Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Babangida Finally Gets the Message

Over the past year, as soon as it became clear that President Obasanjo would not be getting a third term, the Nigerian media has been rife with speculations that former head of state, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) would be contesting in the 2007 presidential elections. Many professional political opportunists and hangers-on began jostling and honing their talons in anticipation of this. Unsolicited support for the former leader poured in from all corners of Nigeria in the bid of these political jobbers to secure positions of influence should the General declare his intentions. When a few weeks ago, he picked the nomination form, the fold of IBB opportunists was agog. Loudmouth boasts and claims of connectedness to the General was the order of the day.

IBB’s announcement over the weekend that he would not be contesting against his close associates, Yar Adua and Gusau, who have also indicated interest in the race is a blow to the scheming of these professional political opportunists. While all Nigerians are elated at the pull-out of IBB, acclaimed killer of the Nigerian 3rd attempt at democracy by his annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, widely believed to have been won by the late M.K.O. Abiola, these political opportunists are grossly unhappy.

For once, IBB has taken a widely popular decision. If we are to give him credit, he has lived up to his reputation as a master schemer. He must have analyzed the political climate and peculiarities of the times and realized the futility of his candidacy. It is believed that President Obasanjo might have been responsible for the IBB pullout, having denied the toothy General of his wholesale endorsement. The writer does not see why Obasanjo should single out any one of the aspirants for endorsement. If what we seek to install is a democracy Obasanjo should leave the endorsement to the individual parties to conduct. Whatever informed the IBB pullout, it is a welcome decision.


Anonymous said...

"Babangida Finally Gets the Message" Has he? Wouldnt bet on it...

Anonymous said...

You are probably right. IBB is not dubbed "Maradona" for nothing. I bet he is scheming a comeback whereby he will continue to wield some influence on the Nigerian political landscape.

Unknown said...

Obasanjo third term bid and IBB's so called candidature are actually a red herring. Both were done so as to checkmate the emergence of the mercantilist camp in Nigerian Politics. I will say more at an appropriate time.

But this battle for Nigerias soul started in the 70's. After the nationalisation of the oil industry Murtala Mohammed signed his own death warrant. Just like the democratic government of Iran who were toppled to reinstate the shah. We must realise that foreign interests are actively trying to influence our choice of leaders to our detriment.

Atala Wala Wala said...


Please, please, please do NOT give this man more credit than he deserves by using phrases like "[Babangida] has taken a widely popular decision", "...lived up to his reputation as a master schemer" or "welcome decision". Do we laud an armed robber when he decides not to break into a house and describe his action as 'popular'?

The fact is Babangida was foolishly seduced by the the media and other people who are continuously singing his praises and hailing him as an 'Evil Genius' or 'Maradona'. He must have believed that by some 'secret powers' or his fantastic wealth, he would just stroll into the PDP convention and pick the ticket up without doing any work.

Well, getting people on your side takes more than just spraying money - even in a place like Nigeria. There are other sorts of ways of getting people to do what you want - like cultivating their loyalty or they loyalty of people that they respect by building up a relationship over time, or by discovering some dirt on them and threatening to blackmail them with this dirt.

The reality is that Babangida was sitting on the fence daydreaming when he should have been out and about working hard to secure his candidacy. Perhaps he couldn't do much at the time, because Obasanjo had sown confusion with his third term agenda - but nonetheless, Babangida abandoned his presidential ambition because he had to abandon it, not because he wanted to.