Bashir Tofa, Abiola’s June 12 Election Opponent, Is Dead


Aformer presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in the 1993 aborted third republic, Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, is dead.

According to Vanguard, Tofa died on Monday morning at the age of 74 years.

A source close to the family confirmed that the Elder Statesman died in the early hours of Monday after a protracted illness.

The deceased was MKO Abiola’s major challenger in the controversial June 12, 1993, presidential election, annulled by the military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida (retd.).

Abiola, the Social Democratic Party candidate, was leading Tofa by a wide margin but the exercise was stopped ahead of the final announcement of results.

The annulment of the election threw the country into chaos as protesters hit the streets, calling on Babangida to step down.

Abiola was later arrested by the regime of Abacha and he died in detention.

During the Third Republic, Tofa was part of the Liberal Movement which metamorphosed to Liberal Convention when it was not registered as a political party, Tofa joined the NRC in 1990. In 1993, when the Babangida administration introduced the Option A4 system, Tofa was elected the presidential candidate representing Kano.

During the party primaries, he defeated Pere Ajunwa, Joe Nwodo and Dalhatu Tafida to clinch the NRC ticket. At the time, he was an ally of Halilu Akilu, the security chief at the time.

His running mate in the election was Sylvester Ugoh, an Igbo and a former governor of the now defunct central bank of Biafra. Both were members of the defunct National Party of Nigeria.

Tofa was apparently defeated in the Presidential election by his rival, MKO Abiola, but the official results were never released by Babangida’s government.

Babangida was forced to step down in August 1993 after protests calling for the results of the election.

Tofa was also a businessman, an oil trader and industrialist.

Credit: SaharaReporters

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