NIGERIANS woke up one morning to hear that the country has been enrolled in the Organisation of Islamic Conference in a secular state such as Nigeria.
Babangida’s approach to governance is riddled with insincerity as his administration deceived the Nigerian people the most when it came to promises delivery. After assuring that power would be returned to civilians in 1990, he reneged, shifting it to 1992 but not until June 12, 1993 was the presidential election held.
The election which was adjudged the freest and fairest election Nigeria ever had with M.K.O Abiola as the acclaimed winner was annulled by Babangida, eliciting national and international outcry. The annulment caused widespread violence in the country, leading to his stepping aside on August 1993. He then appointed an Interim National Government (ING) led by Ernest Shonekan who held forte briefly before the late Abacha seized the reins of power.
Nigerians know better who IBB is, and the assertions of Abraham Lincoln, former American President that: “You can fool some of the people some of the time; you can fool all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”, is a soothing epithet of Babangida’s immoral choice to seek the presidency again under a democratic platform after ruling for eight years as a military president.
His years in office were replete with misdeeds which today, Nigerians cry out for justice to take its course. Hence, Nigerians are vehement and are digging out the archives of history in the present circumstance, because this is a man that has wittingly made feeble attempts to explain away the murder of Dele Giwa, founder of Newswatch Magazine, one of the brightest and best professional and investigative journalists Nigeria has ever produced.
The circumstances leading to Giwa’s death are all too revealing, in particular, his harassment by Col. Halilu Akilu then Director of Military Intelligence and Ajibola Kunle Togun, then Deputy Director of State Security Service who accused him of gun running and plotting a socialist revolution. Afraid of threat to his life, he had called on the late Gani Fawehinmi, his lawyer, to prosecute the security chiefs.
Importantly is the Oputa ‘s panel recommendation on the death of Dele Giwa. It says: “As for the case of Dele Giwa, we are of the view that beyond legal technicalities that some of the key witnesses hung on to, the Federal Government should be encouraged to re-open this case for proper investigation.
“On General Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and two security chiefs, Brigadier General Akilu and Togun are accountable for the death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-opened for further investigation in the public interest”.
However, a Supreme Court decision of February 3, 2001 had stopped the official gazetting of the Oputa panel report to make it a public document saying that “the 1999 Constitution made no provision for tribunals of inquiry.”
Babangida also filed a suit at an Abuja High Court, precluding the government of Obasanjo from considering or accepting observations and recommendations of the panel and from implementing any recommendations, report or white paper arising from the report of the Oputa Panel as they affected him, pending hearing and determination of the suit.
It is expected that as a man who has no skeletons in his cupboard and has nothing to hide or fear, should have allowed the full course of justice to determine his innocence in the murder of Giwa.
Also revealing of Babangida’s incompetence to offer himself again for leadership of this country is the report of Dr. Pius Okigbo which probed the $12.4 billion, gulf war oil windfall receipts. The full report submitted on 27 September, 1994 has never seen the light of day. Interestingly, the full report is now in the public domain, despite desperate efforts to keep it out of view.
Parts of the report reads: “In 1988, the president authorised the dedication of crude oil of 65, 000 barrels per day for the finance of Special Priority Projects, including Ajaokuta Iron and Steel, Itakpe Iron Mining and Shiroro Hydro electric projects.
The account was also to be used for external debt buy-back and the build-up of reserves. The quantity was subsequently increased to 105, 000 barrels per day and in early 1994 to 150, 000 barrels per day.
Mr.John Bello, a political analyst, writes from Kaduna.