Even the devil has followers. And so it came to pass that the gap-toothed retired General and military dictator, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida whose eight years misrule from 1985 to 1993 marked the beginning of fraud, corruption, lawlessness and killing, on Wednesday at the eagles square, Abuja, shamelessly declared to run for the Presidential elections in 2011 amidst his crowd of goons.
With blood stained hands, an evil body and soul and a legendary and notoriously corrupt personality, the self styled “evil genius” told Nigerians on Wednesday that he is back again!
Despicable as it is, Babangida, the murderous maradona of our time, gathered his bootlickers, sycophants, retinue of goons and cheerleaders at the eagle square, elevated himself to the throne as the King of evil ones and told Nigerians that he is contesting the Presidential elections and no mere mortal can stop him.
He dared Nigerians and even the gods to challenge his decision and his constitutional rights. The rights he once and would forever deny Nigerians dead and alive!
General Babangida, dressed in his arrogance enveloped in his veil pretention of humility during his declaration said “The 2011 presidency is crucial to the survival of Nigeria. Given my age, experience and history of involvement in the affairs of our country, my renewed desire to participate in the political process is motivated by very compelling challenges which confront the country.”
He continued “The 2011 presidency is crucial to the survival of Nigeria. As a loyal member of the PDP, I, Ibrahim Babamosi Babangida, hereby declare my ambition to run in the election.”
In his self deceit, he painstakingly portrayed himself as a born-again despot whose massive wealth are out of his hard work when he declared “Our approach shall be to energise and fortify the anti-corruption agencies of government and implement a systematic and protracted engagement with the values and institutional structures which promote corruption in Nigeria. Specifically, my administration shall be more pro-active in the war against unexplained and unexplainable wealth."
Babangida perhaps forgot that seventeen years after, he has not explained to Nigerians the source of his stupendous wealth he flagrantly flaunts. And in one side of his mouth, he wages war against “unexplained and unexplainable wealth.”
I watched with bewilderment as the man whose eight year rule as a military dictator brought Nigeria to its kneels decades ago, hoodwinked Nigerians both young and old, educated and illiterates and stood before thousands he had denied freedom of association and announced his decision to return back to power.
What more can be so insulting to the psyche and intelligence of Nigerians when a man whose eight year rule was characterized by killing, looting and abuse of all the laws of the land?
I personally see IBB’s declaration as an abuse. An attempt to abuse my sense of history, an abuse to those he had killed and an abuse to those who truly fought for the enthronement of a genuine and true democracy. Pa. Adesanya, The Ransome Kuti’s including late Fela Anikulapo, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Dele Giwa and all those who paid the supreme price for democracy would be turning in their graves in shock and disbelief.
General Babangida has ruled Nigeria for eight years between 1985 and 1993 no matter what form. And if the constitution says a person can only rule for eight years at a time, is that not enough? And if he attends the council of states meetings, is that not to say he has been constitutionally recognized to have ruled Nigeria and for eight years? What more can this gap-toothed greedy evil genius of our time wants?
In his eight years misrule, he created the new breed politicians who are largely 419ers and who today parade themselves as leaders. He also corrupted and desecrated our traditional rulers and institutions, the judiciary and even the press and bastardized our educational system. Today Nigeria ranked globally as one of the most corrupt and unstable countries in the world.
IBB simply raped Nigeria and Nigerians for eight years and today he is back again preparing to rape again with his hawks of lieutenants.
The history of IBB’s eight year rule cannot be told in one day. Not even in a generation. I was still in Journalism school when he effortlessly annulled the freest and fairest presidential election Nigeria has ever and would ever have. A year after that scandalous and painful annulment, as a young journalist, I witnessed and reported events that followed. It was because of that annulment that thousands of people, young and old, students and even politicians were killed, maimed or chased out of Nigeria.
Media houses were not spared; they were flagrantly shut down, journalist killed, freedom fighters were not spared either. I remember late Pa Abraham Adesanya of blessed memory and the many meetings he organized in his house in Lagos which I attended as a reporter. He was very vibrant then. He championed the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO and together with Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Ebitu Ukiwe, Beko Ransome Kuti of blessed memory, they all fought hard to keep the 1993 Hope alive.
That fight went on until IBB set up a puppet regime headed by Earnest Shonekan, then stepped down after protest in 1993.
Soon after Babangida “stepped aside” and handed over and General Sanni Abacha chased out the interim Government of Shonekan, the killing never stopped and all these happened because of the legacy left behind by IBB.
The stains of his heart and character cannot and will never be washed away by the mere apology and claim of having learned lessons. If there is any lesson to be learnt by IBB, it is simply to stay away from governance and remain in the cocoon of his palatial Hilltop mansion.
IBB was clearly and cleverly masturbating his eight years misrule when he listed his achievements to include the creation of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Directorate for Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRI), People’s Bank, Community Bank, Better Life for Rural Women and so on.
And yes they were his creation but what have these agencies achieved so far if they are still there? Were our rural women better when IBB was in power for eight years? The answer is NO! Was there any DFRI road in my village, Nkporo in Abia State? No, or maybe Nkporo never existed then. People’s Bank and Community Banks where? And for which people? Maybe for IBB’s lackey and cronies off course! And then, NDLEA. Was IBB not the biggest drug baron?
To crown his audacious and ignominious declaration, IBB brought in his newest recruits in the likes of Former Senate President Ken Nnamani, former Speaker Ghali Umar Na’Abba who were better known for their dogged fight against former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s despotic tendencies.
These former fine politicians have now formally inducted themselves among the cabal led by IBB who annulled the June 12, 2003 presidential election, denied Nigerians of the free and fairest election and killed hundreds of Nigerians.
For whatever reason, I cannot understand the hunger in Na’Abba and the political needs of Nnamani to justify their alliances and new found love for IBB. Their best bet would have been to stay away, remain aloof if they are not interested in other candidates.
And to those thousands of Nigerians who are suffering from collective amnesia and retardation and who shamelessly graced the abominable declaration of the despot, I just simply cannot understand. Were they not in Nigeria when IBB ruled with iron fist and denied Nigerians basic rights? Were they not in Nigeria when the country almost burned down to ashes as a result of the June 12, 1993 Presidential elections annulment?
I refuse to be carried away by the fantasy and flamboyancy of his declaration and I have refused to be beaten by his maradonic tricks. I have decided to be thoroughly guided by my unflinching sense of history which have and would remind me that the evil in IBB from 1985 to 1993 is still the evil in IBB of today. He may have grown older. I have grown older too and wiser.
It is high time Nigerians begin to differentiate between notoriety and popularity. The insane claim that IBB is popular is not just nauseating but idiotic. If he is so popular for annulling June 12 elections, killing innocent citizens, clamping down on opposition during his reign as a Military head of state and that becomes the credentials his foot soldiers lay claim to his being popular then it is sickening to say the least.
IBB is notorious for corruption, notorious for human rights abuse and notorious for killing and the whole world knows his antecedent. He is in fact a discredited person worldwide!
Nigeria and Nigerians obviously needs a leader, a leader who has visions. Visions not beclouded by self aggrandizement and enrichments, an open minded leader who is free from murderous tendencies and who understands the dynamics of today’s world economy, a leader who puts country first before self. Certainly, IBB, The Evil Genius, Maradona, General Babangida or whatever he prefers to be called is not and cannot be the leader Nigeria and Nigerians need at this time. His time and chance have long gone and gone forever!
Jackson Ude, a Journalist lives in New York