Viewpoint - August 8, 2021

SUNDAY MUSINGS: IBB and his August Pyrotechnics

By Innocent Okon

Symbols, dates and even colours could arrest and secure permanent admiration or fear in the minds of many mortals.
Despite the present science and technology-driven world, some humans are still curious to know what their zodiac signs say about their day.
Politicians, particaularly the African breed, can hardly be satisfied with favourable voters’ survey by credible pollsters without visiting marabouts and ‘men of God’ for confirmation!
Belief in the supernatural may appear primitive and absurd on the altar of science, but it still enjoys reverence in many climes.
The month of August sure holds a lot of faith, admiration and confidence for General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
He has a lot of august events in his life to remember in the month of August.
First , it is his birth month! It was also same month in 1985 that he successfully led a palace coup that toppled then Major General Muhammadu Buhari.
That August made him the first military President and the first Nigerian leader with a visible and influential first lady. It is also in the month of August in 1993 that he exited power in a blaze of inglory following the annulment of the Presidential elections held that year .
The month of August is here and IBB, as Nigerian Press labels him, is hitting the headlines again ! He recently granted an interview to a cable television service , ARISE TV, and revisited so many issues. He gave his thoughts on the state of the nation and why he annuled June 12 election. He said he would prefer a ‘ young’ Nigerian in his “60s” to run for Presidency come 2023. According to him, Nigeria needs a leader that will connect with the people and ” not talk on top of the people”. On the vexatious issue of June 12, he maintained that he did the bidding of a strong cabal within and outside the military inorder to preempt a ” violent” military incursion into the polity once he exited power! On PMB’s anti graft war, IBB said his regime did better than what Nigerians are witnessing in the name of fight against corruption. I refuse to buy into the opinion that IBB by that interview wants to increase the traffic flow to his Hill top mansion in Minna by desperate politicians jostling for endorsement!
Am rather perplexed and disappointed that IBB is still sanctimonious and remorseless on some of the hallmark decisions of his regime that have incontestably bred the avoidable distrust, moral decadence in public service and stunted growth of civil governance in Nigeria till date!
Why didn’t he allow MKO to assume his mandate and let the heavens fall? Which cabal was more important than the Nigerian people who ignored religion and tribe to vote massively for MKO ans Kingibe ( two Muslims)?
Today, we are grappling with religion fueled insecurity without a template of accommodation and tolerance, which the MKO/Kingibe election would have provided for our polity. IBB’s preference for men in their 60’s to run for Presidency is bizarre and insulting to swelling ranks of young, urbane and educated Nigerians. What advantage does the age of 60 confer on national leadership, except medical tourism and gerontocracy ? Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama of United States finished offering services to their country at the highest level under 60, and here is someone telling the nation that the official retirement age of 60 of public servants should be the recommended age for a Nigerian to aspire to the office of the President! No wonder psychologists are wont to posit that sanity and senility share a very thin boundary.
The ‘Evil Genius’ as he once styled himself , in that interview also rated his regime higher than the present one on the fight against corruption. Except he deliberately wanted to reactivate old enmity and attract official persecution, IBB is again singing off tune here!
The fight against graft in public offices may not meet the expectations of millions yet, but definitely better than when IBB was in charge.
It was under IBB that ‘settlement’ was the approved euphemism for bribery and getting undeserved favours from public officers. Everything and everybody had an assumed price tag and money was the national password!
The seed of political jobbery started with IBB when the body language of his administration encouraged an anti-democracy outfit called ASSOCIATION FOR BETTER NIGERIA (ABN) led by Senator Authur Nzeribe. It was the midnight judgment procured by the ABN and the illegal action of this discredited group that IBB advanced as one of the reasons for the annulment of June 12 Presidential election!
General Babangida on record, is clocking 80 this month. If he has nothing assuring to tell Nigerians in their present despondency, he should spare them this impudent reminder of missed opportunities and misused resources under his watch!
Our heads are already bloodied, and our feet getting weaker for this journey to a once indivisible and indissoluble nation state.
There should be no more salt on this avoidable injury, please!

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