Femi Ajayi's Outlook

The question would be, when Babangida REFUSED to obey the law that set up that panel by not appearing before Oputa Panel, why is he being hypocritical about planning to come back to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
Monday, September 25, 2006

Dr. Femi Ajayi



he disturbing development with most Nigerians at home and abroad has been the retired Nigerian General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida's dream of returning to Aso Rock. 'What Does Babangida want again', after ruling Nigeria for over eight years. It was ALLEGED that Babangida was involved in every single military coup in Nigeria; Ruined Nigeria economy; Shattered Nigerian Education; Disintegrated health care; Polarized Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines; Introduced get rich quick economic system, 419; Increased the number of fatherless children, and widows in Nigeria. The man whom Nigeria believed, as confirmed by EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, legalized corruption; Created two classes of Nigerians, the 'halves and have-nots', that is, the Rich and the Poor. The question then is should Nigerians trust Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida for another four years at the helms of Nigerian affairs?

Some school of thought argued that Babangida should be allowed to come back; at least, he is a Nigerian. The Nigerian Constitution guarantees all Nigerians to be eligible to vote and be voted for in any election. The Nigerian Constitution also guarantees freedom of expression and association. Which means that Nigerians are free to support any leader of their choice, including Babangida, they are comfortable with? Birds of the same feather would always flock together. No question about that.

Unfortunately some Nigerians have gone on the defense of Babangida. Would you blame them? Those could be the ones that Babangida have 'enslaved' with his 'dirty wealth'. Some Nigerians that reside in the United Kingdom promised to return home, if and when Babangida becomes the President. Why not? They are Nigerians.

Most Nigerians would agree that Babangida is a Nigerian, free to contest for any position, but is he the only one that could lead Nigeria. He failed in his first attempt, why should Nigeria give him another chance. Nigeria needs a good Leader, not a Ruler or Governance.

Another school of thought is of the opinion that as a leader should take full responsibilities of whatever happened during his or her administration. In the recent past Babangida accepted full responsibilities of whatever happened during his administration. Good point.

Another set of Nigerians are of the opinion that looking at Babangida's track record he does not fit to be Nigeria President. In democracy you cannot stop anyone from contesting in an election. The group believes that he cannot contest, based on the damaging events that happened during his administration.

One of the major events during his administration was the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election. The whole world penciled the 1993 Nigerian Presidential election to be the freest election in the Nigerian history. That credit went down the drain when the election was annulled. Babangida has promised to "open up the can of worms" on June 12, election annulment. Nigerians have prepared strong disinfectants to wade some offensive odors that would be coming from Babangida's June 12, election 'can of worms'.

Babangida opened up on BBC, Network Africa, Thursday, September 21, 2006 that he did not annul the June 12, election, he cancelled it. What is the difference between annulment and cancellation, Mr. English man? Why try to fix what was not broke? Babangida said he was constrained to cancel the election, because of the prevailing circumstances of that time. Such as? When it was the freest, fairest and best election ever held in Nigeria's political history, why fixing what was not broke? According to Maradona:

"elections were held and those of you in the media adjudged them as the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections in the chequered political history of the nation. You admitted it and the entire world also confirmed it. There was no crisis, there was no rigging whatsoever. It was the best election ever held in the country. It was something we have never had in the country during democracy. But it was not annulled, it was rather cancelled. We gave the reasons. We told Nigerians that we cancelled the election because of the prevailing circumstances then."
Could that be the prevailing circumstances to remain in office perpetually, that made him to annul, excuse me, cancel the election? I think Babangida is playing upon the intelligent of Nigerians NOW.

Other events that could be considered as expected, which could happen in any administration, were as follows. However, track records of any leader during his or her administration, either good or bad, are yard sticks people use to measure their effectiveness. Future assignment of that leader is usually based on those records.

