By Eric Teniola
ON January 5, 1993, General Ibrahim Babangida replaced the National Council of Ministers with a transition council headed by Chief Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan (84), who was then the Chairman and Chief Executive of United African Company PLC. The other members of the council were General Sani Abacha- Defence Secretary, Dr. Garba J.A. Abdulkadir- Secretary for Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development, Alhaji Isa Mohammed-Secretary of State for Agriculture, Alhaji Inuwa Zakari- Secretary for Commerce and Tourism, Alhaji Bello Dogondaji- Secretary of State for Commerce and Tourism, Alhaji Umaru Baba- Secretary of State for Defence, Professor Ben Nwabueze- Secretary of State for Education and Youth Development, Alhaji Zarma Gogoran- Secretary for Establishments and Management Services, Major-General Gado Nasko(rtd), Administrator of the Federal Capital Territory, Oladele Olashore- Secretary for Finance, Matthew Mbu- Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Saidu Isa- Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. C. Okogie- Secretary for Health and Human Services, Dr.(Mrs) Laraba Daggash-Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, Alhaji Aminu Saleh-Secretary for Industry and Technology, Uche Chukwumerije- Secretary for Information and Culture, Alhaji Abdulrahman Okene- Secretary for Internal Affairs, Clement Akpamgbo- Secretary for Justice and Attorney General, Francis John Ellah- Secretary for Labour and Productivity, Alhaji Mustapha Umaru- Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Phillip Asiodu- Secretary for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Francis Orji- Secretary for Police Affairs, Air Vice Nura Imam- Secretary for Power, Mines and Steel, Alhaji Hassan Hadija- Secretary- Secretary for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Alhaji Oladunni Ayandipo- Secretary of State for Power, Mines and Steel, Alhaji Maccido Dalhatu- Secretary for States and Local Government Affairs, Mrs. Emily Imoukhuede- Secretary of State for States and Local Government Affairs, Chief Oluwole Adeosun-Secretary for Transport and Communication, Yusufu Galadima- Secretary of State for Transport and Communications and Chief Barnabas Gemade-Secretary for Works and Housing.
General Babangida then announced the administrators of the two parties having dissolved the leadership of both Chief Tom Ikimi (NRC) and Alhaji Baba Gana Kingigbe(SDP). For the SDP, he named Mr. Jatiku Mamsa, a director in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, who later became Permanent Ministry in the Ministry of Communication. Mr. Mamsa is from Lassa village in Bornu state- a village where the Lassa fever was first discovered to be rampart many years ago. For the NRC, he named Mrs. Lateefat Modupe Okunnu nee Oyekan as administrator. Mrs. Okunnu had served as Permanent Secretary, CABINET office, Lagos. She was later founder and President of Federation Moslem Women’s Associations in Nigeria. Mrs. Okunnu along with Mrs. Pamela Sadauki were the first women deputy governors in Nigeria. And they served between 1990 and 1992. While Mrs. Okunnu served in Lagos, Mrs. Sadauki served in Kaduna state.
General Babangida again threw open the Presidential race and many showed interest. Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, GCFR (1937-1998) who lost his first wife, Alhaja Simbiat Atinuke Abiola (1938-1992), the Otun Iyalode of Egbaland, on November 10, 1992, also showed interest.
The two administrators of the two political parties then announced March 27, 1993 as the convention date for the two parties. While the SDP announced Jos as the venue for the convention, the NRC announced Port-Harcourt for the venue of the convention with over five thousand delegates for each of the Conventions. The Port-Harcourt convention was attended by prominent leaders of the party including Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu and Alhaji Ibrahim Shinkafi. At the convention, Alhaji Ahmed Kusamotu defeated Senator Lawrence Adekunle Agunbiade alias LAKO to emerge as the Chairman of the party. Senator Agunbiade was from Ise in the present Ekiti state while Dr. Kusamotu was from the royal family in Ikirun in the present Osun state.
A greater part of the bill for the Port-Harcourt Convention was bankrolled by Chief Christopher Pere Ajuwa (1941-2017), a businessman from the present Bayelsa state. Chief Ajuwa, a former footballer of the Western Tornadoes in Ibadan was married to an Ibadan woman who gave him nine children.
Among those who attended the Convention from the Southwest were Dr. Tayo Dairo, Chairman NRC in Ondo state, Chief Babaremilekun Victor Adetokunbo Fani-Kayode(1921-1995), Chief Ayodel George Ogunlade, Chief Segun Ojo alias THE GENERAL, from Emure-Ile near Owo, Dr. Doyin Okupe from Iperu, Chief Samuel Olayiwola Alani Bankole from Abeokuta, Otunba Dele Teniola from Idanre, Otunba Doyin Ogungbe from Ago-Iwoye who had only 15 votes in the election for the Presidential nomination and others while Dr. Hyde Udeze Onuagoluchi also attended from the Southeast.
Among those who attended the Port-Harcourt convention were John Nwodo, Dr. Dare Bada, Bashir Dalhatu, Professor Eyo Ita, Prine Fola Afonja, Dr. Bawa Walka and Theo Nkire.
In the election that followed, Alhaji Bashir Uthman Tofa emerged as the Presidential candidate of the NRC and he named Dr. Sylvester Uzor Ugoh. Under President Shehu Shagari, Dr. Ugoh was the Minister for Education. He was from Umuokarika in Imo state.
