By Jennifer Ugwueke
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday attributed annulment of June 12, 1993, presidential election presumably won by late philanthropist, Moshood Kashimawo Abiola by former Military President General Ibrahim Babangida on “bad belle.”
Obasanjo said the annulment robbed Egbaland and Ogun State the rare privilege of having three of its prominent sons occupying the number one seat at different times.
The elder statesman, who was referring to former Head of Interim National Government(ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, himself who was first a military Head of States and elected President, apparently noted that Abiola would have become the third if the 1993 poll was not annulled.
He spoke on Sunday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State shortly after his investiture as a trustee of the Abeokuta Club, a sociocultural organisation of Egba people of Ogun State.
Obasanjo was honoured alongside MKO Abiola who was awarded a posthumous vice-patron of the club.
The former President, who recalled Abiola was his schoolmate at the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS) Abeokuta, said the late politician richly deserved the award bestowed on him by the Abeokuta club.
Obasanjo said: “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 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, Abeokuta would have produced 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. On this note, I will say on this occasion, I thank the President, the patron and grand patron, members of the Board of Trustees, the executive; 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 the world in whichever way I could.”
Obasanjo pledged his continuous commitment to the development of the club, Ogun state, Nigeria and the world.
Alake of Egbaland Oba Adedotun Gbadebo while presenting the plague to Obasanjo, described Obasanjo and MKO Abiola as proud sons of Abeokuta, adding some “bad blood” didn’t allow Abiola to emerge President.