What Does Babangida Want?

by Uche Nworah

Yes, he is a citizen and a man just like me. He has the right just like every Nigerian to contest for any elective position in the land, as long as he has not, and does not run foul of the laws of the land as stipulated in the electoral laws. But were Babangida to be any other citizen, there wouldn’t have been a need for this piece and the several others already written, and which would still be written about Nigeria’s most infamous citizen.

He remains the Nigerian that has affected our consciousness the most, I just barely left secondary school when he came into power, so in a way my generation grew up knowing him, and were influenced in so many ways by what his regime did, and did not do during his first coming. It was during Babangida’s era that I went to university, so in a way one could argue that during the formative years of my generation, he was already there twisting and turning our fate and destiny.

I also remember that during my NYSC service year at Tse-Agbaragba in Konshisha local government Area of Benue state, he still wouldn’t let go, I remember how I went to listen to the transistor radio of the village chemist to hear of the news of the cancellation of M.K.O Abiola’s election, this was despite having earlier heard all the villagers rejoice at the news of the exit polls which showed Abiola well ahead of NRC’s Bashir Tofa. The news had cheered me up at the time despite the harsh conditions we endured living in the middle of the forest right in the heart of Tiv land. I had earlier travelled down to Makurdi to attend Abiola’s campaign in the company of some other ‘hungry corpers’ at High Level Makurdi when SDP came to town, we had gone along merely out of curiosity and boredom, there weren’t much to do back then in the sleepy Makurdi town except laze around in the morning, drink kunu in the afternoon, dance kpingi at night in one of the many dingy night clubs, or go hunting for ‘bush meat’ at Benue State University. Moreover we had hoped for some kind of Abiola windfall, if you had been hungry corpers like we were back then, such expectations wouldn’t be out of place.

Despite our limited understanding of politics at the time, we still went back to our base camp (the Makurdi corpers lodge) singing Abiola’s praises, sure our pockets were not stuffed with some Tafawa Balewas or Obafemi Awolowos but Abiola’s oratory captured our imagination, too bad that our sympathies didn’t really count for much as we didn’t vote in that election, civic duties were not very high on our agenda back then. Our sympathies for Abiola could also have been a pure case of keeping up with the joneses because every other person at the time was rooting for Abiola, there didn’t seem to be any other loveable candidate as Bashir Tofa was not gifted with the garb, was it not natural then that we did the same?

From a distance Abiola’s story fascinated us a lot, his stupendous wealth, his rise from grass to grace, his sartorial taste, his bootylicious exploits, his life story etc. I remember reading that famous interview where he said that it was in his late wife’s (Simbiat) house that he drank his first cup of tea or something along those lines. The pillar of sports in Africa had also captured our interests with his Abiola Babes Football Club and Concord Football Club exploits. You could then imagine our disappointment when Babangida working in concert with his foot soldiers; Arthur Nzeribe and my late cousin, Barrister Clement Akpamgbo (S.A.N) scuttled Abiola’s dreams, and invariably our collective dreams.

That act threw a spanner in the works of Nigeria’s long awaited march towards economic recovery; it would also cost many people of my generation their best productive years. In addition to the already prevailing and rising unemployment, uncertainty and unrest set in in the land leading to the loss of many lives amongst Ndigbo and other southerners who vacated Lagos and other major cities around Nigeria in droves crammed in trucks and buses during the Oso Abiola’ crises. The act engendered mass migration which at some point became the only option for many of us; I ended up in Egypt en route Damascus (Syria) from whence my immigrant journey began. And when it seemed that it was time to go back to the fatherland, being that the thoughts have been knocking on the door for quite some time now amongst Nigeria’s many diasporas, there comes IBB, the one they call the evil genius knocking on the gates of Aso Rock with the other members of the old brigade, the shameless old men and clowns threatening to barge in uninvited.

Babangida is surely a wealthy man, so it may not just be for the money that he is doing this. He still commands clout and loyalty amongst many of Nigeria’s professional politicians who have since made his Minna residence a Mecca for incumbent and wanabe politicians, so he may not be doing it for influence. He seems pretty safe and secure, likewise the Babangida clan in their immediate surroundings (in Nigeria at least), and their businesses continue to flourish so he may not be doing this to protect himself and family’s personal and business interests. Though Nigerians may not have forgiven his government’s eight year waste, they seem to have forgotten up until the announcement of his planned second coming. All the while, Nigerians have let the Babangidas be, they have not gone looking for them to lynch or mob them. They have also not gone to hunt them down or to deliver their heads on a platter; Nigerians have simply carried on with their lives bearing out their fate, but now it seems the old wounds are being re-awakened.

Some people have said that Babangida’s quest is purely a selfish one couched in Machiavellian patriotism. Such commentators argue that Babangida feels that he may have been hounded out of office ‘prematurely’ and was stopped from completing his social engineering project. Some others mischievously allege that he feels cheated that he never really slept in Aso Rock despite building the place, but then were that to be his only problem I’m sure arrangements could be made to bring him and his loving and caring wife Miriam, the fashionable mother of the nation and patroness of rural women over for a couple of nights, did Bill Clinton not do the same at the White House? I’m sure Nigerians wouldn’t mind that at all if that is all it takes for the Babangidas to leave them alone. Some other commentators (mostly IBB loyalists) still maintain that IBB wants to come back and set the records straight and redeem his name at the same time, but I’m thinking, babash. If that was his intention, I would say he is already 21 years too late.

