The reign of Chief Ernest Shonekan as Nigeria’s head of Interim National Government lasted only 83 days. The November 17, 1993 coup d’état was bloodless as the military boys led by General Sani Abacha who was then the defence secretary.
Then military president, General Ibrahim Babangida stepped aside on August 26, 1993 and handed over to Shonekan. The pro- democracy activists called this arrangement “a contraption”. It was an arrangement put together after the controversial annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, presumed to have been won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.
Things started falling apart in September 1994, Abacha issued a decree that placed his government above the jurisdiction of the courts, effectively giving him absolute power. Another decree gave him the right to detain anyone for up to three months.
Abacha stayed in power until his death on 8 June 1998 at the presidential complex (Aso Villa) in Abuja. He was succeeded by the Chief of the Defence Staff Major General Abdulsalami Abubakar as head of state.
Abdulsalami conducted an election and handed over to President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999 to usher in the new democratic dispensation.