There could have been a violent coup if June 12 election was not annulled - IBB


Former head of state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) has said there could have been a violent coup if the June 12 presidential election which M.K.O Abiola is adjudged to have won was not annulled. 

The June 12, 1993 general election which was considered by most Nigerians as the freest and fairest poll in the country’s history, was contested between Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC).

Chief Abiola who was arrested by the regime of General Sani Abacha for declaring himself winner of the election, later died in detention during the regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Speaking in an interview on Arise TV ahead of his 80th birthday, IBB explained what led to the sudden annulment of the general election. 

He said; 

“If it materialised, there would’ve been a coup d’etat — which could have been violent. That’s all I can confirm.

“It didn’t happen thanks to the engineering and the ‘maradonic’ way we handled you guys in the society. But that could’ve given room for more instability in the country."

On if the pressure was from both within the military and outside the military, IBB said; 

“Both. The military can do it because they have the weapons to do it, and others (civil society groups) can use agitation."

Commenting on how he got nicknames of “evil genius” and “Maradona”, the former head of state said the sobriquets were manufactured by the media because of his “deft political moves”.

He added; 

“That’s the very good thing about the Nigerian media and Nigerian people, you have to anticipate them. If you anticipate them then you live well with them. They call me ‘evil genius’, I marvel at that. The contradiction — you can’t be evil and then a genius. 

“The definition of Maradona I got from the media is because of deft political moves. 

That’s the way the media described it.”

Corruption in Nigeria worse under civilian leaders than military rulers - IBB

Former Head of State, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) has said that corruption in Nigeria is worse under civilian leaders than under military rulers. 

IBB said this in an interview with Arise TV on Friday August 5. Recounting how he sacked a governor for misappropriating less than N313,000 while in power, the former Head of State said people who steal public money under civilian administrations are walking free.

He said; 

“Well on that, you can’t compare it with the facts on the ground now. You can say it. From what I read, from analysis, I think we are saints when compared to what is happening under a democratic dispensation.

“I sacked a governor for misappropriating less than N313,000.

“Today, those who have stolen billions and are in court are now parading themselves on the streets. Who else is better in fighting corruption?”

Blaming politicians for disunity in the country, IBB also recalled that there was a time in the country when people held positions in regions outside their ethnicity

He said; 

“Till today, unfortunately, the political class are not really into this seriously and say how do we build a nation."

On who the next President of Nigeria should be, IBB said Nigeria’s next president should be able to talk to Nigerians, understand economics and have friends in every region. The former Head of State averred that importance should be given to qualification over ethnicity. 

He added; 

“If you get a good leadership that links with the people and tries to talk with the people; not talking on top of the people, then we would be okay. 

“I have started visualising a good Nigerian leader. That is, a person who travels across the country and has a friend virtually everywhere he travels to, and he knows at least one person that he can communicate with.

“That is a person, who is very versed in economics and is also a good politician, who should be able to talk to Nigerians and so on. I have seen one, or two or three of such persons already in his sixties. I believe so if we can get him.”

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