IBB and MariamWhat can IBB offer Nigerians now? Charm and charisma? May be not, I’m sure dozens of the new kids on the block already ooze that; the Donald Dukes, the Chris Okoties and the Pat Utomis. What about Ideas? I don’t think so; Nigerians already know who the ideas men are currently jostling for the top job. A bit of intrigue and evil ingenuity then? Perhaps but we have since overdosed on those, and the world has since moved on since 1985. How about some fashion etiquette? Well, Miriam could have come in handy here but even her role model Imelda Marcos has been busy lately auctioning off her collections. That leaves us with nothing really.

It may already be late advising Babangida to keep his good intentions and good na

turedness to himself since he has since completed and returned the PDP nomination forms, but from a distance this omen definitely will not blow Nigerians any good, neither will it the gap-toothed one. Some things would have been better left as they are or were and may not require Minna Hill Top oracles interpreting the vote of Nigerian masses, that of no confidence. 

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Mr Mark Randall August 5, 2008 - 8:37 am

i love to live the life of the ex president .so he is my model let those who want to be great like him fellow the his foot step do it right and makne Nigeria great again.

Mr mark Randall

New York

YF December 21, 2006 - 9:19 pm

IBB is only coming back to go out the same way Abacha did!

M*ther Fcker!

kennedy November 27, 2006 - 12:50 pm

IBB hasn't got any vestige of shame. That he want's' to come back after putting the country through hell for eight years is an insult on our intelligence.what precisely does this evil man want? He ripped the country apart, destroyed our value system and never for one day uttered the word corruption because he was corruption personified. Who is responsible for the mass exodus of Nigerians from Nigeria? It is no other person than the so called evil genius. A man who is supposed to have ended up in the gallows is frantically warming up to reoccuppy Aso rock at all cost.Indeed this man knows no bounds in deeds of wickedness.He is puported to be intelligent by psychophants but now I know that his intelligence is not more extensive than that of a newborn ant.Nigeria is already in a state of comatose but if by accident this senseless old fool called IBB happens to find his way back to Aso rock again then say R.I.P. to Nigeria

Anonymous November 26, 2006 - 10:33 am

to the author of the first comment:i wanna tell you to shut the f*ck up, but i'll resist. Babangida is evil, str8 from hell. he's an unrepentant thief,murderer,drug baron, and coup plotter who doens't think he needs forgiveness. If you think he should be Naija's president come 2007, then you're either ignorant of this man's character or you're just as evil as he is. For your sake, i hope it's the former.

prince kennedy Iyoha November 22, 2006 - 5:53 pm

Since the declaration of intention of IBB, and the formal presentation as candidate for the 2007 presidential election, many have commented about him, and his 8 years administration. I will like to state here, that though his regime was disastrous to the country, I am convinced that this man acted on the best of his knowledge to improve the socio-economic situation of the country. We most not forget that IBB used the best brain in the country during his regime to promote and straighten the various institutions of the country. His regime instituted many socio economic programmes design to improve the wellbeing of the masses though he did not achieve desired results. He even created a Bank (i.e.) the peoples bank to give soft loans to potential entrepreneurs that dont have possibilities to obtain loans from normal banks, during his regime, we had many financial companies spring up to render services that helped promote potential small scale businessmen, and people with ideas like movies and music producers and stars.

It was a common fact that many notable Nigerians and particularly his very close associates were very corrupt, and in the business community at large. As head of this government, we have every right to condom him for all the ills of the country. But we most not look away to some of the achievement made during his government. We should not forget that some of the institution set up by this man is still relevant to the entire sub-region today. Such as Ecomog, that has help to save the lives of defenceless young men and women in neighbouring countries.

The annulment of the June 12 election, which led to the sacrifice of two precious sons of the land, has brought Nigeria to where it is today. All this are his contribution to the development of Nigeria. I am aware that Nigerians only want to live, we should remember that great countries that we see today as powerful, was constructed with the blood of their loved ones. Remember the French revolutions that changed the landscape of the Europeans society, remember the various civil wars of the United states of America, and the human and material sacrifice in the first and second world wars, this are sacrifice that a nation most pay, in its way to greatness. IBB, made Nigerians sacrifice throughout his regime, and finally the greatest sacrifice with the life of many Nigerians among who were Moshid Abiola and Sanni Abacha it was this sacrifices that brought about this new Nigeria, the young democracy we are witnessing today.

We have more than a hundred reasons why we most not vote for Mr. IBB, can anyone tell me only one reason why we most vote for him? What about if it is in our destiny that this man label Devil by its own will be the man that will led Nigerians out of this mess she finds herself today? What if without him Nigeria will not achieve its desire dream? Why is it so easy to condemn, but very difficult to forgive? IBB has had enough time to have a look at his footprint in history, and may be willing to do the outmost sacrifice to change his mistakes to blessings for Nigerians.


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