According to Pentagon reports based on captured documents and interviews with former Iraqi top officials, even at the end of March 2003, Saddam still thought he was the “invincible man”. Why? Because that’s what his ministers and generals were telling him.
This shows that there is an exception to F M Cornford’s famous definition of propaganda as “that branch of the art of lying which consists in very nearly deceiving your friends without quite deceiving your enemies”.
In the Daily Sun of Wednesday 29th March 2006, Dimgba Igwe observed, that it is not Nigerians that wanted Obasanjo to continue for a third term, after surviving him for two terms! It is the sleight in hand invention of the then presidential cabal, some governors frightened by “their dirty past” to quote ex-Governor Boni Haruna of Adamawa State, several crooked senators and legislators, greedy corporate interests and of course, the professional political parasites in the corridors of power who had played such ignoble roles in the past.
At the time, I wrote (“Of Sychphants and Rulers” 17 October 2006 http://nigeriaworld.com/articles/2006/apr/015x.html) that from this point, however, I beg to differ from Mr Igwe in proposing ex-Military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida when he said, “If not Babangida who, by the way, created this national political calamity, who else is more suitable to square up in the battle?”, albeit while acknowledging IBB’s misrule and then going on to write that “Babangida’s entry into the ring is a most welcome development, perhaps the most significant development since the battle for third term engulfed the nation”.
I believe F M Cornford’s definition and instance might be applied to those idiotic and morally corrupt sycophants urging former President Babangida to come back, after eight years of misrule as a military president, a man who crushed the democratic hopes of his people, institutionalised corruption and contributed almost single-handedly to the decrepit and depraved society that we have today, to now plan to come back and rule the people of Nigeria again. The man is also clearly listening to what his lackeys are telling him or he actually likes listening to them, because they would not tell him otherwise.
The election year is barely a year to come and if plans to alter the election dates are adopted, it might even be sooner. Now the polity is again excited by news of what the gap-toothed former general and military president said recently: That he is consulting with Nigerians and “if Nigerians are convinced that I have a contribution to make, surely this is the only country I have and I will do it” – meaning that he will run.
Just consider the arrogance, disdain and lack of repentance of the man! He wants Nigerians to be convinced and call on him to run! He is totally oblivious of the damage he has done to the country of which he says is the only one he has. Dammit, the man milked the country dry and plunged “his country” into confusion, poverty and near total collapse. But trust him, like most of our uncaring, rapacious, selfish, heartless, thoughtless, insensitive, inconsiderate, callous, conscienceless politicians, he is under the delusion that he is still the Messiah. He still wants to make himself relevant. He still wants to be in the public eye and memory.
And dear readers, believe me, unfortunately, the general consensus in Nigeria, as soon as this man called IBB mentioned the possibility of him running for the Presidency in 2011, is that there is nothing, except an act of God, that can prevent him from winning the election. And you better believe it. I have talked to people who have political savvy and that is what everybody, after analysis, have agreed upon. Obasanjo, Ribadu and others are no longer there to scuttle IBB’s inordinate ambitions for a second time.
I have been told that while certain sections of the Nigeria press and media will put up a lot of opposition, IBB will still win. In fact the so-called South West Press clique will succumb to him because they are either owned by loyalists of IBB, or they have been compromised by IBB, so they will put up very feeble fight at first and then succumb. Secondly, the man has the money (he has stolen enough to last 100 lifetimes), and with his generous nature of corrupting (settling, they call it), he is in good financial position to fight any opposition to the ground. And we all know our politics is all about money.
Thirdly, the ruling PDP, with their zoning policy and the belief that even after Yar ‘Adua’s short tenure, the North must still rule for another four years, are in desperate need of a credible Northern candidate. As things stand, IBB is still in the PDP and he is perhaps the only credible (at least according to them) candidate from anywhere that the PDP can put up against the likes of Atiku, Buhari and who knows other odious politicians who will still crawl out of the woodwork? In Nigeria, I will not be surprised if that greatest of treasury looters, James Ibori comes out and says he wants to be the President of Nigeria.
Fourthly is the fact that the United States seem to have forgiven him for his past misdemeanours, so much that they not only allowed him to come to the US to come and sit by his dying wife’s bedside, but remember, the US sent a delegation to see him in his palatial mansion in Minna just recently after the presidential vacuum created by the absent and sick Yar ‘Adua was filled by Goodluck Jonathan following the controversial Senate resolution.
In all these equations are somehow the former looter of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, Shekarau of Kano State, current National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gusau, and others. Acting President Goodluck Jonathan will definitely be strongly prevented to run on the platform of the PDP, but he has no choice, he must run. And who knows, the sick President Yar ‘Adua might just be well and strong enough to try and claim his mandate back (I expect Turai to come up with an Elixir of Life by then – they are working on it desperately)
I have tried very hard to understand our leaders, or how they think, but I just can’t. Ich gebe auf. (I give up). One thing I know is that they do not have any regard for the people they are supposed to rule. None at all! They despise us. They don’t respect us, and hence, they oppress us.
