THE FAT GENERALS
A typical retired military officer in Nigeria is fat from parasitically living upon the public wealth. There are few, if any, Nigerian retired military officers who are not millionaires.
To save time describing what damage privileged military officers have done to Nigeria, let's adopt the British Broadcasting Corporation's summary:
"Apart from a brief period of civilian rule between 1979 and 1983, a succession of military governments ruled Nigeria from the mid-1960s right through until 1999 when a civilian government led by Olusegun Obasanjo, himself a former military head of state, was elected into office. During this era dominated by the military, a small group of senior officers became both extremely wealthy and also very powerful in business and political circles. It was also widely recognised to have been a time in which massive high-level corruption and economic mismanagement severely undermined the country's development."
"The psyche of the Nigerian people is not just bruised but psychologically assaulted in such a way that those who are governing us have blood on their hands. Nothing will wash the blood off the hands of Babangida, Abdulsalami and Obasanjo until the Oputa panel report is implemented." -Gani Fawehinmi
What's more to say? The deceased Sanni Abacha alone stole about $2 billion dollars in one single deal, and stashed the loot in a Swiss bank. What country can lose that much to one person in one incident frequently and stay healthy? The greed and corruption of soldiers who stole their ways into power is responsible for Nigerias arrested development in the face of unsurpassed natural endownments.
The BBC further comments on the current political dispensation in Nigeria: "...For now, former military officers and their allies dominate politics not just at the level of the presidential candidates, but behind the scenes as well. Few doubt the continuing influence Nigeria's longest serving military leader, General Ibrahim Babangida (1985-1993), holds in the election process.He is reputed to be one of Nigeria's best connected and wealthiest individuals in a country where money plays a central role in politics."
Obasanjo's rival in the last election is another former military dicator, Mohammadu Buhari, who has vowed to contest again. If he follows through, he will be contesting against a retired general, Ibrahim Babangida, and yet another former retired general, Buba Marwa. And the list can grow even longer.
Many Nigerians believe Ibrahim Babangida, the man behind every military coup from the late 60s until the present day, is the richest of all the generals. He is certainly the most guileful and ambitious. He has the means in a nation of seriously famished and dejected citizenry to return to power, as he now plans to. But he can be stopped. And he will be stopped, starting from here.