Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, has finally let out his observations about the administration of the immediate past president Goodluck Jonathan.
Babangida who spoke with The Interview magazine in the December 2015 edition as published by The Cable, said the lapses with Jonathan was that he was“inexperience” rather than “incompetent”that some Nigerians alleged.
The retired general, who described Jonathan as a very pleasant person, said he meant well for Nigeria.
When the former military president was asked about his view that Jonathan is a good person but was “incompetent,” he said: “If you use inexperience, I will buy that.”
The elder statesman declined to comment on whom he actually voted for between Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, who was declared the winer of the presidential poll. Recall that the relationship between Babangida and Buhari was not so great as history has it that, it was Babangida who usurp the government of Buhari in 1985 in a bloodless coup.
When Babangida was asked if he played a double game by showing support for both Joinatha and Buhari during their visit to him, he explained that he was “intelligent enough” to know that he had “only one vote.”
Speaking further with the magazine on a wide range of issues, especially the failed military coup of 1990 at Dodan Barracks, which was the seat of power then, and how he was saved by his late wife, Maryam. Babangida who denied being saved by his then chief of army staff, late Gen Sani Abacha, and reports that he hid in a bunker to elude from coup plotters said: “They obviously didn’t have a lot of experience.”
“It was during the fasting period. We were still in Dodan Barracks then. My wife got up from sleep and said she had noticed very unusual movement of troops from one end to the other. So she woke me up and said I should look through the window. I found troops moving from one end to the other.
“The next thing I heard was shooting going on. We tried to put a small party together. It was about 1.30am. Then the guards, the bodyguards said let’s check out of this place. I was a bit stubborn. I told them I was not leaving. It didn’t occur to me that we had a bunker at Dodan Barracks. We had, but it didn’t occur to me to use it. And so, they came. I said the only thing I would concede to, I would evacuate my family. My wife had her last born, who was just a few months old, with her. So they evacuated them to a safe house. It was the house of one of the officers working with me.
“So I remained with a few bodyguards. We decided to get out and move around. We went to a safe house around Surulere. I had a bodyguard, Omuah. We just moved in there. From there, we established communication. I later established communication with Abacha, Raji Rasaki (who was governor of Lagos then) and the other. They had mobilised their troops.
Babangida maintained that “Abacha didn’t save my life in the Orkar coup. We worked together to crush Orkar’s coup.”
Jonathan, who contested on the big umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost his second term re-election bid in March to Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The development made him the first incumbent president to have been removed from power through a legitimate free and fair election since the commencement of the country’s democracy.
Recall that the former military presidentturned down an invitation by the PDP for the re-branding conference. Babangida’s reason was hinged on the fact that he had quit partisan politics, but promised to continue to offer his wise counsel to all politicians towards building a better Nigeria.