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Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida

8th Military President of Nigeria
In office
August 27, 1985 – August 27, 1993
Preceded by Muhammadu Buhari
Succeeded by Ernest Shonekan

Born August 17, 1941 (1941-08-17) (age 68)
Minna, Niger State, Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Political party none (military)
Spouse(s) Maryam Babangida(1969-2009)
Religion muslim

Nigerian Army General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (born August 17, 1941), popularly known as IBB, was the military ruler of Nigeria from his coup against Muhammadu Buhari in August 1985 until his departure from office in 1993 after his annulment of elections held that year.

Contents

Early years

Ibrahim Babangida hails from the Nupe [1] ethnic group which has strong historical ties to the Yoruba's of the Old Oyo Empire[2], he was born in Minna, Niger State. Babangida studied at the India Military School in 1964, the Royal Armoured Centre from January 1966 until April 1966, at the Advanced Armoured Officers' course at Armored school from August 1972 to June 1973, at the Senior officers' course, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji from January 1977 until July 1977, and the Senior International Defence Management Course, Naval Post graduate school, U.S in 1980.

Family

On September 6, 1969, he married Maryam (1948-2009), who later became First Lady of Nigeria. They have four children: two boys, and two girls.[3] Maryam Babangida died on December 27, 2009 of ovarian cancer

Army career

He joined the Nigerian Army's officer corps on December 10, 1962, and served in an administrative capacity under the military government of Olusegun Obasanjo. He was heavily involved in the Nigerian coup of 1976, when he was to ‘liberate’ a radio station from one of the coup plotters, Col B.S. Dimka (a close friend of his), to prevent him making further announcements over the air waves. Although he did prevent further broadcasts, Col Dimka managed to escape.

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Ranks held

Presidency

Coup

Babangida was the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Babangida would later overthrow Buhari's regime on 27 August 1985 in a bloodless military coup that relied on mid-level officers that Babangida silently and strategically positioned over the years.[citation needed]

He came into power in a military coup promising to bring to an end the human rights abuses perpetuated by Buhari's government, and to hand over power to a civilian government by 1990.[citation needed].Eventually,he perpetuated one of the worst human right abuses and lots of unresolved political assassinations.

Economic policies

Babangida issued a referendum to garner support for austerity measures suggested by the IMF and the World Bank, and subsequently launched his "Structural Adjustment Program" (SAP) in 1986. The policies entailed under the SAP were the deregulation of the agricultural sector by abolishing marketing boards and the elimination of price controls, the privatisation of public enterprises, the devaluation of the Naira to aid the competitiveness of the export sector, and the relaxation of restraints on foreign investment put in place by the Gowon and Obasanjo governments during the 1970s.[citation needed]

Between 1986 and 1988, when these policies were executed as intended by the IMF, the Nigerian economy actually did grow as had been hoped, with the export sector performing especially well, but the falling real wages in the public sector and amongst the urban classes, along with a drastic reduction in expenditure on public services, set off waves of rioting and other manifestations of discontent that made sustained commitment to the SAP difficult to maintain.[citation needed]

Babangida subsequently returned to an inflationary economic policy and partially reversed the deregulatory initiatives he had set in motion during the heyday of the SAP following mounting pressure, and economic growth slowed correspondingly, as capital flight resumed apace under the influence of negative real interest rates.[citation needed]Babangida presided over one of the most corrupt government in Nigeria.

OIC membership

Babangida (unilaterally, without consultation with other bodies)upgraded Nigeria's role in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), from a mere observer status to full-fledged membership. After public outcry and denial by Babangida, the John Shagaya panel was instituted to determine Nigeria's status in the OIC, subsequently confirming membership and making a recommendation for withdrawal from the body.[citation needed]

1990 coup attempt

On April 22, 1990, Babangida's government was almost toppled by a coup attempt led by Major Gideon Orkar. Babangida was at the Dodan Barracks, the military headquarters and presidential residence, when they were attacked and occupied by the rebel troops, but managed to escape by a back route. During the brief interlude during which Orkar and his collaborators controlled radio transmitters in Lagos, they broadcast a vehement critique of Babangida's government, accusing it of widespread corruption and autocratic tendencies, and they also expelled the five northernmost and predominantly Hausa-Fulani Nigerian states from the union, accusing them of seeking to perpetuate their rule at the expense of the predominantly Christian peoples of Nigeria's middle-belt citing, in particular, the political neutralization of the Langtang Mafia.[4]

Botched transition to civilian rule

In 1989 Babangida legalized the formation of political parties, and after a census was carried out in November 1991, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) announced on January 24, 1992 that both legislative elections to a bicameral National Assembly and a presidential election would be held that year.

