General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Rtd, the former head of state is the longest serving military President in Nigeria. Born into the family of Alhaji Mohammad And Aisha in Niger State, Babangida had his education in Government college Bida, Niger state. He joined the army in 1962 where he was trained in the Nigerian Military Training College (NDA now) and graduated in 1963 with a rank of second lieutenant.
Babangida had his military training both in Nigeria and abroad. He attended the Indian military academy in 1963 alongside Garba Duba and Ibrahim Sadau both from NMTC.
Maradona, as he’s fondly called by the Nigerian press did so many remarkable things within the period he steered the affairs of Nigeria as the 8th head of State. The history of Nigeria can not be completed without paying tribute to his contributions and achievements to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. While he was in power, he established a lot of agencies and constructed so many bridges and fixed a lot of roads across the country. Constructed the Toja bridge in Kebbi. Maradona also created the Jibia water treatment plant and the Challawa dam in Kano.
Babangida equally had the third mainland bridge commissioned in 1990, as the longest bridge in Africa, connecting Lagos island to the main land. Although, in 1996, another bridge called 6th October was completed in Cairo, making it the most longest bridge in Africa. Some of the numerous achievements of President Babangida are;
•Establishment of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA )
•Establishment of the Nigeria Agricultural Land Development Authority ( NALDA )
•Establishment of the Federal Road Safety Commission.
•Establishment of the National Productivity Centre.
•Establishment of the National Economic Reconstruction Fund ( NERFUND )
•Establishment of the National Political Bureau.
•Establishment of the Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructure ( DFRRI )
•Establishment of the Centre for Democratic Studies.
•Introduction of Structural Adjustment Program ( SAP )
•Introduction of Civil Service Reforms.
•Creation of New Local Government Systems.
•Creation of 136 local government councils ( NLGAS )
•Creation of Export Processing Zone.
•Creation of the Presidency.
•Creation of 11 New States.
•Introduction of Political Transition Program.
•Introduction of Primary Health Care.
And others too numerous to mention here. Under his regime, eleven more states were created with Akwa Ibom and Katsina States in 1987, and Abia, Enugu, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Osun, Kogi, Taraba and Yobe in 1991, bringing the total number of states in Nigeria to thirty (30).
While I was growing up as a kid, I heard a lot about the fearless General from my late father who knew him personally. Not only my dad says good about Babangida, but Nigerians as well. And interestingly, all I heard about him manifested when I finally visited him in November this year at his residence in Minna, Niger State.
Because of his courageous act of bravery, Babangida was admitted into the supreme military Council (SMC) during the administration of General Murtala Mohammed, making him the most junior officer in the highest ruling authority. His role in foiling Dimka’s led coup against General Murtala brought his fame and wider recognition and respect in and out of the military. He was able to successfully dislodge armed Dimka from the broadcasting House unarmed and without shedding any blood.
In 1986, General Babangida launched the structural adjustment program (SAP). A program geared to reduce dependence on the external sector and eliminate price distortions induced by an overvalued currency, and among the policies of SAP are;
1. Deregulation of the agricultural sector to include abortion of marketing boards and elimination of price controls.
2. Privatization of public enterprises.
3. Devaluation of the Nigerian Naira to improve the competitiveness of the export sector.
4. Relaxation of restraints on foreign investment put in place by the Gowon and Obasanjo governments during the 1970s. And many others
Between 1986 and 1988, these policies were executed as intended by the international monetary fund (IMF) and the Nigerian economy actually did grow as had been hoped, with the export sector performing well.
Another remarkable achievement recorded by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida was the relocation of Nigeria’s Capital from Lagos to Abuja, been the centre of the country. Though, the idea was not supported by most of the people from Lagos, Yoruba particularly, but on December 12, 1991, Babangida with the support of the then Chief of Defence staff Genaral Abacha were able to completely relocate the activities of the government to Abuja.
The idea of moving the capital from Lagos to Abuja on ground of security, over population, lack of land for exportation, neutrality, purpose and an expression of Independence was initiated by the military government of General Murtala Mohammed in 1957 when a panel of 7 men was set up to examine the issue of a new capital city for Nigeria under the chairmanship of Dr Akinola Aguda. The panel recommended Abuja.
As a result of his numerous achievements, Madonna university in Anambra State conferred him with an honorary doctorate degree. It’s interesting to know that Babangida’s administration enacted the law for the establishment of private universities to exist side by side with those of the Federal and state governments.
