Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who has been silent over the Goodluck Jonathan administration, even when it seems that everyone has an opinion, finally made his assessment on the immediate past administration in Nigeria known.
The evil genius, as he was widely known in the country during his time as Military President of Nigeria, while speaking in an interview published by The Cable referred to the Jonathan administration as “inexperienced and “incompetent” stressing that the problem of the administration was not the personality of the ex-president, who he described as a pleasant person. He said even though GEJ was a good person, he was not a good president.
The retired general has always had a soft landing for the Jonathan-led government, even when in the eyes of the public it was worthy of every criticism it got. The reason for this my not be entirely known, but what we know is that, the relationship between the elder statesman and the current president of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari is not so smooth, owing to the fact that it was the former that overthrew the latter’s military administration in a coup in 1985.
He also addressed a number of issues from the past in the interview, especially the failed military coup of 1990 at Dodan Barracks, which was the seat of power then. He says he was saved by his late wife, Maryam and the late Sani Abacha, as is widely believed.
He hid in a bunker and so was not found by the coup plotters, to which he 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 others. They had mobilised their troops. Abacha didn’t save my life in the Orkar coup. We worked together to crush Orkar’s coup,” he maintained.