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Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« on: October 25, 2017, 11:01:27 PM »
Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998

Chronology of Major Political Events During Abacha Years (1993 - 1998)


Prof E Umar Idachaba,
Department of Political Science,
University of Ibadan


November 17, 1993: General Abacha takes over power following the ‘resignation’ of Chief Ernest Shonekan. However, this is seen in many quarters as a palace coup by General Abacha (the most senior secretary (minister) in the ING) amidst mixed reactions and feelings.

January7, 1994: Abacha formally moves his administration to Abuja, ostensibly, like Babangida before him, with a view to escaping from the political radicalism and opposition in Lagos and consolidating his power.

April 22, 1994: Federal Government releases its political programme in the aftermath of the controversy generated by Brigadier David Mark’s interview with the Newswatch magazine in which he alleged that the Abacha government has no political programme and plans to stay in power till 1999.

May 15, 1994: National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) is formed to press for the revalidation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and the reinstallation of all democratic structures.

May 23, 1994: National Constitutional Conference elections begin but are massively boycotted by Nigerians heeding NADECO’s boycott call especially in the South-West.

May 31, 1994: Ibrahim Coomasie, Inspector General of Police, declares NADECO illegal, signaling government’s decision to clamp down on pro-democracy activists.

June 11, 1994: Chief M.K.O Abiola declares himself president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the eve of the first anniversary of June 12 in an attempt to claim his June 12, 1993 presidential mandate at Epetedo, Lagos Island. He goes into hiding after the declaration, for fear of being arrested.

June 23, 1994: The Federal Military Government arrests Chief M.K.O Abiola on charges of treason.

July 5, 1994: National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) begin the longest strike in Nigerian history to protest the annulled presidential elections. The nation is plunged into a monumental fuel crisis, causing untold hardship to citizens.

July 8, 1994: Riots break out in the Southwestern states, especially Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, as well as Edo State.

August 1, 1994: Abacha meets with the Armed Forces Consultative Assembly to discuss Nigeria’s political problems and their security implications.

August 3, 1994: Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) calls for a general strike in solidarity with the oil workers’ strike.

August 5, 1994: An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Abdullahi Mustapha grants Abiola a controversial and unsolicited conditional bail.

August 6, 1994: Presiding judge over Abiola’s case withdraws, supposedly to keep his reputation intact and for the sake of justice or judicial integrity.

August 8, 1994: Professor Wole Soyinka, nobel laureate and pro-democracy activist, goes to the Federal High Court in Lagos asking the Court to declare the Abacha government illegal.

August 18, 1994: The crackdown finally begins: the Abacha government responds to the workers’ strike by sacking the Executive Council of NUPENG and PENGASSAN, and NLC, closes down three newspapers: the Punch, Concord group (owned by Abiola) and The Guardian. It announces a partial lifting of the ban on politics, allowing individuals to ‘canvass political ideas’ but not to ‘form political parties for now’.

August 19, 1994: Chief Anthony Enahoro, elder-statesman, who moved the motion for Nigeria’s 348 Enemaku Idachaba independence, General Alani Akinrinade, former Chief of Defence Staff, Chief Cornelius Adebayo and other NADECO officials arrested at Sheraton Hotel and Towers. In Kaduna, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, former Governor of Kaduna State, and others, attending a meeting in his house, arrested and later released.

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Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« on: October 25, 2017, 11:01:27 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 11:02:38 PM »

August 20, 1994: Chief Frank Kokori, General Secretary of NUPENG is arrested.

August 24, 1994: The military government promulgates decrees which put its actions beyond legal challenge in the courts.

August 26, 1994: Government dissolves boards of state-owned corporations and agencies.

August 27, 1994: The military government inaugurates the National Constitutional Conference. A team of American officials led by Rev. Jesse Jackson visits Abuja to discuss the political logjam with Abacha and Abiola.

August 31, 1994: A pan-Yoruba Conference holds at Premier Hotel Ibadan. Though divided, it nevertheless manages to ask Yoruba ministers and other appointees in government to resign.

September 4, 1994: Oil workers call off strike.

September 12, 1994: Olu Onagoruwa, a well-known pro-democracy activist, is sacked as Attorney General and Minister of Justice for disowning eight decrees promulgated by the Government.

September 27, 1994: Government enlarges Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) to 25 and excludes civilian Council members.

October 1, 1994: Federal Government arrests and detains Chief Gani Fawehinmi for launching a political party, the National Conscience Party, in Lagos.

October 5, 1994: Constitutional Conference agrees on rotational presidency between the North and the South.

October 6, 1994: Constitutional Conference okays multiparty system for the Fourth Republic.

November 1994: Professor Soyinka flees into exile for ‘political reasons’, on grounds that his life is being threatened.

