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					Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

Forget about the carnival on November 8, when General Ibrahim Bababangida rented a crowd
to pick the PDP nomination form in Abuja. The dictator has enough problems to make Judas
Iscariot feel good. There is such an abundance of scary issues awaiting the former military ruler,
as his enemies gather to share his remains.

W hen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida joined the Nigerian Army in 1962, it was not quite clear
why, later in his career, he fell in love with the armoured tank and opted for the Armoured
Corps. What was certain was that he imbibed the pig-headed psychology of an armoured
vehicle driver in his public life. Like a leviathan from the pit of hell, an armoured tank is no
respecter of obstacles. It clanks its way among rocks, shrubs, creepers and trees with rugged,
single-minded zeal, aware that enemy darts or bullets would bounce off its thick armour.

However, whatever may be the armoured tank’s perceived invincibility, it is vulnerable to pits
dug in its path, especially if it is big enough to swallow it. Therefore, in these days of anti-tank
missiles, an armoured tank and its driver are not entirely safe. Although General Babangida
has, like his armoured tank, pursued his dream to rule Nigeria in 2007 without regard to attacks,
his negative antecedents are wide enough to swallow his political ambition. And his political
opponents are ready to use them against him. After a lot of hide and seek, double-speak and
tongue twisting, Babangida finally picked his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential
nomination form on 8 November 2006.

A day earlier, not many people across the country believed that Gen. Ibrahim Babangida would
pick the presidential nomination form of the ruling Party (PDP) in Abuja the following day. The
few that knew had concluded that he was going to do so by proxy, just to fulfil all righteousness.
But by 7:30a.m. the following day, the Wadata Plaza Headquarters of the PDP had been
jampacked with human and vehicular traffic. The whole length of Michael Okpara Road, from
Wuse Zone 7 to Wuse Zone 6, was closed to traffic, as vehicles were packed right on the road
for want of parking space.

The carnival-like event continued from the early hours of the day till 10:15 a.m. when the
Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero led Babangida’s convoy through the surging
crowd. For about 30 minutes, the erstwhile military President Babangida could not alight from
the 25-seater Toyota Hiace bus that conveyed him to the party’s headquarters. As soon as
Babangida was able to manoeuvre his way, alongside his wife Maryam, to the office of the

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

party’s National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, the IGP handed over the security assignment to the
FCT police boss, Mr. Lawrence Alobi. Ehindero, in fact, had to wriggle himself out of the
suffocating crowd.

The event of 8 November remarkably stands out, even though 16 presidential aspirants have so
far picked the PDP form, as hundreds of party supporters carrying assorted posters and
banners with different inscriptions singing IBB’s praises took over the party secretariat. Chief
Max Gbanite, an IBB loyalist, told this magazine that, “you can see, the owner of the form has
come to pick the form. What more do I have to say?”

Apart from his wife, those who accompanied IBB to pick the form were Governor Abdulkadir
Kure of Niger State; IBB’s former Chief of General Staff, (CGS), Admiral Augustus Aikhomu;
Kure’s deputy, Mr. Shem Nuhu Zagbayi; Malam Isa Yuguda, Gen John Shagaya, Col. Habibu
Idris Shuaibu, IBB’s son, Mohammed Babangida; Senators Nuhu Aliyu and Idris Kuta, AVM
Hamza Abdullahi, Chief Rufus Ada George, Professor Omo Omoruyi, Chief (Mrs.) Josephine
Anenih and a host of others.

PDP chieftains, led by its Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, were on ground to receive the visitors.
They included the National Secretary, Chief Ojo Maduekwe; Chief Olabode George, Deputy
National Chairman (South-West); Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, Deputy National Chairman, North
Central; Chief Victor Odili and Chief Ozichukwu Chukwu. Like a man who had perfected his
game plan, Babangida read from a two-page prepared speech entitled: A Quest For A New
Employment; Through The Voter. He said he was in the contest to aim at nothing but the gold
medal. “Mr. Chairman,” he addressed Ahmadu Ali, “I was once reminded that politics is like
sport. There is a difference, however. In sport, there are gold, silver and bronze medals. In
election, we only have the gold medal. Only one person would become the winner in an

“There will be no second best or third best. All parties play for the gold medal. This is what I
want for the party under your chairmanship,” he assured Ali. Speaking bluntly, he declared that
he was not going to lead the country by imitating the steps of President Olusegun Obasanjo: “If I
say I would copy the President, this would not be fair to him. Speaking from what I know of
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, he had always expected his officers to be bold, innovative and
imaginative.” He said his decision to seek the office of president was not based on any desire to
change the direction of Nigeria but to expand the frontiers of reforms that are designed towards
building a better society. He, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to register to vote in the
forthcoming election. “Let your vote be your choice,” he urged Nigerians.