The killing of Dele Giwa in a letter bomb was a shock to Nigerians. The killers were still on the loose. Attorney General of Nigeria was killed in his bedroom, and the killers were no where to be found. Nigerians should be reminded that killings happen all over the world, but down the road, the killers were apprehended and punis

hed for their offences according to the law of such countries. When Babangida was the Military head of State, a self-acclaimed President, Dele Giwa was killed with a letter bomb, the first in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the Military could not use its might to fish out the killers, since it ruled by decrees.

The Oputa Panel reports, Section 90, p. 98 reacts:

"On General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun are accountable for the death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-open for further investigation in the public interest."

Today (2006) Nigeria is practicing democracy, how does Babangida fit in to the current wave of killings in Nigeria? Something he could not control as military man, or a "Pepper Soup General", what is the assurance that he could curtail that now. The monster he created is now drifting Nigeria into a dangerous zone, and has been classified as one of the unsafe countries across the world. The killers MAY never be found. Read my recent article on the Killers without boundaries. Could we trust Babangida to fish out Killers since the killers of Dele Giwa has not been found?

The Military Plane crash that killed some of the best Military personnel was also believed to be another human disaster of Babangida's administration. A Military plane just crashed this past weekend, Saturday, September16, 2006, with the loss of another crop of some highly placed Military personnel. Both crashes were marred with lack of immediate rescue operations. It re-occurred each time there was a disaster in Nigeria. Very unfortunate! The type of leaders in Nigeria could be endemic. Does Babangida have what it takes to respond to disasters?

Babangida's economic policy through the eye of Structural Adjustment Program brought down the strength of Nigerian currency. Obasanjo's economic reforms, which people believed have brought more pain to the poor people, than joy, is another event of note. Both do not have 'human face' on the economic reforms.

According to the Guardian Editorial, September 4, 1992:

"For whatever History eventually says about the Babangida years. The truth is that as he prepares to hand over he does not leave behind a nation enjoying prosperity or one filled with hope regarding future".

There are some other obvious areas that some Nigerians are having problem with Babangida. When we go through such laundry of track records, some Nigerians start doubting their faith on Babangida. One of such areas is Corruption. Believe it or not Nigeria has been tagged as one of the most corrupt country in the world. We might be painting Nigeria in very bright colors; however, the truth is too obvious that, corruption is a very cancerous disease in the Nigeria public service. We do not have to go into details of that, since so much has been said about that in the past.

According to Oputa Panel reports, during the Military rule in Nigeria,

"most of our rulers' principal motivation and pre-occupation were not service to country but the accumulation of wealth and personal gratification. This personal accumulation of wealth led to the decay of our society. Public and private morality reached its nadir; and the casualties included human dignity, human rights and our basic freedoms. We also experienced institutional and structural decay."
Can Babangida revive the country from corruption?

Babangida, during his administration was alleged to have welcomed people into his office with "Ghana Must Go", stuffed with cash. The Traditional Rulers, the custodians of Nigerian Culture, pride, respect, and wisdom, were purchased with "Ghana Must Go" by Babangida. The Religious leaders that were supposed to liberate Nigeria from all the sins of the world could not wade off the money temptation and their prayers gradually became worthless, but made them richer. The political leaders turned the public service into the venue of getting rich, an avenue of greed, hence the killings, to get to the Government treasury. Should Babangida be allowed to come back and turn the corruption crusade traffic into another direction? Whatever habit an adult grew up with, to a certain age, might be difficult to change.

Babangida was listed among the Nigerian leaders with heavy foreign accounts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Some of such accounts were allegedly to be in tune of £6.2 billion, $2 billion, 7.41 billion Swiss Francs and 9 billion Deutsche Marks. The investigation continues. Are Nigerians going to hand over the key to the Treasury to Babangida one more time?

Some Nigerians would say what about Obasanjo himself; "he is not the right person to fight corruption". If everyone that has occupied that position in the past would do something about corruption, as done by Obasanjo, corruption would have been under control by now. There is no where in the world where there is no corruption, the point is the magnitude and lack of respect for law in Nigeria. Like I would say again, there are no Saints anywhere in the world.

