12 Things About June 12

June 12, 2022

June 12 is one of those important dates that’s impossible to erase from Nigerian history. It’s a date that sticks out. So, why’s June 12 such a big deal in the country?

It’s about an election

June 12th, 1993, was the day Nigeria conducted what’s widely considered by local and international observers as its freest and fairest presidential election.

MKO Abiola won that election

12 Things About June 12

MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was adjudged the winner of the June 12 election as he had won over 58% of the total votes cast before collation was paused. His only opponent in the contest was Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

Babangida annulled the election

12 Things About June 12

Even though Abiola was widely considered the winner of the election, he was never officially crowned the winner. General Ibrahim Babangida’s military government cut Abiola’s victory dance short by annulling the election.

Corruption was used to justify the annulment

Babangida’s decision was unpopular at the time. To justify the annulment, he said more than ₦2.1 billion was spent by presidential candidates to undermine the election. He also accused officials and party agents of electoral fraud. The military government’s reasons for the annulment didn’t fly with Nigerians and the international community.

The annulment ended the Third Republic

The June 12 election was going to cement Nigeria’s return to a democratic system of government. State governors and lawmakers had already been elected and in office before the government annulled the presidential election. Nigeria would’ve returned fully to civil rule on August 27th, 1993, if everything went according to plan.

Babangida stepped down months later

After eight years in office, the June 12 incident increased pressure on Babangida to step down as promised. He handed over power to an interim government headed by Ernest Shonekan, who was tasked with completing Nigeria’s transition to democracy.

Abiola rejected a Vice Presidential appointment

12 Things About June 12

Shonekan named MKO Abiola the vice president of the interim government Babangida handed over to, but he rejected this. The interim government was unpopular and ruled to be illegal by a Lagos State high court.

June 12 paved the way for Abacha

12 Things About June 12

The chaos of the annulment of the June 12 election paved the way for General Sani Abacha’s military coup of November 1993. He overthrew the interim government and ruled Nigeria until his death in 1998. 

ALSO READ: An Abacha in Agbada Is Trying to Return to Power

Abiola died fighting for his June 12 mandate

MKO Abiola protested heavily against the annulment. One year later, on June 11th, 1994, he declared himself president of the country. His declaration prompted the Abacha government to arrest and detain him for four years. He died of a heart attack as he was about to be released a month after Abacha’s death.

June 12 birthed the National Democratic Coalition

The annulment birthed the formation of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which was an influential pressure group of pro-democracy activists who called on Abacha to step down for Abiola to claim his mandate. Abacha’s government blamed the group for a series of attacks that targeted the military. Many civil society groups and trade unions also protested against the Abacha government.

There were martyrs

12 Things About June 12

The annulment of the June 12 election wasn’t well-received by the Nigerian public. Security forces killed protesters while trying to suppress protests against the government. The military government also assassinated prominent people like Kudirat Abiola, MKO’s wife, and Chief Alfred Rewane, a financier of NADECO, over their agitation for June 12. 

June 12 didn’t become Democracy Day until recently

Democracy Day used to be celebrated every May 29 since 1999, the year Nigeria eventually returned to civilian rule. President Buhari changed that in 2018 when he made June 12 Nigeria’s new Democracy Day.  He also conferred the posthumous title of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola.

ALSO READ: What If Abacha Never Died?

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

July 23, 2021

You probably haven’t heard about the country on today’s Abroad Life. It’s Curaçao— a small island in the Caribbean. Today’s subject moved there in 2019, and talks about the country, its people, and why she thinks it’s very similar to Nigeria. When did you decide that you wanted to leave Nigeria? This isn’t the first […]

November 25, 2022

Just three months to the start of the 2023 elections, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, started a beef with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It wasn’t about electoral violence or vote buying but rather a new feature of the 2023 elections. The APC national chairman believes Nigeria […]

February 3, 2020

Gather round, there’s enough room in today’s free okada-ban therapy session for everybody. As we all know, the Lagos State government has decided the motto for 2020 is ‘pepper-dem’, but not in the good way. The state has instituted a ban on okadas and keke-napeps from the plying major roads. The ban came into effect […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

November 25, 2019

We already guessed how many people you’ve slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

More from Citizen

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X