The fearless military officer is endowed with a high sense of charm and generosity. The abundance of care, compassion and sympathy in him is second to none. He is always willing to offer a helping hand to the needy ones irrespective of their tribe, religion or political affiliation. His popularity back in school ( both primary and secondary) earned him the position of Head boy in his final year. Maradona was undoubtedly an intelligent military officer who rose from junior officer to the most exalted rank of a General within a short period of time.
Together, let’s make Plateau Peaceful again – Sanni Inuwa Baba
When we were growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s, the name of Plateau State alone was attractive. Tourists from far and near had no better place than Plateau. Combined with the amazing weather, the people were very accommodating and seemed to be more exposed than many from other places. There was religious tolerance and parents taught their children to be respectful.
These days its not the same. A lot of parents are not bothered about their kids getting involved in crime, avoiding the responsibility of parenting. And for the religious leaders, we have a major problem these days in our country. Anyone can become a religious leader overnight without any credentials. There are too many ignorant “pastors” and “imams” preaching errors and leading people astray” said the Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan.
In a bid to promote peace in Plateau State, I explained the importance of unity and effort the state government had made in a bid to unite its citizens. All in my recent article titled “Lalong’s social inclusion Model: A sure cure for Nigeria’s prevailing unrest“.
It has been trying times in Jos in the past couple of months. With the re-emergence of thugs in our city streets. Thugs that go by the name “Sara-Suka” thugs. These young men after taking hard drugs, walk majestically on the streets with harmful objects; They attack any person including women and children they find on their way. An operation they named “Shara” (To sweep). These actions are not particular to Plateau but some neighboring states as well.
To curb this menace, the state government issued a statement that anyone seen with a harmful object would be dealt with. The thugs drastically disappeared as the military and other security agencies were seen all over the city making some arrests.
Just when we thought normalcy was returning to the once most peaceful city, came the unfortunate bloodshed that ended so many lives. Many innocent souls were lost either on the beds massacred with their loving families or on the road burned in their cars. An incidence we always prayed not to even happen to our worst enemies. Such barbaric action should be seriously condemned by any Peace loving Nigerian.
There’s hardly a political action that has effect on the Nation without the mention of Plateau. The state produced some of the best entertainers as well as footballers, whether indigenes or not. For decades, people from distance found a home on the Plateau.
In as much as it’s the government’s full responsibility to protect our lives and properties, we must equally come together and shame the devils who masquerade amongst us. We must fish them out and flush them. This is not the time for blame games. In such crisis, we need and must seek lasting solutions. We should not allow this unfortunate incidence divide us more.
Sending and posting all the videos of the killings isn’t necessary. There’s no need forcing ourselves to justify who was right and who was wrong. Taking another person’s life for whatsoever reason is inhuman. With such actions, we might unknowingly be encouraging more disasters to our lands.
We, the people on the Plateau must go back to our old ways of tolerating each other and accepting our differences. We should continue to be the role models we once were, the Peace setters.
I will easily defeat Elrufai in 2019 says Hon. Muhd Kadade
Hon. Muhammed Kadade Suleiman, Kaduna State Gubernatorial candidate under the platform of PDP vows to chase Mal Nasiru Elrufai from office In 2019 election.
Interviewer: Please tell us about yourself.
Hon. Kadade: I am Muhammed Kadade Sulaiman, I was born and raised in Kaduna and the first son of my parents. My father late Alhaji Kadade Sulaiman, he was the first district head of our village Nasarawan Doya and he was Chairman of Makarfi Local Government.
Interviewer: Why do you want to be the governor of Kaduna State?
Hon. Kadade: Firstly, I want the youths to realize, to wake up from their sleep. It is time to become responsible and start participating in politics and decision making. Decisions that will change our lives and that of the generation to come.
Interviewer: In what ways will you, as a younger candidate, be able to deliver what others haven’t done before?
Hon. Kadade: One thing is that, we the younger generation, the youth had been hearing this “Youth are the leaders of tomorrow”. The rate of younger generation in politics and government has decreased in large number. For instance if you look at them Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Maitama Sule and the rest, there were young people between 20 to 40 years and they did a lot to this country.
I believe the involvement of a lot more young people in politics in our country will bring great things to us. And I believe in most of our founding fathers ideology. Always remember that wisdom is not the prerogative of the old only. Even the younger generation might be endowed with wisdom.
