Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, former military head of state, says Sani Abacha, former military ruler, deceived “prominent Nigerians” to get to power.
In recent years, the former military ruler has been open about what transpired before and after he annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Following the annulment of the election, a national protest ensued, which forced Babangida to step aside and hand over power to Ernest Shonekan on August 27, 1993, as the head of an interim national government.
Weeks later, Abacha stagged a coup, returning Nigeria to military rule.
In 2021, Babangida said he annulled the election because a bloody coup would have occurred if he did not.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Trust TV, Babaginda said Abacha deceived Nigerians by promising to return the country to civilian rule after deposing Shonekan.
“Abacha’s government was very smart. They knew who were the most vociferous discussants about the election, about the coup, about June 12 and so on,” Babangida said.
“They started talking to them and sold a dummy to them and encouraged them to get rid of the interim government: ‘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! 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.”
“I knew it will not come as a surprise because even though I was outside – outside the service – I knew what was going on.”