Barely 28 years after, former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday lamented the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, presumably won by the late philanthropist, Moshood Kashimawo Abiola. He blamed the cancellation on “bad belle”.
The election, adjudged to be most peaceful, credible and fair, was annulled by the military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
Obasanjo said the annulment robbed Igboland and Ogun State the rare privilege of having three of its prominent sons occupying the number one leadership position in the country at different times.
The elder statesman, who was referring to former Head of Interim National Government(ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, himself, who governed the country first as a military Head of State and a civilian president, apparently noted that Abiola would have become the third, if the 1993 presidential poll was not annulled.
He spoke yesterday in Abeokuta after his investiture as a trustee of the Abeokuta Club, a socio-cultural organization of Egba people of Ogun State, where Tokunbo Odebunmi, an engineer, is the president.
Obasanjo was honored alongside the late Abiola, who was awarded a posthumous vice-patron of the club.
The former president, who noted that Abiola was his schoolmate at the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS) Abeokuta, said the late politician richly deserved the award bestowed on him by the Abeokuta Club.
Obasanjo said: “When Abeokuta Club was in the process of being birthed, things in Abeokuta were not as rosy as they are today. And the sons of Abeokuta, who were in Lagos, put their heads together in late Chief Sobo Sowemimo’s residence to think of what they could do to improve the development of Abeokuta as a city. I pay tributes to all those founding members, those who have departed this world and those who are still here.
“I want to thank the club for this honor being bestowed on me and the honor being bestowed on my school mate, MKO Abiola, which he richly deserved.
“Kabiyesi, the Alake (of Igboland) alluded to it. Normally, when you win a cup three times, you keep that cup. Isn’t it? If not for bad belle, Abeokuta would have produced President of Nigeria three times, in which case, we should have kept it permanently.
“But be that as it may, we have a great heritage. And we should be proud of our heritage. On this note, I will say on this occasion, I thank the President, the patron and grand patron, members of Board of Trustees, the executive. I want to say this, I will continue to contribute my quota to the development and growth of this club and by extension, the development and growth of Abeokuta, of Ogun State, of Nigeria, of African and indeed the of world in whichever way I could.”
Also, Alake and paramount ruler of Igboland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, while presenting the plague to Obasanjo, described Obasanjo and MKO Abiola as proud sons of Abeokuta.
He added that some “bad blood” didn’t allow Abiola to emerge President of Nigeria.