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Am Sorry Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida

I had a successful stay at Uyo after my  meetings, it got up my spin that I had to go back to Abuja, and bearing in mind that I will have to use the same mode of transportation because even the roads they say was not safe. I guessed I didn’t have a choice, I had to fly.  Just that this time around, I was prepared

because it was a double journey, meaning that when am through at Abuja with my principal’s lieutenants , I will still have to go back home to Lagos where I choose to call my home.  That means am flying twice, so instead of worrying about the beginning, I preferred to postpone the worry towards its end. I comforted myself that I might brace up to go by road while heading home. Then back to the previous piece I did,  I felt I really impressed a couple of fellows in that  piece as the few comments I had did not have anything to say about my piece, but rather my happy believers preferred adding their own grievances against my main character in the piece. On the other hand, a few others only preferred to give kudos to the piece itself as they had nothing to comment on.

Towards the dying end of the comment, a brave one amongst the opposition took it as a personal duty to correct my impressions about my principal character in that piece. It was fun anyway seeing the reactions of people towards the man that wishes to be our president.  My very good friend amongst the lot started by giving me a friendly courage by informing me that I was not alone in my fear of flying, and I am sure he was comforted in the process of comforting me. What he did not know was that my case was just for a few selected days of flying. I could fly once a week for one year without entertaining the flight phobia, and suddenly, it will come, and I usually knew those days. As I write this piece, am already bracing up for tomorrow when I will have to fly again, No shaking! 

I sat back to consider the reactions I had on the last piece, because my analysis was a pure reflection of the impression my principal character had given to the masses. I wondered if there was any atom of falsehood in what I said. How would 85% of the Nigerian population have a wrong impression of just one man? I doubted my pricking intuition that I could have been wrong. I knew somehow that my character was involved in most of these allegations. Maybe, what I did wrong was my not making efforts to talk about his good parts. But do I have to? I kept reminding myself that I had an election to win, and going by the rules, I did not have any business of singing praises to the camp of the opposition.

What would the fanatics of my camp think, would they see me as a double dealer? I got scared there; I needed to keep my good sides here if I was to remain in the good books of my camp. On a second thought, I decided to go ahead and make efforts of playing on a level ground, if I found it not worthy, thank God I was writing from my laptop, I could decide to delete that paragraph. What that means is that I will use just one paragraph to say thank you to the man called IBRAHIM BADAMOSI BABANGIDA. Please my dear readers, I am not here to praise the one I referred to the evil one, even if I refer him to that, it’s just because he himself said he was the evil genius, so I do not see a difference in the ‘genius’ and the ‘one’. To me, the genius is as good as someone. So my fellow believers, when you want to discard a distracting child that believes you owe him a thank you, what do you do? Simple, tell him thank you and see if he will leave you alone. So my ‘thank you’ here is just to concur with my principal character since it appears that that is what he is looking for. 

The man IBB came in with some welcome jubilations that Tuesday of August 1985, I remembered as a young boy then, in the eyes of a child, there was a military marshal music that came on air, as it was the case, we were used to it, we knew then we didn’t need an election to have a change of government. As a matter of fact, we didn’t know when to expect the next governor in the state. Everything was known from the radio first. It was either when we heard that the Head of State had been addressing the nation, or that there was an emergency. I wondered what an emergency was when the military rule itself was as an emergency. So like I was saying, the military martial was what every child loved then, as that was one of the expectation when one was going to the stadium for either the children’s day celebration or the independence day celebration.

The military used to do us some interesting combinations of different instruments and then crowned it with their perfect match steps, even as a child in school, there was a myth about the perfection of the Army, we had arguments about who was better, some preferred the Navy, and few preferred the Air force. For me I had always preferred the Air force though we had only a hand full of them in Calabar. That was when I first conceived the idea of joining the Air force because I also loved to fly, but fate drew me to the army eventually. I am not one any longer before you start asking questions my readers. We use to believe that they were as perfect as a computer though we had never seen one, but it’s as if that word had existed long before, that I can’t tell. 

So back to the military martial music that came in on that Tuesday morning, we heard the voice of a man on the radio, I have a feeling he was a brigadier general in the army, the same man that came on air when the government of the day was introduced. He first told us that there was a change of government, and that we should all stay at home. We wondered if that was his job in the army. I can remember we even argued it in school then that there was a position in the army to announce coups every time there was one. At least that is what I believed I heard, eventually after several of that music was played, he now informed us that one major general called Ibrahim Babangida was now the new man in charge. Babangida was a lovely man then, I guess we finally saw him in the evening, though he was not new to our screen. We all loved him at first sight; He was the former chief of the army. He came on board the podium with a flag by his right side, I remember he decided to stand, there was a man by his side, I don’t know who that man was, but he was not looking friendly.

