June 12, A Day To Remember on Nigerians’ Calendars

In every Nation, there are moments to cherish and relish because of the experience, unique opportunity, historical and political contents such geographical entity records.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous black nation, had such an encounter when after two disrupted republics of democratic rule, set sail to embark on another dispensation, which is now known as the botched ‘Third Republic’.

June 12,1993 was the date and the country was on the brink of transiting from military rule characterized by oppression, intimidation, cajoling of the masses, excessive harassment of the media and dictatorship.

Obviously every Nigerian in 1993, explored the possibility of democracy and believed the administration of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, will deliver on its promise.

The two party system, that led to the emergence of the National Republican Convention (NRC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), was competitive and formiddable.

Ideologically the NRC was the conservative and to the left, while the SDP was progressive and liberal to the right.

Prior to the elections, the two Presidential Candidates Alh Bashir Othman Tofa of the NRC and Business Mogul Chief M.K.O Abiola of the SDP, engaged in series of debates, which created enthusiasm in the minds of Nigerians.

Rallies and campaigns were interesting as both candidates moved across the country to woo voters to their camp while the level of violence was minimal compared to what is obtainable today.

The whole narrative of the June 12, 1993 experience, in summary is that it is still the freest and fairest elections in Nigeria’s history.

There are still ongoing debates as to why the election which had Late Chief M.K.O Abiola of the SDP as the widely believed winner, was annulled by Gen Ibrahim Babangida.

The cancellation was a serious setback for Cerebral Political Science scholar Prof Humphrey Nwosu, the then Chairman of National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Nigerians, who had achieved a significant leap in terms of political participation.

As the South West States observes this date as a public holiday. We remember an election that has left an indelible mark in the socio-political landscape of Nigeria.

Today, what previous administrations had failed to recognize and admonish, President Muhammadu Buhari assented on the bill placed on his table which considers June 12 not just a public holiday in Nigeria but recognized as the Democracy day in Nigeria.

Shawn Solomon Elliot

Ukpiebo Solomon Elliot is a talented and well motivated Professional Associate Writer, Proofreader and Political scientist. He is a graduate of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Benin and also holds a Diploma in Desktop Publishing and Computer Science.

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