IBRAHIM Babangida, former military president, has said he is ready to vote for an Igbo president in 2019. Speaking with The Interview, a magazine focused on leading professionals and politicians, IBB, as he is fondly called, described agitation for Biafra republic as a distraction.
“We do not need this distraction now,” he was quoted as saying, adding that “I will vote for an Igbo president in 2019, if I find one.” He also revisited one of the most controversial issues involving him – the death of MKO Abiola, acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election. He said he received the news of his death with shock but without regret.
Responding to the question on whether he believed that Abiola died of natural causes, he replied: “I should know? I didn’t serve the tea…!”
The former military ruler also spoke on his relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, who had accused him of staging the 1985 coup to save General Aliyu Gusau and himself. Babangida told a story of their 2006 encounter arranged by former Abia governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, as proof that all is well between him and the president, adding, “one thing you guys in the media want is for us to be exchanging words with each other each time we see.”
He spoke on June 12 and how he received the news of the death of the winner of the election, Chief MKO Abiola, saying, he “was shocked,” but without regret.
Also in the interview, Babangida spoke on the two “most traumatic” coups during his eight-year regime – the Mamman Vatsa and Gideon Orkar coups – revealing, for the first time, a meeting he had with Vatsa before his trial began. The interview also covered Dele Giwa and the C130 Hercules plane crash in Ejigbo, which left 150 military officers dead.
In the same edition, frontline lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, spoke on why he was dropped from the ministerial list, while the new President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, gave African leaders some homework to do. -The Sun