The Principal Partner, E. Anulobi & Associates, Abuja, Barr Eugene Anulobi has urged the people of South-West (SW) to tender apology to the late presidential candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Moshood Abiola and the defunct National Electoral Commission (NEC) for their role during the 1993 presidential election in Nigeria.
The lawyer spoke to our correspondent on Democracy Day in Abuja.
The June 12, 1993 presidential election presumed to have been won by Chief MKO Abiola which was annulled by the then military president , Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida ((IBB) was conducted by Prof Humphrey Nwosu – led NEC. The election was believed to be the fairest and freest, thus the present federal government declared the date of the annulment of the election a public holiday.
Explaining why the SW should tender apologies to the defunct umpire headed by Prof Humphrey Nwosu, he said: “The SW had for long criticised Chief Abiola. They were also the loudest critics of “open ballot” during 1992-93. There is a need for an apology, both to Abiola and to the NEC from the SW.
“What were their contributions to the election above every other region? None! Now here is a NEC chairman who went beyond himself in making such history. All the issues which these people regard as going beyond the election, actually arose either from the election, or from its annulment.
“It is evident that we can run an excellent election; that Nigerians can vote across ethno-religious boundaries; that an election run by an Igbo could be won by Yoruba, etc; that earlier poll figures may have been artificial; that the Igbo are shoulders above the rest in holding an honest balance in Nigeria’s ethno-religious confusion; the annulment shows extent of the chokehold by one section of Nigeria on the neck of the rest. These issues and more can only be fully appreciated through the details of the election and its annulment.”
Still making his points, Barr Eugene Anulobi therefore said that Prof Humphrey Nwosu was the real hero of the June 12, 1993, even as he recalled that on 10th June, 1993, a High Court stopped the election slated for 12th. The lawyer noted that not even Attorney General (AG), Clement Akpamgbo was forthcoming on what the NEC should do next.
On 11th, he went on, “Prof Nwosu providentially barged into the Nation’s Security Council meeting. He was able to argue the negative forces to silence and got IBB to authorize him to go on with the election, after addressing a world press conference. And the election was held. As the results were coming in the negative, forces forced a situation where the leadership of NEC were watched to a meeting of the enraged top military commanders who refused to be convinced that election results should be formally announced.
“With that enforced stalemate, another Court Order was procured ending further announcement. Prof Nwosu still went on to beat them. He quickly filed all the papers at the Court of Appeals, including the duly authenticated, certified comprehensive results. What else can one do for his nation?”
In his observation, he said the action of Nwosu has exposed the permanent truths about Nigeria, even as he added that it emphatically raised the question whether Nigeria was indeed a nation. He stated that the implications of the NEC chairman’s achievement have hardly been fully appreciated, just as he noted that it was a testimony to his patriotism that almost all the negative forces in 1993 have one way or another, regretted their actions.