Posted by BOLA BADMUS, Abuja on
FORMER military president, General Ibrahim Babangida’s dream to become the next president after the exit of President Olusegun Obasanjo.....
FORMER military president, General Ibrahim Babangida’s dream to become the next president after the exit of President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007 may not be realised as the presidency is said to be making moves to frustrate the General in several ways, including freezing his bank accounts.
Some recent reports have indicated that General Babandiga and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who has been engage in a face-off with President Olusegun Obasanjo, were being subjected to an alleged secret probe.
The commission was reported to have commenced investigations into alleged business deals involving the two top Nigerians by allegedly asking banks in the country to supply it with records of transactions involving them as well as the bank accounts.
Sources who spoke to the Nigerian Tribune on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the presidency might have concretized an action plan to stop the former military president from contesting the 2007 polls.
According to them, one of the ways was to ensure that any bank account perceived to belong to Babangida should be frozen with a view to making it difficult to draw campaign funds. The other approach, Nigerian Tribune learnt, was the erection of anti-Babangida billboards across the country to sensitize Nigerians to the alleged atrocities committed by the General when he ruled as military head of state.
Indeed, on the alleged first plan of some presidential hawks to freeze Babangida’s bank accounts, the Babangida’s camp is divided as to its truth or motive behind it. While some in the camp are said to have dismissed such a move coming from the presidency, others are said to have seen it as basically designed to embarrass the General and make him jettison his ambition to succeed President Obasanjo.
Nigerian Tribune learnt that on the issue of anti- Babangida’s billboards, a governor from the Northern part of the country had been commissioned to handle the alleged project. The alleged project which several millions of naira is said to have been voted, according to sources, would have billboards with inscriptions such as “Who killed Dele Giwa?”, “Who annulled June 12?”, among others.
The billboards, it was gathered would be erected in strategic locations in the country’s capital cities and towns. The planned anti-Babangida billboard campaign is said to be coming against the backdrop of eyebrows being raised in the General’s camp over alleged removal of a billboard erected for Babangida at the Abuja Airport junction on the alleged orders of the FCT authorities.
The billboard in which Babangida’s picture was said to have featured prominently in traditional Aso-Oke was said to have been removed at the commencement of the recently concluded Sullivan Summit which was held in Abuja.
According to Nigerian Tribune findings, the governor said to be championing the anti-Babangida billboards was also said to be backing the recent agitation by the family of the Late General Mamman Vatsa to ensure the probe of Babangida by the Federal Government over the execution of their son who was convicted of coup plotting.
Commenting on the report, the Director of Publicity of the Babangida presidential campaign organisation, Barrister Venetius Ikem, denied that the presidency was working against the Minna General.
“We are not aware of any such plot. But if there is any, we are sure it is not from the presidency; it is likely to be from fellow aspirants who are afraid of the General. “As far as we are concerned, there is nothing in the electoral act or the 1999 Constitution that bars our principal from contesting. We are not going to be intimidated and I can assure our teeming supporters that the General would submit himself to the electorate.
“What we are saying is that Nigerians should be allowed to determine the fate of all aspirants on a level playing field. That is our expectation. “In our view, this is democracy and the voters should have the final say. Who is afraid of the General, that is our question,” he said.
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