October 3, 2010
Adewale T Akande,-
Good governance and accountability can only be enthroned in a democratic culture build upon communial social capital and trust. Trust is a common four-letter word we hear almost everyday. According to The Little Oxford Dictionary, it means “Firm belief that a person or thing may be relied upon; state of being relied upon; confident expectation; thing or person committed to one’s care; resulting obligation.”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines trust as “an arrangement in which property is managed by one person or entity for the benefit of another.” Trust, according to the online Accurate and Reliable Dictionary is an “assured resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle, of another person; confidence and reliance”. Therefore, trust simply means to rely on the integrity of someone who is being true to you. According to George Mac Donald; “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved” Without trust, there is no integrity. Trust has to be earned. It is not a product that can be taken off from a person. Trust is one of important elements that makes one feel comfortable in most relationships. Trust, truth and truce are all very important in developing of any society. Trusted people are trustworthy. Trust goes with dedication and commitment of a mission. Trust is upon which confidence is reposed. Trust is not blind- we have seen people in action over time and be able to recall their performances. Trust is certainly based on past experiences-the IBB eight destabilising years have destroyed his trust and personal integrity to come back again as Nigerian President.
The first traffic rule before crossing a road stipulates that you have to look all around ( left, right and even left again) and listen for traffic. This indictate looking both ways before crossing a road or risk of being hit by a truck. In this particular case, this was a truck that had knocked-us down before.Have you ever walked on the road with anybody who had been knocked-down by a truck before? He will always takes all necesary traffic precautions whenever on the road. Nigeria is now in a very sensitive and critical situation in which we will not waste our time again in electing the same kind of people that caused the crippling of a great nation and turning it to a sleeping giant. These people have wasted their chances and even our chances. Charistmatic and generosity are not enough elements that make a good leader. The most important thing about an exemplary leader is his capability, integrity, honesty and intellectual ability with the support of his people. Leaders that will base their greatness on the services they render for good of the citizens rather than the property accumulated within shortest time We need people who are ethical and who can convey a strong vision of the future. We need trusted leaders and archievers who will build a humane society capable of looking after the legitimate needs of the citizenry. IBB failed to do this and cannot be trusted again. Nigerians are tired of those public officials that seek illegitimate personal gain through actions such as bribery,extortion, patronage and embezzlement. This was even testified by Oke Ndibe that “Babangida legendry personal fortune remains a mocking reminders of promises unfulfilled”.
As soon as IBB came to power, he changed his position as military head of state to executive President which gave him more power to appoint the military service chiefs, the high command chiefs, and the membership of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC). He did this so as to accomplish his pseudo democratic machinations to stay in government. Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi cried out soon when he said; “…there is two much power concentrated in President General Ibrahim Babangida. This is totally unhealthy for the promotion of the rule of law. Never before in the history of Nigeria, has one man given to himself the power of virtually everything fundamental in governance of this vast and diverse nation. It is not right and it is not acceptable…” Chief Fawehinmi even gave six reasons why Mandela will be fighting Babangida if he were to be a Nigerian. IBB promised the whole nation in radio/television live broadcast to lead a stable transition to civilian rule and quit office by October, 1990. Babangida later pushed the date of his promised handover to democratic rule back to October 1992. in another broadcast to the nation. As this time was not enough, he extended the date of a handover to civilian rule to January 1993. IBB did not leave (“stepping-aside”) until August 27,1993 (exactly eight years he overthrowned his erstwhile friend Mohammed Buhari) with an Interim National Government arrangement for Abacha to succeed him. This was achieved less than three months later (November 17,1993) when Abacha emerged. The extent of damage done by IBB years was even testified by Chief Ernest Shonekan, a Yoruba bussinessman from late Chief Abiola town, who was trickishly installed as the Head of the ING. Chief Shonekan said this on his acceptance speech; “…unparralled suffering has been inflicted on the people as a result of unpopular economic polities and reckless squandering of the national wealth.” IBB regime was dominated with massive corruption and mismanagement of the economy.