Regardless what we think about Obasanjo's administration he has tackled corruption disease to the best of his ability, and he has done what no one else has attempted to do in the past. He started from the top to clean up the house by stepping on so many toes using EFCC and ICPC to minimize corruption which is in order.

What about the Oil windfall that Okigbo panel reported on? The report is very obvious of what Babangida's administration did with that money.

The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, on Thursday, August 24, 2006, descended on General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, being accused of introducing the economic crimes popularly known as 419 in the country. 419 give an opportunity to those that never work in their life to swim in wealth. IBB's first son, now (September 2006) under arrest, never worked in his life, and according to Ribadu, he is swimming in some

"questionable wealth…the son never worked in his life, so where did he get all the money".
Nigeria has like Mohammed Babangida, who are Millionaires today, whose sources of wealth are seriously questionable. Those that Babangida bred to that arena could be singing his praise to come back and give them the same opportunity again, others like them could join the 419 club.

The Military rules by decrees and you have to obey without questioning. During the early part of Obasanjo's administration, a panel was set up to find means of normalizing relations among Nigerians. The Oputa panel invited Babangida to clarify some issues that Nigerians brought against him. In the eyes of the Judiciary system that he corrupted, he REFUSED to honor the invitation.

Oputa Panel reports, Chapter Three, Sections 100 states,

"By refusing to appear before the Commission, they denied themselves the wonderful opportunity of explaining to Nigerians what happened in each case, like General T. Y. Danjuma and Dr. Walter Ofonagoro did."

The question would be, when Babangida REFUSED to obey the law that set up that panel by not appearing before Oputa Panel, why is he being hypocritical about planning to come back to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Should Nigerians place the Nigerian Constitution in the hand of someone that does not believe in it? One of my readers, reacting to the piece on Atiku, questioned the law that set up Oputa Panel. Obasanjo was elected in 1999; sworn to defend the Constitution of Nigeria, set up the panel, based on the authority granted him by the Constitution, that is the law there.

Babangida agreed that the 1992 Presidential election was the freest in the history of Nigeria, and he turned around to annul that election, why should Nigeria trust him with that aspect of Nigerian governance. This was re-echoed in the 2003 election, with the riggings that came with that election. Babangida's response to that was that, "We broke the jinx…." Another puzzle is that, how Nigerians would think that Babangida would ever conduct a free and fair election. Should Nigeria trust Babangida to rule Nigeria again, but not leading the country? I doubt if he has any respect for the rule of law.

The other one that is very sensitive is the Military coups which he has been involved. The one that shook him and I believed that made him to 'wee-wee' on his pants, was the Orka coup. That coup hastened the movement of Nigerian Federal Capital to Abuja. That was followed by the other coup most Nigerians talk about recently, the execution of General Mamman Vatsa.

In as much as I hate to comment on this subject, the facts available to the public today, pointed to some obvious facts that should make Nigerians think twice in placing any trust on Babangida. For my readers once again, please view this 52 minutes video released by North Central Democratic Vanguard: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6924381337553773948&q=Vatsa&hl=en

What shocked most Nigerians on Vatsa was Babangida's recent callous statement that he has no regrets on Vatsa's execution. In his statement,

"I have no regret over the step taken because we did not do anything out of malice or error but according to the law." That is very cold. He went further to state "He was my friend. I cherished his friendship. And up till now I still regard him as a friend,"
in the acid grave.

Hajara Vatsa, reminded Babangida

"the coup that he {Babangida} committed and my husband saved his life …Dimka coup that Babangida created…..these drug people were killing people IBB is not a Nigerian. This is because no Nigerian would want to destroy the country, people and even himself. If you remove a knife and stab your leg, it will pain you. Won't it? If you are a Nigerian, you cannot involve yourself in things that will destroy your people and you won't finish your people and later come out to say that you don't regret it. He should go and lie down and think about how my husband released him from Dimka's coup. Only God will pay all those that are involved in the murder of my husband."

