Chieftains of the defunct Social Democratic Party in the Third Republic, Chief Frank Kokori and Alhaji Sule Lamido, are at loggerheads over the different roles they played in the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections.
A former General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Chief Frank Kokori, in an interview said members of the defunct Social Democratic Party betrayed Abiola.
He supported the stance of the presidential aide, Garba Shehu, who on Sunday said the nation’s elite conspired to annul the presidential election.
Kokori said, “Even in my SDP, there were fifth columnists. It was obvious. The military was also part of it at the time. Abiola was the richest black African at the time. He had so much wealth and when you have that with power, people would be afraid of you.
“So, it was a grand conspiracy. Some wondered how would you have wealth and still want power. So, there was a grand conspiracy and we have known that since. The military and the elite were all part of it (conspiracy) to stop it (June 12). I was even more disappointed in my own SDP.”
Kokori, who was part of the SDP executive leadership, said the leaders of the SDP including the National Secretary of the party, Sule Lamido, who later became the governor of Jigawa State, betrayed Abiola.
He added, “The leadership did not fight for the mandate of the SDP. After we left, the SDP leadership including, Lamido, lasted for about one year before the coup. They did not fight for the mandate. So, they betrayed us even in the SDP. So, what the Presidency has said (Garba Shehu article) is correct.”
In reaction, Lamido denied allegations levelled against him by Kokori over the June 12 saga, that he abandoned the mandate.
The former governor, in a text message, said as of the time of the events leading up to the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, Kokori was not in a position to know what occurred.
Lamido said, “Kokori was a member of the first (SDP) executive under Babagana by which time I was the Kano State chairman.
“(Chief MKO) Abiola came on board during the (Chief) Tony Anenih-led executive to which I was the National Secretary. By then, Kokori was out of circulation! Babagana couldn’t have run as Abiola’s running mate and be the National Chairman at the same time.”
He promised to speak up “very soon” about what transpired at the time.