Babagana Kingibe, running mate of MKO Abiola in the 1993 presidential election, says he decided to work under the military government of Sani Abacha because of “national interest”.
Kingibe, who served then as minister of foreign affairs, had been described as a traitor.
He was accused of abandoning the struggle after the election was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida, former military head of state.
On Sunday, while paying a courtesy call on Borno state government where he hails from, Kingibe said it was his commitment to the Nigerian project that made him accept appointments under the same Abacha’s military regime believed to be responsible for the death of Abiola.
“I have addressed this issue of why I joined Abacha’s government and so on,” he said.
“I know we won the elections on June 12, 1993. I know that injustice was done when those elections were annulled but there is always one guiding principle in my public life which is that the national interest supersedes any other considerations. All my actions have been informed by this consciousness of what is best in the national interest.”
This action, Kingibe said was in line “with the teachings of the Muslim faith which he professes that leadership comes from God which he accepted in good fate.
“When we think of the collective good, there are times when we have to sacrifice personal interest and join hands in rebuilding society and bringing peace and harmony to our people.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had signed June 12 as the new Democracy Day, and while commending this, Kingible said he did not think that the celebration on the actual day of June 1993 was any greater than the celebration of the first Democracy Day on June 12, 2019.
He also thanked Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno, for getting the state to celebrate the Democracy Day specifically in his honour.
“And for that I have to thank the governor who gave the leadership, thank the people of Borno not only for celebrating June 12 as Democracy Day per say, but I know that they also had in mind that one of their own, their own son was also a critical player, I appreciate the confidence and love,” he said.