Monday, 20 May 2013
Dr. Damages Interviews Gen. Ibrahim Babangida
Announcer: ..and now, here is your Tonight’s Show host, Dr. D.J. Damages (Applause)
Dr. Damages: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. While we were about to go on air for tonight’s show, I got a call from one Kassim Afegbua. He asked me if I was ready to play a role in a movie.
“What movie?” I asked.
“An interview with a vampire,” he said.
I listened for any trace of sarcasms in his voice but I heard none. I told him I had put on my makeup and was ready for lights, cameras, and action.
“I will bring the vampire,” Mr. Afegbua said.
That was how we bumped our scheduled guest, Super Eagle striker, Sani Kaita, for today’s special guest.
Today’s guest has been called the evil genius, military president, eze ntu etc. But the one that most Nigerians remember so well is Maradona. In the annals of Nigeria’s history, no man has taken a country of 140 million people for a ride the way he did. His late friend, Gen. Sani Abacha, who took over after our guest stepped aside, ruined what was left. For suffocating him, we have given full scholarship to that group of Indian prostitutes.
Maradona’s soul mate, Mr. Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama, has since been tried and sentenced. He served 17 years in the U.S. prison for drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering. After his prison term in the U.S., Mr. Noriega was extradited to France where he currently faces ten years in prison. Like Noriega, many people disappeared during our guest’s term as the Head of State of Nigeria. He also annulled a free and fair election. Though he reigned at the same period in history and had similar legacy, our guest remains ‘the man they could not arrest.’ Legend has it that his mother had four breasts.
This man’s middle name, Badamasi, means chameleon in Sicily.
Dr Damages: Whenever he dies, all of his obituaries must include the following lines Anthony Daniels used in his tribute to Idi Amin. His “tragedy, like that of so many Africans, was to have admired a civilization whose external trappings he strongly desired, but of whose internal workings he had no idea...”
From Niger State, Nigeria, by way of the Hill Top mansion, please give a warm welcome to Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
(Babangida walks into the stage, shakes Dr. Damages’ hand and takes his seat.)
Dr Damages: Ina kwana! Welcome to the show.
Babangida: Nice to be here.
Dr Damages: It was Okey Ndibe who first called you Maradona at the…
Babangida: (Interrupts) God punish him.
Dr Damages: God punish who?
Babangida: The Okey Ndibe of a man. In fact, it is not God punish him. It is that God has punished him. From the information Andy Uba’s people gave me, which my main man, the National Security Adviser, Aliyu Gausu, confirmed, he is living a miserable life in a small town in York, near London. He lives in a one-bed room council flat, drives a rickety car while his colleagues in Nigeria who believe in my way now own lands and mansions in Lagos and Abuja. That is what you get for failing to adapt to your world.
Dr Damages: What I was getting at was that the real Maradona had since retired from playing soccer. He has become fat, become wasted by drugs like cocaine, but you are still dreaming of being president…
Babangida: Look Mr. Man, your research is incomplete. Maradona has since cleaned up his acts and is now the head coach of the Argentina national football team. And his team did pretty well in South Africa.
Dr. Damages: A head coach. Not a player.
Babangida: Nagani! My days of being a player are long gone. I’m aspiring to be Nigeria’s head coach. That is what being a civilian president is like.
Dr. Damages: If Maryam had been alive, would she have supported your quest to return to Nigeria’s seat of power?
Babangida: Oh, may peace be with her. Sai an jima, Maryam. (He mutters) She was a nice woman. Her humanity was unequalled. She was a scarlet virgin with fulsome lips and curves molded in heaven. (He breaks down and sobs)
Dr. Damages: We can take a break if you need it.
Babangida: No. (Grabs a Kleenex and blows his nose)
Dr Damages: It still hurts?
Babangida: There is something about Maryam that no journalist has been able to capture.
Dr. Damages: What is that?
Babangida: She was one of the three women who changed Nigeria.
Dr. Damages: How?
Babangida: The media is obsessed with IBB, but it was her, Victoria and Gloria that made Nigeria what it is today.
Dr Damages: I don’t understand.
Babangida: If not for the three girls from the East, there probably would not have been the Civil War. Surely, there would not be the Babangida coup. Which means that Maman Vasta and Dele Giwa would have been alive today.