I have so many questions for IBB and I suppose being a very clever, intelligent man, he would most likely readily answer them and we will all leave him to do his things, having succeeded in dribbling us his own unique “Maradonna” and “evil genius” ways.
• Why does he, for example, think that he is the only one who can save Nigeria, after he tried it under military fiat for eight years and had to be forced out eventually?
• What did he forget to do when he was the resident of Aso Rock about 20 years ago that he felt he had to go back and retrieve and do all over again?
• Why does he think Nigerians, or at least the majority of Nigerians would want him back in power as a democratic President?
• What new ideas, energy, focus, responsibilities, etc is he bringing back that he never had during his stint as military president? When he had the advantage and absolute power of being a military dictator, he failed woefully to turn Nigeria around, mainly due to his greed, selfishness, corruption and arrogance, so how does he plan to accomplish this under a democratic dispensation?
• Who are these people he is consulting with? Do these people genuinely represent the interests of Nigerians or their own interests?
• He already acknowledged in 2009 that age is not on his side, so why is he tempting nature?
• Has he answered and cleared himself of all the heinous crimes against Nigeria and Nigerians that he has been accused of? From the murder of Dele Giwa, to the murder of several top army officers in a suspicious plane crash, to allegations of actively encouraging the drug-smuggling trade to the annulment of the June 12 1993 election.
As soon as Babangida has finished his consultations, (as if he needs to consult anybody), and Nigerians “convince” him that he must run for the Presidency to save us from corruption, poverty, mismanagement, a bloated civil service, decayed infrastructure and arrested development, political killings, religious riots, etc (all of which I suppose never happened during his kleptomaniac eight-year rule as military president?) he will announce that he is running.
Another question is: should we take him seriously again? Obasanjo snuffled out IBB’s ambition in 2007 when he sent a plane from Abuja to Minna to expressly tell IBB that he cannot and must not run, after showing him some dossiers, and IBB gently beat a retreat and volte face, saying Yar ‘Adua, the selected candidate of Obasanjo, is his “junior brother”. At the time, every Nigerian thought that was the end of him, me included.
On Wednesday, 4th February 2009, General Ibrahim Babangida, publicly foreclosed a possibility of his return to rule the country, when he made a disclosure during an interview on a satellite television programme, Moments With Mo, and mainly cited his age as the reason “I am not getting younger; I am an old man” and that “there are things I would do to correct certain things which a lot of you would not like.”(This was in my article “ Why Babangida Must Not Run For Presidency Again”, and I ended the article thus:
“Good riddance, but don’t hold your breath and start celebrating, because he is still there; still lurking behind the corridors of power. His house, or rather, his mansion, is a place to which politicians, traditional rulers, current and ex-military officers and even civil servants still troop to as a kind of pilgrimage, looking for favours, advice, money, etc. And we will always continue to have these cowards for a long time. To IBB, we say, thanks for all you have done, or have not done for Nigeria. It is time to sit back and enjoy yourself. Why not? You are rich, healthy, free, influential and without a worry in the world”.
But it seems I have been proven wrong by the master of political and military strategy. IBB has outfoxed us and has reared his ugly head again and is contemplating contesting for the Presidency again, thereby throwing the polity into panic, confusion and speculation again. I gave my reasons why he must not run again in my article of February 2009, and I am sticking by those reasons now.
In every beer parlours and pepper soup joints and serious political meetings, everybody is talking about IBB’s possible return and while they may not necessarily like the man, they all acknowledge, and are already resigned to the possibility that Babangida could be the next President of Nigeria, thus confirming my long-held belief that a people deserve the type of leader they get. Nigerians have already conceded to him.
Boy, are we in trouble in this country of feeble-minded people, who just accept things as they are and never try to look for a way to change the status quo?
For his own sake, I really do hope he forgets about being the President of this country again, no matter who is backing and urging him to think otherwise.
Babangida is going to meet up with a lot of very vicious and volatile opposition, me included, and I guess as a former General, he will be ready for every assault, but this is one battle he will never win, Inshah Allah. He should not be under the illusion that Nigerians love him. We do not. We just tolerate him and even, sometimes have some amount of pity for him, not because his wife died, but because of all former rulers of Nigeria, he was the one who had the best chance to be a great Nigerian statesman; who had the best chance of turning Nigeria around for the better; and who had the most well-wishes from Nigerians when he took over. But what did he do? He flunked his chances and disappointed his people and plunged them into a cauldron of corruption, poverty and hopelessness, which will take decades to reverse.
No, Babangida, must not come back or be encouraged or allowed to come back. He is a danger to Nigeria’s survival and progress. He is bad for our health and wealth too.