A cancer to return to the heart of Nigeria?
Is Nigeria the world's first militaro-democracy? In the 1999 elections, former military leader Gen. Olesegun Obasanjo ran for president and one. In the 2003 elections, Gen. Obasanjo faced off against another former junta chief Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. Now, one of the leading candidates for the 2007 polls is yet another former military leader, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (generally known by his initials IBB).
IBB recently expressed pride in his 8 years in power from 1985-93.
"In eight years, we made a lot of progress and development of this country and people also benefited," he told the BBC, ignoring charges of widespread human rights abuses and universally believed allegations of massive corruption.
IBB also claimed that the 1993 elections was "one of the best and freest elections that has ever been conducted in the country."
Despite calling the polls the 'best and freest elections that has ever been conducted in the country,' IBB annulled the results. The succeeding political crisis and military coup plunged Nigeria into the darkest period in its history since the Biafran War.
I guess this begs the question: is the development of democracy in Nigeria so stunted that in a country of 130 million inhabitants, the only people qualified to seek the federal republic's highest office are ex-military dictators who raped and plundered the country?
In Chile, Augusto Pinochet is constantly harrassed by the Chilean justice system. His buddy Jorge Videla of Argentina of 'dirty war' infamy spent many years in prison. Charles Taylor sits incarcerated in a cell in The Hague. Moussa Traoré will spend the rest of his life in a Malian jail for political and economic crimes.
Ibrahaim Badamasi Babangida may again be head of state of one of the continent's most important countries.