Most Nigerians refused to trust IBB and his government most especially his transition programme which eventually led to nowhere. It was in 1991 when Professor Wole Soyinka first sensed the pranks of IBB on his endless transition programme which he described in African Concord magazine as “voodoo democracy”.He stressed further that; “…you’ve a magician at work. He takes a hat, turns it upside down to show that there’s nothing and then he proceeds to bring out rabbits, handkerchiefs, scarves out of the supposedly empty hat-for me that is a voodoo or magic.” Another first generation politician and businessman, Alhaji Sule Gbadamosi in an interview with “The News” magazine of March,1993. He said that: “Babangida has something upon his sleeves, and that something he has not disclose…we are just kidding ourselves. The transistion programme will not succeed. But you don’t need to teach people, when the time comes the people will take it upon themselves to correct the situation.” Another role model of the Nigeria Military, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) also told the African Guardian on January, 1993, that ; “The way I see things emerging is that the two presidential candidates are applying for a post that is not vacant and that will not be vacant in August.” (August 27,1993). The late social critic and lawyer, late Chief Gani Fawehinmi in his own reaction, said in one of the editions of Tell magazine that ;”All the other elections will take place, the problem will be with the Presidential election.” Are we not all living witnesses to these predictions?. This same man that decieved the whole nation so much wants to come back as Nigeria President.
Moreover, as we know that corruption is wrong and destructive, since it benefits the unscrupulous to the detriment of others in the society. Corruption was institutionalised in all sectors during IBB years making it to be the beginning of the worst era of corruption in Nigeria. IBB administration was so corrupted to the extend that in 1993, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau then, Alhaji Isa Kaita was so frustrated with this pervasive corruption that he said on the Guardian newspaper of May 10,1993 that; “Nigeria is so corrupt that the only solution is for providence to help Nigeria” Also the reknowned economist, Professor Sam Aluko refered to this era as “…profligate, wasteful and extravagant nation like Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, IBB was less than fifteen months in government, when Dele Giwa, the Newswatch magazne editor was killed by a letter bomb at his Lagos home ion October, 1986 and this was attributed to his government. According to the “Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations, Human Rights Violations Investigation Nigeria of May, 2002 headed by Justice Chukwudife Oputa. The Oputa panel Report concluded that ; ”On General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col.A.K Togun are accountable for the death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-open for future investigation in the public interest.” Babangida even confirmed in an interview he had with Karl Maier and Mohammed Haruna in his Minna house as quoted in Maier’s book on page sixty-four that; “…Akilu spoke to him (Dele Giwa) twenty –four hours before.But somebody had to talk to somebody. Anything could happen after you wanted to talk to somebody. That is the harsh reality of life. But unfortunately nobody wanted to listen. I suspect the media, whatever, human rights groups, if they tried to look at this dispassionately like normal intelligent people would, maybe we would have gone somewhere. But people have already made up their minds that government is guilty. Period. The report, they are not interested.”
Let us see what other Nigerians said about IBB according to Karl Maier’s book tiltle: “This house has fallen” on page forty-five, The excerpt reads thus; ”After the harshness of Abacha’s five years in power, Babangida’s methods seemed rather benign. For years Babangida’s tactics was, in the words of the prominent northern lawyer Suleimanu Kumo, to allow his critics “to bark and bark and bark and even to bite,” while assuring they could not cause any serious wounds. Unlike Abacha, who favoured strong-arm tactics against suspected opponents. Babangida employed a more sophisticated mixture of repression and “settling” the Nigerian equivalent of greasing the palms. There were many, however, who compared his rule unfavourably with that of Abacha. “I think Babangida was even worse than Abacha,” I was once told by M.D. Yusufu, the highly respected former Inspector-General of Police. “Babangida went all out to corrupt society, Abacha was intimidating people with fear. With him gone now, you can recover. But this corruption remains, and it is very corrosive to society.”
