Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Sunday, blamed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election by General Ibrahim Babangida administration on ‘bad belle’.
The election was believed to have been won by the Abeokuta born business mogul, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola.
Obasanjo said this Sunday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, shortly after his investiture as a Trustee of the Abeokuta Club, a sociocultural organisation of Egba people of Ogun State.
MKO Abiola was also awarded a posthumous Vice – Patron of the Club during its 46th President Party held at its Secretariat in Abeokuta.
The former President who recalled that Abiola was his school mate at Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta, said he richly deserved the award bestowed on him by the Abeokuta Club.
Obasanjo said the cancellation of the June 12 election robbed Egbaland the rare opportunity to have three of its prominent sons occupy the seat of president, at different times.
Apparently referring to former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, himself who ruled Nigeria, first, as a military Head of State and later two-time civilian president, Obasanjo said Abiola would have become the third President from Abeokuta if the 1993 presidential election was not cancelled.
“When Abeokuta Club was in the process of being birthed, things in Abeokuta were not as rosy as they are today. And the sons of Abeokuta who were in Lagos put their heads together in late Chief Sobo Sowemimo’s House to think of what they could do to improve the development of Abeokuta as a city.
“I pay tributes to all those founding members, those who have departed this world and those who are still here.
“I want to thank the (Abeokuta) club for this honour being bestowed on me and the honour being bestowed on my school mate, MKO Abiola which he richly deserved.
“Kabiyesi, the Alake (of Egbaland) alluded to it. Normally when you win a cup three times, you keep that cup. Isn’t it? If not for bad belle (hatred), Abeokuta would have produced the President of Nigeria three times, in which case we should have kept it permanently.
“But be that as it may, we have a great heritage and we should be proud of our heritage,” he said.
Obasanjo, however, pledged his commitment to the development of the Club, Ogun state, Nigeria and the world.
“I want to say this, I will continue to contribute my quota to the development and growth of this club and by extension, the development and growth of Abeokuta, of Ogun State, of Nigeria, of African and indeed the of world in whichever way I could,” he said.
Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo while presenting the plague to Obasanjo, described Obasanjo and MKO Abiola as proud sons of Abeokuta, adding that some “bad blood” didn’t allow Abiola become President.
Many Nigerians especially Yorubas had blamed Obasanjo for his failure to honour MKO Abiola and to recognize June 12 as democracy day, when he had the opportunity as President between 1999 and 2007.
President Muhammadu Buhari however, in 2018 honoured the late business mogul with the highest honour in the land, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic; and declared June 12 as democracy day, saying the day was far more symbolic of democracy in Nigeria context more than May 29 and October 1.