Today we join beloved Nigerians as they celebrate this historic day in history.
In 1999 Nigeria’s military handed over power to then elected civilian leader, #OlusegunObasanjo ending multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966 and had been interrupted only by a brief period of democracy from 1979 to 1983.
Until last year, the date on which Nigeria commemorated the restoration of democracy was May 29.
Why June 12? A symbolic date in the West African nation; on this date in 1993 presidential elections were held for the first time since the 1983 military coup – dubbed the most significant in Nigeria’s post-independence political history and still regarded as the freest, fairest and most peaceful election ever held in Nigeria, things took a different turn as results were never released.
Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, also known as #MKOAbiola GCFR, Muslim businessman and philanthropist, ran for the presidency of Nigeria and appeared to win by popular vote, sadly the vote was annulled by Nigeria’s military leader on the basis that the election was corrupt. When Abiola rallied support to claim the presidency, he was arrested for treason by the military regime led by General Sani Abacha and sent to prison for four years.
June 1998, General Abacha was found dead under mysterious circumstances. One month later, on the day of Abiola’s release from prison, he met with a U.S. delegation in Nigeria to discuss the country’s planned transition to democratic rule, Abiola would suddenly collapse. He died in the hospital.
The cause of death has never been determined till this day, some speculations suggest he was poisoned by members of the U.S. delegation after drinking tea during the meeting, others say he had been beaten.
Autopsy results however showed he had died of massive heart failure.