Elendureports recently interviewed Ibrahim Babangida. That interview was pure image laundering for the former dictator. Such interview is an intellectual assault on Dele Giwa’s talent. The interviewer refused to ask appropriate or good follow up questions. Therefore, the interviewee got away with his trademark – of being a maradona or evil genius. The former dictator must have hypnotized Jonathan Elendu, a man who has exposed some corrupt governors in the past. From that interview, one could probably see why Omoyele Sowore finally left Elendureports. Hence, I have prepared this mockery interview with Mr. Babangida.
Me: Good day Mr. Coup plotter
IBB: Point of correction. I prefer Mr. Junta.
Me: Okay sir, but what is the difference?
IBB: The same way annulment is different from cancellation. Bo, words have much more meaning to me than wealth. I do not joke with words. No, I do not.
Me: I see...why did you cancel the election, after all, you agreed it was free and fair?
IBB: Because it didn’t favour my candidate and my agenda.
Me: Your agenda! What agenda?
IBB: I shall tell you before the end of this interview.
Me: But MKO was your friend.
IBB: I didn’t trust him.
Me: Trust him over what?
IBB: For my agenda, which I said I’d tell you later.
Me: But people voted for Abiola, and he was declared winner until you annulled, sorry, cancelled it...
IBB: (Interruption) yeah, they voted for ITT...I am sure you remember Fela’s song. International Thief, Thief…Oh, I admired the man Fela. I still do. He even had death in his pocket. Tell your readers to go listen to Abami Eda’s song again and again, and then tell me if Abiola was such a saint to die for, or to rule Nigerians. He was one of us in civilian disguise. Forget about him.
Me: But it wasn’t about Abiola rather democracy.
IBB: Yeah, democrazy…demonstration of crazy.
Me: Talking about Fela, your government and your predecessor persecuted him and now you seem to be eulogizing him.
IBB: See, you’re wrong. I actually released him from where power drunk Tunde and Muhammadu caged him. Honestly, no government would tolerate people like Fela. He was too blunt and arrogant. You know what he said when I released him? He said: “I no go say thank you to any government”. That was an ingratitude thing to have said to your saviour. I hope Mallam OBJ will not be as ungrateful as that. That man Fela was too crude. His songs were revolutionary and iconoclastic. However, he was an honest man…
Me: (cut in) Like you’re too a liar and cunning?
IBB: That is why they named me evil genius. Every politician is a liar and cunning so I take your comment as a compliment. You either know how to manoeuvre your way or become politically reticent. A kind of dog eat dog situation.
Me: Are you proud of being named evil genius?
IBB: A genius is a genius, period!
Me: Sir, why did you guys always take such risk by plotting coups since death was the penalty?
IBB: Boy, plotting a coup is an adventure. Coup to the military is what news to the press. I think you get my analogy. It is a dream of every Nigerian military man. You either do it or lose your wife to other guys who are brave enough to thread the path of lions. A military man will never earn his wife’s respect until he plans a coup – a successful coup. Mallam, successful coup means money. This is the vehicle by which a man can become wealthy and powerful – two most important things in life.
Me: But your song usually was coming to rescue the nation.
IBB: And you believed us! My friend, it was only a slogan for quick acceptance. Nigeria is beyond repair. And I challenge anyone who thinks otherwise.
Me: Ribadu just said that Nigerian past leaders stole over 65 trillion naira. Gosh, you guys must have stealthy finger steps to have stolen that much. How did you guys manage to do it?
IBB: I don’t think it’s up to that amount. We all know that Ribadu likes to exaggerate. That guy definitely has a hidden agenda.
Me: You showed how coward you are by rejecting summonses to appear before the Human Rights Violations Investigations Commission. I cannot understand why any right-thinking person, especially a man of your caliber, missed such opportunity to clear a dented name.
IBB: That commission was set up to persecute IBB, and I would be a fool to be so naïve not to recognise it as such. Have you suddenly forgotten my name? I am Maradona, the evil genius. And I do not joke with my precious life.
Me: So why do you want to stage a come back?
IBB: (adjusts his agbada) Do you want my honest answer?
Me: Sure…after all, we based our agreement on that concept.
IBB: Okay… I am broke. Besides, I need to get my inheritance back from senior Segun.
Me: So you lent it out to him? You lent out a whole country to an individual?
IBB: (flashing his gap-teeth) Correct, I let it out to him. Yes.
Me: What if OBJ refused to return it to you?
