Events Preceding the Abacha Era: A flashback
August 30, 1990: Babangida reshuffles government, 9 ministers and 10 state governors replaced.
Office of Chief of General Staff renamed Vice Presidency. Lt. General Abacha replaces Babangida as minister of Defence and retains his post as Chief of Defence Staff.
March 27-31, 1993: Businessman, Alhaji Bashir Tofa secures National Republican Convention (NRC) presidential ticket while Chief Moshood Abiola, publisher of the Concord Group of Newspapers becomes Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential flag bearer.
April 17, 1993: The National Assembly convenes for the first time and immediately resolves to oppose any effort to disrupt the transition to civil rule programme.
June 4, 1993: The President dissolves the Armed Forces Ruling Council and replaces it with the National Defence and Security Council (NDSC).
In the same vein, the Council of Ministers was supplanted by the Transitional Council (TC).
June 10, 1993: The Abuja High Court, with Justice Bassey Ikpeme presiding, issues an order restraining NEC from conducting the presidential election on June 12, 1993.
This follows a suit brought by a largely ‘shadowy organization’, the Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), headed by Chief Arthur Nzeribe, a disqualified presidential aspirant.
Michael O’Brien of the US Information Agency in Lagos issues a statement that postponement of the elections is ‘unacceptable’ to the US government.
June 12, 1993: National Electoral Commission (NEC) conducts presidential elections in defiance of the Abuja High Court Order. Nigerians and foreign observers describe the elections as the freest and fairest the country has ever experienced.
June 14, 1993: NEC publishes results from fifteen states on its billboard outside its headquarters at Abuja showing that M.K.O Abiola is leading in all regions of the country including Bashir Tofa’s home state, Kano.
June 14, 1993: Government swears in a 7-member presidential election tribunal.
June 15, 1993: Another interim Order by an Abuja Court restrains NEC from releasing the results of the presidential elections.
June 16, 1993: NEC shelves the release of the final results of the election because of developments and actions pending in courts until further notice.
June 22, 1993: NEC goes to the Court of Appeal to challenge the interim injunction by the Abuja High Court.
June 23, 1993: The Government annuls the results of the June 12 elections in a most bizarre manner; nullifies all the relevant court decisions, suspends NEC through an unsigned terse statement.
June 24-29, 1993: Abiola declares himself president-elect; individuals and groups protest the annulment of the elections.
June 30, 1993: Campaign for Democracy (CD) an umbrella organization for no fewer than 40 NGOS/Human Rights Groups, calls for a one-week nationwide protest to begin on July 5.
July 1, 1993: British Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, freezes new aids to Nigeria.
July 31, 1993: The National Defence and Security Council (NDSC) announces that an Interim National Government comprising of representatives of the NRC, the SDP, and leading military officers will be formed.
August 1, 1993: A group of thirty senators signs a joint motion asking the government to declare the winner of the June 12 election.
August 4, 1993: Abiola leaves Nigeria unannounced.
August 12, 1993: Government begins clamp down on activists all over the country.
Credit: Enemaku Idachaba