Former President General Ibrahim Babangida has been described as a leader who survived more coups than any other leader in Nigeria and one whose intellectual capacity was evident on the way he handled security matters while presiding the affairs of this nation.
A business mogul and a close ally of General Babangida, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu in a statement in honour of IBB’s 80th birthday Monday in Abuja also said the political vision of the former military president which made him to form two political parties based on ideologies is evident in the present political development in Nigeria.
According to Chief Iwuanyanwu, “Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s intellectual capacity was evident on the way he handled security matters. For example, he survived more Coup-de-tat than any other president in Nigeria based on his ingenuity in security, he created the State Security Service (SSS), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and Defence Intelligence Agency ((DIA).
“Gen. Ibrahim Babangida had great concern for the political stability of Nigeria. He therefore set up a Political Bureau which widely consulted around the country and made suggestions which in their considered opinion will lead to social, political and economic stability of Nigeria.
“They in the first place recommended the formation of Two Political Parties based on ideologies. These parties were National Republican Convention (NRC) to the right and Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the left. He further insisted that power should be derived from the grass-root and the primaries which elected candidates from various election were done by the option A4 which ensured that every registered member of the Party will participate in the primary election.”
Chief Iwuanyanwu said that amidst the economic crisis experienced and particularly at the time when crude oil was selling below $10, Gen. Babangida made wide consultations from within and outside Nigeria and eventually embarked on Structural Adjustment Programme which in the opinion of experts including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) was the best option for Nigeria at the time.
“This was no doubt a very tight path to thread as it carried in its trail some pains, but in general assessment, it brought a substantial relieve to the economy.
“For example, the Export Sector performed very well during that period. It is also on record that between 1986 to 1988, Nigerian economy had a substantial growth as predicted by IMF and the World Bank.
“During General Ibrahim Babangida’s tenure, Nigeria relationship with foreign countries was at its best. It was during his tenure that the Organization of African Unity met in Abuja and established the African Union (AU). His skill in international diplomacy was evident from the fact that during his tenure, Nigeria enjoyed good relationship with United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Russia, United Arab Republic, UAR, Saudi Arabia and many others.
“General Ibrahim Babanglida is a man of extra ordinary courage and willpower. Past governments found it nationally stratagic to move the capital of Nigeria from Lagos to Abuja, a lot of money was required and it required a lot of courage to move it. History has it to the credit of Ibrahim Babangida that he is the President who transferred the Capital of Nigeria from Lagos to Abuja.”
Chief Iwuanyanwu who was the pioneer chairman of the Raw Material Research and Development Council of Nigeria under the regime said IBB was concerned about the infrastructural need of the country and in spite of limited resources at the time, he was able to build some landmark infrastructures including the Third Mainland Bridge Lagos, Shiroro Hydroelectric Power Station, Jibia Water Treatment Plant in Kano as well the creation of 11 additional states amongst others.