By NBF News
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IBB on the march again
SoapBox Diary
Wednesday , March 10, 2010


Since quitting the presidential seat in less than decent circumstances in 1993, retired General Ibrahim Babangida's dream to return to power has been hardly concealed. At every turn of the democratic journey, which he spurned indecorously while in power, his name had always popped up. In 2003, and 2007, it took the bulldozing antics of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to keep him at bay. Now, fresh from the outpourings of grief on his wife's demise, and yet at the turn of another election year, the man is raring to go.

But the itch is that through these years, IBB as he is fondly known and called has never openly declared to contest the position. His associates have been the ones doing the job; flying the kite as it were. The General, who is so adept at consummate politicking always test the waters on key issues.

Until, the president's health crisis berthed, SBD learnt that IBB had kept matters of his presidential ambition, especially in 2011 close to his chest. Some of his aides and reporters who tried to preen his mind on the subject got a vague response. Many of them who knew him as a master tactician were not easily swayed by his taciturnity or even indifference. They kept the faith believing that at the appropriate time there would be an 'appropriate response to the clamour.' Despite the perceived indifference, the league of his admirers and political associates kept swelling, to the extent that even if he is shut out of the race by the preferred party - PDP, it would take nothing for him to float a new platform. By testing the waters, a measured feedback from members of the public on his acceptance level is collated periodically and fed him.

This, SBD learnt will inform how, when and why he must take the presidential plunge. His age, notwithstanding (verging towards 70) IBB, had kept a close tab through various researches/studies on political developments in the country and the major parties and players. But for the Yar'Adua's debacle, the wily ex-military general was almost kissing the ambition goodbye. Since he feared 2015 may see the presidency returned to the South(East).

Now, the real fear among the political class in not so much the man as in the army of unyielding supporters, which he had cultivated over the years.

There are also real fears of his past antecedents. Many fear that the PDP's rotational principles may be breached if he is allowed to get power again. A serving PDP senator from the South-East expressed deep concern about his interest for the job. 'It will be a mistake to allow him to get back to power. He will start all over again to mesmerize the political system, shift goal posts, dribble everybody and turn everything upside down. Our zoning system will surely be tampered with, if you go by his past record in power.'

Those who are drumming up support for his ambition are mainly drawn from the class of politicians whose style and mannerisms tally with IBB's. This has fueled speculations that they do so strictly for selfish and pecuniary reasons. Will IBB run? His men are on the march again. Their steps are familiar, but the trumpeter is esconsced in his calculations, waiting for the day to strike.