It’s Tougher To Be A Military Man Than Being President – Babangida

Former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida
Former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida

Former Nigeria military President Ibrahim Babangida has said that he found the challenge of being a military man tougher than being the President of Nigeria.

Babangida said this while having a chat with journalists on the occasion of his 75th birthday in Minna, the Niger State Capital, on Tuesday.

He explained that being a president or head of state, one has to seek people’s advice, interact and discourse with them to get solution based on the prevailing circumstances, but as an army officer one leads men to danger “because your life and their lives depend on you as the commander.”

“Being a military officer you are the only one leading your troops who’re hoping on you. If you lead them wrongly you will kill many of them.

“If they have faith in you they follow you. If you have faith in them you go along with them.

“So, it is more challenging than being a president,’’ he said.

Babangida noted that his toughest encounter in the army was when they had to trek from Enugu to Umuahia during the Nigeria civil war.

He said, “Movement from Enugu to Umuahia was very tough and challenging because you need to be physically fit to be able to undertake that kind of journey on foot.

“We had to go through the jungles and the hills. I think it was my toughest encounter in the army because that was where I got wounded in April 1969.

For Love Of Country

The former military president said that he joined the army for the purpose of being in the force to protect the country.

According to him, being in the military means that one must subject oneself to a constituted authority to execute all the tasks assigned to one.

He said that the constitutional roll and international treaties made it possible for military personnel to serve anywhere in the world.

I Am Not An Evil Genius

The retired army general pointed out that he is not an evil genius as some Nigerians call him.

“I am not the evil genius that quite a lot of people consider me to be,

“I have had a very excellent background and training. We have to love one another. However, I can understand the feeling people have towards me.

“By the virtue of the job I was doing, I was bound to be misconstrued and my actions misinterpreted as evil. I consider what people say as an opinion as long as I am not what you think I am; I feel satisfied‎.”

Part Time National Assembly

In the light of the ongoing corruption scandal rocking the National Assembly, Babangida said if given the chance he would make the National Assembly part time in order to reduce the cost government.

He said: “During my public life, there were several decisions we took  as military officers or as  political officers, when I was a dictator, that if given another chance, I would do differently. For example, in 1989, we proposed that the national assembly should be optional, that is part-time.

“I still believe that if I had the opportunity, I would make the national assembly part-time. I believe in that very strongly and it’s part of efforts to cut down the cost of governance in Nigeria.”

Atiku’s Eulogies

Babangida with former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar
Babangida with former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

Meanwhile, former Nigeria’s Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has eulogized Babangida, for his contributions to the development of the nation.



    In a message by Paul Ibe, his media aide, Atiku stated that “One of the greatest legacies of IBB is giving the country a manageable number of political parties by reducing them to two.”

    Atiku added that the decision by Babangida reduced waste of resources.

    “It is impossible to encounter IBB without being moved by his humility towards people, regardless of their social status in life. His detribalised nature and passion about Nigeria’s oneness are virtues worthy of emulation,” he said.

    Atiku prayed for many more years of good health on Babangida “so that the country could continue to drink from his fountain of wisdom”.

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