Who is General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida?
General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, also known as IBB, is a former military head of State and a retired Army General. He was the 8th president of Nigeria. He ruled the country for 8years (1985-1993), making him the longest-serving head of State after General Yakubu Gowon, who ruled for nine years.
General Babangida was known as a fearless and powerful leader and was Involved in five coups in the history of Nigeria’s military regime.
General Ibrahim Babangida Early Life
General Babangida was born on the 17th of August 1941 in Minna Niger State. His father is Muhammadu Babangida, an Islamic teacher, and his mother is Aishatu Babangida. They are from the Nupe Tribe. He got his secondary school education at the Government College Bida from1957 to 1962
General Babangida Education in the Millitary
General Babangida focused on his studies and education while serving in the Nigerian Army. Among other achievements, he contributed to his ranks and promotions as a Military leader.
1962: Nigerian Military Training Academy (NTMC) – Kaduna
1963: Indian Military Academy- India
1966: Saladin and Gunnery at the Course 38 of the young Officer’s course– United Kingdom
1972: Advanced Armored Officer’s Course – US Army Armored School – United States
1977: Senior Officers’ course at the Armed forces Command Staff College – Jaji
1979: Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies — Nigeria
1980: Senior International Defense Management Course at the Naval Postgraduate School—United States
General Ibrahim Babangida Military Career.
After his secondary school education, General Ibrahim Babangida enrolled at the National Military Training Academy (NTMC), in 1962 and from there rose through the military ranks.
In 1963, he got commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, making him a regular combatant in the Royal Nigerian Army, Now called The Nigerian Army.
In 1966, he became a lieutenant after he took the Young Officer’s Course.
From 1968-1970, He became a Captain and also served as a commanding officer during the Nigerian Civil war.
In 1970- 1972, He taught at the Nigerian Defense Academy.
In 1970, General Ibrahim Babangida Furthered his studies, earning him the ranks of Major and Lieutenant Colonel and a Colonel In 1973. In 1975, He was Nigeria’s armoured corps Commander.
Also, In 1975, General Babangida became a member of the Supreme Military Council. In 1979, he rose to the rank of brigadier.
In 1981, he became the director of Army Staff Duties and plans, got promoted to Major General in 1983, and became the chief of Army Staff under the regime of Muhammadu Buhari.
Military Coups carried out by General Babangida.
General Ibrahim Babangida participated in the coup led by General Murtala Muhammed in July 1966. In this coup, the then head of state General Aguyi Ironsi was overthrown and was replaced with Yakubu Gowon
In July 1975, Babangida was among the Officers that toppled General Yakubu Gowon General, and General Murtala Muhammed took his place as head of State.
During General Murtala Muhammed’s regime, there was another military coup attempt In February 1976, and Colonel Buka Suka Dimka led it. But General Babangida, a Colonel, defeated the coup almost independently and took back the Radio Nigeria station from Colonel Dimka. General Murtala Muhammed was assassinated in this coup, and General Olusegun Obasanjo, his deputy, ruled in his place.
In December 1983, dissatisfied by the civilian government of Shehu Shagari, General Babangida orchestrated a coup that overthrew Shehu Shagari. General Babangida didn’t claim the seat for himself, But Installed General Muhammadu Buhari as the new head of State and became the Chief of Army Staff Instead.
In August 1985, General Babangida led a coup that ousted General Muhammed Buhari. This happened due to the inflexibility and extreme measures used by Buhari to rule the country. Buhari cut ties between Nigeria and Britain, banned the press, exiled many immigrants in the country, and imprisoned anyone who opposed the government in any way.
This caused a deep dissatisfaction to General Ibrahim Babangida and led him to remove and Imprison General Buhari. This time became the head of State himself.
General Babangida Presidency and some of his achievements
General Babangida was known as a powerful leader when he was in control. The people saw his leadership as more flexible than that of the previous government.
He minimized the government control of the press and freed a lot of prisoners from the preceding government. But he could not solve the economic problems handed over to him by the government.
In January 1986, General Babangida registered Nigeria in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as its 46th member. Babangida replaced the chief of staff supreme headquarters, Commander Ebitu Okoh Ukiwe because he opposed the registration of Nigeria as a secular country in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Babangida used a referendum to get support for ostensive measures suggested by the International Monetary Fund, IMF and the world bank and later launched his structural adjustment program SAP against the will of the Nigerian masses.
General Babangida repeatedly promised Nigerians that he would change the military government to a civilian one. This earned him the nickname Maradona, as the masses felt Babangida like in a football match dribbled them.
On the 22nd of April 1990, in a coup led by Major Gideon Orkar, the coup was unsuccessful. Major Gideon Orkar and 41 of his conspirators were defeated and captured by the government troops and convicted of treason.
In 1991, Babangida formed two political parties, namely: The Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the National Republican Convention (NRC)
In 1993, a presidential election was held. Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), with over 2.3 million votes, defeated Bashir Tofu of the National Republican Convention (NRC). The results were never announced officially as General Babangida annulled the election, which caused a lot of controversies and civil unrest in the country.
General Babangida stepped down from the government during this civil unrest and handed over power to an Interim Civilian Panel led by Ernest Shonekan.
Some Notable Achievements of General Babangida as President
General Babangida was responsible for the creation of 11 states. In September 1987, General Babangida created two states, namely Akwa Ibom and Katsina States. And in August 1991, he created nine more states namely, Abia, Enugu, Delta, Jigawa, Kebbi, Osun, Kogi, Taraba, and Yobe. This brought the total number of states in Nigeria to 30 states.
On the 12th of December 1991, President Babangida relocated the federal government’s seat from Lagos to Abuja. He also founded the Federal Road Safety Corps, constructed the Toja bridge in Kebbi state, and built the Jibia Water Treatment Plant and the Challawa Cenga dam in Kano.
The share of oil royalties and rents to states of Origin was increased from 1.5 to 3%. During the Civil war, He used the ECOWAS monitoring group (ECOMOG) troops to restore stability in Liberia.
General Ibrahim Babangida Personal and Family Life
Ibrahim Babangida got married to Maryam King in 1969. They had four children together, namely, Muhammadu, Aminu, Aishatu, and Halima. Maryam Babangida died after battling ovarian cancer on the 27th of December 2009. He has since maintained a low profile since the 2015 presidential elections won by Muhammadu Buhari. In 2017.
General Ibrahim Babangida Net worth
According to a Forbes article in 2011, General Babangida’s net worth is approximately $12 billion. But General Babangida did not accept these claims even though he did not disclose the value of his wealth.
Awards received by General Ibrahim Babangida
Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) – 1983
Defense Service Medal (DSM) -1983
Forces Services Star (FSS) -1983
National Service Medal (NSM) – 1983
Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) -1985
Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the United Kingdom – 1989
Freedom of the City of Harare, a prestigious national honour in Zimbabwe – 1989
Grand Collar of the Order of the Independence, highest national Honour in Equatorial Guinea.
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