Dr Damages: What did the girls do?
Babangida: A lot of what happened in Nigeria from the sixties until Maryam joined Allah had their origin in some men’s attempt to have these three girls, to provide for them and to protect them when they are in trouble. As young soldiers, these women inspired us, they inflamed our pride, and they fuelled our quarrels.
Dr Damages: The three girls caused the Civil War too?
Babangida: Indirectly. Tangentially. But I will let you go and do your research. Now, that is a story worth telling and not that Babangida did this and Babangida did that. I’m surprised that I have not read that Babangida missed a penalty that would have seen the Super Eagle through to the second round of the World Cup.
Dr. Damages: But you did a lot of harms to Nigeria’s psyche?
Babangida: How did Roosevelt put it; (He takes out a piece of paper from his pocket and reads) “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.”
Dr. Damages: You recently said that antecedents are perceptions. The Igbo people say that antecedents are like farts that foretell the taste of feces. Your antecedent, your fart, stinks. Nigerians are saying they do not want to wait to taste your feces before they foretell what it is like. Are you saying that Nigerians must taste your feces?
Babangida: Haba! You have forgotten that the Igbo gave me a chieftaincy title – the Ogugua Ndigbo (1) of Igbo Land – Consoler of the Igbo. I have a lot of Igbo friends. They are behind my campaign to be president.
Dr. Damages: You did not answer my question?
Babangida: I did.
Dr Damages: You recently told Nigerians who are calling you a thief to stop making noise and prove it. Isn’t the cry of the hyena and the loss of the goat the same? How about you explaining to Nigerians how you acquired the enormous wealth you have?
Babangida: Who told you I am wealthy? Ever seen my name on the Forbes’ list of the richest men in the world? Or have you become senile like Tai Solarin?
Dr Damages: If not for anything, your salary as an army officer would not in hundred years pay for the kind of home you own in Minna?
Babangida: Have you been there?
Dr. Damages: No.
Babangida: Then you should come and see for yourself. In fact, I invite you to come and have tea with me.
Dr. Damages: I don’t drink tea. I drink stronger beverages.
Babangida: I’m not rich but I can get you anything you want to drink right inside my cellar.
Dr. Damages: I don’t need to come to your house to know what it looks like. I have seen the pictures.
Babangida: Pictures can be deceiving. Just like my salary as a soldier can be deceiving. The truth is that presidents world over get their reward after they leave office. They get paid for their knowledge. And in our case, the young ones the president helped lift up pay tribute to the president.
Dr. Damages: You had eight years, absolute power and over $100 billion and you did not transform Nigeria. What makes you think you can transform Nigeria in this time and age?
Babangida: Ba kome! White porridge comes out of the black pot.
Dr. Damages: In other words?
Babangida: I give you three words: IBB, IBB, and IBB.
Dr. Damages: As military president, you once said that you were surprised that the Nigerian economy had not collapsed. You said it had defied any known logic. What is the logic of this quest for president? Is it because Obasanjo was head of state twice?
Dr Damages: Get out of here! You, IBB, jealous of Obasanjo?
Babangida: Me? Jealous of that village farmer? No. I was just ridiculing the simplistic way you journalists think. I am offering myself to serve Nigeria on the basis of my experience and ability to bring people together.
Dr Damages: Does it matter that Nigerians are screaming, “thanks, but no thanks”?
Babangida: What do Nigerians know? They are like little kids. Give them candy and they will compose songs in your honor.
Dr. Damages: Are you enjoying the notoriety?
Babangida: I won’t go that far in my description. I think what I am doing is for the good of our democracy.
Dr. Damages: What is good in trying to buy the presidency with 400 billion Naira?
Babangida: Buy? That is another harsh word from you. In the worst case, you can call it ‘paying restitution.’
Dr. Damages: Your critics accuse you of committing so many crimes in your eight years in power. You are accused of killing Dele Giwa, embezzling $12.5 billion dollars from the Gulf War oil boom, annulling the freest election in Nigeria’s history. Do Nigerians deserve an explanation?
Babangida: Of course. But they have to wait for my memoir.
Dr. Damages: When will it come out?
Babangida: When it is ready.
Dr. Damages: It has been 17 years since you left office.
Babangida: You do not hurry when you write history. After all, Emeka Ojukwu is yet to publish his Civil War memoirs.
