Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) yesterday said former military President Ibrahim Babangida committed treason by annulling the 1993 presidential election. Moshood Abiola won that election. Akeredolu was speaking as the guest lecturer in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, at the 18th anniversary of the election organised by the Ekiti State Government.
He said: "What the military did, as regards the annulment of the June 12 presidential elections, was treasonable, and the devastating effects are still on. Lives and property were lost and many still bear the scars, both physical and mental, of the devastating aftermath of the decision to disregard the wishes of the people as freely expressed on that day."
In the lecture entitled: June 12 and Electoral Integrity in Nigeria, Akeredolu noted that June 12, 1993 election remained the most credible in the political history of Nigeria.
He said: "We never had credible elections in the colonial era; 1963 elections were massively rigged in favour of the Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP). There was transparent rigging in the past. You cannot conduct an election to serve a predetermined purpose."
Akeredolu condemned those who might have conspired in the annulment of the election.
He criticised former President Olusegun Obasanjo for distancing himself from the legitimate revolts to reclaim the election and for shunning appeals to immortalise the late Abiola.
Akeredolu said: "Obasanjo betrayed June 12 and was a beneficiary. He betrayed the struggle and worked assiduously against it. He spat on the river that cleanses him. Now, MKO (Abiola) has towered above Obasanjo and his cohorts."
He stressed the need for voter education ahead of future elections, praising the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Youth Corps Members (NYSC) for their roles in the April polls.
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi said the June 12 election was incontrovertible, saying it was a day Nigeria was inextricably woven