November 3, 1994: Olusegun Obasanjo, military head of state(1976-1979), announces the formation of a political organization, the National Unity Organization (NUO).

November 10, 1994: Constitutional Conference okays three vice presidents for Nigeria.

November 16, 1994: Constitutional Conference approves the establishment of a Constitutional Matters Court to deal with constitutional issues and other matters relating to elections.

November 28, 1994: Abacha hosts President Nelson Mandela of South Africa who has repeatedly asked for the release of Abiola from detention.

December 6, 1994: The terminal date of the Abacha government is fixed for January 1, 1996 by the Constitutional Conference. Attempts to reverse the decision were overwhelmingly rejected the following day.

December 17, 1994: Abacha releases Chief Enahoro after four months in detention.

February 28, 1995: Brigadier Lawan Gwadabe, the longest serving governor during the Babangida regime, General Obasanjo (rtd), his former deputy, General Musa Yar’Adua, and others arrested over an alleged coup plot against the Abacha government.

March 10, 1995: Government announces ‘details’ of the failed coup attempt on National television.

May 15, 1995: The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) emerges as a protest movement for the revalidation of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential elections, eventually assuming the unofficial status of an opposition group.

May 31, 1995: Bomb blast at the launching of the Family Support Programme (FSP) at the Ilorin Stadium kills two. This causes a lot of anxiety and insecurity throughout the country.

June 27, 1995: The Constitutional Conference presents final report; recommends multiparty system, rotational presidency, rejects the 1991 census and resolves that the military should hand over on January 1, 1996.

June 30, 1995: A military tribunal under the chairmanship of Major General Aziza pronounces judgement on the March 10, 1995 coup plotters.

October 1, 1995: Government shows video clips of alleged coup plotters to a limited audience of traditional rulers from across the country.

October 31, 1995: A Special Military Court sentences Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists to death.

November 10, 1995: Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) confirms sentence and proceeds to hang Saro-Wiwa and eight others. The Common Wealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) would immediately suspend Nigeria from the body until reasonable progress towards democracy is made.

December 12, 1995: Government inaugurates a new eight-member National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON).

December 13, 1995: Government sets up a Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) to supervise the transition-to-civil rule process.

December 28, 1995: Inauguration by Abacha of a National Reconciliation Committee (NARECO) headed by Chief Alex Akinyele a former Information minister.


Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 11:02:38 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 11:03:53 PM »

January 1, 1996: Government frees four political detainees including former leader of NUPENG Wariebe Agamene.

January 18, 1996: Bomb blast at Durba Hotel Kaduna kills one, and injures another.

January 19, 1996: Bomb explodes at Malam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano.

February 2, 1996: Alex Ibru, publisher of The Guardian titles and Abacha’s first Minister of Internal Affairs is shot and wounded by gunmen suspected to be hired assassins.

February 3, 1996: Bomb explodes at the main Police station in Zaria.

March 16 – 25, 1996: Local government election holding in phases, begins.

April 13, 1996: Bomb explosions at Ikeja Military Cantonment; one person killed and two injured.

April 20, 1996: Government deposes Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki, the 18th Sultan of Sokoto on alleged grounds of insubordination and poor leadership and replaces him with Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido.

April 25, 1996: Bomb explosion occurs at the Ikeja Air force base, injuring two.

June 4, 1996: Alhaja Kudirat Abiola senior wife to the president-elect and a fierce fighter for the validation of the mandate, is murdered by unknown assassins in Lagos.

August 6, 1996: Presiding judge over Abiola’s case withdraws, supposedly to keep his reputation intact and for the sake of justice or judicial integrity.

September 30, 1996: NECON registers five political parties. These are: Committee for National Consensus (CNC), United Nigeria People’s Convention (UNPC), National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN), Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), and Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM).

October 1, 1996: Government announces the creation of six states. This brings the total to thirty-six. Additional local government areas are to be announced later.

November 14, 1996: NECON releases very stiff guidelines for party registration. Some describe the parties that are registered as ‘Abacha parties’ – perhaps because political formations of only non acolytes and sympathizers are recognized.

November 14, 1996: Car bomb explosion at Murtala Mohammed International Airport kills 3 persons including the Chief Security Officer of the Federal Airport Authority (FAA), Dr. Shola Omasola.

November 27, 1996: Government inaugurates a 172- member Vision 2010 committee, a product of the September 1996 Nigerian Economic Summit III in Abuja, which envisages economic prosperity for the country by the year 2010.

December 16, 1996: Col. Marwa, Lagos State Administrator escapes death from a bomb explosion that apparently targets his convoy; three injured.

December 18, 1996: Bomb explodes at Lagos State Secretariat, hits Lagos State Transport Corporation bus, critically injuring two

January 7, 1997: Bomb explodes at Lagos mainland, kills two soldiers, injures many.

