Facts have emerged of what transacted when United States government officials visited former dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, in Minna, shortly after the death of his wife in 2009. It was a political meeting to extract his thoughts on the political crisis surrounding President Umaru Yar'Adua's terminal illness, during which Babangida called his own party, the PDP, a weak party and vehemently abused former president Olusegun Obasanjo for destroying its structures. The facts emerged from leaked diplomatic cables by Wikileaks.org.
WikiLeaks has exposed how Nigeria's former military dictator played past President, Olusegun Obasanjo against his Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in a secret plan to cause a crisis that would allow General Ibrahim Babangida return to power. Desperate to return to power as he got older, Babangida, in his characteristic Maradona style, allegedly lured former Atiku Abubakar into a political battle with Olusegun Obasanjo prior to the 2007 general election, according to diplomatic cables within the United States' States Department.
Former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo has reacted angrily to criticisms of his administration by the former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Obasanjo gave IBB an unusual birthday present, calling him a fool at 70, adding that Babangida should bury his head in shame for not coming up with a single power project during his similar eight-year rule. Babangida had, at a press conference to mark his 70th birthday, castigated Obasanjo for wasting $16 billion on the power project his administration embarked upon.
Obasanjo, who spoke with newsmen at his Presidential Library project site where he met with some foreign investors, said at first he did not believe the report credited to IBB until “somebody phoned me and said this was what he said.
“He said check all the papers and I said get me all the papers. They got me the papers and I read them. It’s a little bit unlike Babangida. But if Babangida had decided, on becoming a septuagenarian, that he will be a fool, I think one should probably do what the Bible says in Proverbs chapter 26, verse 4. It says don’t answer a fool because you may also become like him. When you go to the same Proverbs, chapter 26, verse 5, it says answer a fool so that he will not think he’s a wise man. I am now torn between which of the two verses I should follow in this respect.”
A member of the Vatsa family likened Babangida’s statement to shedding “crocodile tears” “an after thought”.
Mr. Jonathan Vatsa,a nephew to the late Gen. Vatsa, added that Babangida’s statement is a cock and bull story. He advised him to stop playing on people’s sensibility.
Vatsa said the family was not surpised that Babangida used the occasion of his 70th birthday to retract his earlier acceptance of all his actions during his dictatorial rule, including the execution of Vatsa who was his Best Man, during his wedding.
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) yesterday said former military President Ibrahim Babangida committed treason by annulling the 1993 presidential election. Moshood Abiola won that election. Akeredolu was speaking as the guest lecturer in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, at the 18th anniversary of the election organised by the Ekiti State Government.
He said: "What the military did, as regards the annulment of the June 12 presidential elections, was treasonable, and the devastating effects are still on. Lives and property were lost and many still bear the scars, both physical and mental, of the devastating aftermath of the decision to disregard the wishes of the people as freely expressed on that day."
Saturday, February 18, 1995, his now famous Minna mansion, stood with all the imposing grandeur befitting castles of the era, very long ago, when powerful lords reigned independent of their kings. At strategic places on the way to the mansion, knots of armed, well-fed military sentries stood at watchful attention. Trees, respectful of the still robust harmattan, swayed their largely leafless crowns in the late morning, gentle wind what caressed the Hill-top district, the vast, sprawling estate owned by the Babangidas. In a way, the trees, dumb to the visitor, may well have been more privy than the sentries to the stream of visitors — great and mighty — that have sought this Mecca for the past five or so years.
Yet, the mansion is not all about ancient times and their fashions. It is a monument to modern, moneyed living, at once graceful and grotesque in its utter sybaritic lavishness. It’s both a home and an office but perhaps nothing near the 50-bedroom affair that the press, including this magazine, had often said it is. Its owner, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, presently strolled in, clad in a rich grey guinea brocade babanriga with grey shoes and a grey cap to match. In good-humoured banter with the editors, he, with engaging irony, said of the mansion: “You guys have always got it wrong. You make the place smaller than it is. It’s a 1,000-bedroom affair! Not 50 bedrooms as you and your colleagues claim. I can take you round to see it for yourselves.” That, incidentally, did not happen. But he, at least, compensated for this with a good, gap-toothed laugh, something that was to characterise the entire interview at his mood swung, without notice, from the friendly, patronising and avuncular to the introspective, speculative and aggressive. In general, he gave his audience the impression that in more auspicious times, his table-talk could well equal that of a great world leader and lend itself to a couple of interesting volumes.
MORE facts emerged on the circumstances surrounding the removal of Major-General I.B.M. Haruna as the chairman of the Northern organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF). It was learnt that Haruna was removed by loyalists of former dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, in the forum.
General Ibrahim Babangida and other former military Heads of State will lose the free federal allowance of over N1.2 billion given to them yearly. Nigeria's Senate views the allocation to Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, who have already stolen billions of dollars from the nation's treasury to live extravagant lives, as unjust, when millions of Nigerians do not even have a job.
As the United States dispatches Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents to Nigeria to join the battle to unmask the architects of the Abuja bombings, Evil Genius, Ibrahim Babangida, quickly sought to redirect attention from himself as the planner of the bombing. Babangida is believed to be very unhappy, having lost the bid to contest the presidency on the platform of the ruling party, and he is being rumored, along with presidential aspirant Atiku Abubakar, as masterminds of the crime.
Feeling not so secure, Babangida raised alarm over alleged plot to implicate him. Speaking through one Kassim Afegbua, who issued a statement in Abuja, the former dictator said: "General Ibrahim Babangida is utterly surprised at the deliberate ploy to link him with the spate of wanton bombings that have created palpable fear in the land. This, to him, amounts to sheer blackmail. It exposes the weakness in the system, if private persons and former leaders who are enjoying their retirement are being linked to acts of terrorism or bombings.