Confusion has trailed the letter purportedly written by the former Military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, popularly known as IBB, advising President Buhari to leave the political stage to younger generation who are no longer operating at analogue level. In a press statement released on Sunday by Kassim Afegbua, his spokesman, Babangida said that this does not mean he is advocating that Buhari’s right to vote and be voted for should be abrogated.
“I do not intend to deny President Buhari his inalienable right to vote and be voted for, but there comes a time in the life of a nation, when personal ambition should not override national interest. This is the time for us to reinvent the wheel and tap into the resourcefulness of the younger generation, stimulate their entrepreneurial initiatives and provoke a conducive environment to grow national economy both at the micro and macro levels.”
But no sooner has the press release surfaced than another release, signed by Babangida himself with the appellation Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, attached to it, retracts the former letter, saying he has direct avenues to talk to Buhari if he so wishes.
“As a former President and an elder statesman, I have existing communication channels through which I reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari on topical issues of national importance, should there be the need so to do. The media, both online and mainstream and indeed the unsuspecting public are advised to disregard such false reports”, the letter read.
Babangida, as a former president, has the highest honor in the country, which is the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR. Besides, there is no record of Babangida ever signing any press release by himself personally. Such press releases are usually signed by Kassim Afegbua, the Media Aide. This was the case in the first letter.
However, the furor over the title forced whoever wrote the letter to edit and reissue the release with the correct title.
The controversy forced Kassim Afegbua to make frantic efforts to explain that he got clearance from the former president before the release. What is more, Babangida himself insisted that he authorized the first release by Afegbua and not the second.
But this magazine gathered that one of his sons who has an eye for the governorship of Niger state was the one who wrote the second release because, being an APC chieftain that Buhari may have promised the governorship. It was purportedly released without the Knowledge of his father.
The IBB letter is the latest of the swell of opposition against President Buhari’s 2019 ambition. Recently, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, retired general and former president, also did a release telling him not to run. Unfortunately, the National leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, said he was only playing politics with his letter. Obasanjo retorted back by calling on Tinubu to say in public what he keeps complaining about in Private about Buhari-thereby pitching the two together.
Nigeria had been held in the jugular by a group of retired Generals. These include Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Theophilus Danjuma, Abdulsalami Abubakar and Muhamadu Buhari. Buhari is currently the President, but it appears his personal interest is overriding the group interest, and therefore he may have gone against the code of Omerta of the Cosa Nostra.