My June 12 story, by Tony Anenih
Twenty-three years after the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential presumably won by the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, one of the principal actors, Chief Tony Anenih at the weekend stated briefly his side of the story.
Anenih was the National Chairman of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), on which the late Abiola contested for president.
Anenih had been scathingly criticised over his role in the whole saga.
However, Anenih, giving his account in his autobiography titled My Life and Nigerian Politics, presented in Abuja, said contrary to the public views, he stood up to the Ibrahim Babangida’s regime several times over his proposition to go for fresh elections after the cancellation.
He claimed in the book that Abiola, in his relationship with Babangida was too trusting, even in the face of the general’s many unfriendly actions.
He cited many instances when Babangida refused to release the promised funds to Abiola to prosecute his campaign, forcing him, (Anenih) to borrow money from a commercial bank.
He argued that following the cancellation of the elections midway, the then head of state, in a meeting at the Council Chambers, Aso Rock invited the leadership of the two political parties and other stakeholders including members of the top military hierarchy to inform them that members of the armed forces did not want to work with either Abiola or his National Republican Convention (NRC) counterpart, Othman Bashir Tofa as president and commander-in-chief.
As a result of that, he said Babangida told them a fresh election would be organised within two weeks and directed the political parties to organise fresh presidential primaries. Sensing foul play in the arrangement, Anenih said he immediately objected.
His decision, Anenih said was in realisation of the fact that there was no way a credible election could be conducted between that period and the August 27, 1993 that Babangida promised to hand over.
He claimed that his decision was, however, objected to by his NRC counterpart, the late Dr. Ahmed Kusamotu, who agreed to go for a fresh election.
He added that because of his objection, the meeting was adjourned briefly and Babangida directed one of his aides, Brig-Gen. Halilu Akilu to show him various documents, which showed why the military did not want Abiola as their president.
He claimed that when the military could not succeed in its plan for a fresh election, it started toying with the idea of the Interim National Government (ING).