At the Jos Convention, Chief Abiola was elected as the Presidential candidate and he quickly named Alhaji Baba Gana Kingigbe, GCON as his running mate. Chief Anenih was elected Chairman of the party. Among those who attended the Jos Convention were Dapo Sarumi, Amos Idakula, Abubakar Rimi, Dr. Okechukwu Odunze, Joseph Toba, Jim Nwobodo, Dr. Olusola Saraki and Alhaji Sule Lamide.
Then the campaign followed. Incidentally, Chief Abiola, Alhaji Tofa and Dr. Ugoh were members of the Constituent Assembly between 1977 and 1978. Chief Abiola represented Abeokuta constituency while Alhaji Tofa represented Dawakin Tofa. Dr. Ugoh represented Abah-Mbaise/ Ahiazu-Mbaise.
On June 10, 1993, a shadow association known as Association for a Better Nigeria filed a case against the National Electoral Commission from holding the election. The association was sponsored by one of the banned Presidential aspirant, Chief Arthur Francis Nzeribe from Oguta in Imo state while Otunba Abimbola Davies was Secretary of the association. The Chief Judge of Abuja High Court, Mr. Justice Dahiru Saleh who served between 1984 and 2002, assigned Justice Bassey Ikpeme to handle the case. Mrs. Ikpeme who died in 1997 had earlier worked in the chambers of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Clement Akpamgbo. Justice Ikpeme at 10.00pm granted an injunction restraining Chief Humphrey Nwosu’s NEC from holding the election. The judgment was compounded by Ikpeme who referenced Decree 13 in her ruling, and admitted that the NEC was free to ignore her judgement. There was tension in the country. The next day June 11, Justice Moshood Olugbani of the Lagos High Court gave a ruling that Professor Nwosu’s NEC should proceed with the election.
The American government through its embassy’s Director of Information, Mike O’Brien, had warned that the USA would look unfavourably on a delay of the election. He had forwarded a terse memorandum from the American government to the Federal Military Government stating: “We are awaiting the Federal Military Government’s reaction to the high court decision. However, any postponement of tomorrow’s election is unacceptable to the US Government.”
RESULTS IN ABUJA AND THE 30 STATES IN EXISTENCE THEN-Abuja (FCT)-NRC-18,313 47.84 , SDP-19,968- Abia-NRC-151,227, SDP-105,273, Adamawa-NRC-167,239, SDP-140,875, Akwa Ibom-NRC-199,342, SDP-214,787, Anambra-NRC-159,258, SDP-212,024, Bauchi-NRC-524,836, SDP-339,339, Benue-NRC-186,302, SDP-246,830, Borno-NRC-128,684, SDP-153,496, Cross River- NRC-153,452, SDP-189,303, Delta-NRC-145,001, SDP-327,277, Edo,NRC-103,572, SDP-205,407 –Enugu-NRC-284,050, SDP-263,101, lmo-NRC-195,836, SDP-159,350 -Jigawa-NRC-89,836, SDP-138,552 –Kaduna-NRC-356,860-SDP-389,713-Kano-NRC-154,809, SDP-169,619 –Katsina-NRC-271,077 61.30 SDP-171,162–Kebbi-NRC-144,808, SDP-70,219-Kogi-NRC-265,732, SDP-222,760-Kwara-NRC- 80,209, SDP-272,270-Lagos-NRC-.149,432, SDP- 883,865 -Niger-NRC-221,437 61.90, SDP-136,350 –Ogun-NRC-59,246, SDP-425,725-Ondo-NRC-162,994, SDP-883,024-Osun-NRC-72,068, SDP-365,266-Oyo-NRC-105,788, SDP-536,011–Plateau-NRC-259,394, SDP-417,565-Rivers-NRC-6408,973, SDP-370,578-Sokoto-NRC-372,250, SDP-97,726 —Taraba-NRC-64,001,SDP-101,887-Yobe-NRC- 64,061 SDP-11,887 .
According to unofficial results, Tofa got a total of 5,952,087 (41.64%) of votes nationwide while Abiola, running on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, scored 8,341,309 (58.36%). The total vote cast was 14,293,396. Abiola won 19 of the 30 states and in the FCT, leaving Tofa with 11 states.
Sadly the election was annulled via a four paragraph statement circulated on June 23, 1993 by Chief Nduka Irabor, who was then the Chief Press Secretary to the Vice President, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu.
The Statement read thus: “In view of the spirit of litigation pending in various courts, the federal government is compelled to take appropriate steps in order to rescue the judiciary from intra-voyaging. Those steps are taken so as to protect our legal system and the judiciary from being ridiculed and politicized, both naturally and internationally.
In an attempt to end this ridiculous charade which may culminate in judicial anarchy, the Federal Military Government has decided to stop forthwith, all court proceedings pending or to be instituted and appeals thereon in respect of any matter touching, relating or concerning the presidential election held on June 12, 1993.
The Transition to Civil Rule Political Programme(Amendment Number 3), Decree Number 52 of 1992 and the Presidential Election( Basic Constitutional and Transitional Provision) Decree Number 13 of 1993 are hereby repealed. All acts or omissions done or purported to have been done, or to be done by any person, authority etc, under the above named decrees are hereby declared invalid.
The National Electoral Commission is hereby suspended. All acts or omission done or purported to have been done by itself, its officers or agents under the repealed Decree number 13, 1993 are hereby nullified.”