IBB’s interest in the 2007 presidential contest, however, was not without some hurdles. At the
PDP secretariat, elements opposed to him also had a field day, protesting against his entry into
the presidential race, as different posters depicting his misrule from 1985 to 1993 were
displayed. Questions were also asked in some of the banners if he had answered the poser in
respect of the murder of Dele Giwa. The drama was a symbol of the larger broadsides that have
been assailing the former military president. Left, right and centre, salvos are fired and big
ravines are being dug by his political enemies, even as his political machine clatters along.

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

The Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice, a group made up of Northerners, is working
against IBB’s attempt at a come-back. Umar Farouk, Secretary-General of the group, argued
that another Babangida presidency would lead to complete destruction of Nigeria. “For
somebody who has spent N8 billion pursuing a transition programme that did not lead Nigeria
anywhere to come and say he would like to rule this country once more, needs a serious
re-examination, because any mandate for him would lead to ultimate destruction of the country.
Babangida is a bad product who has nothing to offer Nigerians. You can see that some of the
people that attended the declaration were rented. He is an ill-wind that will blow no one any

‘‘There is something significant about the decision of a band of Northern youths to openly
campaign against IBB. “It is unheard of,” a PDP top notcher told TheNEWS in Abuja. “This is
quite striking, given the much vaunted unity of the North.” Less than 48 hours after Babangida
picked his PDP nomination form, Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe State described it as
an “insult on the intelligence of Nigerians.” The Governor said he was surprised that IBB joined
the race after “the mess he put the country into.” Ibrahim, a presidential aspirant on the platform
of All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), dismissed IBB as a weak opponent. “I don’t think
Babangida is a strong opponent. I mean, we all know the antecedents of General Babangida.
He was Head of State of Nigeria for eight years. We all know what happened within the
eight-year period that the military almost ruined Nigeria. He almost ruined Nigeria forever. We
all know the policies of that government. We all know what happened to the naira, and we all
know the nullification (1993 election), which is the highest crime you can commit politically.”

In the same breath, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State blamed the Nigerian elite for
over 90 per cent of the political crises in Nigeria. “The ordinary voter in the village does not
bother himself with who is in charge or under what party. What he is after is fairness and
judicious management of resources. Once this is ensured, in fact, the village man will tell you,
let the leadership come from the moon, it is not his business. Therefore, our greatest challenge
in our great party is a God-fearing leadership, and that is exactly what this great country needs
now. Our elite have failed us.”

Although IBB picked the PDP ticket, the party may dig a big gorge in his path. This is by way of
the party’s book of ethics, entitled PDP Candidates: Desirable Qualities and Code of Conduct.
The 15-page document lists the desirable qualities an aspirant must have as patriotism,
integrity, ethno-neutrality, rule-driven, tolerance, knowledge-driven, commitment to
community/constituency service and leadership. A source told TheNEWS that the PDP
leadership may nail IBB under integrity, using the Pius Okigbo report on the missing $12.4
billion Gulf War oil windfall.

There are also other allegations hanging on IBB’s neck. Apart from the recent arrest of his son,
Mohammed, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over his questionable
investments in Globacom, other weighty issues confronting Babangida include the execution of
General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, the murder of Dele Giwa, founding Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch
magazine through a parcel bomb in 1986, and IBB’s inexplicable annulment of the June 12,
1993 presidential election. Mohammed was arrested by EFCC on 11 August 2006 over the
charge that he owns 24 per cent shares in the $1.5 billion Globacom telecom company. He

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

allegedly bought it through a Kaduna-based proxy.