February 19, 1997: Registration of voters commences with apparently very low turn out.


Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 11:03:53 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 11:05:02 PM »

March 12, 1997: Government charges Chief Enahoro, Chief Falae, Prof. Soyinka, General Akinrinade and others with treason.

March 15, 1997: Election of Local Government chairmen holds on party basis.

March 16, 1997: Government arrests Chief Don Etiebet, former petroleum minister and chieftain of CNC, in connection with the local government elections.

March 17, 1997: Warri indigenes riot over local election results.

March 25, 1997: Lagos State obas and leading chiefs, rather infamously, declare support for Abacha government at a public rally.

May 7, 1997: Bomb explosion kills one woman and injures two in Lagos.

May 12, 1997: Bomb explosion hits police truck, injures two soldiers and a policeman in Ibadan.

July 2, 1997: Transition Implementation Committee (TIC) announces new polls dates: National Assembly, April 25, 1998; Governorship and Presidential elections, August 1, 1998.

September 3, 1997: Lt. Col. M. Bawa, Military Administrator of Ekiti State escapes bomb blast.

September 25, 1997: Bomb explosion rocks the country home of Akinyele, NARECO, in Ondo, Ondo State.

November 23, 1997: Government adopts the Vision 2010 Committee’s Report.

December 6, 1997: Nigerians vote for members of the Houses of Assembly.

December 12, 1997: Government announces a coup plot involving Generals Oladipo Diya Abacha’s deputy; Adisa and Olanrewaju former ministers of Works/Housing and Communications respectively and an array of both military and civilian personnel.

March 3-4, 1998: A million-man march organized by Daniel Kanu in support of Abacha’s transmutation plan to become civilian president in October, 1998 holds in Abuja.

April 15, 1998: Chief Lamidi Adedibu, popularly regarded as the ‘strongman’ of Ibadan politics organizes a pro-Abacha rally in Ibadan. The rally is countered by United Action for Democracy (UAD); five vehicles are razed and three persons killed in the confrontation.

April 16-20, 1998: All but one of the five registered parties adopt Abacha as consensus candidate for the presidential elections.

April 22, 1998: Bomb explosion at Evans Square, Ebutte-Metta in Lagos injures many.

April 23, 1998: Bomb explosion kills five in Sabo area in Ile-Ife.

April 25, 1998: Elections into the National Assembly hold.

April 28, 1998: A special military tribunal headed by Major General Victor Malu, tries and finds some alleged coup plotters guilty of treason and conspiracy. Generals Diya, Adisa and Olanrewaju, and four others are sentenced to death; while others receive various jail terms.


Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 11:05:02 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 11:06:23 PM »

May 1, 1998: United Action for Democracy (UAD) organizes a public protest against the adoption of Abacha as consensus presidential candidate by the parties; protesting youths take to the sheets, attacking the homes of Abacha’s leading supporters in the South West, (the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola Alao and Adedibu). Seven die.

May 5, 1998: The European Union officially declares Nigeria’s transition to civil rule programme a failure.

May 7, 1998: Oyo State Administrator, Colonel Ahmed Usman, says all suspects arrested in connection with the May Day 1998 violent protest in Ibadan are to be treated as ‘prisoners of war’ (POWs).

May 7, 1998: G-34, a multi-ethnic coalition of eminent Nigerians led by Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former vice president, sends a letter to Abacha, adducing eight grounds on which the latter’s adoption as sole presidential candidate by the five political parties breached all relevant laws. It urges him to decline the purported nomination.

May 13, 1998: Comrade Ola Oni, a legendary radical lecturer-activist, Bola Ige, Lam Adesina and other activists, arrested over the May Day riots in Ibadan, arraigned before the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Iyaganku, Ibadan.

May 18, 1998: Abacha raises objection to the suit filed by Chief Gani Fawehinmi challenging his adoption as the sole presidential flag bearer of the five political parties, at the Federal High Court.

June 1, 1998: Appeal Court declines jurisdiction to adjudicate in the cases brought before it by Dr. Tunji Braithwaite and Alhaji Mohammed Dikko Yusuf to stop Abacha, from contesting in the presidential election.

June 3, 1998: Constitutional Lawyer, Dr. Chimezie Ikeazor (SAN) files a suit at the Court of Appeal, Abuja seeking to invoke legal power to protect the presumed ambition of Abacha, and to the legal propriety of emerging opposers of Abacha’s adoption as sole presidential challenge candidate of the five political parties.

June 8, 1998: *Abacha dies*, to all appearances of cardiac arrest, in the early hours of the morning.

June 8, 1998: General Abdulsalami Abubakar emerges as the country’s new head of state.

June 9, 1998: Abubakar announces that the socio-political programme of the Abacha Administration will be faithfully pursued in order to transfer power to a democratic government on October 1, 1998; declares 30-day national mourning for the late leader.

