By, Israel A. Ebije
The statement allegedly issued by former military president Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) through his spokesman Kassim Afegbua has generated humongous reactions not on account of its content but the drama surrounding it’s immediate rebuttal by the former leader.
The content of IBB’s denial, however, leave many in doubt over its authenticity as the general addresses himself as “GCON”. The denials trailing the statement and the mercurial nature of the man of machismo in the eye of the tsunami have made many to submit that Afegbua most certainly wrote the statement with permission from the General. As a spokesman for a former governor, I hate to be in Afegbua’s position.
His career, safety are about to go down the drink betwixt the undulating political confusion. Already some reports say the IGP has declared him wanted, some Nigerians loyal to president Buhari have declared him dead. On the side of his professional capacity to spin, he may soon become a source of joke among peers. Lets put Afegbua the likely dispensable pawn in the chess game aside. The larger picture of an unsettled political turf sprawl ahead for president Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) as his peers are beginning to peel off behind the stage from his reel to real leadership cinema show.
Regardless of IBB’s rebuttal or Afegbua’s insistence, Nigerians, indeed Buhari can figure out what may have transpired. The first statement is my major focus. That actually reflects the mood of a segment of Nigerians who have refused to accept the denial. While I am not insisting IBB ordered the statement, the followings are possibilities that may have culminated in the rebuttal; It is possible Afegbua either added some few personal views or refused to remove some comments too “worded” in the statement; It is also possible some people who love IBB to allow another episode of friction between him and PMB, may have quickly coupled the rebuttal so hastily they forgot he is GCFR; It is also possible that some of the issues raised in the statement ridicule the entire north which him IBB should not be seen to canvass. It is also possible that he reasoned he could draw the attention of PMB privately on the general perception of Nigerians on the current direction of leadership instead of going public. It is also possible that he doesn’t want Nigerians to think he is opening old wounds, trying to remove PMB once again via public opinion. These are permutations, which may not be far from the truth.
The import of the statements against the leadership content and character of PMB for the past three (3) years, debunked as in the case of IBB or affirmed as in the case of former president Obasanjo is the reflection of the desire of many Nigerians to feel the impact of the change they have elusively yearned for since 2015. My honest reservation over the flying statements around Buhari is the fact that these “brothers” of PMB could privately ask him to throw in the towel and bow out without going public. For OBJ, its characteristic of him but IBB, this is likely a first and maybe one off attempt. Some unconfirmed sources said PMB may not run, citing he cant use “public” funds to run his campaign, other unconfirmed sources said he finds it difficult to present himself after all the dissenting voices. These
will be clearer with time, which is not favorable on every side of the divide.
We may recall that what is happening to Buhari on his public leadership scorecard played itself out during former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathans’ slope towards electioneering period. When letters, statements, comments from notable Nigerians flooded the media space for him to quit and allow a fresh hand on the rudder, Jonathan was fueled by sycophants to continue. He knew the odds were against him but those who “loved” him more urged him to his political doom. Buhari may have a good number of followers who would vote him any day in the north which accounts for a large chunk of his votes, which may make is case a little different from his predecessor. The crux is not
in barreling or packaging him back but service delivery and traceable developmental achievements, which is evidently lacking since 2015. Nobody is hunting for his replacement from another part of the country but the same north. Nobody is playing God any more than those who wished and worked for Jonathan’sexit. Once the interest of the entire country exceeds the parochial satisfaction of a few, it is always nice to abide with popular reasoning especially from right thinking people.
Many youths are looking up to the older elder statesmen to continue leadership and direct affairs of the nation. These overgrown youths can sacrifice their lives to ensure their favored elderly politicians stay in power. Interesting contrast from the series of statements from OBJ and “IBB” shows that the elderly want the youths to take their
place with fresh ideas. As the confusion trail the real and fake statements, the “third force” is in full force with old people who will certainly present themselves for election if the script written by OBJ is expected to be played to its last scene. It is not yet Uhuru, if Nigerian youths are people within the ages of 70. We are indeed in a political joyride, where we can feel the hands of Afegbua and hear the voice of IBB. .
Ebije can be reached via: [email protected] or @ebijeisrael