What really would it take to insult a Nigerian? I have read numerous reports about how Ibrahim Babangida, that deceptive soldier, is making moves to return to power. Now, that hurts me. As for many other Nigerians, I wonder if it really does cause any pain.
Babangida did so many things in the many years before and during his eight actual years of madness. He is mostly crucified for his annulment of the 1993 general elections, the incessant closure of the universities, escalated corruption, state-sponsored murder and economic misadventure. For me, I would never forget his picture that appeared in The Guardian on Monday, April 19, 1993 , where he was smiling cheerfully in front of a burnt Department of Defence Building in Lagos. It was a convicing sight of state arson. Hardly does anyone remember that. And all that hurts even more, now that my people talk of how they can allow this man to rule them again.
I did not take Babangida's ambition so seriously. Until my friend who co-owns an advertising company in Lagos responded to my email message in what is turning out to be the dictator's opening line. My friend opined, nay naively, that maybe the former military ruler was coming back to correct the wrongs he had done to the society. Believe me, my friend wasn't joking - he believed what he wrote. I have read the same line over and over again in many quarters, and the conclusion I can only come to is that Babangida is smarter than I have ever given him credit for. At least he is smart where most of us are exploitable. I find his ambition insulting, but do we all?
How can we be so gullible to think Ibrahim Babangida is coming back to fix the delapidation he inflicted? He has to come back for only two reasons. The first reason, which is minor, is that he is bored, and misses being in control of people's lives economically and politically.
The second reason, which is major, is that the man who considered himself the most skillful ruler in our generation, overplayed his hands in 1993 by annuling a much-acclaimed election and was disgraced out of office on a day we all saw him bouncing so pathological disoriented in his seat, until he "stepped aside" at prime time.
Since the day Babangida stepped aside, he never for once thought he was out of power for ever, although most of us did. He knew where he was going, which is does not take a brain surgeon to decipher. He never told anyone he was stepping away. He only shifted position for a while to allow the train of displeasure pass, so that he can return to position, which is Aso Rock, Abuja. His agendum was not hidden from that point forward. How come my people can't see?
He never for once took his eyes away from power, but actually plotted from the first day in seeming retirement to return at the earliest opportunity. It is an open secret that President Olusegun Obasanjo is today in power at the pleasure of his stupendously rich surbordinate, Babangida. Neither is too hard to see that hundreds of our national legislators, governors and even state lawmakers are on his payroll. This guy has always been here, we just were too gullible to see, at least most of us. Now, he is saying that come 2007, my helpers will step aside, and I will emerge from their midst.
Will it happen or not. I will not fool myself: it is quite possible. Especially if most Nigerians continue to lack the imagination of Babangida and his cohorts. This web site hopes to pull those who know what is at stake together.
Our nationhood, our collective dreams and aspirations are at stake. Babangida is like Mr. Spencer of the old British comedy "Some mothers do have them." He may not see anything wrong with himself, but alone he can burn the house while thinking he is saving it.
Do we think things are not so rosy in Nigeria now? Just wait until another Babangida term matures. Or, don't wait, pack your stuff and check out if you could. Because the roof will be on fire.