IBB @75; ‘I didn’t steal 12.8B oil windfall’


By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Over two decades after leaving office, former Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has said that some of the accusations against him that have latched on his mind have been the alleged disappearance of the 12.8 Billion dollars oil windfall during his administration as Head of State which he insists are unfounded.
Babangida who just turned 75, said the allegation has remained not only curious but mind bugging as there was nothing as such.
Speaking to newsmen in his hilltop residence in Minna, the former Military President noted that if he had stolen such huge amount of money, he wouldn’t have had any business staying back in Nigeria.
Babangida whose regime between 1985 to 1993 had largely been lampooned by critics for so many wrongs, corruption and anti people’s policies, said decisions taken by his administration were borne out of necessity and for the good of the country.
And while speaking about the perceptions of some people on his person, Babangida said “I am not the evil that quite a lot of people think i am.” He said though people were bound to see him the way they choose to, he is a person that has somehow been misconstrued by virtue of the office he held or occupied as Head of State.
“By virtue of my position as the number one citizen, I was bound to be misconstrued in many people’s views but I consider this as their personal opinion”.
He said though he bears no ill feelings against anyone for such perceptions and even the wrong allegations against him, such were not only the prize of leadership, but a hard fact for which one has to live with for the rest of his life.
His words “but like i said earlier, these are some of the things one has to live with.  I hope the younger generation will carry out a research about leadership to know what is on the ground” to put the records straight.
The former Military ruler however noted that one thing he would have loved to do as a leader was to have made the country’s legislative arm a part time vocation to save cost in governance and reduce the wastages in parliamentary democracy as has been in Nigeria.
He recalled that “in 1989, we had proposed that the National Assembly should be optional, that is, it should be on part time basis. I still believe very strongly that the parliament should have been a part time basis, because this is an effort to cut down the cost of governance and democracy in Nigeria”.


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