of 30 presidential nominations in both parties each representing a state in the federation. However, in the SDP, the fight was between, Abiola, Baba Gana Kingibe and Abubakar Atiku.

SDP Presidential Primaries:
The Social Democratic Party presidential primaries was held in Jos in March 1993. The major contenders were M.K.O. Abiola, a wealthy businessman and former business associate of former presidential contender, Shehu Yar'Adua and Baba Gana Kingibe,former party chairman and talented manager who controlled a large share of SDP governors and hoping to reap the influence of any good will generated while he was party chairman. The third contender was Abubakar Atiku, representing the Yar'Adua faction and hoping to reap rewards from drawing votes from the two candidates and strengthening his faction and also speculatively to benefit from a disqualification of the leading candidates.

Abiola, initially played a minor role in his party and presented to party members the benefits of his entry as that as of individual who was known as a politician within their ranks but his candidacy may gain sympathy with the large number of electorates who like him were not registered with both parties and a shared independent views. He courted many factions within party both at the state and national level. In Lagos, he held talks with the Sarumi and Jakande group, in Oyo, the Ladoja and Adedibu groups and in Kano, the Magaji Abdullahi and Abubakar Rimi groups.

The SDP presidential primary that took place in Jos showcased the various party bosses, with the YAr'Adua group stationed at Yahaya Kwande's residence, the Olu Falae and Rimi group, the SDP governors behind Kingibe and also the Arthur Nzeribe group. After haggling and votes, Abiola came out on top defeating Kingibe. A Yoruba Muslim, he chose Kingibe a Northern Muslim as his running mate.
General election

1993 Election Campaign:
Abiola assembled a campaign organization headed by Jonathan Zwingina and made use of the broken Olu Falae campaign machinery. His opponent was another wealthy businessman from Kano, Bashir Tofa. However, as pre-election campaigns progressed, Abiola's personality, a mixture of friendly countenance and warm mien was an attractive asset in a what became a popular campaign

About 14 million Nigerians voted in the election. The June 12 election was monitored and endorsed by over 3,000 election observes from various parts of Nigeria and the international community and was viewed as credible.
Association for Better Nigeria

During the presidential campaign of 1993, an association financed by Arthur Nzeribe known as ABN of the Association for Better Nigeria watched the campaigns from the sidelines while devising ways to scuttle the election. Five days to the conduct of the presidential election, the association brought a suit to an Abuja High Court to cancel the presidential primaries alleging that the outcome of the primaries were riddled by corruption. On June 10, 1993, the court made a ruling that the presidential campaign should not commence, however, a provision in a decree had made judicial jurisdiction is canceling an election null and the National Electoral Commission followed the military decree's direction. Awuru Ejike opined that there is an undisclosed reasons for the annulment which may have an ethnic considerations.

On June 14, 1993, the Military government succumbed the president of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to stop the announcement of the results already authorized by the NEC office at Abuja. Prior to the intervention, NEC had announced the results of 14 states with the Abiola/Kingibe ticket leading comfortably. Nine days later during the burial of Musa Yar'Adua, father of Shehu Yar'Adua, feelers of the cancellation of the election reached Abiola and his supporters in Katsina where he had gone to commensurate with the Yar'Adua family. On his return from the trip, he was greeted with notes from journalists on June 23, 1993, the notes was about a press release signed by Nduka Irabor on the cancellation of the June 12, election. Abiola, who became upset released statements signaling his determination and that of his party to fight the annulment.

The SDP leadership subsequently held a meeting in Benn in July 4-5 and took a stance, contrary to the military that June 12 was non-negotiable. However, Yar'Adua whose group controlled the party leadership opposed an anti military stand. By early July 1993, a committee comprised by the chairman of the party, Anthony Anenih and dominated by the Yar'adua faction was asked to meet with the opposition party, NRC for talks on moving the nation towards a democratic and united goal. However, the committee jettisoned the party's hard line June 12 position of the Benin meeting and supported a plan for an interim government in partnership with NRC and the military government and also that a move to force or disgrace the military out of office was out of place, this plan was supported by Olusegun Obasanjoand Yar'Adua. A few weeks after the multi party discussions, the presumed winner of the June 12 election fled to London upon rumours of an impeding attack on his residence. After the seemingly pro interim government and anti-June 12 stance of Anenih, and the powerful YAr'Adua faction and with Abiola abroad, the struggle for the actualization of a democratic government was borne by the senate under the leadership of Iyorchia Ayu, though his deputy was seen as an ally of Vice President Augustus Aikhomu.

Post June 12 Crisis:
Following the annulment there was a feeling of insecurity in the country as many non-indigenes working in various cities in Nigeria began moving back to their native lands. Also, a few foreign governments released statements denouncing the cancellation and imposing minor sanctions on the country.

Post June 12, Babangida administration:
Babangida's insincerity in handing over power to a democratic leader was enhanced following the annulment as the cancellation was viewed by some as a means for Babangida to extend his stay in government. Following the cancellation, while his administration's support was likely swiftly going south, it found favors among some politicians in both parties, led by some National Republican Convention lawmakers and a few SDP members in both legislative houses, majority of whom were inclined for various reasons not excluding perceived loss in the assembly and presidential election to back the stance of the military government. Many of the lawmakers were from the North and perceived by some Southerners as fearing a power shift from the North to the South. The Nigerian Television Network under the ministry of Information led by Uche Chukwumerije was also used as a solidarity organ for the administration.
Interim government

During the political impasse that ensued following the cancellation of the presidential election, an interim government was one of the solutions to the impasse, the interim administration was to be led by a prominent leader but with exception of Abiola. On August 26, the date Babangida promised to hand over power, he announced the inauguration of an Interim National Government to be headed by Ernest Shonekan as he announced his stepping aside from government. In Shonekan's, cabinet was General Sani Abacha, defense secretary, a key player in the cancellation of the June 12, election and the announcer of the December 31, 1983 military coup, he was also a key backer in the Babangida coup of August 1985. Shonekan's government suffered from having co clear mandate, sense of direction and strong support. Abiola loyalists were also against the Ernest Shonekan led government. Prior to handing over the government, Babangida had banned Abiola from holding elective office and Shonekan had resolved not to de-annul the election.

