June 12: Nigeria Would Have Been Bankrupt If Abiola Emerged As President – Ex-SDP Secretary
A former Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has given a rare insight into the circumstances surrounding the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election presumably won by Bashorun MKO Abiola.
Lamido, who was the National Secretary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) under which Abiola ran, said the military blamed an imminent collapse of the Nigerian economy if Abiola emerged for its action.
In an interview with The Sun on Sunday, Lamido said, “Abiola, after the death of (General) Murtala (Mohammed, former Head of State) told the military high command that he was being owed some money, about N45 billion. Murtala and Abiola were very, very close. One of the reasons they gave for annulling June 12 was that if they made him president, he will take his money and the country will run bankrupt. Abiola went round the country pleading with northern emirs to intervene and get his money paid. Those who were close to Abacha should know this because Abacha was then one of the big shots, they were all aware. And my answer to them was that – at that time there was this Bosnian war going on in Yogoslavia, I said ‘sir, this is like the case of a Bosnian woman raped by a Christian Serb who got pregnant and decided to keep the baby because it was her flesh and blood, this (election) is my baby, my flesh and blood, I will not kill it. I said so. If you knew about this issue, we had a transition, we went through a process and by the time Abiola emerged, we thought your friend had emerged whom you are going to handover to. We went through a process and expenditure, the campaign, the election day and even the entire government machinery was involved in the election which we won and you are now coming with the excuse that you were owing him some money, that’s your problem, the baby is my baby, I can’t kill it.’ At that time, the Nigerian mood had been worked on to go against June 12; there were organised rallies all over Nigeria even NRC governors were coming to support Babangida. In the National Assembly, (Iyorchia) Ayu who was the Senate President was impeached because of his stance on June 12, he was very, very firm and they put in Ameh Ebute and protesters were organised from states to go to Abuja on solidarity visits. I can also remember Hajiya Mogaji led rallies and even came to Abuja in solidarity because she was very close to Babangida. She brought women (protesters) from Lagos to Abuja. I mean no offence, all the Mallams and clerics were involved.
“When I say there was too much treachery, it is true there was. Myself, Kabiru Rabiu from Kano went to Abiola (in Lagos) he told us they were coming to kill him, we took him out, we were the only people he trusted in this world and the thing was that, he said ‘Sule come,’ myself and Rabiu, he said they were coming to kill him, we drove him out of his house in our car. The story of June 12 is a very sensitive one.”