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; â€œNigeria is so corrupt that the only solution is for providence to help Nigeriaâ€ Also the reknowned economist, Professor Sam Aluko refered to this era as â€œ…profligate, wasteful and extravagant nation like Nigeria.â€
Let us see what other Nigerians said about IBB according to Karl Maierâ€™s book tiltle: â€œThis house has fallenâ€ on page forty-five, The excerpt reads thus; â€After the harshness of Abachaâ€™s five years in power, Babangidaâ€™s methods seemed rather benign. For years Babangidaâ€™s tactics was, in the words of the prominent northern lawyer Suleimanu Kumo, to allow his critics â€œto bark and bark and bark and even to bite,â€ 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 â€œsettlingâ€ the Nigerian equivalent of greasing the palms. There were many, however, who compared his rule unfavourably with that of Abacha. â€œI think Babangida was even worse than Abacha,â€ I was once told by M.D. Yusufu, the highly respected former Inspector-General of Police. â€œBabangida 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.â€
Only the â€œpathologically foolishâ€ 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 Nigeriaâ€™s history without 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: â€œThe 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 coupâ€ 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 wouldnâ€™t have lasted for a month in office if MKO Abiola was declared and sworn as President. This would have saved us from Abachaâ€™s â€œera of lootoracyâ€ 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; â€œCredible Leaders:The Roles of Faith-Based Organisationsâ€ in Abuja that:â€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 Nigeriaâ€ Prof.Jega said further of Nigeria past leaders that â€œThey 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.â€ The money they stole put the nation in this economic distress.
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 countryâ€™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; â€œIt is good to have money to buy things that money cannot buy, but it is better not to loose things that money cannot buyâ€. They should watchout theselves when in place of authority as power according to late Dele Giwa is â€œ …a crazy aphrodisiac, it makes men blind to their shortcomings.â€ 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