Former Military President
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (born 17 August 1941), also known as IBB, is a retired Nigerian Army General who was President of Nigeria under military rule. He ruled Nigeria from 27 August 1985, when he overthrew Major General Muhammadu Buhari in a coup, until his departure from office on 27 August 1993, having annulled the elections held on 12 June that year. General Babangida was a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria (July 1966, February 1976, December 1983, August 1985, December 1985 and April 1990). There is evidence of severe human rights abuses during his regime.
Marriage, family and personal life
Ibrahim Babangida was born in 1941, Minna, Niger State. His parents are Muhammad and Aisha Babangida. He is from the Gwari ethnic group. On 6 September 1969, he married Maryam (née King) Babangida (First Lady of Nigeria 1985–93). They had four children together: Muhammadu, Aminu, Aishatu, and Halimatu. Maryam Babangida died from complications of ovarian cancer on 27 December 2009.
Early education and military career
Babangida attended the Provincial Secondary School, Bida from 1957 to 1962 where his classmates included officers such as Abdulsalami Abubakar. Babangida later joined the Nigerian Army on 10 December 1962, when he attended the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in Kaduna. Babangida received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant as a regular combatant officer in the Royal Nigerian Army (a month before it became the Nigerian Army) with the personal army number N/438 from the Indian Military Academy on 26 September 1963. Babangida and General Mohammed Magoro were among the first batch of Nigerian graduates from the NMTC who attended the Indian Military Academy from April to September 1963. Others in subsequent batches from Babangida's NMTC class include Garba Duba and Ibrahim Sauda. Babangida furthered his armoury training from January 1966 until April 1966 by enrolling in Course 38 of the Young Officers' Course (ARMED) in the United Kingdom where he received a four-month course in Saladin and gunnery.
From August 1972 to June 1973, he took the Advanced Armoured Officers' course at Armored school. He attended the Senior officers' course, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, from January 1977 until July 1977 and the Senior International Defence Management Course, Naval Postgraduate school, U.S., in 1980.
He was heavily involved in quelling the Nigerian coup of 1976, when he was to ‘liberate’ a radio station from one of the coup plotters, Col Buka Suka Dimka (a close friend of his), to prevent him making further announcements over the air waves. Although he did prevent further broadcasts, Col Dimka managed to escape.
He attained the following ranks: Second Lieutenant (1963), Lieutenant (1966), Captain (1968), Major (1970), Lieutenant Colonel (1970), Colonel (1973), Brigadier (1979), Major General (1983), and General (1987). Babangida also served as a member of the Supreme Military Council from 1 August 1975 to October 1979.
Participation in the Nigerian counter-coup of July 1966
Babangida, then a Lieutenant with the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron in Kaduna, was one of the many officers of northern Nigerian origin who staged what became known as the Nigerian Counter-Coup of 1966 which resulted in the death of Nigeria's first military Head of State, General Aguiyi Ironsi (who had taken power in another coup earlier that year), and his replacement with General Yakubu Gowon.
Babangida was the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the administration of Major General Muhammadu Buhari. Babangida would later overthrow Buhari's regime on 27 August 1985 in a bloodless military coup that relied on mid-level officers that Babangida strategically positioned over the years.
He came into power in a military coup promising to bring to an end the human rights abuses perpetuated by Buhari's government, and to hand over power to a civilian government by 1990. Eventually, he perpetuated one of the worst human right abuses.
Babangida upgraded Nigeria's role in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC, now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), from an observer status to full-fledged membership. After public outcry and denial by Babangida, the John Shagaya panel was instituted to determine Nigeria's status in the OIC. The panel failed to take an explicit position on the issue, and instead, called for peace and stability within the nation, and the preservation of secularism within Nigeria. Commodore Ebitu Okoh Ukiwe, the first Chief of General Staff-in command, was 'dropped' by Babangida. Ukiwe had been opposed to the registration of Nigeria, a secular country, in the OIC.
Nigeria has never been withdrawn from the OIC and remains a member. Sani Abacha, who overthrew the Interim National Government set up when Babangida was forced out of office again unilaterally registered Nigeria as a member of the D-8 (Developing-8), an organisation for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. The D-8, an idea proposed by then Prime Minister of Turkey Necmettin Erbakan in October 1996, is a "cooperation among major Muslim developing countries".
1990 coup attempt
On 22 April 1990, Babangida's government was almost toppled by a coup attempt led by Major Gideon Orkar. Babangida was at the Dodan Barracks, the military headquarters and presidential residence, when they were attacked and occupied by the rebel troops, but managed to escape by a back route. During the brief interlude during which Orkar and his collaborators controlled radio transmitters in Lagos, they broadcast a vehement critique of Babangida's government, accusing it of widespread corruption and autocratic tendencies, and they also expelled the five northernmost and predominantly Hausa-Fulani Nigerian states from the union, accusing them of seeking to perpetuate their rule at the expense of the predominantly Christian peoples of Nigeria's middle-belt citing, in particular, the political neutralization of the Langtang Mafia.
Botched transition to civilian rule
In 1989, Babangida legalized the formation of political parties, and after a census was carried out in November 1991, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced on 24 January 1992 that both legislative elections to a bicameral National Assembly and a presidential election would be later that year. A process of voting was adopted referred to as Option A4. This process advocated that any candidate needed to pass through adoption from the local level to any height of governance.
Babangida banned all political parties and formed two political parties by himself, namely the SDP (Social Democratic Party) and NRC (National Republican Convention) and urged all Nigerians to join either of the parties, which the Late Chief Ajibola Ige famously referred to as "two leper hands." The two-party state had been a recommendation of the 17-member Political Bureau.
The legislative elections went ahead as planned, with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) winning majorities in both houses of the National Assembly, but on 7 August 1992, the INEC annulled the first round of presidential primaries, alleging widespread irregularities. On 4 January 1993, Babangida announced a National Defense and Security Council, which he was president of, while in April 1993, the SDP nominated Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) as its presidential candidate, with the National Republican Convention (NRC) choosing Bashir Tofa to run for the same position. On 12 June 1993, presidential election was finally held, but the result was held back although it was announced in some states that Abiola had in fact won 19 of the 30 states, and therefore the presidency.
Rather than allow the announcement of the results to proceed, Babangida and his cronies decided to annul the elections. Babangida then issued a decree banning the presidential candidates of both the NRC and the SDP from running in new presidential elections that he planned to hold in the interest of the country. Widespread acts of civil disobedience began to occur, particularly in the Southwest region from which Abiola hailed, resulting in the killings of people mostly from the South East part of the country. On 6 July 1993, the NDSC issued an ultimatum to the SDP and NRC to join an interim government or face yet another round of elections, and Babangida then announced that the interim government would be inaugurated on 27 August 1993. On 26 August, amidst a new round of strikes and protests that had brought all economic activity in the country to a halt, Babangida declared that he was stepping aside as head of the military regime, and handing over the reins of government to Ernest Shonekan. Within three months of the handover, General Sani Abacha seized control of the government while Babangida was on a visit to Egypt.
The Oputa Panel Report would conclude that: "On General Ibrahim Babangida, we are of the view that there is evidence to suggest that he and the two security chiefs, Brigadier General Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun are accountable for the untimely death of Dele Giwa by letter bomb. We recommend that this case be re-opened for further investigation in the public interest."
Nominated by Afam Nnaji