IBB: He is not such an ingrate and besides, it’s my turn again. Mallam, it is IBB 2007. Insall Allah, the campaign has started. By the way, what do you think of the recent 1st Annual Thisday Independence Musical Festival? It was fabulous. Wasn’t it?
Me: (ignoring his hypothetical question) Why did you save him from that lunatic’s gulag?
IBB: From who’s gulag?
Me: From Sani Abacha’s gulag
IBB: Well, I didn’t save him. It was you people, and em…human right activists like Beko who actually saved him. By the way, only OBJ and I have the charisma and intelligence to rule Nigeria. And now that he has lost the third term agenda, the power belongs to me.
Me: But what if he passes the baton to someone else?
IBB: Then you will see why they call me evil. Mallam, you will see why it was easier for me to rule the country that has produced a Noble laureate and an Achebe. Nna, you will see why I am the master of the game. You will know the meaning of IBB.
Me: Are you going to Dele Giwa him?
IBB: Just wait and see.
Me: That Abacha did not eliminate you before you got rid of him is still a surprise to Nigerians.
IBB: (laughing) although I did not have anything to do with his death, I have always won whenever we fought. I mean right from those days we played chess. Sani was a moron. How he managed to be a General is still a mystery to me. Some are even carrying the rumour that he was not a Nigerian.
Me: Why did you assassinate Abiola?
IBB: I was not in power then, so IBB’s hands are clean. But you see, Nigerians always attribute everything that is wrong to me. It is not fair. No court has ever found me guilty of any crime. It is all speculation, lie and slander.
Me: Why did you guys kill Dele Giwa?
IBB: (stares for about two seconds, and then coughs, and then the muscles on his forehead become visible, and then he stammers) T-The court said we-we d-didn’t. (Regains his posture) Anyway, the question should be like this: what was Dele Giwa expecting from the president…?
Me: (Interruption) Meaning what?
IBB: Dele Giwas’s case is now history. He sold his life at a considerable sacrifice. He was such a brilliant handsome young man! Unfortunately, he was too simple and vulnerable for the task he embarked on. Now nobody is talking about the man again – not even his associates. Remember the magazine he founded once named me The Person of the Year and this, after his death. Mallam, this is Nigeria. Only the lion hearts survive. You can get away with anything. Nigeria I hail thee.
Me: Chief Gani Fawehinmi recently said that you cannot escape justice for Giwa’s murder. Are you afraid?
IBB: No, I am not afraid. That man Gani is a troublemaker. You should not take people like him so seriously. By the way, I think I have already won the case in the court of law. Gani is a very brilliant lawyer and a true human right activist but Giwa’s case he will never win. I am ready for him anywhere any time.
Me: Why did you execute your bosom friend, Mamma vatsa?
IBB: Mamma was a bloody coup plotter, and all coup plotters should end up like him.
Me: Including you I suppose
IBB: No, I am not a coup plotter as I corrected you from the beginning of this interview. Call me a junta. A junta’s junta.
Me: But it has the same meaning!
IBB: No, and we should leave it like that.
Me: Okay, what if OBJ were Jerry Rawlings?
IBB: (frowns and then adjusts himself) If any Nigerian would be Jerry Rawlings, then it’s me (he beats his chest) Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, the former Nigerian President and Commander in chief of the Army Forces of Republic of Nigeria.
Me: Are you implying that you will execute all former heads of state?
IBB: Just wait and see. Wait and see my friend.
Me: But people will not vote for you anyway. They are terribly tired of your maradonic tendency
IBB: I believe that is your prejudice. Besides, the results of Nigeria elections have never determined the winner. Aren’t you a Nigerian?
Me: The international community will not accept your presidency.
IBB: Who cares? As long as power is in my hand, I will force them to crawl before me. No, I won’t beg them. IBB is quite different from OBJ. I will force them to the negotiating table. Look at Iranian President now. The man is using what he has to get attention. The western world does not respect beggars.
Me: So what is that agenda you promised to tell me before the end of this interview?
IBB: (grasps) To make Nigeria a permanent member of OIC…Insha Allah.
Me: Are you serious? But Nigeria is a secular state!
IBB: That is only in the paper, my friend. Why do you think the Arabic inscription on our currency remains! Religious is the best way to destroy the masses inclination. It is a ploy most leaders use to cause confusion. So Nigeria will gain a lot by joining OIC.
Me: Ah, what of Ejigbo plane crash?
