By Austen Oghuma
A law enforcement official was once asked how he thought history would view his tenure. "I think history will take care of itself," he said. He was convinced he had put in his best. Let the facts speak for themselves. By the time he died several years later, history had truly rendered its verdict.
It concluded that the officer may not have been guilty of all the transgressions that occurred during his tenure but stood no chance of public pardon. His lack of leadership were so apparent and offences so egregious.
His Nigerian equivalent has no such humility. He always harbored hideous intentions that were not so discernible. “Secret agenda,” the media cried. There were broken promises and its attendant chaos. He believed he could undermine the lives and choices of the people and supplant them with his own personal ambition. After all, he felt, he was the master of the universe, a Maradonna in a non-level playing field for he had thrived on treachery and betrayals in the past.
But society was still willing to forgive with the belief that he was perhaps, a dedicated public servant whose tenure could have been appropriate in earlier times. It concluded that it was in the interest of society and natural progression to consign him to history books; he was such an egomaniacal figure, a misfit for the job at hand at the time he served in that he nearly destroyed the society he pledged to protect.
He was so tunnel vision, who failed to see the big picture every leader contends with, the multi- color details that shows society to be a whole lot bigger and more complex than he could conceptualize.
The above description fits the profile of Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda, one of the self-styled political retrofits jostling to lead Nigeria in 2011.
Unlike the officer, Babaginda has no patience for history. He wants to re-write it without acknowledging his failures and lack of leadership qualities. His style was simply basic, to exploit greed and hunger of the masses in a society that required a more sanguine and delicate handling, a society that craved competition, in a hurry to catch up with the rest of the world. He could not see that aspect of the Nigerian population at the time.
But now they have grown out of his needs to re-validate himself. They have no patience for visionless experiments. He now blames the military government, which he led for all the bad decisions of his 8-year rule.
Since he has chosen to be a permanent feature in the Nigerian political space, intent in re-writing history, we would assist him first in documenting some of the atrocious acts as they were before he attempts to re-write them. Journalism, they say, is history on the fly!
Some of the issues are already well known and I will unveil some others for him to determine where his “reputation defenders.” should begin their job.
The June 12 election annulment is pretty much covered along with Dele Giwa’s assassination and Gloria Okon, who was arrested in Kano for drug trafficking. She died barely three days after she reportedly embarked on hunger strike. We all know that even laboratory rats on food deprivation live longer.
Babaginda, the man who wants to rule Nigeria, should explain to the public what transferred in the confidential file room at State Security Services office on August 28, 29, 30, 1985 soon after he deposed General Muhammad Buhari.
Perhaps, he forgot that some activities are never so sheltered from the public even if they conducted in total privacy. In certain circumstances, even the walls have eyes. On the days mentioned above, the confidential file room of SSS also had ears. While the country waited for IBB to unveil his programs, he was alone in a highly private room on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.
He had embarked in search of a resolution to his immediate troubling issue which was to locate his personal file as compiled by the Buhari government. That trumped all state matters. For the next three days IBB sequestered himself, sought no assistance from no one and asked no questions. He was determined to rescue his confidential file the custody of SSS. By the time he was through, the neatly arranged confidential file room was in disarray. Every file folder was pulled and its content emptied on the floor, and some file cabinets were over turned. It was in a mess, an elephant locked in such a tiny space could have done better..
He did not know that SSS at the time had deployed some advance technology in record keeping by using microfiche for some personal files of certain categories of criminal suspects. When he finally found it in a microfiche, he heaved a sigh of relief and promptly removed it and walked out in triumph. You scallywag!
It is the content of this file that has formed the basis of his refusal to reconcile with Buhari. They will reconcile for the file contained a lot of gory details including his dalliances with all sorts of people some of which were referred to by Gideon Orkar in his attempted coup broadcast. It also included details of his expanded drug trade and his numerous bank accounts in phony names in foreign countries. They were huge balances for a general in the Nigeria army. It was also illegal for any government official to operate a foreign account. IBB had several. Some of the SSS case officers who compiled the information were promptly retired others detained under house arrest for several years.
Is this the man that wants to repair the damage he did to Nigeria? Probably so! He can begin the repair work by returning that file to the treasury without any alterations. We would then evaluate its content.
That file was compiled with public funds and it should be returned to where it belongs. There is nothing in public service regulations that authorizes any official military or civil to remove his personal confidential file from the treasury no matter the content. IBB took his own file away.
The purpose of this article is not to discourage Babaginda from running for president. In spite of my personal disagreement with his leadership style, I want him to run. He represents one thing: bad leadership who represents everything evil or what a good leader ought not to be. He simply does not have the traits. He cannot continue to experiment with people’s lives.
He also has the capacity to unify opposition, those who reject slimy politics, deception and falsehood, lack of transparency and above all lack of vision!