Home » POLITICS » IBB,OBJ media brawl approved

Former Nigeria's military president Ibrahim BabangidaFOR a country that have spent much of its 50 years of independent under stringent conditions, poor leadership and mismanagement of its wealth, it’s not unusual for Nigerians to actively debate which of their leaders has failed the country the most. What is however rare is for the masses to take the position of spectators while two of their former presidents freely crush each other’s credibility and record of governance on the pages of news dailies.

The ‘free for all smack down’ by two former presidents,Ibrahim Badamosi  Babaginda, IBB (from 1985 -1993) and Olusegun Obasanjo,OBJ (from 1999 - 2007) have forced many to ask; What the heck in the world could the two ex military generals be thinking for them to have descended so low from their hilltop mansions to calling each other names and feeding the public with their stomach sickening venom?

On the one hand, event of the past week was the worst birthday gift Babaginda could have asked for. While the former military strongman celebrated its 70th birthday on Wednesday, August 17th, he was overwhelmed by the death of his former right man, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, Rtd. Barely 24 hrs hours after, he had to slugged it out with his former military boss, in an unusual public spat. I fear the doom day itching closer to the footstep of the Minna Reversed-Robin Hood.

Compare to the Minna General, The case of Obasanjo is simply a matter of the proverbial bull in a China shop. Decades of life experiences still can’t help the Otta farmer from throwing tantrum around and calling for the head of anyone who dares critic his actions (whether during or outside his public service life). He has literary become a white elephant in the room - too big to be stepped on.

Why the relationship between the two seemingly allies may have look all good and dandy in the eyes of the public, staunch observers of political events have always maintained that their unholy friendship is only for strategic purposes cemented by their political interests - a bizarre relationship of pretense.

Besides their role during the country’s darkest era, both IBB and OBJ since Nigeria’s returned to democracy in 1999 have acquired the status of two most powerful Nigerian politicians; their influences spread beyond each others region of birth, the loyalty and patronage enjoyed by the two godfathers are far reaching even outside their political lining and known affiliation. It therefore makes sense when Nigerians attribute the country’s stack underdevelopment (considering its potentials) to the duo years of leadership failure, even though they see themselves as the best things that ever happened to the country.

Twice (in 2007 and 2011), Babaginda tried, unsuccessfully, to return as Nigeria’s president. Ironically, the major human obstacle that has kept him from fulfilling his idealistic desire over the country has been Obasanjo, a ‘friend’ that he helped to get to the throne in 1999.

All moves by Babaginda to seek presidential ticket of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party were frustrated by Obasanjo, based on personal motives and regional politics. The latter even though is an open secret among power brokers in the capital, is usually dismissed as a conspiracy theory.  The plan to break the dynamism of core Northern political bloc elites remains a life time ambition for OBJ.

Babaginda himself has openly admitted that he was frustrated by Obasanjo, through the anti-financial crime agency (EFCC) not to contest the 2007 election. Interesting enough, while Babaginda has always maintained that he has no skeleton in his cupboard, he however still found EFCC threat serious enough for him to relinquish his presidential ambition in 2007. Obasanjo would further outsmart Babaginda in the last presidential election and denied him another chance by actively leading Goodluck Jonathan presidential election success.

Supporters of Babaginda or the IBB boys as they are popularly referred to have slammed Obasanjo over his outburst to their godfather’s criticism. The latest of them being former Aviation Minister (Under Obasanjo regime), Femi Fani-Kayode. According to Fani-Kayode, Obasanjo lacks the moral standing to have castigated the former military chief as a fool.

“Whilst I do not subscribe to the view or accept the notion that the Obasanjo administration was a failure and that it did not achieve anything, I do believe that Obasanjo made a grave mistake and indeed inflicted a deep spiritual wound on himself by insulting General Ibrahim Babangida in the way that he did”

“I am not in the least bit surprised that Babangida responded to those insults in the way that he did. You do not call me a fool at 70 the day after my birthday and expect me to keep quiet and smile, no matter what or who you think you are and no matter what may have provoked you,” Kayode statement to the press reads.

Nevertheless, the two leaders may have shot themselves in their feet. For many, neither Obasanjo nor Babaginda deserves their sympathy. As a matter of fact, Nigerians would like to see the two seemingly tough Generals be bold enough to open up on each other inadequacies.

A critical and fact base ‘smacking’ of each other (by the two former presidents, who know so much about governance of the country over the decades) might turn around to be of good for the country. Forget the talk about leaders washing their dirty linens in the public and how such act is an embarrassment to the country or defies the notion of true national leaders. One of many obstacle to our national development has been the siddon and look attitude on issues that affect and shape the lives of many — put people out of jobs, caused the untimely deaths of citizens and enforced various social constructs that have made some untouchable.

Nigeria will never reach its full potential as a progressive and democratic society, if a citizen, such as Obasanjo cannot be invited before legislators to answer allegation of mismanagement of the people’s commonwealth because of his status as a statesman, as recently stated by the Nigeria’s Senate President.