The man IBB took his time to say so many things that fetched him applause here and there. I remember the shouts and claps of joy from time to time, there was even a very long clap, I presume that was when he abrogated the famous decree 4, my readers, a lot of families were sure to have their loved ones back from the prisons. My dad and his pals had a good drink that day, they knew they didn’t have to go to work; even we didn’t have to go to school. The man was loved. Before you could say jack, things were going on well, money was back home, how that happened, I can’t tell, but I can assure you that my dad was a rich man again.  The next thing we heard was some stories that we were going to have a state of our own, there were different potential names of the state, it was a thing of joy, this man was indeed a man of vision. He came up with what we called SAP then. We were informed that Nigeria was going to start production of most of the things that were usually imported. They even told us that Nigeria was going to be a place that other citizens of the world would be making efforts to visit. Then one morning in 1987, I guessed it was a Wednesday, September the 23th, we were all glued to the television. I can still remember that excitement, as we listened to the brave man’s broadcast, he said so many things, after making so many decrees that was accepted by all, he announced the creation of Katsina State, he took a while to call the local governments that would make up the state, what an intelligent man. As we later found out, this man did not reveal to the people the local governments he had in mind for the avoidance of wanting more. We were almost disappointed with him when I heard “the armed forces ruling council also saw the necessity of……….” My dear readers, the shout of joy with tears I heard that day is what I have never had the opportunity of hearing again, Calabar boiled, cold, scattered, knock outs were shot, children shouted, in summary, there were jubilations to the highest order, we were freed from an imaginary slavery, Akwa Ibom State was created, we did not know who and who was going, one thing was sure, some people were happy that this guys will be leaving them for good to carry on their  lives, the other people were happy they would be given an opportunity to start their lives.

Everybody was happy, yes, this man brought happiness to the common man, we were happy. And he called the names of the local governments; it was time to know where you would belong. So as your local government was called, a higher shout was released, in general everybody was happy except the guys from Oron that wished they were left to stay with their perceived immediate brothers, the Efiks. Am relating my story based on what I saw and heard, I have refused to go into details for fear of evidential appraisals.  Basically, IBB had a couple of policies that I strongly believed was in the interest of the country. He also had consideration of the people from the Niger Delta, sometimes I wondered if it was because he married from the area. I even remember he did something about the offshore-onshore dichotomy. He actually established the OMPADEC of which a couple of guys were made rich. I believe we should give him some kudos on that. Dear readers, the man made efforts to transform Nigeria to a step ahead. 

I took a while there to say those lovely things about a man I used to respect until recently. I initially was used to sympathizing with him because I strongly believed that he was not all alone in that decision of annulling the famous June 12 elections. But the truth remains that he was responsible for it. His name will always be synonymous with June 12 and MKO Abiola. The issue of Dele Giwa is a thing of concern since most of the fingers were pointing at him. But sometimes I also wonder why I would send a letter bomb from my office to kill a public figure like Dele Giwa and at the same time stamp a return address to my office, I do not still get it there. I believe he was either a moron to have done that or he was framed. My dear readers, that is my opinion, but it will not stop me from believing what is generally accepted in the context of numbering his crimes. But remember, the wise ones say that to every fire, there is usually a smoke. I believe like the elders say, use your tongue to count your teeth’.

On the issue of corruption emanating from his regime, that I will say it’s true, I will not go back to the details of my last piece, but if you have a problem on that, read my piece titled ‘THE MAN IBRAHIM BABANGIDA’ The lovely man did not get it right when his ambition of staying put in power got over him. It actually made him get it wrong. I can assure you my readers, that apart from his supporters on the facebook, it is practically difficult to find a man on the street that will wish to be associated with my principal character. The question the readers should ask is why? The truth is that IBB has a bad reputation, most of which was acquired as he was getting set to leave office.  He had a bad exit, and from what I know, one will be judged by his handiworks of his last days on earth, that is why there is a word called repentance. No matter how good you are, am sure if you are killed while stealing, the good Lord will judge you based on your stealing, because in essence, you did not repent. But as a criminal, and you give your live to God few days before your exit on earth, because of the word called repentance of which is being taught in the mosques and churches, I believe you will make heaven as a good man, for the Holy Bible says that old things shall pass away and behold, all things are now new. I have a feeling that the Holy Quran has also taken care of that issue too. I will make efforts to request a copy so as to help me in my references. 

The man IBB left Nigerians with pains, so many pains. I do not see a reason he would want to be back as president of Nigeria. Is he seeking a second chance? Nobody in his right senses will honestly want to take that risk. Supposing he comes in and suddenly changes our system of government to a monarchy, what will we say? Won’t we be blamed for not being thoughtful? Who will we hold responsible? Am I going to hold John Okiyi Kalu or Bola Obanya responsible? If IBB wishes he needs another chance, why won’t he reserve himself as a fountain of knowledge for the younger generational leaders like President Goodluck Jonathan? Would it not be better if as much as he is hated with alleged sins and accusations, that he receives a national pardon? The truth is that everybody that loves the president will automatically love him. His case will be like the Ribadu case that is now seen as a saint. IBB could also enjoy that.

Won’t it be better if some high stride vision is achieved, and is attributed to the wisdom of IBB, how would you like that? Won’t that be a better way of serving the nation rather than coming to do a competitive race with a young man when all the indications are there that you will fail? Is that not embarrassing? As I write this piece, I am looking at the picture of  the man that created my state, the man that created the foundation of which several visions have been achieved in Nigeria. Am also looking at the man that was welcomed gloriously, yet he left with his tail in-between his legs. I see a man that would have been one of the greatest in the Nigerian history only if he had not conducted that election that year. If only he did not annul that election. I also see a man that will be pained so much in his last years on earth, because he will fail these elections. When he fails, it will put him down the more. Am pained that he was ill advised to join this race by his advisers. Nigerians are too enlightened to let him rule them again. His time is past, and there is nothing he can do about it. IBB will fail. What a shame. Am sure every indigene of Akwa Ibom will be sad. We do not have a choice but to helplessly watch him go down. Am sorry Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

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