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Ex-Military Dictator Files Presidential Candidacy in Nigeria
Is a comeback in the works for Imbrahim Badamasi Babangida?
Bala Muhammad Makosa (babanjawad)     Print Article 
Published 2006-11-08 08:18 (KST)   
General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, retired, has filed to run as a candidate in the presidential election of Nov. 8, 2007. The ex-military dictator is expected to acquire his declaration to run at the People's Democratic Party (PDP) state secretariat in Minna, the capital of Niger State in west central Nigeria.

General Ibrahim Badamasi was born in Minna and was a soldier by profession before his retirement, after eight years as Nigeria's president. Babangida, who overthrew General Muhammad Buhari's military government in 1985, established his new regime with new strategies, including implementing policies such the IMF's Structural Adjustment Program (SAP).

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During his eight years in office, he was accused of encouraging the looting of public funds by government officials, who enriched themselves at the expense of the less-privileged. Other ills of his administration included corruption and indiscipline. In 1993, Babangida was forced to retire from the military and hand over control of affairs to an unprepared interim government under the leadership of Chief Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan, a civilian.

This fell victim to Babangida's subterfuge to extend his military government for selfish motives. Shonekan's transitional administration only lasted three months, as a palace coup led by General Sani Abacha via Shonekan's "resignation" forcefully dismantled the remaining democratic institutions and brought the government back under military control on Nov. 17, 1993.

Moreover, Babangida was accused of killing Dele Giwa, a popular Nigerian journalist who vowed to reveal the misdeeds of his government. Babangida joined civilian politics in 1999 and was said to be one of the key figures who invited the present Nigerian civilian president Olusegun Obasanjo to contest the presidential election of 1999 in order to pave the way for his own (Babangida's) presidential candidacy in 2007. It has been rumoured that Olusegun Obasanjo is very close to Babangida, and they have had their heads together to strategize Babangida's presidential candidacy next year.

Meanwhile, most Nigerians interviewed expressed dismay at Babangida's contesting the Nigerian presidency, viewing his return as threatening to cripple the country more and more. Babangida has been said to be the worst president the country ever had, stealing public funds to the extent that he is now rated among the richest people in the world. Indeed, Nov. 8 will mark a tipping point in Nigerian politics, a day Babangida, the man who ruled the country with an iron hand during 1985-1993, will get a chance to return to the presidential villa next year.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Bala Muhammad Makosa

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