Dr. Damages: Are you waiting for those who know what happened to die first?
Babangida: Maryam is dead.
Dr Damages: I mean people like former governor Buba Marwa of Lagos State, Col. H
Halilu Akilu and Col. A. K. Togun.
Babangida: Listen, if you know the military code and the official code of conduct, you will know that you won’t hear anything from those men. They are sworn to secrecy. I want to move Nigeria forward. I am not looking back or trying to dig up things that will only end up hurting Nigeria for generations to come.
Dr. Damages: You mean if we waterboard Marwa, Akilu and Togun, they will not confess?
Babangida: No. People like them will die with their secrets. You know that the man who murdered Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi is still alive? In fact, every government that comes into power reward him with an oil block he does not need. Has he confessed?
Dr Damages: Isn’t it true that wounds heal when exposed to the air?
Babangida: What happened to Nigeria is not a wound. It is a series of gang rapes.
Dr Damages: That makes it a crime. Isn’t it?
Babangida: Nigeria does not have enough prisons to hold the perpetuators.
Dr. Damages: We can afford to build more. If we can build the Abuja stadium in record time, we can definitely build more prisons in no time.
Babangida: Nigerians do not have enough tears to shed.
Dr. Damages: We can afford to import. If we can import fuel with all the crude oil we produce, we can equally import tears.
Babangida: My point is that there is no point looking back. We should move forward.
Dr. Damages: I understand that you came to the United States to attend the Mississippi Political Summit of the World Igbo Congress.
Babangida: Don’t mind those fools.
Dr Damages: No, you did not say that.
Babangida: Yes, I did.
Dr. Damages: I’m confused. It was alleged that you sponsored that Summit. Wasn’t it set up to sell your campaign for president to the Igbo people in the Diaspora?
Babangida: I don’t want to talk about it.
Dr. Damages: Oh, I get it. They dribbled you, isn’t it? They sold a dummy to you.
Babangida: I said I do not want to talk about it.
Dr. Damages: I see. They used your play book on you and you fell for it. They got money from you to fund a fake Summit where they promised to galvanize Igbo opposition to President Jonathan Goodluck. But at the end, Goodluck’s people dispatched an Ijaw group to Mississippi with more money than you sent. The Ijaw group formed an alliance with that faction of the World Igbo Congress…
Babangida: (Interrupts). All I will say is that being married to a prostitute is a worthless venture. You should watch and see what I will do to Ichie Onwuchekwa, Dr. Ugorji Ugorji and Mr. C. Chikezie. Those who cross me do not forget my response. If in doubr, they should ask Dele Giwa. As long as I live, they will never practice politics in that country. I dislike people who sell their mothers for money.
Dr. Damages: Talking about living, and its opposite, dying, a plane carrying top Nigerian politicians recently had a near crash in Lagos. The big men in the plane were lucky to be alive. Do you ever envisage your death and how do you expect Nigerians to react?
Babangida: That was not a near miss. It was staged.
Dr. Damages: By whom?
Babangida: You all have simplistic minds.
Dr. Damages: I don’t get it.
Babangida: What did those big men do the next day? Where did they go to?
Dr. Damages: I don’t know.
Babangida: They went to their flamboyant pastors to give thanks to God.
Dr. Damages: So?
Babangida: You must really be a mugu. So I have to spell it all out for you?
Dr. Damages: Unfortunately, yes. What do you expect when I studied Gov. Ikedi Ohakem’s New York Times bestselling marketing book for my degree examination?
Babangida: Whatever! Like I was saying, two of those money-loving pastors of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway connived with the pilot to shake the big men up. Do you know how much the men gave the church the next Sunday as they thanked God for saving their lives?
Dr. Damages: Is everything a conspiracy to you?
Babangida: My life is a conspiracy.
Dr. Damages: Please tell, conspiracy of God or the Devil?
Babangida: I wish I knew.
Dr. Damages: Don’t tell me you came from the sea?
Babangida: No. But I’m an enigma.
Dr. Damages: Isn’t an enigma an animal that is capable of hiding its patterns?
Babangida: Are you calling me an animal?
Dr. Damages: Of course not. Who born monkey? (Smirks)
Babangida: Much better.
