Former Vice president, Atiku Abubakar, yesterday said that the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua had predicted that the June 12, 1993 presidential election would be annulled by then President, Ibrahim Babangida.
He said that was why the late Yar’Adua asked him (Mr. Abubakar) and Baba Gana Kingibe to rally round the late Moshood Abiola rather than remain his opponents.
Mr Abubakar was speaking at the public presentation of a book, ‘Diary of a Debacle: Tracking Nigeria’s Failed Democratic Transition (1989-1994) written by essayist and former chair, editorial board of the Guardian, Olatunji Dare, to mark the 73rd posthumous birthday of Abiola.
The nerve to resist
Speaking at the event held at MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, Mr. Abubakar said the late Yar’Adua who supported the late Mr. Abiola during the Social Democratic Party (SDP) primaries in Jos, Plateau State believed Mr. Babangida would annul the election, and it is only the South West that could confront him.
He added that the late Musa Yar’Adua believed the North lacked the sophistication to protest if a Northerner wins and Mr. Babangida annulled the election. Mr Abubakar said Mr YarAdua was sure the South West was more likely to lead a more potent protest.
Recalling what transpired after Mr. Abiola emerged first, he said, “Musa Yar’Adua drove all night, arrived Jos early in the morning and called those of us very close to him and said look. You guys, I want you to go and vote for MKO Abiola. I am telling you this because of two reasons: One, the West voted for me in the NCP primary twice. Two, if either you Atiku or Kingibe emerged as the elected candidate, Babangida will most likely annul this election.
Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who was among the scores of politicians at the event said he would never have been governor of the state if “MKO had not given up his life for the enthronement of democracy in this country.” Fashola also reiterated the importance of public debates for political office seekers so that the public can know “about those we entrusted power to and which of the candidates is best prepared.”