June 15, 1998: Abubakar orders the release of some high profile political detainees: Obasanjo; Dasuki, Bola Ige, Beko Ransome Kuti, Chris Anyanwu, Frank Ovie-Kokori, as well as journalists and pro-democracy activists.

June 19, 1998: Government sends delegations comprising of all the military service chiefs to the geo-political zones for the purpose of having a meaningful dialogue with various interest groups on how to resolve the country’s festering political impasse.

June 30, 1998: Government raises a panel to study and aggregate the views of various interest groups sounded out during the nationwide consultation.

July 2, 1998: Kofi Annan, the UN scribe, on a visit to Abuja reports that Abiola longs for freedom and may have dumped his mandate.

July 7, 1998: Chief *M.K.O. Abiola* dies ‘apparently of cardiac arrest’ after taking ill during a meeting which Nigerian and United States officials had with him. Complicity of the two governments is alleged by civil society groups.

July 8-9, 1998: Widespread highway riots break out in response to the news of Abiola’s death; curfew imposed in Ogun State, Abiola’s home state.

July 9, 1998: PRC commutes death sentences passed on Diya, Olanrewaju and Adisa over the alleged coup plot of December 1997 to jail terms.

July 11, 1998: Dr. James Young (a cardiac pathologist) reaffirms that Abiola died of natural causes, of long standing disease of the heart, of a type and severity that can cause unexpected death.

July 20, 1998: Abubakar unveils his political transition programme, declares May 29, 1999 as handover date, cancels all elections, dissolves NECON and the five political parties, frees all detainees, drops charges against exiles, and makes commitment to respect human rights.


Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 11:06:23 PM »

Offline Isaac Adeniran

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Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 11:07:29 PM »

July 25, 1998: Babangida admits, in a New York Times interview that the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections was wrong.

August 3, 1998: A Pan-Yoruba conference holds at the Premier Hotel Ibadan; calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation and the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to promote hue federalism. It also affirms the right to self-determination, saying that people prefer to be ruled only by leaders of their choice, freely chosen in free and fair polls based on universal adult suffrage. Finally, it enjoins all Yoruba to participate in the Abubakar transition programme.

August 11, 1998: Abubakar inaugurates a 14-member Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headed by Justice Ephraim Akpata (rtd) to evolve fresh electoral guidelines and a schedule for party registration and elections within two weeks.

August 11, 1998: Government abrogates Decrees 9 and 10 of 1994 which outlaw the executive councils of the NLC, NUPENG and PENGASSAN.

August 12, 1998: Dr. James G. Young, Coroner of the province of Ontario Canada and head of the team of pathologists who carried out the autopsy on the late Bashorun M.K.O Abiola declares to newsmen at a press briefing in Ontario that Abiola died of ‘severe long-standing disease of the heart’

August 25, 1998: INEC announces election timetable: voters registration, October 5-19, 1998; Local Government elections, December 5, 1998; Governorship/State House of Assembly, January 9, 1999; National Assembly elections, February 20, 1999, and Presidential elections, February 27, 1999.

October 9, 1998: Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Bola Tinubu and other self-exile NADECO chieftains return to Nigeria.

October 10, 1998: The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in London announces the lifting of sanctions imposed on Nigeria in 1995; ties the readmission of Nigeria into the Commonwealth to the successful implementation of the new transition to civil rule programme.

October 19, 1998: INEC gives provisional registration to nine political associations. The associations will have to score 10 % in at least 24 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the council polls to qualify for permanent registration. The parties are: People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), People’s Consultative Forum (PF), All People Congress (APC), Democratic Advance Party (DAP), Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ), National Solidarity Movement (NSM), People’s Redemption Party (PRP), Social Progressive Party (SPP) and the United People’s Party (UPP).

December 14, 1998: Constitutional Debate Co-ordinating Committee (CDCC) headed by Justice Niki Tobi submits a draft constitution to government

February 27, 1999: Nigerians vote in presidential elections, Obasanjo wins.

March 4, 1999: Government frees persons implicated in the alleged coup plots of 1995 and 1997. These include Gwadabe, some military officers as well as civilians.

March 23, 1999: Government frees eight officers convicted for their roles in the 1990 coup attempt; says they are granted clemency, not pardon.

April 5, 1999: Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja dismisses Chief Falae’s suit; confirms Obasanjo as president-elect following the election of February 27, 1999.

May 4, 1999: The Provisional Ruling Council (PRC), under Abubakar’s leadership, approves the new constitution for the Fourth Republic.

May 29, 1999: Obasanjo is sworn in as Nigeria’s second Executive President


Re: Major Political Events During Abacha Years -1993 - 1998
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 11:07:29 PM »

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