Dele Momodu, publisher of Ovation magazine, says Nigeria is still being haunted by the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election.
In an interview with PUNCH, he said that many of the problems bedeviling the country are ripple effects of the annulment of an election “clearly won” by MKO Abiola.
Momodu, who was Abiola’s media campaign manager during the election, also said the country was already on its path to greatness but “wasted the golden opportunity” the election presented.
According to the veteran journalist, on the day of the annulled election “there was no north, east or south, Nigeria was one”.
“On that date, there was nothing like political thugs and no life was lost during election, there was nothing like snatching of ballot boxes and even rain refused to fall though it was a rainy season,” he said.
“June 12 has been killed but I believe it has not been buried. The ghost of June 12 is what is haunting Nigeria today.
“Nigeria was on the march again, we were supposed to be the Dubai or Singapore of Africa because God has given us everything that we need to be the number one,” he said.
“That is why when I hear people talking about Biafra, Arewa, Afenifere and co, it is because we lost a golden opportunity on June 12, 1993 and I am not sure it would be easy for anyone to forgive us for wasting such a glorious opportunity.”
Momodu said he had a premonition about Abiola’s death two days to his demise.
“Tokunbo Afikuyomi and I had gone to visit Nduka Obaigbena somewhere close to Park Lane in London and we were with him till the early hours of Sunday. While we were leaving, we saw the first edition of Sunday Times of London and I bought a copy because we saw something on Abiola in it,” he said.
“I told Tokunbo that what I was reading about Abiola in the newspaper was scary because there was a reporter of Sunday Times that accompanied the former secretary- general of the United Nations, Koffi Annan to Nigeria when he visited Abiola .
“The reporter said that they put a television in front of him in solitary confinement but there was no voice, they killed the audio. He was only allowed to see pictures on the screen but no audio.
“You can imagine a man of Abiola status watching television without audio.
“I told Tokunbo that I was worried because if they could treat him in such a manner after Abacha had died, I was not sure he would come back alive.”