By I.O Orija
IBB wanting support from NLC, PMAN and NUJ donated various sums to them because of their suasive capacity on the people they reach out to.
He was later to put several of them in incarceration. A human rights activist Ifowodo Ogaga wrote in 1993 and reported by Emmanuel Ufuophu-Biri in Vanguard Viewpoint of Tuesday, May 4, 2004: â€œSince the IBBÂ regime was unconventional, unelected, non-representative and lacking in legitimacy and developmental orientation, but fully endowed with abundant power for violence, repression and corruption, the regime wanted to bring the press under its feet.
Babangida seemed to hold the press as a principal culprit in the general and intense opposition that followed the attempt to perpetuate himself in officeâ€. He thus dealt in an unimaginably wicked way, censoring them, sealing off their premises, proscribing some, setting his goons in uniform to manhandle and brutalize others.
Mr. Ufuophu-Biri concluded that: â€œDuring the eight years of catastrophic. political and economic experimentation with Nigeria, he promulgated eight draconian anti-press decreesâ€ to replace decree No.4 whichÂ he repealed.
In his own essay titled: â€œRemembering August 27, 1985â€, Salihu Yashir quoted the African Confidential Vol. 34 No.4 and affirmed that most of governmentâ€™s spendings were designated â€œextra-budgetary and financed through dedicated accounts which were managed by IBB alone.
He said: â€œThe lodgements into the accounts were not disclosed and there were no checks about how much was spent from the accountâ€ (Vanguard Wednesday, September 3, 2003). Salihu, thus wondered why his regime could not account for the $12.4 billion Gulf War windfall.
In his reaction to Alhaji Habu Fariâ€™s assertion that IBB would return to rule in 2007 because according to him (Fari) : “We know and even God knows that Babangida is the one to takeover this government after Obasanjoâ€. Dr. Femi Okurounmu, in Nigerian Tribune of Wednesday 23 June, 2004, listed nine deadly sins of IBB against the Nigerian people.
â€œOne, he institutionalised corruption in the polity and encouraged it in all its manifestations. He removed the toga of shame from those who engaged in it and freely dispensed public funds, as if they were private ones, to settle friends and sycophants. He eroded all forms of moral and ethical restraints and trampled on all our civilized values.
â€œTwo, his regime provided a liberal environment for the flourishing of international drug trafficking and financial crimes among Nigerians and this so damaged Nigeriaâ€™s image internationally that many respectable Nigerians, including professors and priests, were subjected to embarrassing searches at foreign entry ports and no one was considered above suspicion.
â€œThree, his corrupt implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), wiped out the middle class in Nigeria, created a small class of the super rich and impoverished all other Nigerians. He initiated the steep devaluation of the Naira, leading to closure of factories, loss of jobs, reduced purchasing power and rapid multiplication of poverty.
â€œFour, he violated the human rights of citizens at willâ€.
â€œFive, he elevated lying, deceit and perfidy into artful styles of governance, carving for himself the uncomplimentary sobriquet, Maradona. For eight years he dribbled the nation with a transition programme that was designed to transit IBB becoming the President. In the process, he squandered over N400 billion of the nationâ€™s resources building secretariats for his artificially engineered political parties at local, state and national levels .
â€œSix, he introduced money politics by banning the experienced politicians and recruiting a new class of so-called newbreed politicians whom he funded and sponsored into various elective positions to serve as an advance regiment for his own planned coming into the presidency. The polity is today morally afflicted with the adverse consequences of this cash and carry politics.
“Seven, he introduced the wasteful practice of creating the officially funded position of first lady, an avenue to channel state funds to private accounts of rulersâ€™ wives, gratify their ego and vanity and enable them sustain flamboyant and arrogant life style, out of tune with the material conditions of Nigerian women.
“Eight, he exacerbated religious tensions in the country by the surreptitious manner he led Nigeria into membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
“Nine, he committed the most grievous sin of all by the annulment of June 12, 1993 electionâ€.
Dr. Femi Okurounmu concluded, then that Babangidaâ€™s return as President would be the ultimate triumph of evil over good.
Prelude to Aishaâ€™s wedding in 2003, IBB was alleged to have given a whopping sum for her wedding shopping which he neither controverted norÂ denied.
He was equally alleged to have imported Wedding Cake at a cost of $7,000.
In its advertorial carried in Nigeria Tribune of Wednesday 28, January, Egbe Omo Oodua claimed that lBB, in 1991 bought 70 six door Limousines as gifts for visiting Heads of States during OAU meeting. They thought such fund could have been utilized to provide facilities for the populace.
ffiB recently confIrmed the population of Nigeria to be about 150 million. Is it not an insult to the people that leaders would continue to recycle themselves because of their ill-gotten wealth?
As a young General, ffiB introduced the Concept of New breed Politicians or . what was later called Generational change; today, lBB says the younger generation is inexperienced and immature to lead the nation. This is speaking from both sides of his mouth in order to justify his ambition.
Far away in Leeds, United Kingdom, his foot soldiers in the Diaspora floated â€œThe Save Nigeria Democracy Groupâ€ Friday 16, April, 2010, to launch lBBâ€™ s Campaign. The group, adopting blackmail and intimidation strategy to scare antagonism awaY;t said it would compile names of those opposed to lBB and forward same to the Inspector General of Police as Sponsors of Political violence in Nigeria.
The group does not share in our pains and anguish and so would not know that only those that are wealthy, sponsor political violence espectIve 0 w atever anyone may wnte or sax remams e most c ansmatic .
President Nigeria has ever had with a formidabâ€™te network of friends. As a Nigerian no one can deny the fact that he, like other retired Generals, has the constitutional right to aspire to any office in Nigeria. What we are saying is that we should not be seen or treated as fools.
With the many sins of IBB, he should remain a Statesman and a Kingmaker and should not be deceived into believing that he alone has answers to our problems when indeed he was ~u important factor in creating the problems.
If his economic policies failed the nation in his first coming, if his profligacy deprived the people of Nigeria the much needed development and if indeed he knows he is just one out of 150 million Nigerians, then he should appreciate the fact that he had his own chance to make the difference. We cannot continue to recycle people, who when they attain power, hold the rest of us hostage.
Mr. Orija, a commentator on national issues, writes from Lagos.