NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 194

L L ———————————————— Q20) 1993 ———————————————— Q21) 1993 192 [June 12 and the Caliphate agenda] What General Babangida did in preparation for the June 12 election was vehemently opposed by the former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, on behalf of the Northern leadership because the North was not able to determine its outcome in favour of the North. Alhaji Ibrahim tried to prevail on the President to cancel the Presidential election as early as May 19, 1993 because the plan was seen as capable of reversing the British design….(pp.302-303) In fact, the civilian political group in the North wanted General Babangida to discontinue the programme partly because they did not like any of the two candidates and partly because the Hausa-Fulani did not have a candidate. This meant that the whole programme could go to blazes simply because it seemed as though it would end without someone they could control as the country’s President. Leading this group was the then Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, who from March 1993 argued that neither Abiola nor Tofa could represent the interest of the North. Alhaji Dasuki made this known to President Babangida immediately after the National Convention of the two political parties. He continued this pressure in May 1993. He canvassed various views on what the President should do if he were to abandon the transition programme. He specifically raised this issue with me when I visited him on May 19, 1993….But I kept reminding him that it was too late in the day to think of a new agenda to which he kept insisting that “my people” will not buy any of the two candidates. I kept promising him that the June 12, 1993 Presidential election would be free and fair and that the purpose of my visit to Sokoto was to preside over the training workshop for domestic monitors from Kebbi and Sokoto states. To this he said, “Professor, you work so hard for this country and for your friend, the President, but this may turn out to be a waste of your time”….The Sultan felt so agitated that he…recalled what Alhaji Umaru Dikko, former Minister of Transport and the Co-ordinator of the Presidential election of Alhaji Shehu Shagari had said during the Second Republic. Dr. Dikko pointedly argued against the thought of Chief Abiola becoming the Presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria on the grounds that the npn Presidential candidacy was not for sale to the highest bidder. I have gone this far to buttress the difficulties that later came from this source. General Babangida overestimated his ability with respect to what the former Sultan could do at an appropriate time. (pp. 76-77) L———————————————— [Babangida & Omoruyi discussion on 21 June 1993] But he [Babangida] brought me right back to the immediate problem facing him. He agreed with my account, but said that he did not take his “boys” into confidence and that he had rejected the security briefs in the face of the report which I gave to him. He said that what he told them was that he would be able to stop Chief Abiola at the appropriate time. I then asked: “Do you think you have reached that stage now?” He said: “Yes and No”. “It cannot be ‘Yes’ and ‘No’”, I uttered and continued: “With the greatest respect and with the greatest sense of responsibility and with the greatest sense of loy