Ribadu told the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation: “It was during the
on-going investigations on the case of Globacom. The investigation took us to Kaduna State to
get someone and the information we were looking for. On getting there, we discovered that the
house belongs to Mohammed Babangida.” The general question is where did Mohammed, who
has no means of livelihood, get funds for investment? Analysts believe he is the true front of his
father! Mohammed is married to Rahama, daughter of Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Chairman,
Oriental Energy Resources. In one of its recent releases, Sahara reporters, an internet
investigative website, said the company owns Oil Mining Licence (OML) 115 of Oil Prospecting
Licence (OPL) 224 that covers over 61,000 acres in the shallow waters of the South East coast
of Nigeria.

Political analysts believe that IBB is among the most corrupt politicians that must be prevented
from contesting in 2007. “Over $400 billion oil money,” as Ribadu revealed at a Financial
Institutions Training Centre (FITC) lecture, “has been stolen by bad leaders. We are going to
trace the activities of past and present leaders and publish the names of those leaders who
have laundered money, their accounts numbers and the names of the banks where the money
is being kept. We will also close the account of those politicians who have laundered money
and converted it for their political ambitions.”

But Colonel Habibu Idris Shuaibu (retd), IBB’s Chief of Staff, boasted that regardless of
whatever his principal’s enemies planned to do, IBB would be president in 2003. The
premeditated execution of General Mamman Vatsa in 1986 over an alleged coup plot is another
albatross hovering over IBB. Vatsa and 99 others were investigated by the Brigadier-General
Sani Sami-led Preliminary Special Investigation Panel. After that, the Major-General Charles
Ndiomu-led Special Military Tribunal court-martialled and killed Vatsa and 16 others. They
included Lt. Col. Musa Bitiyong, Christian Oche, Michael Iyorshe, Lt. K. G. Dakpa, Commodore
A. A. Ogwuiji, Wing Commander B. E. Ekele, Adamu Sakaba, Squadron Leaders Martin Luther,
C. Odey and A. Ahura. However, in a letter to the presidency,Vatsa’s widow, Sufiya, complained
that IBB planned the coup. “He wrote the script and got an officer to execute it. The officer in
question was close to Mamman Madaki, a former Military Administrator of Plateau State. Pleas
for clemency by eminent Nigerians who were sympathetic to the perceived innocence of Vatsa
were rebuffed by IBB,” Sufiya claimed.

Mr. Femi Falana, Lagos lawyer and human rights activist added: “In actuality, by December
1985 when General Vatsa and others were arrested, the only law in the country dealing with
treason was the Criminal Code or the Penal Code. In particular, Section 37 of the Criminal Code
provides for death penalty for anybody who engages in acts calculated to remove the President
or to overthrow the Head of State. But the problem the lawyers of the junta had was that the
Criminal Code was not designed to protect a military dictator.” To give the war against IBB more
effect, the North Central Democratic Vanguard (NCDV) produced a N1.6 million documentary,
comprising chats with Sufiya, her sons and Major Effiong, one of the alleged coupists who
survived the process. It was aired repeatedly on African Independent Television (AIT) in August.

The murder of Dele Giwa on 19 October 1986 also hangs on IBB’s neck. For 20 years, the

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

murder has remained unsolved. Brigadier-General Haliru Akilu, former Director of Military
Intelligence and his deputy, Colonel A. K. Togun, who interrogated Giwa and asked for his
address before his murder, are the prime suspects. Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Senior Advocate of
Nigeria (SAN), has vowed not to relent in his battle to see that IBB is prosecuted for Giwa’s
death. Now that Babangida wants to contest, Fawehinmi has, again, thrown his hat into the ring.
He said: “The battle has just begun. I want to write to the Inspector-General of Police to dust the
file of Dele Giwa 20 years after – the police investigation report, ballistic report etc. Mark you,
the ballistician’s report confirmed that particles of the bomb came from the Army. So, Ehindero
has to do his duty.

But if he doesn’t do it, I will file an application to compel him to do so. So the battle has just
begun. Now, Babangida no longer has immunity. Such a man cannot escape justice because in
law, a criminal act, be it murder or otherwise, has no statute of limitation. There is no time
constraint. There is no time limit. There are examples all over the world. Take Augustino
Pinochet of Chile for example. In September 1976, he got rid of (former Chilean leader
Salvadore) Allende. He also massacred more than 8,000 people, including 120 journalists.
Today, at the age of 89 or 90, he is parading one court or the other for the murder committed
more than 30 years ago. So Babangida’s trouble has just begun. Dele Giwa’s murder case will
be revived and the battle to get justice for him will be waged until the truth is revealed. It must
not be buried.”