In as much as this should not be debated at all, there should always be some demureness in whatever we do, realizing that human life is very precious. Like Buhari commuted Bamidele's retirement because he said that the man was a victim of circumstance. The man reported the coup to Buhari, he was tried for planning the coup, Bamidele did not report the coup to Babangida, and he had him executed.

Interestingly, it was believed that

"the execution of Mamman Vatsa and others on March 5, 1986, was the first time the charge of 'conspiracy to commit treason' was being punished with the death sentence in Nigeria. Until then 'conspiracy' in independent Nigeria had always been classified as a "treasonable felony" rather than "treason".
It was very easy to include names of those that you don't like, or those that you have some dry bones to pick with, on the list of the coup planners for execution.

General Domkat Bali, a retired General, former Defense Minister who presided over the trial stated recently on "The News Magazine", May 2006, that

"Up till now, I am not sure whether he {Vatsa} ought to have been killed because whatever evidence they amassed against him was weak. My only regret is that I cannot say don't do it. I am not sure whether we were right to have killed him {Vatsa}".
Both Haruna and Mohammed Vatsa say, their father's execution, mass burial, with acid poured on their bodies is awaiting God's judgment.

Nobel Laureate and human rights crusader, Prof. Wole Soyinka queried and would like to know from Babangida why he betrayed him and two of his friends, Chinua Achebe and John Pepper Clark, after assuring them he would temper justice with mercy in the conviction and sentencing to death of Gen. Mamman Vatsa for coup plotting in 1986. According to Wole Soyinka,

"I feel a sense of betrayal. I tell you why, because before the executions which were absolutely shattering, Chinua Achebe, J. P. Clark, and myself met Babangida that day. He (Babangida) came out, and he gave his pledge. He said: Gentlemen, I'm glad you people came, I'm going to throw my weight on the side of mercy, I promise you, I'll do my best." In fact, right in Abeokuta that day, I was horrified on arrival to find out that the execution had taken place."

Vatsa's last statements were,

"I have never nursed any political ambition. That is not in conformity with the norms of the Profession and the laws of the land. This sentence shall not be my final hour. For I have God's promise on that. God's judgment is the last."
Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida's God's journey might be on its way.

Nigerians are awaiting the judicial advice from the Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo, over the circumstances that surrounded the death by firing squad of Major-General Mamman Vatsa over the 1986 purported coup.

Should Nigerians trust Babangida in the midst of these controversies? Should Ibrahim be rewarded with the Nigeria President in 2007 for making some bad policies as Military Head of State or President as he made himself to be? Nigerians are saying that when he has nothing good in his track records, at least to most Nigerians, why Nigeria should trust him again.

Should Nigerians allow Babangida to come back and dismantle what has been done so far by the current administration especially in the fight against corruption? Nigerians might not see what Obasanjo administration has done in the areas of economic reforms, but history will judge that later in life.

Babangida was a General, a retired General now (2006), who commanded Nigerian Armed Forces for a while, and also the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces for about eight Years, with some unpleasant policies during his administration. If Babangida made some bitter track records for most Nigerians, why does he want to impose himself on Nigeria? According to him, he would rather contest and lose than chicken out of the 2007 Presidential race. Nigerians should show him the way to cook chicken for the belligerents and lead him to his political extinction.

On Human Rights Babangida once stated that

"I would like to see us build a Society which guarantees the individual freedom of thoughts, speech and action, and protects society as a whole from the threat to the Society of persons, family and prosperity".

Oputa Panels Section 90, p. 35 reacts to the above statement and reports:

"Clearly, the military are to be held accountable for gross human rights violations in the country, during the period under review. This is exemplified by cases of torture at the Intercentre, DMI headquarters in Lagos and Jos". And Section 4 reveals that: The military had operated under a cloud of secrecy in many respects. What is more, except for some celebrated individuals who were prominent in society, the majority of victims who were not so well known languished in jails and detention centers without any mention by the media. They lived under very harsh and inhuman conditions. The public hearings gave them and the society a chance to hear their stories."
Should Nigerians trust this man again?

