Dear Mallam Ibrahim Babangida

by E. Terfa Ula-Lisa Esq

My attention has been drawn to the letter dated October 31, 2006, you wrote to the Senate, making yourself available for the country’s top job. I was writing a thesis on Issue Based Elections, I could have incorporated your issues in it, but I know your abilities or lack of same would hamper your understanding. So I interrupt my writing to address you directly to say you do not qualify. I know that if I write it addressed to you, you are too vain to let it pass.

You do not Qualify

You do not qualify because you do not have a basic understanding of the problems at stake in Nigeria as displayed by your desire to institutionalize the “worthy achievements” of the last seven and a half years. And sir, you are neither in any position to nor do you have the experience to be “reinforcing the pillars of the country’s federalism.” This is because, with the greatest respect, I do not think that you understand what all that dogon turenci means. It means that; if ever you get to be President in Democracy, you cannot have your way in for instance Bayelsa, Benue, Lagos or Katsina States. That if you want to visit any of those states and the respective elected Governors or Legislators wish, they may properly ignore you and not have to spread out the red carpet you have come to demand as a dictator and that would be exercising their states rights. I do not think Alhaji, that Marriam would like that.

You are not God’s Gift to Nigeria

Sir, I have also noticed that each time we praise a technocrat for a start in the right direction; you have been heard to quickly put him down. I shall give two instances: We had praised El-Rufai for his work on Abuja and hinted that Nigeria needed his kind to lead; you quickly came out to say that Nigeria was too complex to leave in the hands of a political neophyte. Does coup plotting make one an expert in democracy? Recently, in an interview, you were quoted as saying that you do not join issues with your subordinates regarding Ribadu. Since you are not the oldest, brightest or most senior general, what makes you think no one can question your wisdom? Would you say your experience is positive experience? What have you ever manufactured that worked for Nigeria? What progress did you bequeath Nigeria as a democrat? Were your banning and unbanning politicians, shifting of hand-over time-tables and annulment [so sorry, canceling] of free and fair elections attributes you want the Nigerian democrat to imbibe, Oh wise one?

Invoking the Constitution?

Alhaji: Your speech/letter writer had unbelievably written;

“As the search for a new leadership begins, I am aware that well-meaning and qualified Nigerians have indicated interest in joining the race for elective public office at various levels in the exercise of their rights as guaranteed by the constitution of the country. Taking into consideration the enormity of the challenges of development that confront us, we are again at the crossroads in the political history of our country when the benefit of relevant experience and tested patriotic commitment of the nation are desirable. This is more in order to sustain and advance the vision of a united stable and prosperous Nigeria.”

A search for “new leadership” cannot by any stretch of the imagination include you, Ibrahim. You are a dirty piece of our past nightmare we would rather wake out of and forget. Albeit, a leader is someone who is taking his people somewhere. I do not even think you know where you are going alone. Then again, you mention rights under the constitution. Walahi talahi, Mallam, I do not believe it! This is because that same constitution that you invoke to give you rights to contest, has also provided for the right to life, right to freedom from arrest, right to freedom of opinion and of the press that you so denied the Nigerian people for eight solid years when you reigned as the Dictator-in-Chief. But since you now respect the constitution, Alhaji, let us look at one provision that has always been there in all the constitutions you swore to defend as a ‘patriotic’ soldier:

(2) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

Please in your reply tell us why we should not try you for treason. Some credit you with intelligence you do not have, but for this assignment, please feel free to consult your coterie of conscienceless or morally bankrupt Senior lawyers who you may buy with the stash of money stolen from the people to protect you against the people you so want to save.

What Vision?

One last thing, you have always said how you want to give Nigeria direction. The question, Alhaji is; what vision? What are your programs, what would you do differently? What do you think of corruption, the stealing of public funds and stashing it in Switzerland and offshore places? Julius Berger building mansions for public servants while in office? If you hate the EFCC because it went after your son, what would you do with it? In a democracy, sir, we ask the questions and you give us answers. We are not your subordinates; ‘we the people’ are the Masters of our destiny. It is a truism that God gives power, but God does not vote or campaign, the people do. During campaigns, we ask questions Mallam. And sometimes even those not given power steal it [like coup plotters] and it is our duty to resist them. Or don’t you think so.

Until I write you again;

Sai watarana Alhaji.

Yours truly

E. Terfa Ula-Lisa, Esq.

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Sanjo Emmanuel November 18, 2006 - 1:08 pm

Succinct and brilliant. I take my hat off to you sir. You have spoken for me and I believe for most people inside or outside of the shore of the motherland. That is the silent majority. I challenge Mr Babangida or any of his apologist to respond to this piece in an intelligent and rational way. The worn out jargon of "relevant experience and tested patriotic commitment" will not fly even with a noodle. By the way Dear General I B "C(corruption)" Babangida citing "relevant experiece and tested patriotic commitment" as a basis for your candidacy is to say the least daft and I argue is enough reason for rejection. Any thinking political party would see you as a liabilty. You led a country into an avoidable turbulence, untold nightmare from which she has not recovered and you destroyed whatever remained of the trust among ourselves not to talk of institutionalising corruption. Yes you have relevant experience, we too have relevant experience of you and that experience tells us that we can NOT trust you with the leadership of our country again. As a military man your patriotic commitment to the constitution was tested indeed and you failed woefully. There are many questions that you need to answer. So far you have avoided answering them. But remember Augustin Pinochet. One day we shall have a government with enough backbone to ask questions and put you under arrest if necessary. Because no one has come after you yet does not mean we have forgoten the pains you inflicted on us. You better enjoy for awhile your ill-gotten wealth because the day of reckoning shall come. insha allah.

Anonymous November 18, 2006 - 12:01 pm

I thank God for people like you. Seeing IBB, leadership, presidency, service, rule of law, constitution etc, in one sentence can be VERY NAUSEATING. For sure, the vain fellow would read your letter. We (including IBB) are waiting for future letters. Well done "pellow kwantri man"


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