There are also elements in the North who are ready to frustrate IBB’s ambition. Abdulkarim
Daiyabu, Head, Movement for Justice in Nigeria (MOJIN), told this magazine of his resolve to
pay even the supreme sacrifice to frustrate IBB’s 2007 ambition. Daiyabu is based in Kano, the
sprawling northern city where angry youths stoned IBB when he attended a wedding about two
years ago. At the international level, opposition is mounting against IBB’s ambition. Dr. Patrick
Wilmot, the Ahmadu Bello University lecturer who was deported by IBB, has threatened to
“organise international opposition” against him in 2007. Indeed, international opposition has
begun to manifest. When Maryam, IBB’s wife, visited the US in October to (ostensibly) promote
her Better Life Programme, she was given a granite reception because her hosts saw through
the veil that she was there to promote her husband’s presidential ambition. Currently, Mr.
Herman Cohen, one-time US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa who now runs a
consultancy outfit in Washington D.C., is IBB’s official lobbyist.

Babangida has, since 1989, become persona non grata in the United States of America. In a
memo he sent to the US that year, Princeton Lyman, the then US envoy to Nigeria, wrote: “I am
sorry to say that we can no longer play low-key on Babangida’s desire for a visit.” That was after
Jeb Bush (now Governor of Florida State) visited Nigeria, where IBB discussed the possibility of
a US visit. According to a website, “Maryam has been operating quietly,
but she is more like a goldfish. Washington is taking notice, but negatively. There is a lot of
hissing behind her back. Her method is two-pronged: avoid Nigerians; reach out to influential
Americans. Not a single major or minor news medium has sought to interview her so far. The
only medium she could get, a tiny African TV company, 360 Africa, conducted an interview that
has not found a channel. The company had no station and only purchased slots on local
channels. Even the transcripts would not be released. A source said she is a ‘nobody’ in D.C.
She has been throwing her husband’s money on lobbyists and American sympathisers, most of

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

whom are just after her fat check like the Nigerian groups but producing little results.

Babangida’s thinking is that sometime soon, his wife will pave the way for him to visit
Washington and lobby directly, an opportunity that will instantly put him under international
limelight. Since 1989, he has been lobbying to visit America. Diplomatic documents now
declassified in the United States prove the point. Using the then President George Bush’s son,
who is immediate past Florida Governor, Jeb, as the contact, he did all he could to be on good
terms with America. To that extent, he bought water pumps worth $74 million from Jeb Bush’s
M & W Pump Company in 1992 after Jeb visited Aso Rock. The former ruler pressed
desperately to visit the White House, but was denied, with America not too comfortable with a
dangerous dictator with wild ambitions ruling a volatile and delicately-woven Nigeria.”

Many Nigerians have also condemned IBB’s attempt to again become president, this time in
civilian garb. Malam Shehu Sani, President of the Civil Right Congress (CRC) said: “Our
democracy cannot be democratic until and unless we have civilians with a civilian mentality to
man the affairs of Nigeria. That is why we must be wary of military men coming to power. We
must stop IBB and others like him. Obasanjo has protected them because he is part of them. He
has over the years demonstrated that he came from that class. He (Obasanjo) has done
everything to shield them from prosecution.” Professor Tam David-West, former Minister of
Petroleum, also argued: “Nobody should vote for Babangida. He has nothing to offer. I worked
with him. I have said that in many articles. He has a right to contest as a citizen but if he joins
the fray, he won’t win, because Babangida is electoral deficit.” Nobel laureate, Professor Wole
Soyinka, submitted: “Let us not dance to the musical chairs being played by the military.
Enough is enough. We are being insulted left, right and centre. People shoot their way to power,
accumulate mass and mass of wealth and then use all the resources they have accumulated
through illegal means to come and dominate our lives. What is it?”

The famous columnist, Olatunji Dare, wrote in the Tuesday 13 June 2006 edition of The Comet:
“Not so fast, General. You have a lot to explain. I raise here only two issues that have been
crying out insistently for an explanation: ‘June 12,’ and the Dele Giwa murder. Babangida has
never deigned to explain why he annulled the 1993 presidential election. For reasons of
personal ambition, lust for power and failure of leadership, he annulled the election. He turned
the dawn that promised a bright new day into darkness, and rejoicing into mourning. This
brought to an abrupt end, his eight-year transition that had gulped a major chunk of the
country’s resources. He cannot afford to enter the presidential race as an un-indicted suspect in
one of the most sensational murder cases in Nigeria’s history.”