Babangida banned all political parties formed by individuals, people of the same mind and the same ideology. He formed two political parties by himself, namely the SDP (Social Democractic Party) and NRC (National Republican Convention) and urged all Nigerians to join either of the parties, which the Late Chief Ajibola Ige famously referred to as "two leper hands."

The legislative elections went ahead as planned, with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) winning majorities in both houses of the National Assembly, but on August 7, 1992, the NEC annulled the first round of presidential primaries, alleging widespread irregularities. January 4, 1993 saw the announcement by Babangida of a National Defense and Security Council, of which Babangida himself was to be President, while in April 1993 the SDP nominated Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) as its presidential candidate, with the National Republican Convention (NRC) choosing Bashir Othma Tofa to run for the same position. On June 12, 1993, presidential elections were finally held, but the results were held back although it was announced in some states that Abiola had in fact won 19 of the 30 states, and therefore the presidency.[citation needed]

Rather than allow the announcement of the results to proceed, Babangida decided to annul the elections, without any justification Babangida then issued a decree banning the presidential candidates of both the NRC and the SDP from running in new presidential elections that he planned to have held. Widespread acts of civil disobedience began to occur, particularly in the Southwest region from which Abiola hailed, but these were soon quashed by the security forces and the army. On July 6, 1993, the NDSC issued an ultimatum to SDP and NRC to join an interim government or face yet another round of elections, and Babangida then announced that the interim government would be inaugurated on August 27, 1993. On August 26, amidst a new round of strikes and protests that had brought all economic activity in the country to a halt, Babangida declared that he was stepping aside from the presidency, and handing over the reins of government to Ernest Shonekan. Within 3 months of the handover, General Sani Abacha seized control of the government while Babangida was in the midst of a visit to Egypt.[citation needed]

Human rights abuses

The killing by a letter bomb of Dele Giwa, a magazine editor critical of Babangida's administration at his Lagos home in 1986, remains a controversial incident to this day. In 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo established the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission headed by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa to investigate human rights abuses during Nigeria's decades of military rule. However, Babangida repeatedly defied summons to appear before the panel to answer allegations of humans rights abuses and questioned both the legality of the commission and its power to summon him. His right not to testify was upheld in 2001 by Nigeria's court of appeal which ruled that the panel did not have the power to summon former rulers of the country.[5].

The Oputa Panel Report would conclude that "On General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun are accountable for the death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-opened for further investigation in the public interest."[6]

2007 presidential aspirations

In an interview with the Financial Times on August 15, 2006, Babangida announced that he would run for president in Nigeria's 2007 national elections.[7][8] He said he was doing so "under the banner of the Nigerian people" and accused the country's political elite of fuelling Nigeria's current ethnic and religious violence.[9]

On the 8th of November, 2006, General Babangida picked a nomination form from the Peoples Democratic Party Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. This effectively put to rest any speculation about his ambitions to run for the Presidency. His form was personally issued to him by the PDP chairman, Ahmadu Ali. This action immediately drew extreme reactions of support or opposition from the generality of Nigerians. In early December, just before the PDP presidential primary, however, it was widely reported in Nigerian newspapers that IBB had withdrawn his candidacy to be the PDP's nominee to run for President. In a letter excerpted in the media, IBB is quoted as citing the "moral dilemma" of running against Umaru Yar'Adua, the younger brother of the late Shehu Yar'Adua (himself a former nominee to run for the Presidency during IBB's military dictatorship), as well as against General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, given IBB's close relationship with the latter two. It is widely believed that his chances of winning were slim.[10][11]

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
Muhammadu Buhari
President of the Armed Forces Ruling Council of Nigeria
August 27, 1985  – August 26, 1993
Succeeded by
Ernest Shonekan

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