Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has said “inexperience” rather than “incompetence” was the right word to describe former President Goodluck Jonathan who lost his re-election bid in March.
Speaking with The Interview, a monthly magazine (the December 2015 edition), Babangida said Jonathan “is a very pleasant person” and that he believed the former president meant well for the country.
On the perception that Jonathan is a good person, but was “incompetent,” he said “if you use inexperience, I will buy that.”
On who got his vote between Jonathan and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2015 polls, Babangida kept mum. Buhari’s government, it would be recalled was toppled by Babangida in 1985.
When asked if he was not playing a double game by declaring support for both men when they visited him, IBB otherwise called Maradona, replied that he was “intelligent enough” to know that he had “only one vote.”
On the Major Gideon Orkar-led coup which almost brought down his administration in 1990, the retired general clarified that contrary to the belief in some quarters, the late General Sani Abacha who was then the Chief of Army Staff, did not save his(IBB) life, stressing that they rather worked together to crush the mutiny.
He said: “They obviously didn’t have a lot of experience. It was during the fasting period. We were still in Dodan Barracks then. My wife got up from sleep and said she had noticed very unusual movement of troops from one end to the other. So, she woke me up and said I should look through the window. I found troops moving from one end to the other.
“The next thing I heard was shooting going on. We tried to put a small party together. It was about 1.30am. Then the guards, the bodyguards said let’s check out of this place. I was a bit stubborn.”
Continuing, he said: “I told them I was not leaving. It didn’t occur to me that we had a bunker at Dodan Barracks. We had, but it didn’t occur to me to use it. And so, they came. I said the only thing I would concede to, I would evacuate my family. My wife had her last born, who was just a few months old, with her. So they evacuated them to a safe house. It was the house of one of the officers working with me.
“So, I remained with a few bodyguards. We decided to get out and move around. We went to a safe house around Surulere. I had a bodyguard, Omuah. We just moved in there. From there, we established communication. I later established communication with Abacha, Raji Rasaki (who was governor of Lagos then) and the others. They had mobilised their troops.”
He maintained that “Abacha didn’t save my life in the Orkar coup. We worked together to crush Orkar’s coup.”