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Date Published: 04/20/10

April 19, 2010           PRESS RELEASE

Babangida's misguided statements-talking from the two sides of his mouth!!!

Our attention has been drawn to the interview by Nigerian former Self-styled Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, aka IBB, monitored on the BBC Hausa Network Service in which he was trying to justify his come back bid, and in which he stated that there are no capable young people to steer the Nigerian Ship of State. How can the younger generations of Nigerians be allowed to lead with people like IBB still around? It is no longer news to us that since Independence, it is the same sort of men like him that has been recycled in the nation’s helms of affairs, taking control of State Resources, the Security Forces and the Military. But IBB and his cohorts are sadly mistaken if they still believe that younger Nigerians can’t take leadership position. We want him and his people to understand from today, that there is a new breed of young Nigerians, who have woken up and are gaining a new political consciousness; and as they are becoming political mature, these Nigerians don’t care whatsoever the odds against them. They simply can’t be stopped. 


We are not surprise however that Babangida, old fox he is; always trying to launder his image at any given opportunity, through himself and his stooges could make such statements. Given Babangida’s antecedents, we reiterate that we are not surprised; his words are simply the stereotype of the ancient tricks of an ancient dog.

We need not remind Nigerians and indeed citizens of the world who IBB really is: But if we are to go back a little down memory lane, IBB came to power through a coup d’é tat in late 1985. For eight years he held this nation hostage. Not only that, he virtually took this nation back 100 years. Contrary to Babangida’s claim that the level of corruption in the country today is a far cry from what it was during his Administration,  he, it was who institutionalise corruption, glorified advanced fee fraud to astronomical proportions, such that it became termed 419. His inglorious SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme) policy crippled the economy. His mismanagement and misappropriation of the $12bn Oil Windfall which he and his cronies had been trying desperately to justify in the eight years he held sway actually set the stage for the dwindling of the nation’s economic fortunes. He talked so highly of the Okigbo’s Report. Why hasn’t the Report been publish for all to see if not for the fact that the Report thoroughly indicted the Administration for the unscrupulous manner it wasted the nation’s resources, especially the $12bn Oil Windfall?

On his assertion that the rule of law was not as subverted in his days, as it is now, we want him to know that Nigerians will never forget in a hurry how barely one year into his (Babangida) Administration; Dele Giwa; one of Nigeria’s foremost and erudite Journalist, and founding Editor in Chief and Chief Executive of Newswatch Communications Limited was brutally cut down at the age of 39 by a Parcel Bomb widely believed to be from the Military Junta. Nigerians will not also forget how the legal battle waged by the late Legal Luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi to unravel the killers of Giwa was frustrated at all levels of the Legal System by the Military Junta despite the overwhelming evidence produced in courts pointing to the fact that Giwa was actually eliminated by the Junta as a result of the sensitive information he knew about the Administration’s ignoble deeds-the false claim, and lies peddled by the government that Gloria Okon (allegedly an associate of some key actors in government), the woman who was trafficking hard drugs was dead when in actuality she was very much alive, and whom Dele Giwa saw shortly after in London, spurring him to want to do a lead story on the issue, on the verge of which he was prematurely and savagely murdered in cold blood. What about the numerous deaths in controversial circumstances of several other high profile Nigerians in the heydays of the Administration? What about the inexplicable death of top Military Officials of the government in an Air Crash near Oke Afa in Lagos? How about how the Junta hounded perceived foes, and summarily executed several others in phantom coups? How about the countless human rights abuses and violations carried out by the Junta?

On his claim that the Naira did not exceed N22 to the Dollar in his time, it will interest the world to know that as at when Babangida came to power in August 1985, the Naira was actually N0.893 to $1 on the average, and not N4.5 as he said in his interview. This much can be seen if the exchange rates in that period are reviewed. And by time he left (step aside in his own words) power in August 1993, the Naira was N22.3 to $1. And if we are to analysed this closely, we will see that he devalued the Naira by a 25-factor. From 1993 to date, the Naira has moved from N22.3 to $1 to N150 to $1, a 6.7-factor devaluation compared to the 25-factor devaluation witnessed in his time. In a nutshell, if the Naira had devalued the same rate as it was during the Babangida heinous days, it would not be N150 to $1 today, but N560 to $1.

To cap it all up, IBB was arguably the most undemocratic Dictator, this nation ever had. He mapped out several transitions to democracy programmes, only to abort them at the last minute, and when finally he allowed an election to hold in June 12, 1993; an election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in our nation’s history, and won by the late Chief MKO Abiola, he annulled it, before bowing out shamefully that same year. There is no gainsaying the fact that his actions that year led to the death in government custody of Chief Abiola in 1998, and the cruel assassination of his beloved wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, in 1996, two years before Abiola died in custody, as well as the vicious murders of pro-democracy activists like Pa Alfred Rewane.

IBB does not even have a proper grasp of issues when he was trying to so hard to write off the younger generation of Nigerians, and thus exclude them from the nation’s leadership. He talked about US President Barack Obama moving from the State House of Assembly to the House of Representatives, and to the Senate before the Presidency. The truth is that President Obama never passed through the US House of Representatives. He only went through the State Legislature in Chicago, and thence to the US Senate before seeking the Presidency; let IBB go and read President Obama’s Memoirs (Dreams from my Father), and his second Book, “The Audacity of Hope,” before commenting on Obama, or better still, let him go and read what Wikipedia has to say on Obama on the Internet. And please, let’s ignore the speculation that the United States is working to support the IBB for President Bid. The United States, and leader of the free World, certainly can’t support such. IBB knows nothing about what Democracy is all about. He is free to talk the way he likes, but we want him to understand from today that Freedom of Speech is not an obligation to insult. There is nothing left for him in Aso Rock to take; nothing that he can do in another one or two term that he couldn’t do in the eight years he spent mismanaging this country. The truth is that his days are numbered. He has been weighed and found wanting. Nigerians can never allow IBB to taste power again. We in the CLO, and indeed other Human Rights Groups certainly will not fold our hands and watch him ride himself to power again to commit more atrocities. Old habits die hard, and we believe that IBB has not changed, and will never change, after all, he has rightly tagged himself an evil genius. God may have forgiven him, and we are sure he has, if the General has begged for his forgiveness, but won’t we forgive him? Yes we will; and we sincerely trust that some Nigerians have forgiven him, because we are very forgiving people; but to forgive is not to develop amnesia, and as such, we can never, never forget.  His time is up!


Comrade Eneruvie Enakoko

  (CLO Chairman in Lagos)

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