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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

BABANGIDA KE!


You know that feeling don’t you when a seemingly inane little thought or chorus line from a cheesy pop song gets stuck on auto replay in your mind all day. Sometimes it’s stuck for days but imagine it being stuck for eight years. I had that gluing and ungluing experience last week. You see, from 1999, l had had the image and print of an ALAROYE (a Yoruba tabloid) front page screech of a headline in my minds eye. After the nation staggered out of the reality of Abacha’s evil reign and lewd departure into he beyond and the curious death of Abiola into an uncertain terrain devoid of credible leaders to take us from war ruins to prosperity. Many names were being bandied about, nobody at that time was mad enough to mention Babangida but they did mention Obasanjo. I was ambivalent about Obasanjo and uninformed about Falae and all the others but the ALAROYE headline grabbed my attention and summed up the feelings of the South West as at the time. It screamed, OBASANJO KE! The true interpretation of that exclamation is as deep and prone to intuitive interpretation as the Yoruba culture itself. It expressed shock, disbelief, unbelief and outrage. It says how can you, still being in possession of your full faculties begin to even consider that.

At the time l didn’t quite understand the venom and the complete lack of support of Obasanjo in the South West having been a child in his first coming, (reading Wole Soyinka's You Must Set Forth At Dawn was illuminating)
No wonder himself and his party were roundly defeated in the 1999 polls. Don’t ask me about 2003. I no know book and don’t ask me if the fears expressed in that explanation eight years ago have been justified, the true answer to that will be unveiled in the next few months.

The truth for me however is that many times in the past eight years, that headline had flashed in my head but last week it disappeared only to be replaced by a street wide banner in red dotted all over with panicked bleeding eyes and rising uncoordinated skeletons all screeching BABANGIDA KEEEEEEEE!

This, as l watched on TV and read in newspapers the reports of babangida’s declaration of intent to be president. Yes of course l had heard all the rumours and cowardly kite flying but l did not believe that the man would actually run. For him to step out with his better life-ruining wife and actually declare an intention to run is an affront on the people of Nigeria. It is the equivalent of the recently passed on Botha declaring an intention to govern a post apartheid South Africa! Worse still is the tacit acceptance that he has a right to run, the putrid argument that we should give him a chance to repent and the odious lack of outrage at the sheer temerity. What is wrong with us! If the man has lost his mind should we not unequivocally reacquaint him with it?

Is this not the man who single headedly impoverished this nation with his inconsistent policies? Who engineered the systemic decay of our institutions and infrastructure? The one who played Tom and Jerry games with human rights running journalists aground, proscribing newspapers? In whose never ending times dissenting voices get mysteriously letter bombed or disappear, the man who dishonourably toyed with the democratic process and eventually stole our mandate and had to be dragged out of office (remember the odious stepping aside speech and ceremony where the peacock first lady glared her resentment at a stunned nation)? The man who left us with Abacha who was the same officer that mowed down over 200 defenceless civilians in a suburb of Lagos in protest of Babangidas sit tight attempts. He who cannot and has not explained the Gulf War windfall, he who took away the opportunities of my generation? BABANGIDA KE!

Our collective amnesia never ceases to amaze, after all some mad men (non gender specific please) are actually saying that Abacha’s era is better than now. I might understand that coming from the jobbers, contractors, marabous, concubines, slaves and relatives of the man but from average everyday Nigerians? Dem don crase finish.
Now why am l concerned? Why not just allow him to be roundly defeated at the polls? One, he has no right to even benefit from a democracy he worked against, should a paedophile be eligible for a job position in a school? Two, shine ya eye and read again the first two paragraphs of this piece, note also that the police IG and PDP chairman Ali accompanied him when he declared. The process so far gives enough cause for concern. Voters registration is in shambles as l write l haven’t registered and l intend to even if l have to travel to the only available point in my ward adequately armed with sleeping mat, umbrella and nutrition since there are only 1 registration point to 500,000 eligible voters in Lagos (check projectvote.org for news and reports).
Nobody should think they can foist Babangida on us, if the man wants redemption he should go to Allah who is merciful and perhaps he shall be allowed to enjoy the spoils of his reign in peace but if he dares Nigerians, all the souls of the living dead (which is what 70% of Nigeria is no thanks to the babangida legacy et al), the truly dead (especially the likes of Dele Giwa) and our ancestors will pursue him until he gets his just deserts.

