Date Published: 05/10/10
IBB:The Return Of A Curse By Bimbo Adebanwo
When I muse over Nigeria and its destiny, what I see constantly is a nation that is blessed but also seems cursed in equal measure. I don’t have to be a prophet of doom to know that men like Ibrahim Babangida, Sanni Abacha, Olusegun Obasanjo, and others in their ilk are a curse to the nation. A nation that is so blessed with human and natural resources, that if harnessed properly for developmental ends, would make the world take notice. However, with the albatross of these evil men recycling themselves in the corridors of power hanging around our collective neck, Nigeria may never realise its great potentials in the sun. You may tag this an extreme cynicism but you will have to forgive me as I have seen enough already to drive me to such a state of hopelessness.
The mere thought of a possible return of IBB as a Nigerian president is dreadful and sickening. The sheer mention of an IBB candidacy will no doubt make so many Nigerians dead turn in their grave. How soon can we forget the untimely death of our compatriots and genuine democrats in the like of Chief MKO Abiola, a man who fought and won the only free and fair election in the annals of Nigeria’s history to date? The same election that was arrogantly and brazenly annulled by this same evil called IBB, an indiscretion that spiralled into a chain of events that cruelly claimed the life of the winner. What about Kudirat Abiola, Pa Alfred Rewane, Dele Giwa, and a host of others whose death are traceable to IBB’s misrule for eight terrible years? What sin have we committed as a people that this same self-styled evil genius will mount the saddle of governance of our dear country again? This will amount to thunder striking us twice. What have we done to deserve this?
But it beats me hollow how some people can act as if nothing had happened, in a country of immense talents and awareness as Nigeria. I used to think that what is called conscience is common to all humans. But it is now clear that Nigeria is a peculiar country where such a word has no meaning to our so-called leaders. This man must be living on another planet. Has he ever sat down and reminisced over his reign and all the events of that era? Has he ever thought sincerely over the wrongs he perpetrated during his reign in Aso Rock? Does he even have a sense of right or wrong to start with?
OK since he left government, what positive thing has he contributed to the country? What business is he in? (These questions may look simplistic yet they deserve answers). What I can recount is that this man sits in Minna enjoying the loot of office and remote-controlling events in the country. True and real leaders who are worth their salt all over the world move on from one stage of life to another, contributing further to the advancement of the human race. Genuine leaders who have things to contribute don’t contemplate going back to government after the expiration of their term in office. For instance can you imagine Bill Clinton or George Bush feeling so idle as to harbour the thought of going back to the White House, thinking they have an unfinished business there. They have served their country and have moved on to a higher calling serving the world. Ditto Tony Blair. He is rarely seen in the UK since 2007 when he passed on the baton of power to his successor- Godon Brown.
These gentlemen, who have transformed into statesmen, have stepped up the ladder to carve out noble roles for themselves on the international stage. They have become global treasure. While Clinton has got engrossed in the war to eradicate guinea worm in infested poor nations of the world, Blair has become a peace ambassador to and negotiator in troubled zones of the world. These are leaders who do not see power as their birthright or think that nobody else is capable of piloting the affairs of their countries except themselves. They are not so obsessed with power as to assume that without them, their countries will collapse.
Life is in stages and men are in sizes. There is a graduating process in the affairs of life, leaving one step of the ladder and stepping to the next. However it is only in Nigeria where you have people who always desire to hang around the corridors of power simply because they don’t have any other productive things to engage in. They are so lacking in talents that they only think in terms of accessing power to make themselves relevant. But how relevant are they to history?
Come to think of it. Since IBB was forced to step aside in 1993, those intervening years , what can anyone say he has put his hands or brains in that is visibly productive. Or what can he say he has done, what work or job has he done to earn his daily living?
Instead of playing the role of a statesman and trying to assuage Nigerians for all his transgressions and misdeeds while in office, all his permutation is how to plot or scheme his way back to power. People like him are always pulling strings, plotting and manipulating who gets what, what goes where and what comes to them from the inner recesses of their mansions. Nigeria is a chessboard which they use to play games.
It is only in a country like Nigeria where the people are rendered powerless by the fraudulent disenfranching electoral system, that will foster a man as crooked as IBB on the populace . What I reckon is that if this man fights his way through the ruling party (PDP, which is becoming an octopus of a party), there is only one outcome or result of who becomes the next president . History is there to tell us that whoever gets the nod of PDP will eventually occupy Aso Rock. Not that it will be the people’s choice but we have witnessed elections in that country long enough to know what the outcome of that contraption will be.
Since IBB left office some 17 years ago, what steps has he taken to assuage the disaster he brought on the nation and its people? The man, while in office, was not answerable to the people. Even when he left office he maintained his air of arrogance. He will not come out to atone for the annulment of June 12 election nor explain to us why he took that disastrous decision., The mystery of the murder of Dele Giwa via a letter bomb during his evil administration lingers on unresolved , the basdardization of our national value as exemplified by his institutionalisation of a regime of unbridled corruption is still weighing the nation down till date. Leaders who respect their people listen to them and render apology when needed. Our own self- imposed rulers stay on their high horses and look at the rest of us as less mortals. And they do this and get away with it just because they know that in an election, the votes of the people do not count nor are the votes counted for them to win an election.
If not being so, when leaders are called to account for their actions they come forward so as to show that they are accountable to the people. The recent Iraq Enquiry in the UK witnessed a thorough grilling of the sitting Prime Minister- Gordon Brown, his predecessor- Blair and a host of highly placed serving and ex government officials. They showed their respect to the people by honouring their dates at the public enquiry.
Bimbo Adebanwo writes from London