n this interview, former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, clarifies his position on his statement suggesting that he is in support of the re-election bid of President Goodluck Jonathan. Babangida also speaks on the murder of Dele Giwa in 1986, the Interim National Government, ING, Sani Abacha’s coup and the loss of his long time companion and wife, Maryam.
Aired last Wednesday on Channels TV, the interview was an episode in the current affairs programme, STWK (Straight Talk With Kadaria), anchored by Kadaria Ahmed.Excerpts:
Do you support President Jonathan’s attempt at re-election?
Firstly, I appreciate the fact that he came to visit me and, during our discussion, I found him to be a man who believes in the unity of this country and I did allude to that and I said I found him to be someone who has a very strong belief about the unity of this country.
Those of us who fought the civil war – I still carry a bullet so I have a permanent reminder in me – anything that relates to Nigeria’s unity, we get impassioned about it.
So what I said is that the President believes in the unity of this country and any other person who believes in the unity of this country should support the President to keep this country one.
So, as far as the 2015 elections are concerned, President Jonathan has your blessing
Well, as far as 2015 is concerned, all the presidential candidates – 14 of them – have my blessings.
The only difference is (and I did mention it) that I have not been able to read what they have offered to this country and I am going to do that and whoever offers what I’m looking for, I am going to vote for.
What exactly did you mean when you said that if what you read in the papers these days is anything to go by, then your administration was saintly?
I am an avid reader of Nigerian newspapers, so when I read a statement like $16billion spent trying to provide power for this country or somebody kept under his bed N300m, if what I’m reading is true, then we were angels.
Not because you did any spending or because your level of spending was less or because you didn’t touch public money?
We did have a regulation.
You can’t, for example, keep more than ‘X’ amount of money in your vault or in your safe. We followed strictly the financial regulations and now it boggles my mind how somebody could put N300m under his bed.
I once removed a governor for N300,000, because he overspent what we had given him as limit on security.