On behalf of members of my immediate family and the wider members of the Action Democratic Party, lADP, I wish to join the multitudes in Nigeria and all over the globe in saluting and felicitating with our very own, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB, on the auspicious occasion of his 80th birthday.
True indeed, the occasion calls for the rolling out of the drums in appreciation of the plethora of profound and eternal impacts this rare gem of a visionary nationalist and a decisive leader has left on the landscape and annals of our nation.
It is twenty eight years since he exited office as our national leader but it appears as if it was just yesterday because, at every turn and every day since then, the name IBB has remained a strident, deafening refrain and a recurring reference in national discourse on
political leadership, social and economic dynamics of the country.
Present generation and those that come after, will surely continue to sing the sung of IBB because of the indelible landmarks left by his actions packed, eventful and phenomenal eight year reign as the captain of the ship of our great nation. The actualization of the sprawling beautiful city of Abuja as the nation’s seat of power and centre of unity; the coterie of bridges and roads constructed as links and enhancers of social interactions and economic activities; the galaxy of structures and edifices as offices, residences and recreational outfits as well as, the multiple agencies and institutions are just a few of the legacies that will survive the passage of time through ages.
In celebrating the man whose towering stature undebatably places him as one of the foremost fathers of the nation, we must not be unmindful of views of those that remind us of the famous words of William Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony that: “ The bad that men did lives after them, but the good is interred in their bones.”.
Our take on the above truism on the nature of men, is that IBB is lucky to be of the time and civilisation when records and enlightenment make for objective analyses and intelligent judgements. IBB himself may have also unconsciously responded in his famous words on marble: “History will forgive you for talking a wrong decision but will not forgive you for not talking a decision at all.”
Among my other fond memories of what I regard as the golden era in our political Odyssey, I recall with admiration, how IBB deftly doused what in 1989, had looked like an imminent social and political upheavals consequent on government’s plan on Removal of Subsidies on Petroleum Products. He simply announced the novel idea of a two tier system of pricing of a litre at 42 kobo for commercial vehicles and 60 kobo for private motorists. By that singular
masterstroke,government had its way and the nation did not experience price hikes in commercial transportation and the attendant inflammatory effects on goods and services. With nostalgia, I’m very proud that my very humble self, as a private citizen, was the originator of that idea. It is noteworthy also, to see in that instance, the character of IBB as a leader with listening ears, amenable to ideas.
Overall, IBB was not an indecisive leader but one who took firm and courageous decisions, some of which would certainly not to have gone down well with certain interests. This is natural because, there cannot be policies and decisions, especially of great, innovative leaders receive the unanimous applause of the entire populace.
Be that as it may however, like him or hate him, take it or leave it, what cannot be taken away from him is that, the name, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida will be copiously written, and in gold, in any chronicles of Nigeria’s political history. That is just as IBB will remain in the nation’s folklores far into the distant future.
Sir, Happy Birthday, wishing you many many happy returns in excellent health. Allah SWT, Ya kara maka yawancin rai cikin ingantacen lafiya. Ameen thuma ameen.
–Engineer Yabagi Yusuf Sani, Jekadan Nupe National Chairman, ADP