The Guinness book of records may have a new entry, after the result of an election conducted in Nigeria in 1993 was released Thursday, 15 years after the election was held.
Breaking his silence after one-and-a-half decades, the man who presided over the election – Mr. Humphrey Nwosu – finally announced the result of the 1993 presidential poll, adjudged the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s 47-year, post independence history.
And the winner is: Moshood Abiola of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), who died in detention 7 July 1998 fighting for his mandate.
According to the result, which was announced at a ceremony in the capital city of Abuja, Abiola polled 8,323,305 votes to defeat his closest rival, Bashir Tofa of the then National Republican Party (NRC), who recorded 7,076,612 votes.
Before the result could be announced in 1993, a court in Abuja issued an order to stop the announcement, part of a behind-the-scene move by the military to hang on to power.
While the appeal court was about to take up the issue, then military leader, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida dissolved the National Electoral Commission (NEC), making the outcome a matter of conjecture until Thursday.
Babangida then annulled the election, throwing Nigerian into an unprecedented. long-drawn crisis that claimed many lives and threatened the country’s unity.
Nwosu’s announcement of the result was a teaser for his new book, which is expected to contain all the details about the annulment, including who in particular was behind the action.
Though the annulment was announced by Babangida, it was believed that the decision to cancel it was taken by a ‘cabal’ within the military.
Observers said announcing the results now offered little comfort for the family of Abiola, the billionaire businessman whose huge financial empire has collapsed and his large family fractured since his death.
Interestingly, his then running mate, Babagana Kingibe, is now the Secretary to the Government headed by President Umaru Yar’Adua. Panapress .