IBB: Some citizens would have to sacrifice their lives for their country. It is the primary duty of any military man to protect their country from external aggression. Or what are you implying by Ejigbo plane crash?
Me: Any comment on OBJ?
IBB: He is the father of modern Nigeria. He is a man who knows how to deal with you people.
IBB: He is a bloody coup plotter who has no respect for law. He is also a religious fanatic. Muhammadu is not fit to rule good people.
IBB: He was a lunatic as you said. He was a boy trying to be a man. He milked our treasury dry. Sani was a big time armed robber in army uniform.
Me: Omo Omoruyi?
IBB: Omo is one of my boys. He has been a very good boy.
Me: Bolaji Akinyemi?
IBB: He used what he had to get what he wanted.
Me: Arthur Nzeribe?
IBB: A prostitute…he is a sophisticated political prostitute. But of course I like him.
Me: Wole Soyinka?
IBB: An intellectual to the core. But I really can’t pinpoint his ideology. You know he served under me despite his hatred for the juntas. Our relationship was very close in those days until he divorced me. You know it was because of that closeness that made Gani to turn him down when he (Wole) organised a party for Gani to rejoice with him – for winning a case – on the 18th of December 1987.
Me: What of Oshiomole, labour leader?
IBB: (laughing) You know that I do not join issues with my subordinate. However, this man is worst than me. He pretends to be fighting on behalf of the masses whereas he lives a life basically designed for the super rich like those bloody coup plotters. He should be prosecuted. Of course he won’t escape prosecution comes 2007.
Me: Nuhu Ribadu?
IBB: (he shrugs then picks his nose) No comment.
Me: Maryam your wife?
IBB: (face wreathed in smiles) Hum…I did everything for her. Even my coming back is because of her. I don’t really care as long as I satisfy her ambition. She has never been wrong. She is my beautiful angel, who directs every step I have taken. Her wish is my command. She knows the best. And this is the main reason why I know that 2007 belongs to the Babangidas. Maryam wants to be the first lady – again. It is an exalt position she enjoys so much. And I think she did well during her first reign. Didn't she? Remember she won an international award for her better Life for Rural Women programme. I am proud of her.
Me: She could as well go for presidency.
IBB: No, no, no… We know our limit. Nigeria is not ready for a woman to be their leader. Babangidas do not chew more than we can swallow. Besides, Nigerian women are not born for such task. Let them continue to be our helpers as ordained by Allah.
Me: Who do you fear and respect?
Me: Human being?
IBB: Maybe Gani. You know he is the only one who had the gut to turn down the military by rejecting ministerial appointment. Others – including those yeye professors – were not brave enough to refuse the military contrary to their fake posture to the nation. Anyway, I think Gani was spiritually blessed to have rejected such appointment because it was a bait to catch him. Sani would have destroyed him if he had accepted to serve under him.
Me: Just like you meant to destroy Tai Solarin, Abi?
IBB: (broad smiles) Well.
Me: What do you think of Jonathan Elendu?
IBB: Jonathan who?
Me: The guy who interviewed you recently…Elendureports
IBB: His interview has meaning than yours. He was a professional. The guy is a true Nigerian and one of the best among you. He reminds me of “Nduka Obiagana” of Thisday, a fine young man. This Elendu has got himself a plum job, while you remain poor with this your yeye interview.
Me: What do you think of againstbabangida.com?
IBB: Oh, that’s another entity I fear. Those guys are mad but well organised. I am glad you mention them. You know I’ve sent emissary to those guys but they proved stubborn. They are bent on destroying me. I mean they should name their price, so we can sweep everything under the red carpet. If they are reading this, I promise all of them ministerial posts.
Me: Your legacy?
IBB: A man who knows how to dribble.
Me: Thank you sir.
IBB: (he frowns) No answer.
Oh, I thought he was going to ask questions about my sexuality. Anyway, I knew what I would have said. I would have told the idiot that a man with a beautiful wife and children could be neither homosexual nor bisexual. In any case, IBB is for project 2007 and nobody is going to stop us. There is no cause for alarm, for if I “cancelled” the 1993 “fair and free” election and heaven did not fall then there is nothing these yeye people can do in 2007 when I become Mr. President.
Surely if Nigerians are dogs that bite instead of barking all its life, I would never dram of ruling this country again. However, this reporter hinted that Nigerians are angry with me. Is it true? On the other hand, my boys are drumming it loudly that Nigerians want IBB back. Allah, who should I trust? Well I believe I am the only Nigerian who can turn things around.