”He sold the dummy of ‘when we get rid of the interim government we will bring you back to come and take over your democracy so that a civilian government would be installed.”
Nigerian former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB, (rtd) has said former military dictator, late Sani Abacha, was smart and cunny about the 1993 coup.
Following the annulment, a national protest trembled the country, which forced Babangida to pronounce a famous “step aside” as his resignation and hand over power to Ernest Shonekan on August 27, 1993, as the head of an interim national government.
Weeks later, Abacha staged a coup, returning Nigeria to military dictatorial rule.
Babangida, in 2021, had said he annulled the election because a bloody coup would have occurred if he did not.
In an interview with Daily Trust, Babangida stated that Abacha and his cronies deceived some Nigerians who were vocal about June 12 election, coup, and other national issues.
Babangida, however, said he knew Abacha would not relinquish power after he took over in a coup.
He said: “When we came up with the idea of an interim government, Nigerians said they were tired of anything or the media phrase was “that contraption called interim government,” he said.
“What we did, the interim government, we gave it life, we gave it tenure, we had a date for another election but we were told ‘forget it, no election; Nigerians are weary of an election, just pack and go.’”
“We managed to set it up, we gave it six months so that by February of 199…I can’t remember now, we could have held another election, so that we can hand over to a democratically elected government.
“Now one of the fears is that we couldn’t come openly and tell you people that this is what we fear or this is what we are going to do, somebody is going to do A,B,C,D,E,F. The life of that interim government was cut short by coup d’etat, change of government.
“And the Abacha’s government was very smart. They knew who were the most vociferous discussants about the election, about a coup, about June 12 and so on, they started talking to them and sold a dummy to them, they encourage them to get rid of the interim government.
”He sold the dummy of ‘when we get rid of the interim government we will bring you back to come and take over your democracy so that a civilian government would be installed.’”
“They sold that dummy to the public and to some prominent persons within the society and when Abacha stepped in, there were drumming and sighs; “Good thing! The next thing is going to be a democratically elected government.”
“I knew, we knew, that it wouldn’t be because the argument was: Why should I risk my life only to come and hand over power to you? That was what happened.”