2011: IBB DECLARES WITHOUT MANIFESTO

Ibrahim Babangida officially affirmed his presidential ambitions on Saturday after declaring: “I’m back.”

The declaration is the culmination of a busy fortnight which has seen the former military ruler launch a campaign website and set up offices in 32 states of the federation.

No manifesto

Speaking at his house in Minna, the retired general dismissed all the recurrent obstacles that have been put forward to dissuade his ambitions. However, during a two hour press conference he repeatedly failed to put forward any clearly defined policies. He conceded that policy making was not his strongest point and that he will entrust such matters to a “trusted team of experts.” He however defended some of his old policies such as the controversial Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) which he said foreshadowed many of today’s democratic policies.

“When you look at SAP, it set out to achieve some things that are now being praised. Deregulation, opening up the economy and stabilising the naira were all things we set out to do with SAP and I am very proud of those things.”

He said that although he presently had no clear manifesto, he will “unleash” outlined policies to the public in “two or three weeks.”

Fighting the clock

At 69, the former president dismissed suggestions that he was too old for the job.

“I have a daughter who makes sure I go to the gym every day so I have never been healthier. If you look at other countries [Hosni] Mubarak is 82, [Shimon] Peres is 87 and [Muammer] Ghadaffi is my age.

So I don’t think age matters much.”

Mr Babangida came close to apologising for the annulment of the June 12 1992 elections calling it an “ugly spot that one has to live with.”

He stopped short however by saying that the decision was a collective one during his regime. He fully expected Nigerians to forgive his regime’s decision because he believed “we are a godly nation that embraces forgiveness.”

The former president challenged anyone who could claim he has ever offered a bribe to speak up. He said he had made a similar challenge when he was president and, to date, no one has been able to bring up credible evidence. If elected, he said that he would take the same “vigorous stance” against corruption as he has always taken.

“I am getting tired of people who say I institutionalised corruption,” he said.

“People forget that I disciplined a military administrator over N300, 000. Today people in office are accused of N300 million, N15 billion and they are still there.”

Okigbo report

Mr Babangida absolved himself of any blame in the Okigbo report saying his critics were using it in the most “blindly controversial and distorted manner.” The panel was set up, he said, not to investigate his regime but to “examine operations and make recommendations for activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

He added that he was never subpoenaed nor was he linked to any acts of financial impropriety in the entire report.

The former president once again distanced his regime from any culpability in the 1986 killing of the Newswatch editor, Dele Giwa.

“I wish to state for the umpteenth time, that I did not murder Dele Giwa,” he said. He added that no agency under his regime was found guilty of the “heinous act.” Last week, the Peoples Democratic Party, which Mr Babangida aims to represent in the elections, failed to take a decisive stance on who it would back for the presidential elections. He said although there was still ambiguity he was happy that the race was thrown open this year.

Reasons for returning The former president said he had hoped that, seventeen years after leaving office, Nigeria would be in better economic shape but that had not happened.

“I left that house seventeen years ago and I had wished that things would be different now. I can assure you that Nigeria was far better off between 1985 and 1993 than from 1999 to present day.” He further argued that he achieved greater economic stability and security with far less resources than were available in the democratic years.

Money has seldom been far from any discourse relating to Mr Babangida and he said his campaign would be funded by both himself and “good friends who benefitted from his policies.”

The former president paid tribute to his late wife saying that she would be “difficult to replace.” He added, however, that he had not entirely ruled out the possibility of remarrying.

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Comments

  1. richard uboh-ekong says:

    was anybody expecting anything other than the tantrums of Babangida in this interview.If truly his campaigns would be funded by him and friends who he said benefitted from his policies,to what extent ? Is Babangida telling kindagatten children that he is living on his retirement or that his palatial estate is peanuts.Old boy,go and rest and enjoy your illgotten wealth or else we will ask you questions.Let Maryam rest in peace by you honoring yourself by withdrawing from this race or else…

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  2. So funny indeed IBB. You want to rule us again but cannot tell us the programmes you have for Nigerians? Well with your choice of Peter Odili, you have already shown us your manifesto. “A cocktail of thieves”!

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    • everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. who is not a thief in this country nigeria. even if you are given nigeria to rule i assure you will even do worst than anybody you think had done worst. please allow ibb to be. afterall things are worst now than when he was in power. you know it yourself.

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  3. PETER IDUGBOE says:

    MANIFESTO OR NOT IBB REMAIN A MAN OF HIS WORD. I ASK ALL THOSE WHO SAYS IBB CANNOT BE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA TO SHOW US WHY THEY ARE STAYING BACK AND NOT VYING FOR THE POST OF THE PRESIDENT??? WE JUST HEAR FROM ONE MAN WHO PERHAPS HATE IBB WHILE HE TALK TO YOU AND MAY BE BUY YOU A BOTTLE OF BEER YOU BELIEVE ALL HIS LIES WITHOUT AFFIRMING WHETHER HE IS LYING OR NOT. I CHALLENGE ALL THOSE WHO CALLED IBB NAMES TO TELL NIGERIANS HOW THEY MADE THEIR FIRST ONE MILLION NAIRA!!!

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