80 Years Of Ibrahim Babangida, And Counting

His comments about his sight being on three prospects for the next President of Nigeria have been in the news since his Arise TV interview that pre-dated his 80th birth on 17 August. All manners of speculations have been on about who the three were. Media headlines came up with lists. The focus has been on the most prominent candidates who some think were the target of Babangida’s suggestion that Nigeria needed a younger person to be President. How can he answer the question in the way he did? Those who wanted a different answer are blaming him for holding an opinion. Babangida is known for assisting transitions. His democracy includes providing directions even if the people have to decide. The explanations for the annulment of the June 12 election were about intervening over anomalies in the polls.

People had alluded to him clearing the way for his friend Alhaji Moshood Abiola when Babangida banned contestants older than 50 from running for President in 1993. What did they have to say when the annulled election affected Abiola directly? They had enough reasons to conclude that Babangida had no friends and attended mostly to his own interests.

Saying, “I have started visualising a good Nigerian leader. A person who travels in this country and has friends virtually everywhere he travels. He knows at least one person that he can communicate with. A person who is very vast in economic development and a good politician who should be able to talk to Nigerians. I have seen one or two or three already in their 60s” is about the most contentious issue he raised in the television interview.

Why is the age barrier generating so much interest when Babangida has no powers to stop anyone from running? Who does not know he is not exactly chummy with President Muhammadu Buhari?

Over lunch with his guests on Wednesday, a day after the crowds that made their way to Minna for the 80th, Babangida was in great mood. He bantered, and countered suggestions that he already had anointed some for President. He retorted that he had not disqualified anyone. One of the guests muted the opportunity that was before those who were above the age mark Babangida drew – they could procure new ages through affidavits.

He asked about Nigeria. He wanted to know about happenings in the different parts his guests issued from. It was doubtful if he did not know. Babangida was wont to compare notes to reach conclusions. Babangida is not aspiring for sainthood. His remark that the extent of corruption today makes saints of those in his administration rankled present-day saints. In the interview he said All Progressives Congress, APC, had not kept its promises on security, the economy, and anti-corruption.

He has made more defences of his eight-year tenure than any other ruler of Nigeria. Could it be that he did so much in eight years that 28 years out of office people still blame him for most things wrong with Nigeria?

The praises are lean when they come. What did Babangida do? What did Babangida not do in expanding the Nigerian economy, developing infrastructure, and creating the myriad of parastatals that have become self-serving fiefdom of a few? What about the local business people who his policies assisted?

His looked great at 80. The legs are weak, as he had said years before they became more obvious. He was in high spirits and enjoyed the jokes that streamed from shenanigans of politicians, cascading to the personal involvements of his guests in Project Nigeria.

The hours sped by. It was time to leave.

The nays should be relieved that the 60s bar means Babangida also excluded himself from another tenure in managing Nigeria.

Happy birthday Nigeria’s only different President.


PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari is still making promises. He will not finish his tenure as a failure, he said. The confession is subject to many interpretations. The most trending is the admission that he has failed badly.

FREEDOM should come soon for 21-year-old Gloria Okolie. The police detained her in Imo State and later moved her to Abuja on the allegation that she was a member of the Eastern Security Network. The police did not charge her to court or keep her in a proper detention facility. She was turned into a house help, washing and cooking for the men who held her. Her family was also reportedly extorted of N220, 000. Once she is released, we would thank the Almighty for His mercies while the offenders would continue in service, gaining promotions, and unleashing more cruelty on Nigerians.

ARE cases like Gloria Okolie’s why government wants to shackle the social media? Without the social media, Okolie’s case would have taken almost forever to receive public attention. Why do we not use existing laws to deal with social media infractions instead of applying decapitation as cure for headache?

MINISTER of Information & Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed is incensed about the social media. “I can assure you that we will not rest until we regulate the social media, otherwise, nobody will survive it.’’ The social media reported Mohammed sneaked out of Nigeria to the USA. The Minister said he travelled formally on official duty.

HOLY Spirit has instructed me not to go to court and I will not disobey the Holy Spirit and I’ll beg the public to please refrain from abusing the Angels that sent the money to those that were in need. – Apostle Suleiman Johnson, retorting to Israel Balogun’s lawyer who asked the preacher to head to court if he was offended by social media posts Balogun made. Balogun questioned Johnson’s claim that angels deposited money in people’s accounts. Days after the posts, police moved all the way from Abuja to arrest Balogun in Lagos. He has been freed on bail. Will angels be the Apostle’s witnesses if the case gets to court?

.Isiguzo is a major commentator on minor issues

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