I have always seen love as something that will bind us together. Love of state, love of hope, love of dream, love of life, liberty and the persuade of happiness. With these I believe we will make Kaduna State great.
Interviewer: How do you plan to reduce high rate of kidnapping and tribalism as is common in the state?
Hon. Kadade: Kidnapping comes as a result of unemployment and lack of security. If work is given to people, salaries are being paid, workers are not sacked without tangible reasons, then I see no reason why kidnapping will have room in Kaduna State.
And about tribalism, I will make unity my top priority, because I believe unity begets progress. I will try my very best to make sure that there is good interaction and communication among our people, with these all religious and tribal bigotry will be flushed out of the state.
Interviewer: Do you think you can chase Malam Nasiru el-rufai from office?
Hon. Kadade: “smiles” I will easily defeat Elrufai in 2019. I think this is the easiest task I will ever come across in my life. Because the youths have waken up, they have opened their eyes wide now, the elders too are with me as they want nothing now but development and not propaganda.
Interviewer: What can you say about the recent move made by Malam Nasiru El-rufai to borrow money from the World Bank?
Hon. Kadade: It is obvious. Is Malam Nasiru el-Rufa’i not ashamed? Was he not the one that criticized the past administration of debt? He said on June 2015 “ Kaduna State is so much indebted to the extent that each person living in the state has a debt burden of about 15000 naira including children yet unborn”.
The man who could not explain how he spent N7.721 Billion Paris club refund is now telling us how he will spend $350 million loan? It is clear that he is collecting this loan to fund his campaign not for work in developing the state.
Interviewer: In what ways do you believe you can push youth to the forefront of politics and make the needful and impactful change your state needs?
Hon. Kadade: In order to bring in the change we have been chanting for, we need to see the involvement of youth most be 100%. I want to remind the youth in Kaduna State today that we are the future leaders today. The future is now not tomorrow not next year. If we do not get involved now then we should be blamed for what ever we see.
We are the future today. Youth Participation is a must and must be taken seriously. It is only that you do not have to wait to be an adult to be an active member of your community. Your opinion matters and it should be heard.
I started participating since when I was 16 years of age, since before I started voting. Speak your mind online through social media or at meetings and gatherings. It helps you assert yourself and your interests. Also, you never know who might be listening but always think before posting anything.
Participate in youth organizations because they are places to expand your knowledge and become an active member of your society. If your community does not have an organization representing the youth, create one. Be the trendsetter and make impact.
Flow into different political parties and participate fully. You can be a politician even without contesting for any political office, you can contribute in many ways by being a member. But young people nowadays just want to jump and catch the rope. What I mean is that they want to contest without knowing their party members, excos, delegates and even party heads which is not possible. We need to participate fully and even occupy some key positions in different political parties. Secondly, giving the youth hope, will push them to a greater level in politics.
I felt if I have not put myself in the center of it then we will all continue be spectators. And thank God many young people are now gaining interest in politics. Absolute transparency and truth. I believe with absolutely transparency and truth, it will help our youths in getting into greater level. Believe in your self and follow your passion. Passionate youth will change Kaduna State InshaAllah.
We all care about something, why not stand for it?
Interviewer: What do you think it will take for you to win the upcoming 2019 elections?
Hon. Kadade: Winning an election is hard work. It takes time and careful planning.
Anyone thinking of running against an incumbent must make a careful examination of whether it can be done. Generally, there are two things that should worry incumbents. One, is whether the electorate perceives that things are on the right track.
The other is whether the electorate thinks the incumbent cares about them. A deadly combination for any incumbent is that voters think government is off the track and nobody cares about them and that is what is happening in Kaduna State.
The incumbent governor has failed to fulfill a single campaign promise and the people are totally not in support of himself. The number of unemployment has risen and the masses are bitterly complaining. Almost 30,000 people lost their jobs under the governor’s watch which is wrong. And the people of Kaduna have decided to vote the incumbent government out of Sir Kashim Ibrahim house in 2019 election. I think it is easy for any credible candidate to win election in Kaduna State, someone who is not a propagandist.
A politician of integrity must be seen making genuine efforts to fulfill their campaign promises. But in Kaduna no effort has been made to make the state great again as mentioned during their campaign. They promised the people heaven and earth.