Even the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is not left out, because, according to it,
“Babangida tried to no avail to smuggle Nigeria into the Organisation of Islamic Conference
(OIC) without considering the multi-religious and complex nature of the country; without
subjecting such a sinister intention to a referendum. Any attempt to make Babangida a ruler is
an invitation to chaos.” In spite of verbal fireworks against Babangida, his political aspiration is
supported by his band of associates. And they are ready to shout on the roof top why they
believe the former military president is not the bogeyman that people are made to believe.

Over 200 socio-cultural organisations are drumming up support for the “Prince of the Niger”.

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

Hajia Jemila Adah Sule, Women Leader of Benue Unity Forum, one of the organisations rooting
for IBB, said the forum had succeeded in galvanising public opinion in favour of Babangida’s bid
because, according to her, only an IBB presidency can give a pride of place to women in
Nigerian politics. “Of all those angling to succeed President Obasanjo, only IBB has the track
record of being gender-sensitive. IBB was the first to appoint a woman in person of Professor
Grace Alele Williams as Vice-Chancellor of University of Benin. In addition, he supported his
wife, Maryam, to establish Better Life for Rural Women to bring a new lease of life to women
and ophans in Nigeria,” Sule argued.

While calling on the anti-IBB civil society groups to see the emergence of President Olusegun
Obasanjo as an appeasement of the Yorubas and pro-democracy groups over the annulment of
the June 12 presidential election, Sule attributed Obasanjo’s victory in 1999 to Babangida. “It
was IBB that persuaded the General Abdulsalami Abubakar government to release Obasanjo
from the Abacha gulag. The same IBB mobilised Nigerians and resources for Obasanjo to be
our second executive president as a way of placating the South-West over the painful
annulment of June 12,” she averred.

Max Gbanite, one of the ex-military officers in the IBB column said: “The so-called opposition
against the IBB project is a creation of a section of the media.” Having laid the foundation for the
reforms embarked upon by the Obasanjo government, Gbanite believes IBB deserves a
come-back. Some of the reforms, according to him include the deregulation of the aviation
sector, the privatisation of the broadcast industry via the National Broadcasting Commission
(NBC) Decree, the establishment of community banks and the establishment of National
Communication Commission (NCC). These innovations, Gbanite believes, gave birth to Kabo,
Okada, ADC Airlines and of late, the GSM revolution in Nigeria. To that end, Gbanite said, IBB
stands tall among the aspirants eyeing the presidential seat. “General Babangida is an asset to
PDP in this battle. In fact, he remains the best as far as I am concerned. He is the foundation
and grandfather of reforms as exemplified in the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP),
deregulation of the aviation industry and broadcast industry. And I believe if Nigerians give him
a chance he will do better,” Gbanite assured.

Aside from reforms, Gbanite said the inability of the Obasanjo government to maintain existing
roads in the country has necessitated the return of IBB to power. “Nigeria under Obasanjo has
no road. Travel from Lagos to Enugu, or Lagos to Benin, Ilorin to Ibadan, or Sokoto to Kaduna,
you will agree with me that they are death traps. If Babangida had the foresight to complete the
construction of Third Mainland Bridge that was started by General Gowon, then IBB deserves
our support,” argued Gbanite. Venatius Ikem, Director of Publicity, IBB Presidential Campaign
Organisation, could not agree more with Gbanite. Dispelling the widespread belief that his
principal institutionalised corruption in Nigeria, Ikem said the inability of EFCC to pin any corrupt
act to IBB showed that he has no case to answer. “They talk of IBB institutionalising

I don’t know how possible it could be when his cabinet members, made up of some of the best
brains in this country, have remained untainted with corruption. How possible without people
working with him getting corrupt? And above all, EFCC has not traced any stolen money to
IBB,” Ikem told TheNEWS. But Nuhu Ribadu, EFCC Chairman, believes it is a matter of time for

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

the former military dictator to be brought to book. Speaking earlier this year at a workshop
organised by the commission in Abuja, Ribadu gave only the Muhammadu Buhari military junta
a clean bill of health, while blaming the Babangida and Shagari administrations for “legitimising”
corruption in the nation.

