Monday, 25 July 2016

Babangida overthrew me to escape probe –Buhari








PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari said he was removed from office 31 years ago because he planed to purge the military hierarchy of corruption. Specifically, he said senior military leaders, led by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida and General Aliyu Gusau, masterminded and effected his ouster on August 27, 1985, to save themselves from a probe, which was hanging over their head like the proverbial sword of damocles. Buhari said he champion the probe via a proposal he wrote to the Army Council.

He said it was after he tabled the proposal for the sacking of Gusau,

then director of intelligence, that Babangida embarked on a coup knowing that he (IBB) was in line for a probe.

In an exclusive interview published in the current edition of The Interview magazine, Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to tell the truth on why they carried out the coup against him.

“I learnt that Aliyu Gusau, who was in charge of intelligence, took import licence from the ministry of commerce which was in charge of supplies and gave it to Alhaji Mai Deribe. It was worth N100,000, a lot

of money at that time. I confronted them and took the case to the Army council in a memo…I wanted Gusau punished,” Buhari, who has not spared the military even in his ongoing anticorruption war, said.

However, Babangida was once quoted as there was nothing in the memo which Buhari submitted to the Army council. “Don’t forget that I was one of Buhari’s closest aides. I was the chief of army staff. So, I had an important position, an important role to play within that administration. I don’t think it had to do with a memo,” Babangida said. But in a tone which revealed that the past may neither have been forgotten nor forgiven, Buhari challenged Babangida and Gusau to come clean on why they removed him.

On December 31, 1983, was announced as the military head of state and Tunde Idiagbon (late) his deputy following a coup that toppled the democratically elected government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) three months after being re-elected. Among reasons given for the action was the need to rescue the nation from the vice grip of corrupt politicians.

However, Babangida pushed out Buhari as head of state following a palace coup announced by the late General Sani Abacha.

Shagari once exonerated Buhari of complicity in the coup that toppled his government, saying, “it was when those boys that overthrew our government were looking for someone with integrity, honesty and fairness to be

the head of their government, that was when Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s name came in.”

Shagari who was reacting to allegations levelled against Buhari that he overthrew democracy and wanted to be elected under the same democracy that he truncated said: “It was Gen. D.Y. Bali that mentioned his name,

and all of them agreed; Gen Tunde Idiagbon was asked to announce his name when he “Buhari” was not even there, I thought he was in India for a course, Shagari explained that those who overthrew his government were,

Major General Tunde Idiagbon, Major General Ibrahim Babangida, Major General Tunde Ogbeha, Comondore Augustus Aikhomu, Nureni Yusuf, Bridgadier-General Sani Abacha, DY Bali, Lt Col Oladayo Popoola.”

Buhari was placed under house arrest for months during which his mother died. For the umpteenth time, Buhari has said he felt betrayed by Babangida, and also upset following his detention which made him miss

his mother’s funeral in 1988.

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