By Lekan Bilesanmi

Remember Alhaji Bashir Tofa?
He was the man who contested the June 12, 1993 presidential election against the late Chief MKO Abiola. Abiola was generally believed to have won that historic election which was unfortunately annulled by the military. In this interview, Tofa wonders whether anybody said Abiola won the election and he lost. Now a member of the Board of Trustees of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the elder statesman also speaks on the Buhari, Jonathan and Obasanjo administrations as well as other issues in the polity including the on-going war against corruption

Looking back to 1993, wouldn’t you have been a hero today had you accepted the impending presidential election result which showed that your rival, MKO  Abiola, was likely to win?

You said, ‘was likely to win’. Did anybody say he (Abiola) won? Did anyone say I lost? It was all conjecture and publicity. I am not cut for that kind of thing.

Why did you give the response you have given now?

It’s a response which is relevant to your question.

Through no fault of yours, between 1993 and 1999, Nigeria did not get her acts together. When you look back, does it evoke a nostalgic feeling or how do you look back because the actions of the politicians forced the military to stay put?

I cannot remember anything that the politicians, at that time, did which compelled the military to stay put. The military, I suspect, had their plans which, I believe, we the politicians did not know, or even had any hint of. The end of the story is the continuation of the military rule through Abacha to Obasanjo. And here we are today much worse off and only just beginning to reverse the decay and the extreme corruption of the last few years. The last 18 years were not entirely positive for this country. How we wish things happened differently!


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