In 1993, billionaire businessman Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO), a Muslim from Nigeria’s southwest, emerged as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and went ahead to nominate Babagana Kingibe, a Muslim from Borno State in the northeast, as his running mate. This was at variance with the established political tradition in Nigeria where a presidential candidate and running mate are usually from different ethnic and religious divides.
However, MKO, known for his philanthropy and connections across the country, was able to defeat his opponent, Bashir Tofa, of the National Republican Convention (NRC), by a landslide, winning even the Muslim dominated Kano State, which happened to be Tofa’s home turf.
That 12 June 1993 election, which was tagged the country’s most credible, would later be annulled by the military regime after which MKO would be detained for
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