Just when you think we are finally getting into the kind of mature national conversation needed to make progress come 2011 in Nigeria. It seems that it’s also the time the cookies chose to crumble and as usual its one step forward, a ten backward.
The Nigeria civil society community having virtually decimated, with mere pen and common sense, a tiny but dangerously gluttonous evil cabal operating by ill thought blusters and endless infantile gimmickry, was about to focus more comprehensively on the electoral reforms. Which one of the first steps must include the removal of the widely discredited INEC chair, Maurice Iwu in order to reassure and reengage the incredulous on the integrity of our electoral system? Then enters the self styled evil “genius”, Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, 70 years, back to our national discourse. The former tyrant, dictator, despot and maximum ruler who was one of the masterminds in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Shagari in 1984 and who also callously annulled the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest election in Nigeria’s history is threatening to impose his tyranny on Nigerians come 2011.
When IBB and his co-putchists subverted the democratic will of the Nigerian people in 1984, they told a frightened Nigerian people, that their treasonable acts was borne out of patriotic zeal to save Nigerians from the excesses of the politicians, whom the sanctimonious soldiers claimed to have been corruptly enriching themselves. We now know better. What followed was capricious release of convicted corrupt politicians, sequel to his second coup in which he finally captured his ultimate prize, our national purse. There is no award for virtually any Nigerian to reel out the many details of how IBB allegedly stole his country blind and none need to be stated here. What is important is that IBB remains a poster boy for corruption in the minds of Nigerians. An image he have repeatedly flunked all the opportunities to redeem. The hard facts will remain sacred and unchallenged in the scrolls of Pius Okigbo report, John Fashanu’s exclusive revelations, World Bank corrupt third world leaders’ report etc.
Under IBB’s eight years and seven months tyranny, unemployment soared in an unprecedented level, milk disappeared from the breakfast table while income fell abysmally as the dictator unleashed his structurally adjustment programme, a policy which many have argued was too sophisticated for the dictator’s barely educated faculty to comprehend. Sapped and squeezed at all sides by a newly bold institutionalised corruption, Nigerians cling on the dictator’s promise to restore civil rule. After needless loops of self deceit and gimmicks, that earned him the ignominious sobriquet of political maradona, he finally chose an August 1993 date for civil democratic transition. History have demonstrated to us all, how honest he was to this sacred promise to the Nigerian people. Suffice it to say, that hope ’93 was violently dashed and the political effects have continued to rock the political firmaments of the nation. This is reason enough to bar him from politics.
IBB have come to remind us of the wounds and damages he wrecked on our country. At best, he strikes me as a megalomaniac at the apogee of his disdain for the opinion of his fellow countrymen.
Ordinarily, there is nothing untoward on a citizen’s offering to run for President of his country, despite his unpopularity as such will be sorted by the electorate. But IBB is no ordinarily citizen. He is said to be loaded, in the Nigerian parlance in a manner unrivalled by any Nigerian alive. Every responsible community or indeed a nation will and should be wary of character wielding large bags of unexplained wealth, if it sincerely intends to abolish all corrupt practices as Nigerian constitution stipulated. Nigerians have reason to suspect that their disconnected political class would not bat an eye before selling their own mother for cash. Like a coquette, not particularly choosy with her men, it would not matter to the ruling elite that what is at stake is the soul of our great nation: her values, freedom and commonwealth.
That otherwise reasonable people could actually imagine bringing back, the same people they accuse of wrecking our nation speaks volume of the fundamental damage IBB inflicted on our national value. It is at best intellectually dishonest and at worst serious madness. Madness in this instance could be defined as having the same old men, playing the same old game, over and over again and somehow expecting a different result. We already know IBB’s position and records on official corruption, freedom of speech and the press, other human rights, respect for judiciary, poverty alleviation, etc. Let’s declare it loud and clear the mere thought of IBB again in Aso rock constitutes a disturbing nightmare to the Nigerian people. And no amount of paid or wannabe hirelings can wipe out the stench of the IBB years.
To end lightly, one of IBB sympathisers claimed bizarrely on the back page of Thisday newspaper last week that IBB at 70 could pass as a young man, because people are living longer these days. Really? A country, the United Nations put the average life span of her IBB sapped males at 47! Talk of out of touch.