Ribadu’s outburst however attracted reactions from a cross section of Nigerians, with many
wondering why the crime buster would make statements based on unsubstantiated facts. Alhaji
Abubakar Tsav, former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, advised Ribadu to talk less and
work more. “If Ribadu knows that Babangida is corrupt, he should prosecute him in the law
court and leave the court to pronounce him corrupt or not. EFCC cannot usurp the powers of
the court because only the court has the final say as to IBB’s guilt or innocence. And finally,
Ribadu should only be seen and not heard because a cop should not be talking too much the
way he is doing,” Tsav said.

Before his outburst in Abuja, Ribadu, in far away South Africa where he had attended a global
summit on financial crimes in 2004, shocked the world when he said IBB was corrupt but added
that the commission had combed all nooks and crannies of the world without finding “anything
incriminating against General Ibrahim Babangida.” According to the EFCC Czar, the inability of
the commission to trace anything to IBB was because the former martial ruler is “smart and
intelligent.” Many analysts see Ribadu’s position as a contradiction. As a trained lawyer, they
say, Ribadu should have known that nobody can be declared corrupt if there is no evidence to
prove it.

Godwin Daboh-Adzuana, former Deputy Auditor of the PDP, believes Ribadu is doing the
bidding of IBB’s political foes. He wondered why Ribadu would accuse IBB’s government of
sleaze and spare the Obasanjo government. “Nigeria was not listed among corrupt nations
when Babangida held sway. You will agree with me that in the past seven years, the country
has been wallowing in corruption. In 2000, Nigeria was rated by Transparency International as
the third most corrupt nation in the world. In 2002, we became the second sleaziest country.
Was it IBB that caused it? No!” argued Daboh.

General Chris Garba, former military governor of Bauchi State and an arrowhead of the IBB
campaign, said the hostility of the EFCC to his boss cannot derail the IBB campaign train. He
told this medium that only God can stop IBB in 2007. “All is set for IBB. We are pooling our
resources for IBB’s election as the third Executive President of Nigeria. We are serious about
this campaign because General Babangida’s government empowered all Nigerians and the
same Nigerians are urging him to lead them again. Mark it, IBB is unstoppable by man. In 2007,
it is IBB or no one else,” boasted Garba.

A desperate Babangida is wooing his political foes to his camp. That indication emerged this
month in Sokoto, the seat of the caliphate. IBB, who was at the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto
to condole the family of Sultan Mohammadu Maccido who died in the ADC crash, contrary to
expectations, became the cynosure of all eyes. IBB was in the company of Obasanjo and others
and the mammoth crowd besieged the palace to catch a glimpse of the PDP presidential
aspirant. Surprisingly, the talakawa (masses) who had in the past opposed IBB, capriciously
sang his praises: Nageri na kowa ne (He is the people’s choice) and Sai IBB (it must be IBB)

Enemies Gather Against IBB

Written by The News, Nigeria

were some of the accolades showered on IBB that day. This warm reception was coming 18
years after IBB, as military president, imposed Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki on the people of Sokoto,
ahead of the consensus candidate, late Sultan Maccido.

Besides this, IBB’s overtures to some of the PDP governors who had hitherto opposed his
candidature, TheNEWS learnt, may have induced them to move over to his column. The
governors, most of who were Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s loyalists, may have ditched the
VP because of his problem with both the EFCC and an Administrative Panel of Inquiry for
allegedly misappropriating funds of the Petroleum Development Trust Fund (PTDF). Though the
VP who is challenging his indictment in court has set up an 85-man committee

in readiness to formally launch his presidential ambition on 25 November, some of the
governors believe it will take a near miracle for the number two man to come out untainted.
Their position may be strengthened by Section 137(i) of the 1999 Constitution which states that
once a person is indicted for fraud by a judicial commission of inquiry or administrative panel of
inquiry, such a person stands disqualified from aspiring to political office.

Meanwhile, IBB is trying to gain from the political setback of Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The
gathered that he plans to kick off his campaign from Katsina State, the stronghold of the
People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), one of the political groups that made up the PDP. PDM
is the political machine of the late General Shehu Yar’Adua, inherited by the V.P. On the other
hand, this magazine gathered that IBB has been talking to the V.P camp on the possibility of
working together. All these notwithstanding, it is believed that in a free and fair election, IBB,
given the array of opposition against him, cannot win the coming presidential election.


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