Former Nigerian military dictator, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, is seriously sick and hospitalized in a Germany, several sources in Nigeria have disclosed. Our sources, who are based in the retired general’s home state, Niger State, or Nigeria’s capital of Abuja, revealed that the former army general, who is popularly called “IBB,” was rushed to Germany 10 days ago from his hilltop mansion in Minna, the capital of Niger State.
One of our sources said the former general, who ruled Nigeria as a military “president” from 1985 to 1993, was severely sick and in grave condition. “He may be dying,” said the source. However, another source, a political associate of Mr. Babangida’s, denied that the former general’s condition was terminal. According to this source, the former dictator had undergone surgery to alleviate a perennial but worsening back problem. “He is not at the point of death. In fact, he is getting better,” the source added.
Meanwhile, two sources at the Presidency in Abuja confided in SaharaReporters that President Goodluck Jonathan plans to pay a visit to the ailing ex-general in his hospital room in Germany. Mr. Jonathan, who departed Nigeria on his way to the annual United Nations General Assembly, was expected to stop in Germany later today to see Mr. Babangida.
In a press statement released from the President's office earlier today, Mr. Jonathan’s handlers claimed that he planned to spend one day in London for a private visit. However, our sources disclosed that the purpose of Mr. Jonathan’s one-day layover was to enable him to pay a secret visit to Babangida in Germany.
Most of our sources said Mr. Babangida’s ailment is related to a chronic back ailment for which he had had prior surgeries in Germany.
Mr. Babangida was born on August 17, 1941. His tenure as president is associated with massive corruption and looting, but also economic programs to liberalize the Nigerian economy and institute free market ideas. He came to political notoriety by annulling the June 12, 1993 presidential election, won decisively by Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, a businessman who was a close friend of his. In the political crisis that ensued, Mr. Babangida was swept from power, announcing in August, 1993 that he was “stepping aside.” In a last controversial move, he imposed a so-called transitional government headed by Ernest Shonekan to take over from him. In November 1993, the now late General Sani Abacha sacked Mr. Shonekan in a bloodless coup d’état and became one of Nigeria’s most ruthless dictators until his sudden death on June 8, 1998.