The Military under the draconian Buhari-Idiagbon regime churned out decrees like an Ajegunle woman would produce pure water in an unhygienic condition. General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was hard put as to why things going but not in his favour. He feared that Buhari would give the military baaskap a bad name. The policies and programmes of that short-lived regime short-circuited the commercial interest of Late MKO Abiola, IBB and other members who belonged to the top brass of the Military junta. IBB the Mina-born General felt he had a better idea than and he hurriedly planned to supplant Buhari. This led to the palace coup which was sponsored rumoured to have been sponsored by MKO Abiola and others who were not comfortable with the hard stand of Idiagbon against corruption.
Ordinarily, the War Against Corruption and Indiscipline could have resulted in moral regeneration and ethical orientation of the Nigerian nation but the daylight execution of two alleged drug offenders in Lagos, without following the due process of law, took the crusade to such a bizarre level that the junta won the opprobrium of a huge majority of Nigerians. That made the palace coup very attractive to the bourgeois who were feeding fat on corruption including the sponsor of the Coup. The sponsor was later to pay for what he sowed. The law of karma is immutable and killers cannot be democrats.
Under the woe-be gone IBB junta, discrimination and injustice were pervasive in the army. The federal character principle was dumped in favour of self-aggrandizement and clannish interest. Poverty walked on four legs as unemployment soared, as people's ability to secure employment and to earn a living became very difficult. The bogey of corruption and 419 were legalized. Inept leadership, bad social policies and reliant on traditional methods of productions are impediments to prosperity. He did what amounted to the truncation of traditional national planning in Nigeria. IBB could not account for the Gulf Crisis windfall of $12billion dollars. He was so mean that military planes crashed frequently sending home a crop of brilliant soldiers whom he perceived as people capable of challenging his style of leadership.
IBB also politicized national planning in Nigeria. The Babangida administration, in 1988 suspended the idea of a five-year development plan, which was an established tradition. In its place, he introduced a one-year Economic Emergency Programme initiated in 1986. This was the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP. The IBB administration believed that the economy was largely indebted hence the basis for planning was unnecessary. The result was a 20-year perspective plan for the period 1989-2008. According to the philosophy of this rolling plan, the first phase of the perspective plan would constitute the Fifth National Development Plan. With this structural change of policy, the five-year planning model was replaced with a three-year rolling plan to be operated along with a 12 to 20 year perspective plan and the normal operational annual budgets. This plan becomes operational with the 1989 budget and it provided the foundation for the three-year rolling plan (1989-90-91). In order to effectively executive this programme, some fundamental reforms was the merging of budgetary and planning functions with the sole objective of minimizing conflict.
On the political turf, IBB midwifed the longest transition programme in Nigeria. In 1993, he exhausted his bag of tricks and ended up with the annulment of the June 12 1993 Presidential elections, in which Late MKO Abiola was poised to win. IBB must now be wrestling with God (Allah and his conscience). Most Nigerians might have forgiven him but so many will never forget. But how will Nigerians forget scores of loved ones lost to the June 12 crisis; those who were chased into exile and those who were murdered in cold blood because of their uncompromising stance on the issue.
Why am I taking the reader on this historical excursion? Two reasons are responsible. Nigerians are victims of collective amnesia. The other worry is that why are self-professed democrats fraternizing with the military who have no scant democratic credentials in their DNA? Ahmed Bola Tinubu the grandmaster of the APC has been into consultation with the Mina-born General on who to pick as the Presidential candidate of the Party. Knowing the antecedents of IBB, the only tutorials Tinubu will benefit from is to learn strategies and techniques on how to annul elections. I am hard put to hear that the APC leadership is also consulting with General Theophilus Danjuma, who is by far one of the richest Nigerian (living or dead) courtesy of the several oil blocks at his disposal. During my undergraduate days, In read a book which tells me that General T.Y. Danjuma was the ADC to General Aguiyi Umunakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi - the Head of State after the botched Kaduna Nzeogwu's 1966 coup. I also learnt that it was General T.Y. Danjuma who led the killers to tear his master into pieces including Col. Adekunle Fajuyi - who ostensibly was protecting the Head of State. This is the climax to which humans can betray their kind. It also portrays how satanic ambition blurs the human sensibility, especially those who self-aggrandizing tendencies.
Since the return of democratic rule in May 1999, General Muhammadu Buhari has always contested all Presidential elections and he has failed as many times as he contested. Because of greed and the belief that the youths of Nigeria should not grow, Buhari will be all too ready to contest the 2015 Presidential elections. Buhari is not a statesman.
On the contrary, General Abdusalami Abubakar handed over power to a democratically elected government in 1999 and has remained a statesman since then. The lesson here is that it is not the tribe of a man that makes him a statesman but his world view and life's ambition. That is why Abdusalami is a statesman and Buhari is not.
The APC leadership is aware of all these atrocities committed by these people, yet they constitute the engine room of Tinubu's APC. Elsewhere, I made an assertion that the APC's mission statement is just to supplant the PDP and not to develop Nigeria. This assertion is becoming manifest by the caliber and screwy characters the APC leadership is consulting.
Why is the APC romancing with the same class of Nigerian political leaders who had access to the national treasury and convert the public funds to their private use? The APC leadership expect President Goodluck Jonathan to clear the cumulative mess and cure the poverty inflicted on Nigerians by four and a half decades of self-aggrandizing leadership characterized by executive purloin, mindless rape of the coffers and dislocation of the structures and institutional framework set up by previous administrations. When problems are cumulative, it takes time to cure them.
The President Jonathan administration is steadily making progress in almost all facets of our political economy and they know it; some of them only feign ignorance because gradually the business-as-usual scenario is eroded to pave the way for a more enduring superstructure that will entrench sustainable development.
N/B: Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu is an economic opportunist whose only sworn affidavit is self-aggrandisement and empire building. He has already achieved that in Lagos. He hopes to achieve this on a national scale by fraternizing with past military leaders who raped the economy and now control a huge chunk of the oil blocks belonging to the people of the Niger Delta. People of such character can only mortgage the destiny of the children. This is what the youths of Nigeria will resist.
Idumange John - a political analyst writes from Yenagoa