9 comments:

My Talking Beginnings said...

Thank God for people like you FI, you will grow old with God's grace! If anyone in the media in Nigeria has guts, it is you! I have only recently posted something similar on my blog about this. As we Nigerians do not have a govt or system to rely on we will sha pray and curse the man away till something happens. IBB will NOT come back for more destruction.

Anonymous said...

Hmmn, Funmi,Funmi,Funmi! How many times did I call you? 3 times abi? Right now,I am stark raving MAD!! Thanks for your piece on Babangida's supposed ambition to rule us once more. Pray,what does the Man think we are.A bunch of idiots or worse still,retards? I will not bore you with a catalogue of his attrocities.
My worry is why do we keep on recycling "old farts".Is Babangida and his ilk the best this country has to offer? It's sad,really. Very sad.Why do we always have to foist "spent canons" on ourselves.When will we ever get it right? Please,someone should just tell the Man to stay put in his mansion in Minna.We need a generational change in this country. Unfortunately,we seem to suffer from some form of amnesia. We forget all too soon.
My verdict: The man has 'screwed" us long enough. Another chance at "screwing" us will certainly spell disaster. I wonder if we will have any "asshole" left,with which to shit!!

Concerned Citizen

bee said...

Babaginda may have repented of his isns and all that...but the guy has no bloody right whatsoever to say he wants to be president in a democartic setting..This guy annuled an election and for me that is a grevious offence and it shows he doesnt respect democaracy..I wont be surprised if he wins though,this is 9ja ..the only thing we can do is to join our hearts in parayer against it..babangida ke!!!!!

adaorah said...

babangida keeeeeee aptly defines my feelings at the moment.i was but a child when he started his evil reign over nigeria and growing up i have never read or seen any body (who has not sold out their conciensce )talk or write anything good about that man. i personally think he wants to come back for two main reasons
1. to steal like a desperado that he is cos he was not allowed to steal as much as he wanted to, his first time out.
2. to redeem his image in the international community by partronizingly doing good works when he come back as president.
(but perharps he wants to be a democractic head of state since he has already been our military president)if it depends on me alone he wont even get a nomination form and one thing i know for sure is that IBB WILL HAVE NO BIZ IN ASOROCK EXCEPT TO VISIT COME 2007.

Anonymous said...

My fear is that whilst we are all correctly outraged we are doing it from the sanctity of cozy middle classness. Once Maradona opnes his purses and starts spraying some of the money he originally stole from us (speculate then accumulate some more) then wait and see what happens. Ghana must go.IBB must come!! I would not even put it past some of our so called elected leaders (Senate and House) to start mouthing yanfu, yanfu about how great the man is.

Please see my post at http://toksie.blogspot.com/
for one of the ways we can root out IBB and his ilk by exposing them for what they really are - empty drums. The gall of the man is just unbeliveable. Im so frustrated that it has even got to the stage where he can saunter in and pick up a nomination form.

Anonymous said...

Donald Duke Governor of Akwa Ibom? I believe he is the Guvernor of Cross Rivers State - Capital Calabar. I know this for a fact because I "served" in Akwa Ibom State 3 years ago.

As for babangida, what will be will be, until we as a collective decide that enough is enough with naija politics, the crooks will continue to run the country.

Reader from Toronto.

P.S. I ached when I was about to leave naija because I knew I was going to miss NEW DAWN.
oh by the way, I have followed you since your days at TEMPO. I was still in the university then.

Toni Payne said...

If Babaginda wins itwill prove to the world how much a of a joke Nigeria really is. I mean c'mon.

cleo.kelvin said...

You know wat i think well de return of is still in progress becos it will either unleash terror or lead to another war due to his really craz. and wat he didnt get b4 do u tink he wil get it now cos a leopard neva changes its spots.
cleoterria

broccolimakesmepuke said...

I'm just reading this and I really am floored. It's unfortunate that Nigerians have selective amnesia. I hate to say it but I have a terrible feeling that we as a people are too lazy to do what it takes to keep this man out of "The Villa". The only silver lining is that we were able to say no to third term,so maybe just maybe we can say no to Mr "I ran Nigeria into the ground while smiling with them and them not knowing I was mortgaging thier country away".

You're a public figure and write openly about your life, you've inspired me to stop skirting around issues for fear of being discovered. Speaking my mind(responsibly of course), is the only gift I think I can truly give myself. Thank You!