The Northern Youth Forum (NYF) is not too happy to see the "evil genius" back at the helm of Nigerian affairs. According to its President, Mallam Sabiu Gaya, youths in the north are not comfortable with Babangida's overtures towards the presidency. He noted,

"We wish to remind IBB of the ugly incident in Zaria where he was manhandled. This ugly incident will be a child's play compared to the nasty treatment he will receive in the hands of young northerners if he eventually decides to contest. Northern youths are looking for an opportunity to vent their anger on him. IBB deprived young northerners of the right to good livelihood. Up till today, the General has not used his stupendous wealth to better the lives of Northerners. Rather, we see his son, Mohammed, buying very expensive horses all in the name of playing the game of leisure-polo while the children of the Nigerian masses are left to die in penury."

Nigerians want the truth from Babangida, and could Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida be trusted again with the Nigerian Presidency. IBB might have shot himself on the foot already with the enormous challenges that surrounded his administration. He might be intractably taking Nigerians for a ride, like his chest player friend, Obasanjo, who found out in a hard way on his senseless Third Term Bid. Buhari was 'booted' out from his Party's leadership club; IBB might be the next in the "Web Hole".

I would encourage my readers to read some of my papers on Babangida on www.nigeriaworld.com:
"The Oputa Commission and the Nigerian Generals" Friday, August 17, 2001;
"General Babangida Re-Opening "Old Wound", Who Cares!" Thursday, September 5, 2002;
"Will People Learn Lessons from the Capture of Saddam Hussein?" Monday, December 15, 2003;
""Project 007": Borrowing a Penny from Saddam Hussein's "Spider Hole"", Monday February 23, 2004;
"'Naija Shut Up! Aso Rock is my 'Spider Web Hole'; I am Nigerian President, No Negotiation", Monday, August 23, 2004;
""Speculations and Rumors on Allegations of [IBB] Wrongdoings in Coffee Shops and Market Places": Who Will 'Correct History' of Babangida's Administration?", Wednesday, July 13, 2005.

The time is ripe for Nigerians to stand up against bad leaders, "Fools", "Vagabonds in Power", "Visionless Leaders", "Corrupt Leaders", "Empty Barrels", "Rascals and Idiots", "Rats", "Bigger Rats", "Idiots", "Fools at Forty" "Sycophants", "Cultism, and Killer Squads Sponsors", and "Rouges", borrowing from PDP 'wisdom house'.

Here is what his late friend Abiola said about Babangida:

"This is a man who had on several occasions wished me political success and he could now turn around to plan for my downfall…Here is a man who after eight years is still as thirsty for power as on the first day. It is like a sheep in a salt market. Unless you carry the sheep from the salt, it would poison itself. This man is constituting himself into a poison for the Political System"
The North Central Democratic Vanguard 2006.

Should Nigeria trust Babangida EVER with that cunning and sneaky look? Are there any 'footballs' for Babangida to play with on the 'field'? How and why should Nigerians trust Babangida with all his cunning and maneuvering tactics on how he ruled and ruined Nigeria? I refer my readers to this site www.againstbabangida.com to read the opinion of some Nigerians on Babangida.

Once again, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida is a Nigerian and has served the country to the 'best' of his ability. The question is, for the time he served the country, to the best of his ability, following his track records; should Nigerians trust him again for the number one Nigerian Citizen in 2007?

If I may repeat myself again,

"My penny gift to Babangida, send those canvassing for your bitter end to go back to their tents and mend their fences so that you could continue enjoying every luxury you have till the end of your life. The only penny I have to lend you is wiser than the trillions you are keeping under your bed. The beginning and the end of Saddam Hussein should be an history lesson for you. Is that how you want your life to be, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida? Think about it. Think about Saddam Hussein's "Spider Hole."'
. "A Stitch in time saves nine…" so goes the saying.