espite 22 years of uninterrupted democracy, the Nigerian political scene has been unable to free itself of military men, according to DAILY POST.
General Ibrahim Babangida, a former military chief, took a swipe at President Muhamadu Buhari’s administration last week.
In an interview with ARISE TV on Friday, the former General stated that his government was a saint in comparison to the current situation.
“Well, you can’t compare it to what is currently happening on the ground,” In the interview with Arise TV, Babangida remarked. He continued, “from what I read, from analysis, I think we are saints when compared to what is going on under a democratic dispensation.”
The past that had been entangled.
Apart from their military professions, the two Generals have a common past. They were both involved in the overthrow of Shehu Shagari’s government in December 1983.
Following the coup, General Buhari was named Nigeria’s Head of State, and Babangida was named Chief of the Army Staff. In less than two years, the same IBB was in charge of the palace coup that deposed General Buhari.
After the palace coup, Babangida said in a broadcast that Buhari had betrayed the “initial objectives,” adding, “Because the current state of uncertainty, suppression and stagnation resulted from the perpetration of a small group, the Nigerian Armed Forces could not be unfairly committed to take responsibility for failure as a part of that government.”
“Major-General Muhammadu Buhari’s ideas toward problems of national importance were too stiff and uncompromising.”
War against corruption
For various corruption claims, Buhari’s dictatorship detained a large number of leaders from the previous administration, including President Shagari and several prominent state governors.
The military dictatorship of Muhammadu Buhari took a number of moves, including suspending the funds of political parties and ‘corrupt’ politicians, as well as reducing basic travel allowances (BTA) from N500 to N100.
The administration also instituted the War Against Indiscipline (WAI) to address what it saw as the country’s “general indiscipline.” Furthermore, Nigerians were dissatisfied with the implementation of austerity measures, which included the layoff of numerous state personnel.
When it comes to economic policies, Buhari’s military regime and the current administration share some parallels and some noteworthy differences.
The regime’s economic strategies in 1984-85 were centered on Import Substitution as the central theme. It intended to reduce the rising balance of payment deficit by banning the importation of specific commodities. The restriction, on the other hand, resulted in a significant increase in inflation.
The administration turned down the IMF’s proposal to weaken the naira as part of a package of steps to relieve the currency’s strain.
While the current administration has implemented various policies, such as land border closures and sectorial interventions aimed at rice sufficiency, the government has failed to maintain the Naira’s stability, debt continues to climb, and the budget deficit is equally centered on rice.
Sanusi Lamido, the former Emir of Kano, summarized Buhari’s economy in a 2002 article, saying;
“I had no doubt that Buharism’s position was founded on a thorough understanding of neoclassical economics, and that those advocating devaluation either didn’t understand their subject or were acting as agents of international capital on a rampage against all barriers erected by sovereign states to protect the domestic economy’s integrity. I continue to feel that some of the IBB administration’s major economic policy experts were economic saboteurs who should be punished for treason.”
Buhari identified two significant issues in his post-coup address: “the twin challenge of huge budget deficits and a fragile balance of payments position.”
To reduce the deficit, the administration implemented comprehensive austerity measures, including lowering the budget and prosecuting economic saboteurs using the Miscellaneous Offenses Decree No. 20 of 1984 as legal backup.
Saga of the 53 bags
The present administration’s anti-corruption efforts have been criticized for being selective. Shehu Sani, a Former Senator, even said that the President puts pesticide on friends accused of corruption and frangraces on adversaries.
The saga of the 53 bags occurred in 1984, and according to Reports, the bags belonged to the then Emir of Gwandu, and it was being transported into the country without being checked by customs. The luggage were purportedly carried in from Saudi Arabia by the Emir, who was Buhari’s aide-de-camp, Major Mustapha Jokolo. The regime’s currency change exercise law was violated by the lack of checks.
In the run-up to the 2011 presidential election, the subject revived. Buhari, who ran for the CPC (Congress for Progressive Change), said the baggage belonged to Dr. Tahir Waziri, who arrived on the same flight as the Emir with his three wives and 16 children.
In the same interview, Buhari stated that all inquiries should be referred to Atiku Abubakar, the then Controller of Customs at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed Airport.
At the time, Atiku’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, blamed the problem on elites’ “bigmanness” in following the law.
In comparison, the Babangida era
IBB’s administration reversed the austerity measures implemented by his predecessor and instead adopted the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP). The policy called for the privatization of government-owned businesses.
The privatization process, according to many stakeholders, acted as a reward system for supporters/loyalists.
In an interview with DAILY POST, Pelumi Olajengbesi, a member of PDP (Peoples Democratic Party), said the former Head of State’s statement speaks volumes about the current administration’s state of affairs.
“The fact that IBB’s remark could not be ignored outright demonstrates how awful things have become. The retired General made such a comment because of the level of poverty, general instability, and mistrust of the current administration.”
“For a man accused of institutionalizing corruption to claim the military is a saint in comparison to this administration, then we need self-reflection in this country,” Hassan Nurudeen, a development Specialist, said.
Corruption, insecurity, and economic hardship are all problems that Buhari expounds as a civilian President
Within the space of four years, the current administration has chaired over two economic downturns, and presently, it might interest you to know that Nigeria now has the world’s greatest population of extreme impoverished people.
In addition, many have questioned the administration’s anti-corruption efforts, which the President justified in an interview with NTA by saying, “When I was much younger, I arrested Governors, I put them under restriction or detention. I informed them that until they could prove their innocence, they were guilty. I was eventually arrested, and their loot was returned to them. So, this is Nigeria.”