Abacha Was Very Smart, He Deceived Notable Nigerians To Acquire Power — Babangida

Former military head of state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), says General Sani Abacha, former military ruler, deceived “prominent Nigerians” to get hold of power.

IBB, in recent years, has been open about what occurred before and after he annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

After the cancellation of the election, a national protest followed, which compelled Babangida to step aside and relinquish power to Ernest Shonekan on August 27, 1993, as the head of an interim national government.

Several weeks after, Abacha stagged a coup, returning Nigeria to military rule.

In 2021, Babangida stated that he annulled the election because a bloody coup would have happened if he did not.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Trust TV, IBB pronounced that Abacha deceived Nigerians by promising to return the country to civilian rule after ousting Shonekan.

“Abacha’s government was very smart. They knew who were the most vociferous discussants about the election, about the coup, about June 12 and so on,” Babangida said.

“They started talking to them and sold a dummy to them and encouraged them to get rid of the interim government: ‘when we get rid of the interim government, we will bring you back to come and take over your democracy so that a civilian government would be installed’.

“They sold that dummy to the public and to some prominent persons within the society, and when Abacha stepped in, there were drumming and sighs; ‘Good thing! Next thing is going to be a democratically-elected government’. I knew, we knew, that it wouldn’t be because the argument was: ‘Why should I risk my life only to come and hand over power to you?’ That was what happened.”

“I knew it will not come as a surprise because even though I was outside – outside the service – I knew what was going on.”