Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida is perhaps the most famous Nigerian ex-president. Virtually every Nigerian is conversant with the name IBB. Unfortunately, we all seem to remember him for wrongdoings.
Very early in IBB’s time as military president of the country, former Newswatch Editor-in-chief Dele Giwa was assassinated through a letter bomb. There were many pointers to the fact that the IBB administration orchestrated that assassination. Despite the fact that he (IBB) later came out to deny complicity in the assassination, in the minds of many Nigerians, that dastardly act was IBB’s doing. Only God and the person who perpetrated that act (and perhaps Giwa himself) know the truth. But there is another important link. Initially(and to some people, this belief still stands), the Golden Jubilee bombings in Abuja were linked to the IBB team. This naturally begs the question; “What is it with IBB and bombs?”
But bombs too are not the only tools. Planes carrying the top brass of the military(potential oppositions) were also known to have gone down suddenly killing the entire passengers. Of course this tragedy could have been a coincidence. The question again is; “what if it was not a coincidence?” What if some god seated at the helm of affairs, overlooking his miniature world was forcing the hands of fate? If we can link the good things that happened during a leader’s tenure to him, we should also not hesitate to yoke the bad on him.
It was also during the reign of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida that this country took off on this irreversible journey of constant inflation, and of course sodden decay in morals linked with our leaders. If anything, that administration efficiently deified the culture that personal aggrandizement is the sole gain of leadership. Today, it is more of the norm here.
Then comes the big one: the annulment of the June 12,1993 presidential election–an election which many pundits the world over have dubbed the freest and fairest that this country has witnessed. Its annulment leaves one with only one conclusion; either that the man who annulled it is a plain sadist, and/or he is a hater of democracy. What other reasons can one marshal out? Let us be smart enough to reject IBB’s belated move to heap the blames of the annulment on late General Sanni Abacha. If that was the truth, why did IBB wait until the death of Abacha to tell us? Who, I pray, will speak for Abacha? IBB, we are not fools, so please stop treating us as if we are!
Let us go back to the two possibilities deducible from the annulment of the election, as we outlined above (either that the man who annulled it is a plain sadist, and/or he is a hater of democracy). Now, first of all, if we accept that most of the tragic ‘accidents’ that conveniently took out the little threats to IBB during his time were orchestrated by him, then we should conveniently come to the conclusion that the man may be a ‘serial sadist’. I am particularly bothered that such a man would still have the effrontery to tell us that he wants to rule us again. Such effrontery can only come from a deep seated belief that we are his puppets. Worse still, he may believe that he has a ‘drug’ with which he may, at will erase our memories.
More than revealing him as a sadist, the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections clearly shows that Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida is a hater of democracy. Indeed, no advocate of democracy would have had the effrontery to annul that election. Such act can only come from a man who, in all its ramifications, does not care about democracy and its tenets. Seventeen years later, the same man is boldly campaigning for us to vote him in as a democratic president! So IBB likes democracy and he killed it off when it should have taken a solid footing in the country? IBB, IBB, IBB, we are not fools!
It is his boldness that I do not understand. It is this boldness that maddens me. I am faced daily by the bitter question “Are we still alive?” Because, I believe that if IBB knows that the people of the ’93 era are still alive, he will not be contesting for the presidency of this country. If he believes that we are still alive, and yet has the effrontery to be contesting, then he must be sure that he has administered an amnesia inducing agent into our systems. That must be it! Otherwise, why would people be part of his campaign team? Why would my uncle tell me that he believes that IBB is the man “that fits Nigeria”(whatever that means).
When IBB was in power, there was little we could do to spurn him for fear of “little accidents” happening to us(I know of course that even now he must still have the power of having “fate’ cause little accidents), but today, history is an aid that fate has presented us with. We can fight off amnesia and remember that all we need do at this point is to remember 85-93. If we can remember, then we can make the right decision.
And the only right decision at this moment is to let IBB know that we are not fools; to let him know that he is not our god. To openly make him understand that Nigeria is not his pocket-sized snuff box.
Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, we are not fools. We will remember, and we will not let you ruin us again.