Former military President Ibrahim Babangida says Nigerians have failed to give him credit for conducting the June 12, 1993 presidential election which is widely considered as the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history,
Abiola of the then Social Democratic Party (SDP) had defeated Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NCP) but the election was later cancelled by the then military junta headed by Babangida.
In the interview with Channels TV, the elder statesman said; “They keep saying ‘he cancelled the freest election’ but why not give us credit for conducting that election,” he said.
Babaginda said the public misconception did not affect his relationship with Abiola as they were in touch even during the June 12 crisis.
“He (Abiola) knew my feeling, I knew his feeling on the country generally because we do talk about Nigeria with the presumed winner of the truly democratically freest election, we talked about it, we even talked about it during the crises itself,” he said.
“I’ll hate to say that despite all that two of us understood ourselves very well, that the level of friendship is so strong that we value our relationship very much but like I said typical Nigerian, no ooh, don’t do it, I think it’s always the people, If you try to educate them, it sounds boring, or if you try to reason.”
The retired general expressed doubts about writing an autobiography.
He said the public has a wrong impression of him, citing the June 12 crisis and some of the policies he took between 1985 and 1993 when he presided over the nation.
“People may not read it (autobiography) because it is coming from a dictator. A lot will say dictator, he cancelled June 12 and that will kill the book,” he said.
“If God spares my life, I will discuss about June 12 election because I still believe people don’t get what we were trying to put across. Nobody has ever sat down to say the two persons involved are friends, what went wrong? We tried to rationalise why we had to do what we did but nobody is prepared to listen to us.
“I have never seen anybody write anything on this to try to give people a different version altogether.”