A dictator and the burden of history

Date: 22-11-2010 11:45 am (11 years ago) | Author: Aliuniyi lawal
- at 22-11-2010 11:45 AM (11 years ago)
OLUSOLA FABIYI writes that the arrogance that has characterised the campaign of former military, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.) clearly shows that the general has not shed his dictatorial toga 17 years after.

The suave former minister of information, Chief Alex Akinyele, is neither a pastor nor an Iman but he seems to have a knowledge of the Holy Bible and Quran, if the way he spoke at the presidential declaration of former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd.) in Abuja on September 15 was anything to go by. Akinyele, who served during the inglorious reign of Babangida, appealed to Nigerians to cultivate the habit of forgiveness, without which, he said, it would be difficult to nurture friendship. This apart, he also said both the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran lay emphasis on clemency.

However, the Ondo State born chief refused to state the issues that his former boss needed to be forgiven of. He also did not tell his audience if the man he was speaking on his behalf had agreed that he had in anyway committed any sin either against Nigeria or Nigerians that necessitated his asking for forgiveness on his behalf.

While many Nigerians had actually in clear terms enumerated many ways in which Babangida had sinned against his fellow Nigerians and his country, the gap-toothed general had consistently refused to budge. He also brazenly resisted that he needed forgiveness. Perhaps, if his presidential ambition has made him forget the past so soon, the African Democratic Initiates, in serial advertorials in major newspapers, has brought to fore, the issues that Babangida, who is aspiring to be president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, and the likes of Akinyele, need to ponder on.

Referring to IBB, as he is commonly called by his admirers and foes alike, the ADI said, “This man stood against the will of the entire Nigerian nation when he annulled the victory of Chief Moshood Abiola at the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

“This man refused to prove his innocence over the assassination of Dele Giwa and other alleged human rights abuses at the Justice Oputa Panel.

“This man detained Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and other political leaders because they opposed the fraud of the so-called transition programme that shifted the hand-over date from 1990 to 1991, then 1992 and later 1993.”

Nevertheless, as requested by Akinyele, the organisation urged Nigerians to “let us forgive him;” but also asked, “must we forget?” Perhaps, it is in this spirit that many Nigerians are now voicing their opinion, with many wondering what Babangida, who had ruled this country with iron hand, forgot in the Presidential Villa, which he occupied before he was forced out by Nigerians in 1993.

A group, Akwa Ibom Interest Group, described IBB’s presidential ambition as insult to Nigerians. The group, through its leader, Mr. Sylanus Ukpong, said that it was even surprising that Babangida could muster enough courage to still think of running for the presidency when he did not believe in democracy in the first place.

Ukpong said after annulling the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which had been described as the freest and fairest in the interest of Nigeria, Babangida did not have any moral right to ask for Nigerians’ vote. The group said, “When Ibrahim Babangida’s interest to contest the 2011 presidential election in Nigeria became a major political issue in the media, most Nigerians were still in a state of denials because it was difficult to accept the ugly possibility that the former military dictator could dare Nigerians once again, 17 years after annulling the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was considered to be the best in the history of Nigeria’s attempt at democracy.

“Today, Babangida has officially declared that he is running for president in 2011. By that, he has urinated on the graves of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the nation’s unforgettable icon of democratic struggle who died while fighting to claim the people’s mandate freely given to him on June 12 and hundreds of Nigerians who died in the same course. Today, Babangida has spat on the faces of Nigerians, his message to Nigerians is clear: ‘I can rule this nation again, with or without your consent’.

“We had thought, albeit wrongly, that the former military president would succumb to the numerous voices of wisdom that has cautioned him against seeking election into the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We consider his declaration as another big insult on our collective psyche and our fielding democracy.

“We totally condemn Ibrahim Babangida’s declaration to contest 2011 presidential election in Nigeria. We call on all Nigerians at home and abroad to voice out their protest against Babangida’s insensitivity against Nigeria and Nigerians. Let the ghost of June 12, we invoke, begin to hunt down Babangida and anyone who line out behind him.”

Also, a governorship candidate on the platform of All Nigerian People’s Party in Lagos State, Chief Yomi Tokoya, described Babangida as a threat to free, fair and credible election in 2011. He, therefore, called on Nigerians to ignore those campaigning for him that he has experience to lead the nation once again. While describing his campaigners as “sycophants, praise singers” who he said were all out to deceive unsuspecting Nigerians, Tokoya promised he would soon release a book on why the former military president must not be allowed to lead the nation again.

The book, he said, is co-published and co-sponsored by the Movement for Free and Credible Elections in Nigeria and Save Nigeria Campaign Organisation. He called on Babangida to either withdraw from the presidential race or prepared to be disgraced.

He said the major objective of the book was to mobilise Nigerians “nation-wide and world-wide to put pressure on Babangida to withdraw honourably now from the presidential race or be disgraced Insha Allah, if he refuses to withdraw.”

Tokoya added that a survey carried out before the book was written indicated that majority of Nigerians were of the opinion that Babangida did not have the moral right to want to lead the country now.

Tokoya said, “Many patriotic, progressive and revolutionary Nigerians interviewed for the opinion poll, asserted that Babangida has no moral right to contest the presidential election in 2011 for many reasons. They responded that most of the varied, complex and intricate social, economic and political problems confronting contemporary Nigeria, were created, accentuated and multiplied by unpatriotic and bad leaders like Babangida.

“We wish to advise patriotic, progressive and revolutionary Nigerians to ignore the current and massive propaganda in the mass media and on the Internet, that Babangida has experience, vision, wisdom, courage to build a new Nigeria. We wish to say categorically that the propagandists, sycophants, praise singers and spin doctors of Babangida are pathological liars, deceitful, crooked, craft and unpatriotic people, who are trying to deceive Nigerians to cast their precious votes for Babangida, an unrepentant kleptomaniac, habitual pretender, everlasting reactionary.

“We hereby reiterate that Babangida is a threat to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria in 2011. We are determined to save Nigeria and Nigerians from Babangida and his few unpatriotic, reactionary, greedy and selfish supporters.”

With the stiff opposition coming from all angles, a human rights activist, Mr. Amitolu Shittu said it would be better for Babangida to drop his presidential ambition. He said Babangida remained the most unpopular leader in the history of the country, adding that the former leader’s advisers had failed to tell him the truth about Nigerians’ aversion to him.

The activist said Babangida would not contemplate contesting the 2011 presidential election if he had a true assessment of the public perception of his antecedents and that his reign as a military ruler would haunt Nigeria for a long time.

Posted: at 22-11-2010 11:45 AM (11 years ago) | Gistmaniac
- OJUARAN at 22-11-2010 06:33 PM (11 years ago)
What can this man called IBB do for this nation in this dispensation? He was so powerful as a military leader and kept on shifting the goal post during his despotic regime,promising not to ''stay a day longer Insha Allahu". This is an unrepentant dictator that was always "saluting the courage of Nigerians" during his tyrannical leadership after betraying the duo of Buari and Idiagbon in their patrotic mission to safe this country from decay. The consensus choice of Atiku by the Northern elders is a blessing to this man,  IBB because people that have been expecting his nomination, are now disappointed for the fact that they can not pay him back in his own coin. It has shown that the real politicians are more Maradonic than the Maradona himself. His supporters should advise him to wait till 2019.
Posted: at 22-11-2010 06:33 PM (11 years ago) | Newbie
- chicco77 at 13-09-2012 07:26 AM (10 years ago)
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Posted: at 13-09-2012 07:26 AM (10 years ago) | Addicted Hero