When it comes to Babangida’s 2007 political ambition some commentators are playing “the judge, the jury and the executioner.” The role they have assumed is puzzling and troublesome. And even those who should be in the know write as though they do not have a clue about constitutional entitlements; they express their opinion as though there are different sets of rules for different sets of people. Their biases are just too glaring and uncalled for. What is this fretting, this IBB-phobia, and this 2007-induced psychosis all about? The man has the right to run for any public office he is qualified for — unless the courts rules otherwise! But whether he would or should win is another matter as the people reserve the right to not vote for him.
The public’s perception of the man is well known. Over the years there has been a cloud of suspicion hovering over him. He is talked about and written about as though there are plasters of guilt all over him. He is said to be cunning, callous and calculating. A dozen and one things have been alleged but nothing has been proven. The world is waiting for him to be accused, tried and sentenced; however, that hasn’t happen. What we now have are schools of commentators alleging this and alleging that; insinuating this and insinuating that; propagating this and propagating that and in the process spreading all kinds of stories about the man. How sad!
Men of equal or much higher status have been brought before local and international court of law — either by ordinary citizens, organizations or by governments. The former Chilean henchman and one time darling of the United States, Augusto Pinochet is an example. And just recently there was some legal movement (in Belgium) surrounding Ariel Sharon. In addition, there was the “mid-night flight from justice” by Henry Kissinger pertaining to some criminal shenanigans he was alleged to have committed in Latin America. And wasn’t Charles Taylor recently picked up to face justice? General Babangida is not bigger than these men and neither is he above the law. Or, is he?
If he is not, well then, it behooves the Nigerian government, or Nigerian citizens or even “offended and interested” foreign governments to drag him through the courts to answer for his alleged crimes. What’s the use soiling the man’s name when the allegations can not be proven; or when those in the know have refused to make moves towards him?
Was Dele Giwa killed at the behest of Babangida? No one has a definite answer. There were dozens of Nigerians who disappeared, and are unaccounted for, during his watch. So, let’s ask him — through the police, the attorney general and the courts. If we can’t or if we won’t, then, let’s put a stop to the innuendoes and the mid-night whispers and gossips. Was the annulment of the June 12 elections a criminal act?
How much of our money did he and his cronies steal through legal and illegal oil deals, and through military contracts, and inflated budget, kick-backs and other creative ways of larceny? Did he commit crime against humanity? Did he abridge people’s human rights? Did he? Let’s ask the police, the attorney general and the courts. Let’s follow the law and bring him and his partners before the courts at home and or abroad. Otherwise, we must stop these endless gossips and let him be.
If the courts say he is guilty, let’s hang him high and hang him dry. If the courts say he stole from us — with the court’s permission, let’s do him an Oyenusi. At the very least, he should be bared from ever participating in any electoral competition. But until then he has the right to seek whatever elective office he wants. For now, the courts and the constitution say he has the right, like most of us, to stand for elections. That’s the way it should be: he has the right to compete at the polls; just as we have the right to shun him at the polls.
Now, haven gone through all the aforesaid: what else does Babangida want? What more does he want and what more does he have to give to our country? He wasn’t particularly a good administrator or manager of human and natural resources. It was alleged that he institutionalized corruption, laziness, ethnicity and stupidity. There are those who swear that Babangida is pure evil. I personally don’t know him. All I know – judging by his previous public service — is that he was bad for the military. He was also bad for the civilian population. And he was bad for the country. A man like him does not deserve our vote. In better societies, he’d bury his head in a sand dome.
Babangida should know or should have known that today’s Nigeria is different. This is no longer the Nigeria of his time in power. People are waiting in the wings to clip his wings and do him in. People have long memory and are waiting to extract their pound of flesh. Therefore, I’d advise that he stay away from active politics. Does he not have common sense to know that Nigerians do not want him? Does he not know that he is bad news and that wherever he goes he emits foul smell? If he doesn’t know, his friends and family should tell and warn him.
The irony of Babangida’s blind ambition is this: even those who are opposed to President Obasanjo are beginning to think fondly of his proposed Third Term bid. The prospect of Babangida in Aso Rock is an idea many do not want to entertain. And we shouldn’t. Even though I am in support of his right to contest, I do not favor his candidacy because of his blind and destructive ways.
The time has come for us to move forward and turn the corner. The time has come for us to look elsewhere for leaders with minimal drama but with a lot of good things to offer Nigeria. To think that a nation with abundant human capital and potential can not find men and women with the vision, the character and the essence to lead is, to say the least, sad. We should have no use for tired, frustrated and recycled men and women like him.By the way: what does Babangida want? He should be lucky he is not
living in exile, or parleying with Abacha somewhere.