Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) spent eight years as head of state at Aso Rock. He pledged at different times in his regime to return power to “the people”. But he never did. Somehow, he always found a way to dribble himself out of the maze of his own mendacity.
I remember during his regime, there were rumours that some forces of turpitude were egging him on in his despotic drive. These people were also said to ensure a daily sufficient supply of marabouts to the presidential villa – for spiritual bunkering. That IBB annulled the June 1993 presidential election was said to be because of this shadow clique.
IBB was eventually forced out of power by citizens whom he had had a Maradona run on in the field of tyranny. Then came Sani Abacha, who claimed he wanted to restore order in the country, after which he would give way for a democratic government. Abacha drank from the hypnotic chalice of Aso Rock and became Nigeria’s most brutal dictator. It was also rumoured at the time that he was being puppeteered by the sycophantic voices in his court. Abacha wanted to be life-president, but God had another plan for him.
Olusegun Obasanjo, out of prison, became president in 1999. He spent eight good years in power, but he suddenly thought that he was the only president Nigeria deserved; that he was the best thing to happen to the country since jollof rice. He wanted a third term, and he was making frantic effort to have the constitution amended for this immoral reason. But he failed. There were “reports” that the abominable third-term idea was sold to Obasanjo by some persons who felt their overnight-lavish existence would be threatened if he left power. But Nigerians won.
Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s case is a classic example of the power of native prebendal forces. Yar’Adua, a good man, was dying; even died, but these forces will not let go of the crown, not because they loved the deceased but out of sheer self-preservation – their gluttonous existence would be threatened by his exit from power.
President Muhammadu Buhari is not in the best of health. It is normal for anyone of his age. I believe, Buhari may not necessarily be hungry for a second term in office, but the “vested interests” will want him to remain there even if he is just a mannequin.
It is an integrity test for Buhari if he runs for re-election conscious of his ill-health. Perhaps, “integrity and politician” are antithetical.
I have learnt one lesson over the years; I hope Nigerians learn it too. Any politician who says “I will spend only one term in office” is a congenital liar.
Aso Rock is the coven of interests where presidents go to live and die.
*Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer, journalist and media entrepreneur. He can be reached on Twitter: @FredrickNwabufo, Facebook: Fredrick Nwabufo