Dr. Damages: Nothing is more pathetic than an animal whose pattern has been identified without the knowledge of the animal. In Brazil, a monkey is caught by simply dropping a fruit inside a transparent bottle with an opening that will not allow the monkey to pull its hand out once it has the fruit. Because the animal will not drop the fruit and run even when the hunter emerges from his hiding…
Babangida: (Interrupts) Let me stop you there. You think Nigerians know my pattern? Why do you think so? Because Wole Soyinka turned around at Benin airport when he heard I was at the Edo rally?
Dr. Damages: No! Because we know you were sent to arrest your friend, Col. B. S. Dimka but when you got there you let him escape from the radio station.
Babangida: What does that tell you?
Dr. Damages: Your scheme was that if the coup had succeeded, Dimka would have brought you into his government for sparing his life. If it failed, like it did, you would be called a hero.
Babangida: Give me another example.
Dr. Damages: You set up Arthur Nwankwo as a human right activist. He made press statements criticizing your government. Meanwhile, he was also spying for you. He was the one who brought Maman Vasta and co into his hotel room to finalize plans for the Vasta coup. When his co-conspirators left his hotel room, he called your intelligence chief. Soon after Arthur Nwankwo left for London, your people moved in and arrested Vasta and co.
Babangida: Another one.
Dr Damages: In the 90s, during your transition to nowhere, you took every ambitious Southern politician into your bedroom. One after the other, you told each of them, in confidence, that you have decided to hand over power to them. You even gave them money and sent them out on fools’ arena.
Babangida: Another one.
Dr Damages: How many do you want me to mention?
Babangida: If that is the pattern, why haven’t you people stopped me?
Dr. Damages: Despite all we have known about the rat, it continues to escape with the fish placed on its trap.
Dr. Damages: Until the day it will be smashed by the dark bottom of an old woman’s cooking pot.
Babangida: Let us wait for that day and that courageous old woman. What is the point debating ones farming skills during the raining season?
Dr. Damages: You know very well that if there is a credible election in Nigeria you have zero chance of being president?
Babangida: Your man, Obasanjo, said that even Jesus cannot conduct a credible election. So, isn’t that my luck?
Dr. Damages: Edwin Madunagu says that ‘an embrace with Babangida is an embrace with death…’
Babangida: (Interrupts) Another miserable fellow! Don’t you know any well fed people to quote?
Dr. Damages: M.K. O. Abiola…
Babangida: (interrupts) Here you go. I was about to say that you were the first interviewer who did not mention that man. (He murmurs) That man, CIA asset, did not register as a foreign agent. You know, nobody will give me the credit of seeing the neck of the monkey and still tying him up at the lower back. Nobody. Umm…(unintelligent).
Dr. Damages: In your interview with Compass newspaper, you said that the Abacha administration was caused by all of us who rejected your Shonekan contraption. Aren’t you being disingenuous again in avoiding responsibility? Would Abacha have been head of state if you had not annulled the election of 1993?
Babangida: One day, some hundred years from now, when the true history of Nigeria is written, you all will thank me.
Dr. Damages: In the same interview, you said that Nigeria will live for thousands of years. The CIA gave Nigeria 15 years, with or without Goodluck. How could you be so sure of Nigeria’s longevity when 100 years ago, there was no Nigeria? And many of the countries that were around when Mr. Fredrick Lugard’s girlfriend named the amalgamated Northern and Southern protectorate, Nigeria, had disappeared.
Babangida: How will Nigeria break up when we are connected by marriage? What will happen to my children if the North is no longer connected to the South? That is an impossibility. And that is one reason why I’m running for president – to ensure that Nigeria lives for thousands of years.
Dr. Damages: Congratulations. Time magazine recently named you one of the world’s most influential people.
Babangida: (Looks surprised). Na gode, Allah. In which category?
Dr. Damages: For solving the Poincare conjecture.
Babangida: Which category is that?
Dr. Damages: Take a guess - Leadership, artists, thinkers, heroes, evil geniuses.
Babangida: How do you guys in America say it; go fuck yourself.
Dr Damages: You, too. (Looks at his watch) That is all the time we have. Good luck to you in the upcoming elections.
Babangida: Thank you.
Dr Damages: Viewers, that’s the one and the only Ibrahim Badamusi Babangida. Until next time, thank you all for watching and good night.