Abiola, returned to the country from exile in September 1993 and began making plans for the actualization of the June 12 mandate, he also challenged the legality of the Interim National Government in court.
Abacha administration

Concerning June 12, as the Abacha regime progressed, the administration began to clamp down on leaders that came to be seen as holding on to the political struggle. Most of the members of NADECO, the National Democratic Coalition established in May 1994, to campaign for a return to democratic rule and the de-annulment of June 12 were seen by the new military government as pro June 12 and many were arrested. Also, union leaders like Frank Kokori campaigning for a return to democracy rule went through political victimisation. The leadership of some unions among whom Kokori belong used their power to launch crippling strikes and fuel shortages. During the period, some opposition members went on exile. The period also saw a perceived mixture of tribalism and bigotry as it was thought by many opposition members from NADECO, mostly drawn from the South and Christian middle Belt that Abacha was drawing strength from anti-Yoruba and anti-South sentiments in the North.

In the camp of the dissolved political parties many members of SDP such as Baba Gana Kingibe had by late 1993 resolved to work with the military and downgrade the struggle for the actualization of the June 12 mandate so also did members of the Jakande group in Lagos and former senate president Iyorchia Ayu.

In 1994, a national progressive platform to be launched as a solid organization base of various members such as Sam Mbakwe, Adekunle Ajasin, Balarabe Musa, Ebitu Ukiwe, Cornelius Adebayo, Adeyinka Adebayo and Dan Suleiman joined the pro June 12 agitators in support for democratic rule and the de-annulment of the June 12 election. Many members of these platform later became to be known as NADECO members. Abiola himself came to be seen as a thorn in the military government of Abacha as a he made a public declaration as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on June 11, 1994 and thereaftr going underground for 11 days. He was later arrested on June 23, 1994. Abiola died in prison in July 1998 as a result of poisoning.

Lecture and Interview with Professor Humphrey Nwosu Former NEC Chairman on June 12 at the Centre for Media and Public Policy Newyork in 2014.
Prof. Nwosu the guest of New York-based media and public policy think tank ? Center for Media & Peace Initiatives drew the attention of his audience to the democratic struggles of post independent African states. He distinguished the difference between what he phrased as ?flag independence? and true liberation of the continent including Liberia currently being ravaged by inadequate health institutions amid the spread of Ebola disease.
Professor Humphrey Nwosu

Speaking on ?Electoral Reforms and Appropriate Political Order in Africa: Developing a Tested Model for Emerging Democracies?, Dr. Nwosu who Chaired the Nigerian Electoral Commission that conducted the historic June 12, 1993 presidential election in Nigeria lamented the penchant among some African leaders to ignore the verdict of the electorate.

Nwosu declared: ?If people, during elections cannot change leaders when they choose and without violence, that is a symptom of development crises and regrettably that is where Africa is today?. ?Liberia 167 years after independence, Nigeria, Kenya, Congo, Ghana, Egypt, Zambia, Central African Republic, and so on, what is the actual state of our independence 60 or 50 years after; what is the actual condition of institutions of governance in these countries?, Nwosu queried?

The situation is not something to write home about, Nwosu responded, because as he put it: ?You cannot pursue real development without having institutions, governments, legislatures, and systems that can transit from one another without violence; where leadership can change without violence where sovereignty belong to the people; if people cannot change leaders through peaceful methods, we are not there?.

How do we change political leadership because if leaders cling to power they will not be there for the people?s interests but for other interests?

Nwosu conceded that the process of building institutions with legitimacy was still at an infant stage in Africa but the information revolution enabled by Social media is changing the landscape of governance because it enables young people to know what is happening around the world and consequently they want good life, want to go to school, jobs, peace and order and respected as individuals; basic amenities.

In the hour long presentation, Nwosu provided insight into why elections are rigged in Africa and the necessary reforms needed to change the perennial electoral nightmare in Africa. He regretted that the majority of the current leadership in Africa doesn?t have the political will to carry out the necessary reforms because of the way most of them came to power and the machinations employed to retain power.

In his first public speech at an international forum in New York since the annulment of the June 12 in 1993 presidential election by the defunct military administration of General Babangida, Nwosu acknowledged that the election hitherto considered inconclusive was in fact won by the late Chief M.K.O Abiola.

Nwosu mentioned names of prominent Nigerians who played infamous roles in the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election including David Mark, the present president of Nigerian Senate, the upper legislative chamber of the country?s National Assembly.

The former Chairman of Nigerian Electoral Commission, however, noted that the division in the military at the time resulted in the annulment of the election (adjudged the freest in Nigeria?s history) especially with the inordinate ambition of the late General Sani Abacha whom Nwosu believed wanted to become head of state at all costs.

He narrated his ordeal with the then Armed Forces Ruling Council and how he invited himself to a crucial meeting a day to the June 12 1993, telling the audience that he rejected calls for the military hierarchy to cancel the election less than 24 hours to the scheduled date of the election. Already, that historic moment in Nigeria?s history is documented in a book authored by Nwosu himself ?Laying the Foundation for Nigeria?s Democracy: My account of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election and its Annulment?

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