Nigerian youths are very tired of those elders ruining their future. For the past three decades, these same set of people could not provide us basic fundamental human needs of regular electricity supply and drinking water, free and qualitative education, free health care, employment opportunities, befiting social security, protection of life and property, reliable and effective transportation system with standard highways road- network linking all States of the federation. Al these infrastructures make citizen to be proud of their country. IBB cronies should know that nobody is “cashing in on Babangida bashing” again. We cannot be fooled again by those people who does not mean well for this great nation. This is why at fifty, the golden age, we must be “wised-up” and resist any attemp to force corrupt leaders on us. According Martin Luther King Jnr; “The world is full of evil not become of those who do evil, but because of those who sit and let it happen”. As Yoruba adage says; “If God shows us our enemy, our problem is already solved” . IBB cannot be trusted again. If given a chance, he will surely bring back those corrupted associates and we will be witnessing another predatory kleptocrats, politics of hatred, deceit and lack of restraint. He will also bring some intellectuals to disguise his mission. He recruited Professor Wole Soyinka and Late Dr. Tai Solarin when he was in power. They both left his regime when they realised that IBB had ulterior motives for recruiting them. Insticts are inborn thoughts, words, actions and feelings that make us who we are today. The instincts are below the surface of the subconscious and often base their feelings outside of reason. In this sense, being a leader is personal, it flows from an individual’s qualities and actions. We have all seen that between 1985 and 1993, even till 1998. That is why it is more logical for us to refuse those leaders that had never have great concern for the masses. Posterity will never forgive time wasting again. When leaders and rulers are corrupt, the whole civil service servants and the police on the street will be corrupted. From my own experience and from numerous studies, leaders play a critical role in setting policies, priorities and new direction for the future. There is no time to waste with fake re-cycling leaders. We need an achiever, a person of vision, an agent of change and a person of trust and integrity to lead us to a new Nigeria. A true and trusted leader that will always give valuable consideration to the people, which means making promises and keeping those promises.
Only the “pathologically foolish” will believe the reason proffered for the cancellation of the June 12 presidential election using the words of Nosa Igiebor. IBB should not be forgoten and trusted again for subverting the peoples collective mandate of the June 12,1993 election, when million of Nigerians left their different homes to cast their votes under the scorching sun. The most detrabalised late politician, Chief M.K.O Abiola, eventually won 30 percent of the votes in almost all the thirty states of the federation. Later, IBB annulled the freest, fairest and most peaceful and credible election in Nigeria’s historywithout any reliable reason than to let Abacha became a President and stole more than $3 billion dollars from out treasury between 1993 and 1998, while seventy percent of Nigerians were living below poverty line. IBB told Maier in his book: “The military would have toppled him (MKO Abiola) because all the machinery for toppling was on the ground. Abacha would have been the head of state in a violent coup” You can see the thinking of our new presidential aspirant. You will ask: Why did he installed the Interim National Government ? To fake all Nigerians when he knew that Abacha was on the waiting list. IBB knew Abacha wouldn’t have lasted for a month in office if MKO Abiola was declared and sworn as President. This would have saved us from Abacha’s “era of lootoracy” of someone who never had any good programme for the masses. Seventeen years after, he is now turning to the same millions of disappointed electorates to vote for him.The new INEC Chairman, Prof.Attahiru M Jega was right when he said in a recent lecture titled; “Credible Leaders:The Roles of Faith-Based Organisations” in Abuja that:”If the turth be told, past Nigeria leaders with few exceptions were self-serving rulers, not leaders. Some were even despots…There is perhaps no other country in the world where power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely as in Nigeria” Prof.Jega said further of Nigeria past leaders that “They have generaly lacked vision, focus and selflessness and even enlighted self-interest. Many in leadership positions are unimaginably corrupt, they are greedy, they are vindictive, they ar reckless and in many fundamental respects,senseless. Virtualy, whoever has access to power attempts to abuse it.” The money they stole put the nation in this economic distress.
