Nigeria’s former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (Rtd), has lamented that nobody has given him credit for conducting the June 12, 1993 presidential election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of the country.
General Babangida said this during an interview on Roadmap 2019, a Channels Television programme that was aired on Monday.
The late Moshood Abiola, a philanthropist and successful businessman, had won the election, which was later cancelled by the then military junta headed by General Babangida.
The poll was the first presidential election held in Nigeria since 1983 when the military took power in a coup.
The late MKO Abiola of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) had defeated Bashir Tofa of the defunct National Republican Convention (NCP).
Twenty-five years later, General Babangida was displeased that despite explaining why the June 12 election was cancelled, nobody cared to listen.
He said he had a good relationship with the presumed winner of the election whom he said they had communicated at different occasions.
“Nobody has ever sat down to say the two persons are friends, what went wrong? We tried to rationalise why we had to do what we did but nobody is prepared to listen to us,” the elder statesman said.
“I have never seen anybody write anything on this to try to give people a different version altogether. He (Abiola) knew my feeling; I knew his feeling about the country generally because I do talk about Nigeria with the presumed winner of the truly democratically freest election. We even talked about it during the crisis itself,” he said.
Babangida stressed further that the election was widely accepted to be the freest in the history of Nigeria, but he has yet to get a credit for conducting the poll.
He decried that Nigerians were instead interested in saying he cancelled the freest election, noting that he loved being criticised.
On whether is he was planning to write an autobiography, the former military president said, “People may not read it because it’s coming from a dictator. Yea, he cancelled June 12 and that will kill the thing about the book, but I will try.
“I hope one day if God spares my life, I will discuss about it (June 12 elections) because I still believe people don’t get what we were trying to put across.”