That Babaginda and Obasanjo both crossed the line of decency is not in question. But for how long has these two leaders trampled on the decency of millions of Nigerians whose lives have been forever altered due to their leadership failure?

The pains and trauma suffered by families of hundreds of colleges and university students from the 70’s to the 90’s in the hands of the State still remain fresh, talk of hundreds of military personnel killed in plane crash in the outskirt of Lagos, cases of murdered journalists, politicians, technocrats and so on. We may never know the truth that surrounds many of these terrifying cases and sad events in our national life. The list goes on and beyond social-political realm, but includes years of failed economy policies under their watch.

Beyond sensationalized media brawl that adds little substance to what Nigerians are most interested to know about (how we get to where we are today), I challenge both former president to open up on issues that matters not only to each other, but to Nigeria as well. Nigerians are looking forward to revelations on how the life of 150millions  people continued to be juggled within their various dungeons of power.


* Article written by  Yemi Ifegbuyi, NAL’s executive editor and director of public diplomacy



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One Response to “IBB,OBJ media brawl approved”

  1. Stephen Olushola August 24, 2011

    It is very wonderful and surprised to read the comments of IBB ageist OBJ just about the energy supplies all over Nigeria the two Retired Generals may remember one of the un consulted decree that was promulgated by the then Supreme Military Council. 1976 under the late Murtala Ramat Mohammed of which the creation of the new federal capital Territory know as today Abuja that suppose to be design to accommodate under one million population as of today the population is approximately about one million and half
    Before the unexpected decree our population was about 68.869.000 and above today Nigeria population is 154,729,000 can we see the deferent
    Four sites: OBJ used his inactive ideal and knowledge in his 1976-1979 about the energy problem Alhadji Shehu Shagari 1979-1983 inherited the energy plan of OBJ government completed those projects General Mohammed Buhari 1983-1985 canceled all the future energy plans and projects that suppose to generate sufficient electricity to all Nigeria citizen before the year 2000 IBB1985-1993 what propose energy plan and projects do you engaged on? Can you let all Nigerians know that today your caretaker government lead by your good friend Chief Ernest Shonekan 1993 what have he done? Noting in practical your best friend General Sani Abacaha’s government 1993-1998 he have no time or any energy projected plan for Nigeria he was just after those who are is enemies your infant friend from your district in Mina General Abdusalami Abubakar leaded government 1998-1999 himself and his so called cabinet have no time may be to discoursed on any energy plan he prefer that the rest population stay under darkness without light so that no one will know what is going on because he was very byssi constructing his illegal bunker underground central bank very near to yours in Mina
    That has the storage today about the sums of $200 million, £75 million and N200 million looted from the Central Bank of Nigeria Abuja according to the present un official rumor and information by the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, Major Hamza al-Mustapha OBJ 29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007
    The energy plans and projects to face the fast grow population of Nigeria was set up we may remember before 1999 there was about 1 telephone to about two thousand individual in Nigeria today everyone in his village have the good privileges of his or her mobile telephone That was one greatest achievements of OBJ for your time IBB what have you done that Nigeria may be very prude of you to me noting in practical
    You are trying to get the attentions of Nigerians population by facing OBJ about electricity re election also the horrible history of his detention by your right hand man the late General Sani Abacha unfortunately your 70th birthday to me it look like an open theatre IBB do you think that you and the rest retired corrupts looters generals are the owners of Nigeria since 1976 to 1999 about 80%of retired generals headed by you IBB have successful looted the wealth of Nigeria that belong to all Nigerians citizens at 70 you IBB have the courage and the open hearth to point your finger to one of your boss OBJ who I believe that he is one of the view honest retired general among few other
    Personally I have the opportunity to have met with both OBJ and IBB I know the different between the two personality IBB let me tell you that Nigerians was very lucky that OBJ was not slaughter like others during his detention by your right hand man the late General Sani Abacha
    If the Northerners are looking for the next capable president they must not hope on you IBB or your nearest enemy retied General Mohammed Buhari because the two of you have nothing to offer to this present fast growing Nigeria generations IBB you may be very kind to do please advice your infant friend living near you in Mina retied General Abdusalami Abubakar as follows: -1- that he should do please go to the barber shop or call a barber to his farm to cut his beers that his growing white because he was once a military man and at present he is a retired general not a civilian as a retire general he should respect the code and the conducts of the military -2- that he should do please answer to the query of Arewa youths over the Al-Mustapha allegations during his one year regime
    In the Northern part of Nigeria and the Middle belt Nigeria have produce many professional capable intelligent people that they are not any retired military officer IBB if you depend on the storages of cash you have at your Hill top farm to face the next presidential election you will be surprise that the next presidential election will not need money or area boys the people mentality have already change this time is keep your money I know the right candidate
    Your last military regime IBB1985-1993 made many people bankrupt including myself but today I am better than 80% of your groups retired general that looted Nigeria
    So my personal advice to you IBB is just stop any allegations you may have ageist any one all over the country people are very sad ready about you
    Nigeria belong to each and every citizen of Nigeria not to only IBB and all his groups of Retried Generals God bless ever one amen