His benefitted SAP programme ”sapped “ Nigerians to their knees. Or to put it properly as Ken Saro Wiwa described him as “a man who traduced the country and brought it to its very knees.” The adoption of a Structural Adjusyment Programme (SAP) ,in 1986 had fundamental cosequences as pronounced in the drastic fall in the living standard of people and severe inflation which consequence resulted to “Andrew must go syndrom” – when most Nigerian proffessionals fled out of the country for greener pastures. SAP loans are frequently taken by corrupt, illegitimate and repressive African leaders without the aproval of the entire people. IBB needed that loans and not the Nigerians with all God-given human and natural resources.God has not created this country to be beggars. There is no any country in the whole of Europe that have one-third of Nigeria’s human and natural resources. According to Vanguard Online Community of September 1, 2010, reported a recent lecture title: “Nigeria and World Bank-Friend or Foe” at the University of Ibadan in honour of Late Professor Samson Olayide, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria and African Region, Mr.Onno Ruhl said ; “Babangida never got our support for Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, that he introduced and yet we were getting all the blames for it. The only thing he did was that the recommendations he made was the same we recommended for other countries.” You can even see what Sunday Times editorial wrote to summed up his first four years as a military President in 1989 “In these trying times, it is easy to succumb to the temptation to view four years of IBB as a non-event. Times are indeed hard. The naira no longer stretches far enough. Jobs have become a rarity and the man in the street is hard put to believe in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”. Barely two years IBB became the President, Prince Tony Momoh commented on Leadership in Nigeria and said in the Newswatch magazine of April 15,1987 that ;”Nigeria is the only country I know where the qualification you need to be President is that you are not mad and also that you achieve a certain number of years in age.”,
There is no doubt that IBB is desperate to redeem his battered image by becoming the next President. The game is up and rulers should be reminded again of the limits of their own devices .The wind of change is blowing and the branches of the trees must obey. The post of Nigeria Presidency shall never be entrusted to mistrust hands again. As the country’s ex-President and a strong member of a registered party, Babangida can give the best advice to move Nigeria forward and re-write its history to his party chieftains to debate on. Babangida is perhaps one of the most wealthiest living Nigerians now, we will all welcome him in embarking on philantropic projects to save Nigerian youths being deprived of education and basic health care in rural areas. IBB and other Nigerians in corridor of power should remember that trust is like a glass or vase; once broken it can never be the same again. Besides, all our politicians should always remember the immortal words of George Horarce Lorimer that; “It is good to have money to buy things that money cannot buy, but it is better not to loose things that money cannot buy”. They should watchout theselves when in place of authority as power according to late Dele Giwa is “ …a crazy aphrodisiac, it makes men blind to their shortcomings.” I do not have any personal vendetta against Babangida a s a person than to save my country from the ugly situation Nigerians went through during his eight years in government. I will always defend and develop my country with facts and figures till I die. Nigerians will never experience despots regimes again. It is a big shame for a potentially very rich country like this to be poor. Forward ever and backward never! I believe it is better to be saved by criticism than to be ruined with fake praises. Nigeria is 50 years old and my people used to say a fool at 40, is a fool forever. Nigerians have forgive IBB, but we can never forget his destabilising eight years as President of this nation. Forgiveness does not necessarily demand forgetfullness. The need to remember is necessary as check against the future occurence. Those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. It is even worse when a people prefered healing a disease instead of preventing it. Great men are great because they willed to be great.. No sacrifice will be too much for this great country. Nigeria is greater than anyone of us. Nigerians want their country back. Let all Nigerians use this golden anniversary opportunity to unite in faith, trust, progress and participate in ongoing electoral process. Let us all come out en-masse to vote fairly, freely and peacefully and install a NEW NIGERIA of our dreams. So help us God.
Adewale T Akande,
Author, Educationist and Road Traffic Safety Consultant,
Alicante, Spain. Tel:0034-600877296