Between June 12 and March 28 | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Between June 12 and March 28

Posted: Apr 5, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

In the history of every country, certain dates are considered as defining and epoch making. Such dates often have far reaching consequences on the socio-political landscape of every country. In the socio-political history of Nigeria, June 12, 1993 and March 28, 2015 will for long remain very crucial dates.  Except for some fundamental variations, the story of June 12, 1993 and March 28, 2015 is almost a similar tale. It is a story of the strong resolve of the Nigerian people to chart a new course for their beloved country.

On both dates, Nigerians, who usually display profound apathy towards the electoral process, defied all odds by trooping out in their millions to elect a president of their choice. There were reports of unprecedented popular participation in the electoral course on both periods. On the two occasions, Nigerians who are usually renowned for their impatience patiently surmounted all technical and natural hurdles to participate at the polls. On March 28, for instance, despite reported cases of failure of the Independent National Election Commission’s(INEC), newly introduced card reader in some locations across the country, Nigerians exercised unbelievable tolerance.

It is equally instructive to stress that on both occasions, the Nigerian political scene was dominated by two colossal political parties. In 1993, the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), were the two major political parties that participated in the ensuing political contest between Alhaji Bashir Tofa and late business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola. In same manner, on March 28, 2015, though about fourteen political parties took part in the presidential election, the real contest was actually between Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and General Muhammadu Buhari rtd, of the opposition All Progressives Party (APC).

The two presidential elections were equally supervised by two eminent Nigerian scholars. Professor Humphrey Nwosu was the head of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the body that conducted the June 12, 1993 presidential election. Professor Attahiru Jega, the current chairman of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), was the electoral umpire during the Mach 28, 2015 presidential poll. To give the 2015 some academic colouration, Jega deployed some professors into the electoral fray to act as State Collation Officers. To what extent these two eminent professors, Nwosu and Jega, succeeded in their respective assignments would continue to be subject of intense discourse and debate among journalists, historians, political scientists and other interested stakeholders.

One other major difference between the two polls is that while the annulment of the June 12, 1993, election threw the country into inconceivable chaos that opened a floodgate of sorrow, tears and blood for the nation, the March 28, 2015 election surprisingly ended on a most undreamed of nonviolent note. One of the major highlights of March 28 poll is that, for the first time in the political history of the country, an incumbent President conceded defeat by congratulating his opponent long before the final outcome of the poll was officially announced.

The March 28, 2015, presidential election has come and gone with its resultant drama. Perhaps, the successful outcome of the election could help to unravel some of the mysteries associated with the June 12, 1993 election. Could this be the right time to bring back to life the ghost of the June 12, 1993, election? What really happened on June 12? Why was the voice of the people silenced? Would March 28 lead us closer to the truth behind the story of June 12? Time will tell!

•Ogunbiy, wrote in from Alausa, Ikeja